FAQ: New Home Office

and last updated on September 18, 2021 08:27 AM

Curious about the new campus? Find out more below.<br/>
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FAQ: New Home Office

Curious about the new campus? Find out more below.

Where will the new Home Office be located?

The new Walmart Home Office will be in Bentonville on roughly 350 acres of land on the east side of J Street, between Central Avenue and 14th Street (Highway 102). For years, the company has operated warehouse spaces and office buildings on this site. By demolishing and recycling those existing buildings and offices, we can revitalize the existing tract of land, contribute to the economic growth in the area and integrate with the broader Bentonville community development efforts. The campus will have 12 office buildings, along with amenity buildings, parking decks and surface lots. The development will be constructed in phases.

What will be the design of the new campus?

Our campus will be integrated into the community, designed to be an inclusive and seamless part of the natural beauty of our Northwest Arkansas region. We’ve worked hard to develop a well-designed, exciting, and cohesive campus master plan our associates, their families and the community will be proud of, specifically by:

  • Integrating the biking and walking trails from the greater Bentonville community into and through the campus, while preserving and embracing the “Natural State” beauty that is unique to our region.
  • Reflecting our commitment to, and leadership of, environmental sustainability by being good stewards of our natural resources and minimizing our impact to the environment.
  • Encouraging associates to enjoy and connect with nature – both indoors and outdoors – through natural lighting, warm interior finishes, mass timber construction from regionally-sourced materials and views to trees, courtyards, landscapes and lakes.

Why did Walmart decide to use mass timber for the new campus?

We decided to use mass timber construction because it is sustainable, efficient, and available locally. Mass timber construction is designed with precision specifications and engineered to strict performance standards, allowing us to prefabricate complete structural building systems, which enhances the efficiency of our project and saves both time and money. Our partnership with Structurlam Mass Timber Corp., allows us to exclusively source southern yellow pine from forests in south Arkansas, manufacture the glulam beams and cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels in Structurlam’s Conway, Ark., plant, and use during campus construction in Bentonville, connecting associates with the nature and beauty of our home state.

Why are we moving and why now?

This is part of Walmart’s strategy to win and has been contemplated for several years. The new facilities will help accelerate change, accommodate a more digitally native workforce, and encourage more collaboration and speed. The combined changes will help us create a more connected campus for our existing teams and help us attract the next generation of talent we need to compete.

What is the cost?

The new Home Office will be true to the company’s Every Day Low Cost (EDLC) roots. Through each step in this project, we are leading the journey to empower associates and get the most out of our existing teams, while helping us attract high-quality talent in the future. And we will do all of this by adhering to our EDLC culture – not by cutting corners but through smart design.

A strong emphasis of the project will be on supporting a culture of servant leadership, which puts our customers and associates first, and maintaining our commitment to fiscal and environmental responsibility. This project will be done in phases, and the cost will be part of our annual budgeting process.

How long will construction take?

Our goal is to open in phases through 2025. As with any major construction project, timing may change, and we will continue to provide updates.

Where are you in the process? When will it be complete?

The mass grading and infrastructure work is going well and will continue in phases by zone.

In 2019, demolition, infrastructure and utility construction began, along with initial construction of the new Layout Center and we continued design of the amenity and office buildings. The new Layout Center construction was completed in late 2020 and became the first building on the campus to welcome associates.

2021 will be a year of paving, parking, and power. Our amenity buildings are finishing design, construction of the first parking deck began this summer and roadwork and utilities work will continue this year.

Is this project on schedule?

Yes – the project is on track and site and infrastructure work are well underway. Parking decks began construction this summer and soon be followed by office buildings. Currently, we expect to complete the full campus project in 2025.

Will construction require road closures? 

Construction of our new campus is now underway. This will result in some road closures, but we are committed to keeping an east to west route around the campus open to the public throughout every phase of the project. Here’s what to expect:

Improvements have begun on the intersection of J Street and Central Avenue and will continue through Fall 2021.

In addition, 5th Street will remain closed through Spring 2022.

Residents can also expect to see new sections we’re adding to P Street North and Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway. We’re pleased to be able to create more accessibility for our community through this additional road development.

Will there be a childcare facility?

Yes, we plan to have a childcare facility at the new Walmart Home Office.

Are you planning to build a hotel on the new Home Office campus?

Yes. Part of our master design plan for the campus includes an on-campus facility. We want to provide an opportunity for our visiting associates, prospective recruits, interns, and other guests to experience the new Home Office campus. It is in the preliminary stages of program design and no further details are available at this time.

What types of food and amenities will be available on campus?

A centrally located food hall in the heart of campus will be convenient for associates coming from any neighborhood on campus. The food hall will offer a flexible space for associates to connect with fellow colleagues, while enjoying a wide variety of creative, fresh, healthy food options – including custom salads, nutritious offerings, comfort foods and regional culinary fare from across the globe.

