Walmart plans to move its Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters into a nearby 350-acre campus over the next few years that, according to initial artist renderings, resembles a gleaming corporate hub in Silicon Valley more than the home of a discount retailer.
The company, which has more than 14,000 corporate employees, announced Friday that it is breaking ground on a new HQ in northwest Arkansas just a few blocks from its current location. The new campus will be made up of four quads linked by walking and bike paths.
The buildings housing Walmart's current headquarters are nearly 50 years old, having been built in 1971. They're also fairly fragmented, consisting of 21 separate buildings, some repurposed former warehouses, according to Business Insider.
Getting employees from different sectors into a single campus was important for the company, said Dan Bartlett, Walmart's executive vice president of corporate, on a call with reporters. Equally important, it seems, is the appeal of an open, green campus like that of Google or Apple. For Walmart, a more up-to-date corporate HQ is part of broadening its appeal to future employees.
"It's a very competitive talent war," Bartlett said.
The new campus will offer outdoor meeting spaces, bike trails, plenty of parking and an on-site child-care center, Walmart said. It will also include what Bartlett called a "massive" public park.
Walmart executives visited other company campuses while planning its new headquarters, including Apple, McDonald's and Deloitte training center, as well as universities including Stanford, the University of Texas and the University of Arkansas.
The company plans to break ground on the new headquarters in July and move employees in stages, beginning in 2020 and ending around 2024, Bartlett said.
-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.