Mathiowetz Construction gets Wal-Mart work in Mankato

MANKATO – Mathiowetz Construction of Leavenworth will do earthwork in the construction of the $75 million, 454,000 square-foot Wal-Mart distribution center set to open next May in the northeast corner of Mankato.

“We’ll have about 40 trucks hauling about 450,000 tons of sand from local sources to the site for about six weeks, beginning the fourth week of June,” said Dale Schweiss, estimator at Mathiowetz Construction, a subcontractor for Kentucky-based, project design-build contractor Gray Construction.

Mathiowetz Construction will have up to about 20 pieces of heavy equipment on the project. It will move on-site soil before 50,000 tons of gravel is hauled to the project site, Schweiss said.

The facility is being construction between U.S. Highway 14 and Victory Drive, east of State Highway 22.

“Our work needs to be done this fall so the facility can open in May 2015. We could have 80 workers there at peak times while Gray Construction does the steel and concrete work,” Schweiss said. “It’s not our biggest project [ever], but it’s one of them.”

“It’s a nice, typical large project for Wal-Mart, Gray and Mankato. We’ve done lots of these before,” said Gray Construction Senior Project Manager Jerry Hack, who planned to fly from Lexington, Ky. to Minnesota earlier this week to meet with Wal-Mart officials in Mankato.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Wal-Mart and the City of Mankato required water, sanitary sewer and storm drain improvements to be provided to the site. The utility extension cost the community $1.1 million, according to the MOU. A natural gas pipeline on the site was relocated as specified in the MOU. All private utilities outlined in the MOU have been installed or are available. These preparations cost the community $1.2 million, plus $3.4 million for new roads and four-lane upgrades, according to the MOU.

Original distribution center plans announced in 2006 called for an 880,000-square foot grocery distribution center. That plan was scaled back with an amended MOU in 2007 requiring Wal-Mart to make $264,980 in payments-in-lieu of taxes in 2009 and $529,960 in 2010 and every year thereafter, until construction begins or a total of $5.3 million is paid. The payments are in addition to annual property tax payments of about $44,000 a year.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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