There's definitely no doubting it now.
Wal-Mart is well on its way to opening a second Supercenter in Lawrence, with construction work progressing quickly at the northwest corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.
After an approximately five-year legal and political battle to win approval, the store is now set to open next year - in late spring or early summer.
"Things are going really well right now with the construction process," said Angie Stoner, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart. "We're really looking forward to opening the store."
The sight of bricks and mortar rising from the ground already has caused other businesses to begin looking at surrounding property at the intersection.
"I anticipate that it is going to be a good corner," said David Bayer, with KC Commercial Realty Group, which represents owners of a shopping center at the southwest corner of the intersection. "Every other space that is next to a super Wal-Mart has turned out to be a good corner."
The shopping center recently lost H&H; Bar and Grill as a tenant. Bayer said a search for a new tenant soon would begin. He thinks a more family-style restaurant would be a natural fit.
The Wal-Mart site also includes pad sites for four smaller businesses, with some of them likely to be restaurants. No deals for tenants for those sites have been announced.
Motorists soon will start noticing impacts from the project. City commissioners next week will put out to bid a project to install a traffic signal at Sixth Street and Congressional Drive. The intersection will lead to the store's main entrance point, which will be just north of Sixth and Congressional.
Although the city is overseeing the traffic signal installation, the entire cost of the project is being paid for by Wal-Mart and adjacent property owners.
The traffic signal project also will include an approximately 20 foot, landscaped median on Congressional Drive south of Sixth Street. The median is designed to discourage shoppers from cutting through the neighborhood when entering or leaving the Wal-Mart site.
Other entrances to the Wal-Mart will include one off Overland Drive just west of Wakarusa Drive. Another will be located on Congressional just south of Overland Drive.
Stoner said the store will employ about 350 people. The company will open a hiring center to begin taking applications in the early spring, Stoner said.
The store will include both grocery and general service products, similar to what the company carries at its Supercenter at 33rd and Iowa streets. But the new store will be significantly smaller than the South Iowa Street location.
The new store will be about 100,000 square feet. The South Iowa Street store is about 200,000 square feet.