ANTIOCH -- Six months after a long-sought legal victory, Walmart is set to expand its Lone Tree Way store into the East Bay's first supercenter.
Architectural and engineering plans were delivered to Antioch this week laying out how the retailer would expand its existing store at Williamson Ranch Plaza by an additional 33,575 square feet, stretching it to about 175,000.
The big-box retailer's expansion and remodel would include a bakery, produce, full-service deli and enhanced outdoor living department. It would also add 181 parking spaces, reconstruct the front facade and improve parking lot lights and landscaping.
Once the city and other utilities sign off on the plans, Walmart anticipates awarding a contractor bid and starting work in early 2014. Construction will take place through 2014 and open in spring 2015, said Rachel Wall, a company spokeswoman.
The store would remain open during the work, she said.
"We've been serving this community for more than a decade, and continue to be asked by our customers about the availability of grocery," Wall said. "We're grateful for their patience, and we're really excited to be able to provide what they expect."
Walmart would hire an additional 85 employees, a mix of full- and part-time employees, for the expanded store.
Walmart's plans only require an approved building permit from Antioch that confirms it complies with city conditions and building codes, community development director Tina Wehrmeister said.
City officials say it will take about six to eight weeks to process the plans.¿
Walmart's path to expansion cleared in March when the state Supreme Court nixed hearing a petition by a coalition of environmental, civil rights and labor groups over a November 2012 appellate court decision affirming Antioch's approval.
The California Healthy Communities Network argued the city's 2010 decision should have required full environmental studies looking at potential urban decay in the area, including increased traffic and impacts to other grocery stores.
Antioch had required environmental studies in both 2007 and 2010, twice rejecting Walmart's documents. The council reversed its decision after legal counsel for Walmart and the city argued that it could not consider environmental issues in a design review application, citing a case involving a San Diego redevelopment project.
Since the legal smoke cleared, there hadn't been much discussion about Walmart, City Manager Jim Jakel said.
Meanwhile, the company was busy with its "standard preparation" in having architects and engineers design and prepare plans for submittal, Wall said.
"I think it's further indication that the economy is recovering because they are sticking with their original plans," Jakel said. "It will be an improvement because it will be a better-looking store when they are done, too."
Other nearby Walmart supercenters in are in Tracy, Fairfield, Vacaville and American Canyon. An appellate court decision last month may have cleared the way for an expansion of the Milpitas Walmart into a supercenter, while plans are still being discussed in Rohnert Park.
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.
This week's submittal of plans by Walmart is the latest step in what has been a near decadelong effort to expand its Antioch store into the East Bay's first supercenter.
Here is a timeline:
January 2000 -- Walmart opens 134,000-square-foot store at Lone Tree Way and Hillcrest Avenue.
June 2004 -- Walmart announces intention to expand store by 72,980 square feet and turn it into a 24-hour supercenter. City says it must study traffic and noise effects.
Sept. 20, 2006 -- Planning Commission approves environmental study; appeal is filed.
October 2006 -- City Council hears arguments for and against expansion and delays decision.
February 2007 -- City Council rejects Walmart's plans for 64,980-square-foot expansion.
January 2010 -- Walmart submits new plans to Antioch, calling for 33,575-square-foot expansion and no 24-hour operations; city says it must study environmental effects.
May 2010 -- Planning Commission approves Walmart expansion plans; decision is appealed to City Council.
July 2010 -- City Council rejects Walmart expansion, citing economic concerns.
August 2010 -- Proposal brought back to council after city legal counsel determines that environmental review is not needed for expansion.
Sept. 28, 2010 -- City Council approves Walmart expansion.
October 2010 -- Walmart opponents file lawsuit over city's decision.
Oct. 13, 2011 -- Contra Costa Superior Court sides with Walmart opponents, effectively reversing city's decision.
January 2012 -- Walmart files appeal with state Court of Appeal.
Nov. 27, 2012 -- Appellate court reverses Contra Costa Superior Court ruling, allowing Walmart expansion to proceed.
January 2013 -- Walmart opponents file petition for review with California Supreme Court.
March 2013 -- State Supreme Court denies review of the Appellate court ruling.
Oct. 1 2013 -- Retailer submits design plans to city, requests permits for expansion.