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Second Home Depot plans on hold
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Plans to construct the county's second Home Depot store are on hold, and there is a large possibility that the proposed store, to be located at the intersection of Ga. Highway 212 and Brown Bridge Road will not be built at all.

According to Craig Fishel, a spokesperson for Home Depot, the company made the decision approximately six months ago "to not build."

"Currently we're not considering any sites in the area," Fishel said.

Fishel said he did not know what would be done with the 34 acres purchased for construction of the store. Fishel said Home Depot might reconsider building a store on the land in the future but could not specify any time frame.

"There are several factors that go into any store location," Fishel said. "At this time, the decision was made not to move forward with it."

Asked if the decision not to build the store had anything to do with an over-saturation of Home Depot stores in the area or with fears of a national recession, Fishel said he did not have enough knowledge on the reasoning behind the decision to answer.

Home Depot opened its first store in Newton County in December 2006. There is also a Home Depot store in neighboring Rockdale County.

More than a year after receiving approval to build a Supercenter at the intersection of Salem and Brown Bridge Roads, Wal-Mart has still not broken ground on the store. Glen Wilkins, a senior manager of public affairs for Wal-Mart said the company currently plans to begin construction on the store sometime in late summer or early fall this year.

According to Wilkins, it was never Wal-Mart's intent to begin construction on the store immediately.

"We weren't going to be going in and building immediately," Wilkins said. "Every site is different, depending on the market we're going through."

Wilkins declined to answer a question on whether Wal-Mart was currently experiencing over-saturation of the market.

Wal-Mart opened its first Supercenter in the county last July. There is also a Supercenter in Rockdale County.

Wilkins estimated once construction on the store began, it would take 10 months to complete.

The Newton County Board of Commissioners approved a proposal to build the second Home Depot store last April. The plans approved by the board detailed a store with more than 132,000 square feet of space as well as future development planned for five out-parcels of land.

Duke Sullivan, a developer with South Harbor Development LLC, represented Home Depot in its petition before the BOC. At the time of its approval, Sullivan predicted the store would bring in annually an estimated $2 million in taxes to the county and would employ between 175 and 200 full-time and part-time employees.

The Wal-Mart Supercenter proposal received approval from the BOC in January 2007. The plans approved by the board detailed a 204,000 square foot store on 33 acres of land with accompanying four outparcels of land also to be developed. The store is expected to bring in between 300 and 350 new jobs to the county, according to comments made by Wilkins last year.

Wilkins said construction plans for the Supercenter have not been changed from those originally approved by the BOC except for a few minor tweaks.

At the time of their approval, both the Home Depot and the Wal-Mart petitions faced stern opposition from residents in District 2 and the surrounding areas who argued the stores would only add to current traffic congestion in the area.