Five general contractors, including two from the Orlando area, are said to be on the short list to oversee the $800,000 renovation of a Walmart Supercenter in Kissimmee.
The group has already been vetted by Walmart, which screens all of its vendors, from builders to merchandise suppliers.
The approved general contractors that have been invited by Walmart to submit project proposals are said to be ACS Construction of Winter Park, Newco Construction of America in Mt. Dora, 1st Choice Industries of Sarasota, Bay to Bay Properties of Safety Harbor, Florida; and FMGI of Woodstock, Georgia.
"It's a long process," that involves taking a trip to the company's Bentonville headquarters, said one general contractor who was invited to bid on the Kissimmee project, and requested anonymity to openly discuss the process. "There is a whole lot of paperwork and a lot of back and forth with them."
But receiving a nod from the nation's largest retailer is worth it. The company opens and renovates hundreds of stores each year, providing significant construction work.
"You might get 90 emails from them in a year about different projects, respond to 10 of them and get chosen for one," said another builder who has been listed as a prospective contractor for the job in Kissimmee, also requesting anonymity. The store is located at 1471 E. Osceola Pkwy., just off Florida's Turnpike.
The general contractor's bids are due to Walmart by 1 pm on Jan. 6. The project would then likely be put out for bids from subcontractors, with work expected to begin in late February.
The Kissimmee Walmart is open 24 hours a day, and it's unclear if the store will close for the remodeling, or parts will be closed temporarily while the rest of the store remains open.
The average Walmart Supercenter is 178,000 square feet, which allows latitude in how the renovation is conducted. In calls to the store, staff expressed no knowledge of the project. Walmart's corporate headquarters did not respond to a request for information about the remodeling.
The project is planned to include extensive floor work and carpentry, food service and loading dock equipment, skylights, metal doors and frames, and plumbing and fire protection work.