by Jim Fisher
CLARKSBURG -- What has been rumored for more than two years appears closer to becoming a reality: A Sam's Club in the old Lowe's building at Eastpointe.
Representatives of East Coast Development Co. of Charleston, S.C., were in town Friday looking at the site. The company is said to be working on architectural plans to convert the former home improvement warehouse into Sam's Club, a national food wholesale chain.
Sources close to the negotiations said Wal-Mart plans to close the Sam's Club in Fairmont, move the store to Clarksburg, and eventually build a Wal-Mart Supercenter at the old Sam's location in Fairmont.
City officials would not confirm or deny the developers' visit Friday or discuss the pending project. City Manager Tom Vidovich said the city is "not in a position to say anything."
Mayor Zeke Lopez was unavailable for comment.
Jason Donahue, who reportedly is in charge of the project for East Coast Development Co., did not immediately return a telephone message to his office Friday, although it was unclear whether he was in this area or South Carolina. There is no home telephone listing for Donahue in the Charleston, S.C., area.
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Mia Masten said earlier this week that Wal-Mart is evaluating the area for a possible Sam's Club, but that no deal had been signed to purchase the former Lowe's building.
Metro Editor Jim Fisher can be reached at 626-1446 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org