GARDNERVILLE - There have been no discussions between Douglas County officials and auto dealer Michael Hohl concerning an auto mall in Douglas County, according to County Manager Dan Holler.
The statement came at a Douglas County Planning Commission meeting amid speculation that Hohl could move his Carson City dealerships to Douglas County. Holler said the property is zoned for commercial use that would allow an auto mall, but county standards and requirements would have to be met.
"We haven't had those discussions," Holler said. "Mr. Hohl hasn't talked to any Douglas County official at any level about an auto mall."
In addition to his recent purchase of Carson Valley Chevrolet in Minden, Hohl operates five other automotive/RV locations in Carson City and Reno.
Under the name Carson Auto Mall LLC, Hohl and business partner Dink Cryer own the 87-acre parcel just south of Topsy Lane and east of Highway 395 earmarked for the shopping center. Construction of the center, on about 100 acres between Topsy Lane and Sunridge Drive, is expected to start this year, Holler said.
Developer Jay Timon, who is partnering with Hohl for this commercial development, paid $3.35 million for 7.4 acres of land adjacent to the Hohl property, the first step toward a proposed development that will include 600,000 square feet of retail space just east of Wal-Mart.
"I don't know the final status of that agreement, but the land between Sunridge and Topsy was a joint venture for a shopping center," Holler said.
Hohl and Cryer own another 32-acre parcel north of Topsy Lane that extends to the Carson City line, but the property won't provide the 60 acres Hohl allegedly needs for an auto mall. The property is not within Douglas County's redevelopment district, Holler said.
"He could acquire another small parcel and end up with 40 acres at most," he said.
Holler expressed some concerns over the fate of Carson Valley Chevrolet in Minden, now that it is owned by Hohl.
"We don't know what his long-term plans are for the auto dealership," Holler said. "It has significant value in this county."
Douglas County's revenue base is flagging as its population grows and the county needs the revenue from sales and property taxes.
In December, commissioners voted 4-1 to spend $24.7 million in redevelopment funds to support the proposed 600,000-square-foot shopping center, located opposite Wal-Mart in north Douglas County.
Meridian Business Advisors, a Reno consulting firm, estimates that Douglas County could receive $35.4 million for its general fund alone over the 20-year life of their study.
The $24.7 million from Douglas County's Redevelopment agency will be paid incrementally over a 16-year period, the bulk in the last eight years. The funding will be generated by the increase in property taxes as the development increases in value, and would be paid only if the developer, Riverwood Redevelopment LLC, meets the requirements of the agreement approved by commissioners.
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