In addition, each neighborhood will have convenient food and beverage offerings, including:

  • Food truck plazas in various locations across campus that can change out as needed.
  • Smaller dining venues featuring a variety of fresh foods along with unique dining experiences in each neighborhood.
  • Coffee bars and grab-and-go stations offering artisanal coffee drinks, organic and healthy snacks, pastries, sweets, ready-made salads and sandwiches.
  • In-office food pantries on each floor with coffee machines, filtered water stations, refrigerators for associate food storage, vending machines and seating with tables.

Each neighborhood will feature bike storage, showers and changing rooms for cycling commuters and associates wanting to exercise during their lunch breaks.

What will parking look like around the campus?

Associates can expect ample parking conveniently co-located near each office building. Our campus will be organized into neighborhoods, complete with surface parking for each area, and additional outdoor parking lots for overflow and visitor parking. Within the surface parking lots, trees will provide shade for the vehicles and associates, and will also contribute to wayfinding and to creating comfortable and beautiful pedestrian pathways.

You’ve mentioned the campus and associates will connect with nature – what do you mean?

The new campus will complement the growth and evolution of Bentonville’s broader urban development plan. We describe the landscape plan as “Big Nature,” which reflects the Northwest Arkansas native ecologies and Walmart company values. Extensive tree canopies and understory planting will provide habitat, manage stormwater and reconnect associates and visitors to nature. Planting selections will primarily be low maintenance, low irrigation and native. WiFi-enabled outdoor spaces will support our flexible workplace, with each neighborhood containing a large quad, in addition to smaller open spaces and courtyards associated with individual buildings. A cohesive network of complete streets, shaded walkways and dedicated bikeways keep all areas of the campus well connected.

The Big Nature plan encourages interaction between Walmart associates, the Bentonville community and the physical environment to reinforce sustainable living and holistic well-being. In support of this vision, the landscape design will reflect the complex mosaic of native habitats found throughout the region and the distinct culture that has been an integral part of Walmart’s history. The result will be a unique work environment that attracts future associates with a direct connection to nature and the outdoors that can only be found in Northwest Arkansas.

What will happen to existing trees on the new campus site?

The site of our new campus originally boasted a variety of both young and mature healthy trees. Many of the young trees have recently been harvested to be later planted on campus. However, a portion of these trees are a significant size, providing air quality, property value, energy savings and opportunities for associates to connect with nature, while contributing to sense of place. For that reason, select mature trees will remain on the site, and office buildings, parking decks and other structures have been situated around them, allowing them to remain in place.

How will cycling integrate into the campus?

The new campus will be designed to support all types of cyclists, including:

  • Recreational riders, who typically use off-street bike trails
  • Commuters, who take more efficient routes on a combination of trails and streets
  • Associates, who will ride bikes to move throughout campus

We are designing the new campus to facilitate transportation choices that are healthier for our associates, reduce traffic and parking strains and support the well-being of the greater community. These efforts will help us meet the goal of 10% of Bentonville-based Home Office associates using alternative transportation, like bicycles, to commute to work by 2023. Each neighborhood will have bike storage, showers and changing rooms. We will also have campus bikes available for associates to ride between buildings or to and from their vehicles.

What happens to the existing buildings across the region?

No decisions have been made regarding our current Home Office. We have a process for managing the company’s real estate portfolio and will work through that process, as part of the planning, design and coordination needed to move the project forward. We will work with Northwest Arkansas leaders to ensure there is a focused dialogue on the future of the properties as we move the region forward.

Will all Home Office associates work in the new location?

We plan to bring most of the Home Office associates in Northwest Arkansas onto this central campus. Associates working at the Sam’s Club Support office and the new Springdale Call Center will not reside on the new campus. They will continue to work in their current building.

What will happen to the other campuses across the country (Hoboken, San Bruno, etc.)?

The build of this campus does not have a direct impact on these other campuses. We want our new Home Office to not only inspire those who work in Bentonville, but our other associates around that world who so frequently visit this place where it all started.

What are you doing with the fixtures, furniture and, office equipment from the buildings you tear down?

As we continue to run our business between now and "move-in day," we are remodeling existing spaces and frequently moving different departments around the offices. When it makes sense, we will repurpose existing fixtures, furniture, and office equipment. This will allow us to lessen the total amount of new equipment required in the new campus buildings, as well as spread out the replacement cycle of office furniture and fixtures for years to come.

How is the coronavirus impacting the design of the new Home Office? Are you changing the layout?

As the COVID-19 pandemic has surfaced and evolved, we have partnered with experts in workplace design, our People team and others across the business to assess how this crisis may alter our overall approach. Big picture – we don’t anticipate big changes in a post-COVID world. As time goes on, we’ve learned we will always have the need for office space, and our associates need the ability to connect. The overall approach to the campus design is very flexible so it can accommodate our future workspace and technology needs. We’re at the phase in our design planning that gives us plenty of opportunities to learn and adjust as needed.