It could be early next year before Carson City knows whether it can buy 13 acres on South Carson Street from the state and then sell the land to a retail developer or a car dealer.
Joe McCarthy, city economic and redevelopment manager, said the city is hiring two appraisers who will have a figure for the city before he seeks state approval.
A local government must be able to put any land bought from the state into public use. The land Carson City wants to buy is the former home of the Nevada National Guard, 2361 S. Carson St., and has been mostly vacant since the Guard moved out in 2002.
City officials contend that putting the land back into the property tax roll would be a benefit to the public.
McCarthy said Carson City would like to buy the 84,000 square feet for its appraised value - in 1999 that was $6 million - and then sell it to a retail developer or car dealer for the same price.
"Considering how hot the real estate market remains, we're trying to get it done soon. But appraisers are very busy. We hope to have the values (of the land) in hand by the first quarter of next year."
The next step will be a meeting with the State Board of Examiners and the Legislature's Interim Financial Committee for approval.
"I hope to provide the justification for the state to sell the property at the market value to the city, contingent upon having an appropriate user to purchase the property simultaneously," McCarthy said.
For the city, an appropriate user would be anyone who "makes the cash registers ring." At a public competitive sale, similar to an auction, the price of the land could be bid up. The state would likely get more money for the land if it went to a competitive bid.
Keeping the cost low is an incentive for a developer, McCarthy said. So far, the city has had conversations with retail developers. He declined to reveal any names.
"Our most difficult task is to convince these national retailers that Carson City is a good place to do business, because the cost of land here tends to scare them off. They're initially more enamored with vacant land at a cheaper price."
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.