The first Lowe's home improvement store in Carbon County will likely be open before the end of the year.

The national home improvement center chain, headquartered in Mooresville, N.C., will build a new store on the site of the former Wal-Mart along Route 443 – across from Carbon Plaza Mall – in Mahoning Township.

Katherine B. Cody of Lowe's marketing department said demolition of the former Wal-Mart building is scheduled to begin next week.

"As of right now, the store is scheduled to be open by the end of 2011," she added.

Wal-Mart had occupied the now-vacant building from 1994 until Oct. 26 of this year. A new Wal-Mart Supercenter off Route 443 about a half-mile west of the former location opened on Oct. 27.

The new Lowe's has been in the planning phase since at least 2004. In February of 2006 the Lowe's plan suffered a setback when Mahoning Township Zoning Hearing Board rejected 16 variance requests for the new store.

After revising plans numerous times, the store finally will become reality.

In July 2004, Lowe's purchased the 12.6 acre site from Wal-Mart for $4 million. From that point until the new Wal-Mart opened, Wal-Mart rented the site from Lowe's with an agreement that Lowe's wouldn't build its new store until the new Wal-Mart was completed.

Besides demolishing the now vacant Wal-Mart building, Lowe's also purchased and will demolish a neighboring building that once housed the Carbon County Train Museum, a complex of model trains and scenery. That building is also reportedly vacant.

The train museum is no longer in existence.

Before the museum, the building was used by an egg farmer.