Carson Kmart passed over again

In the summer, hopes soared that a developer had finally zeroed in on the old Kmart building, 3456 N. Carson St., which has been vacant since it closed in 2003 as a result of the retailer's Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Those hopes have recently been dashed.

"Things are going a little slow," said Aiman Noursoultanova, vice president of CB Richard Ellis, a commercial real estate brokerage in Reno. "We're working on a couple leads at the moment, but nothing concrete at this time."

While the old Kmart remains vacant, so do most of the stores in that shopping center.

Noursoultanova said the buyer backed out because he didn't forecast the return on his investment in a short enough time frame.

Verizon Communications bought the 169,000-square-foot building in 2004, and has been looking for a tenant ever since. Verizon spokesman Jon Davies said they've received no offers yet.

Carson City Economic Development Manager Joe McCarthy said this doesn't mean that Carson City has too much retail space; he believes it has too little.

"We're extremely under served in retail," he said Monday. "When you look at the statistics, Carson City on the average is about 15 percent per capita of the statewide average in general merchandise sales."

That means residents are underserved living here, compared to those in Washoe and Clark counties, he said. Both counties have greater general merchandise sales per person, compared to Carson City.

"We have a lot of leakage," McCarthy said. "Our community members have to go to other areas to shop. But compare that to our auto sales. We have a very robust auto sales sector. That tells all of us that the community has the resources and finances to shop in Carson City. All we need is the places to shop."

He puts a lot of the blame on the real estate costs, which McCarthy characterized as too high to build and operate and make a profit.

n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.


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