Wal-Mart Stores on Friday announced plans to build a new corporate headquarters near its current home base in Northwest Arkansas.
The new campus would replace a sprawling collection of more than 20 buildings that have grown up around 8th Street and Walton Boulevard in Bentonville, where Walmart established a home office in 1971. That facility replaced offices in downtown Bentonville.
The new headquarters, which will take five to seven years to complete, would support a more efficient and faster business, CEO Doug McMillon told employees Friday.
“We want to create a different work environment where people can work in an agile fashion. I think this can be a little bit of a stake in the ground to say, ‘This is a company that’s going to be around in 50 years time or more and we want to put ourselves in a position where we’re customer focused, agile, moving fast, collaborative, and in an environment that’s conducive to that.’”
Walmart’s current facilities are “significantly beyond their shelf life,” McMillon said in a memo.
“They are expensive and inefficient to maintain, costing millions of dollars of accelerating upkeep every year,” he said. “And because they are so dispersed, they literally encourage us to work in silos and cause us to waste time and energy traveling between locations, many of which have inadequate parking options.”
Local reports said Walmart had been acquiring land around the area of the proposed new headquarters for more than a year, assembling more than two dozen homes, commercial buildings and vacant lots.
Walmart said it anticipates moving most of its current Northwest Arkansas associates to the new location, although Sam’s Club will maintain its current separate headquarters building.
McMillon said the planned facilities would offer improved parking, meal services, a new fitness center, and natural light. The campus will also be integrated into Bentonville’s community trail system for easy walking and cycling access.