Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) has announced plans to build an expansive new headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. The new campus will sit on more than 300 acres just a few blocks from its current location on the corner of S.W. 8th Street and Walton Boulevard. Construction and demolition is set to begin in July and the project should take five to seven years to complete.
Walmart says the new headquarters will have a “very different look and feel” from its present home. According to initial artist renderings, the new campus will resemble a gleaming Silicon Valley hub for a tech company like Google or Apple. Dan Bartlett, Walmart’s executive vice president of corporate affairs, said, “We view this more like a college university campus versus walled off from the community corporate headquarters.”
The new campus will be made up of four quads linked by walking and bike paths. It will also include what Bartlett called a “massive” public park. The headquarters is expected to feature an array of amenities for employees, including outdoor meeting spaces, an on-site child-care center, and strategically placed food trucks. It will be one of the largest construction projects in the history of the state.
The 21 separate buildings housing Walmart’s current headquarters were built in 1971, and consists of some repurposed warehouses and distribution centers. The company believes that the new campus will help it attract and retain high-quality talent to its corner of northwestern Arkansas. The current headquarters will likely be converted for other uses.
Walmart says that it will move its associates into the new building in phases over multiple years. Getting employees from different sectors into a single campus is one of the primary concerns of the company. Walmart currently has more than 14,000 corporate employees.