Walmart seeks expansion in order to stock groceries at Hilton Head store

Plans for a 22,035-square-foot expansion of the Walmart on Hilton Head Island received initial approval Tuesday.

The town's Design Review Board approved conceptual plans to expand the store to add grocery sales on the north side of the building toward William Hilton Parkway.

The store at 25 Pembroke Drive is 126,030 square feet and was built in the 1990s. The building currently includes general merchandise, an outdoor garden center and an automotive-care shop, said project manager Larry Barthelemy of ADC Engineering Inc.

The project will include new parking spaces, a new color scheme, and a new loading dock and trash compactor. The parking lot will receive an asphalt overlay and will be restriped. New signs are also proposed. Plantings will screen the new loading dock from view, according to the plans.

"Walmart is revamping the look of its stores and adding grocery to their plans as often as possible," said architect Greg Oltman of Raymond Harris & Associates Architects.

Walmart officials could not be reached for comment.

Board members were receptive to the expansion, particularly the proposed color scheme of light tan, dark earth tones and gray to replace the store's beige, light brown, green and red.

"That will be a big improvement and more consistent with the island's colors," said board member Deborah Welch.

Barthelemy said he is not certain when construction will begin, but it is expected to last about a year.

The expansion would create slightly more traffic, but could be accommodated by changing the timing of traffic signals, Barthelemy said.

Walmart would have to submit a landscape and lighting plan to the review board for final approval and receive approval from town staff on a detailed site plan before construction could begin, said town community development director Charles Cousins.