Walmart Pana
The former Walmart location in Pana was recently placed on the real estate market for $3.68 million. An adjacent lot across the street is being listed for nearly $500,000. (Jake Leonard/Heartland Newsfeed photo)

PANA (Heartland Newsfeed) — Since the legacy Walmart store closed down for good on October 12, there has been much speculation on what was going to happen to the former property at 10 West Second Street. In the past week, it appears that an answer has been given, as the Bentonville, Ark. corporation will be putting the building and adjacent tracts of land up for sale.

The property was listed with O’Fallon-based Kunkel Commercial Group on May 7, according to Luke Allen, a real estate agent with the group. Allen was on the property on Thursday, May 9 to place signage on the site and adjacent properties.

“We are very excited to get the listing,” Allen said, citing his knowledge of the area and having family in various locations between Pana and Mattoon.

The Bentonville corporate office relayed a notice to the Pana store in early September that their store was among over 100 locations that were being shut down during the fourth quarter of 2018. An official notice was given to employees and the community on September 12 that their store would be closing in 30 days. The closure came roughly four months after Walmart closed another 75 stores, including the store in Clinton in June. The statement was a result of evaluating all corporate stores, with the Pana and Clinton locations not meeting corporate standards. Employees had also claimed that it had been losing money for years.

Since the Oct. 12 closure, some employees opted for early retirement, while others relocated to neighboring Supercenter stores in Shelbyville, Taylorville and Vandalia or pursued other ventures.

City officials immediately scrambled following the announcement to convince the store to not leave the city, citing an “opportunity zone” where the store is located and offered other incentives, but was to no avail.

Existing businesses have been trying over the months since the closure to offer popular items which used to be in the store, while the community has inquired about the potential options for the currently vacated property.

Allen cited that the Walmart property and adjacent lot where the historic railroad depot sits at is listed for $3.68 million, according to the group’s listing. The lot across Illinois Route 16 from the store, bordered by Oak, Chestnut, Second and Third streets is being sold as a separate parcel and will be listed for $480,000.

Allen added Kunkel had been entrusted with the former Walmart property in Vandalia following the store’s demolition and was sold within one week. He has already received inquiries, two from local residents and two non-local inquiries.

The Pana store closure was among 437 legacy, Neighborhood Markets and Supercenter locations and 49 Sam’s Club locations closed during 2018. A recent report from Business Insider currently announced Walmart’s first group of closures for 2019.

Jake Leonard is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed and GM/program director of the Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network. Leonard is also general manager of Heartland Internet Media Networks and an active contributor to four newspapers for Pana News Group.