City seeks sale of NDOT land near freeway

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal City officials hope to acquire state land at the intersection of Russell Way and Highway 50 East, seen above, to encourage commercial growth in the area.

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal City officials hope to acquire state land at the intersection of Russell Way and Highway 50 East, seen above, to encourage commercial growth in the area.

Carson City wants the state to let go of any land it no longer needs along the freeway at Highway 50 East for future commercial development in the area.

The land being eyed is east of the Highway 50 East and Russell Way intersection. One site is roughly half an acre, where the former Mulligan's restaurant operated. The other is about two-and-a-third acres next to Mulligan's.

City officials say there are plans being formed for that area - if it can be acquired and combined with the neighboring Plaza 50 shopping center: A much larger mixed-use development with housing, lodging, retail and commercial.

"We're concerned the site could end up a remnant," said City Manager Linda Ritter. "It's a pretty small piece of land but pretty important."

Ritter describes the concept as mixed-use with 167,500 square feet of retail space, 68,750 of office space, 15,000 square feet of restaurant space, 200 hotel rooms, 27 condominiums and a parking garage. Structures would be more than one-story tall.

No plan has been filed with the city's planning department to do work in the area.

Plaza 50 is home to about 30 businesses and provides more than 120,000 square feet of leasable space.

Its anchor store is Scolari's and the entire site comprises about nine acres. It was first built in the mid-1970s, according to the city Assessor's Office.

The Hone Co., based in Minden, owns and manages Plaza 50. It's also involved with several other commercial properties in the area, such as Capital City Center and Longs Drug Shopping Center.

Company representatives emphasize there is no hurry to do anything with Plaza 50. One spokeswoman, Kathy Hone, emphasized that any changes at the site wouldn't occur for years - if at all - and that the company is still looking for tenants to rent available spaces. "We value our tenants."

It's a plan tied directly to completion of the freeway by the Nevada Department of Transportation. The full span is expected to be complete by the end of 2010.

"It takes so long to do things today," Hone said. "And the freeway could take longer than expected."

It's "premature to speculate on what will happen," said Garth Dull of Transportation Inc., a consultant working with the Hone Co., regarding Plaza 50.

Once plans become clearer, the company will work with tenants to ensure "nothing happens where they're going to be harmed," Hone said.

What the future might hold likely will be discussed during the Board of Supervisors meeting. Focus right now of the supervisors is asking NDOT that sale of properties next to completed sections of the freeway happen soon as "reasonably possible," Ritter said.

The old Mulligan's building is slated for demolition by NDOT. Bidding on various demolition projects related to the freeway will begin next week. Razing structures is preferred to leasing them out.

"We're not in the long-term business of being a landlord," said Scott Magruder, spokesman for NDOT.

State officials will examine whether any sites near the freeway can be sold. Previous owners of the sites get first opportunity to buy back pieces they used to own. Auction is the next sales method, Magruder said.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.

If you go

WHAT: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. Thursday

WHERE: Sierra Room, Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.

Off the agenda

Action regarding the Social Host Liability Ordinance. The issue has been postponed.

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