Hiring begins for major shopping complex in Morganton - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Hiring begins for major shopping complex in Morganton

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MORGANTON, NC (WBTV) -

Just a few years ago one million square feet of factory space sat empty along Sanford Drive in Morganton. The Henredon Furniture Company had closed and hundreds of people were out of work.

Today, the factory is gone.

It was bulldozed and carted away truckload by truckload last year. In its place, a massive shopping center complex is taking shape.  

"It is unreal to see this here," said one man who lives next door to the construction. The shopping center, called Morganton Heights, is expected to open sometime this fall and along with it will come more than 1200 jobs. "It is an opportunity for a lot of people," said Chuck Brown of the North Carolina Job Link Service. 

With unemployment over 10 percent, jobs are needed he says. Tuesday morning Walmart held a job fair looking for 85 new employees. The store will move from it's current location to the new shopping center just about a mile away.

The store will expand to become a Super Center and thus the need for more people. Belk and Staples will also move across town to the new location but most of the 42 stores committed to the site so far are new to the Morganton area.

Officials are hoping the center will be successful but for that to happen, they say more local people will need to stay and shop in Morganton rather than travel to the mall in Hickory. Rising gas prices may help accomplish that. People in the current Walmart parking lot Tuesday said the price of driving will play a part in where they shop.

As for hiring at the complex, a job fair last month and the Walmart effort on Tuesday both targeted people who might be interested in working there. Walmart hopes to be fully staffed by September to begin the process of moving to the new site. Other stores will likely follow suit.

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