$2 million incentive for old Wal-Mart approved

The owner of the vacant Wal-Mart building in South Carson City will get a $2 million incentive to help bring in a national sporting goods store.

The Board of Supervisors on Thursday voted 3-1 for the tax rebates that will be paid over 15 years to Robert Rothe, owner of City Management Services.

"What we're looking at is trying to rejuvenate the Carson Southgate shopping center with the best we can find," Rothe said in the meeting. "With that challenge comes providing a very attractive financial package to those tenants to get them to this town."

The city gave Rothe $2 million upfront in August to bring in Burlington Coat Factory. That store will occupy a little more than half the 120,000 square-foot building, and Sportsman's Warehouse, the sporting goods store, will go in the rest.

Burlington Coat Factory is expected to open by March and Sportsman's Warehouse could be open by August, Rothe said. The building has been empty since 2002.

A discount goods store would have gone next to Burlington if he hadn't got the second incentive, Rothe said.

"They were heading south (to Douglas County) and we were able to turn their head and pique their interest," he said, "That's really the whole crux of it."

The store will have to pay $300,000 a year in sales taxes to keep the incentive for Rothe. If it closes, Rothe will have to pay the money back.

Supervisor Richard Staub said the package was a "huge stretch" for him, but voted for it because the amount was dropped from $2.5 million to $2 million, and the payment period was stretched out over 15 years, rather than 10 years.

City Economic Manager Joe McCarthy proposed the higher incentive a month ago, and the board the told him to go back to Rothe and negotiate a better deal. Supervisors Robin Williamson and Pete Livermore supported the idea from the beginning, so Staub was the key to give the incentive the three votes it needed to pass.

Shelly Aldean declined to vote because her business owns property near the old Wal-Mart building. Mayor Marv Teixeira voted against it, though he did vote for the first incentive for Rothe.

This incentive was a better deal than the first one, he said, but he was voting against this one "to indicate I want the best deal first time" in the future.

Richard Finn, owner of Grand Central Pizza & Pasta, told the board he and other business near the Wal-Mart building supported the incentive because it will help them get more customers.

Two residents, Bruce Kittess and Gil Yanuck, told the supervisors they didn't support the first incentive for Rothe, but supported this one.

Jim Shirk, also of Carson, said he tentatively supported the incentive, but didn't want it to increase his taxes. He said he wasn't sure either if it was fair to other business owners.

"I've been in business before, I'm a business person, and I know how to run a business," he said. "I would greatly welcome the city giving me money to run my business but, again, that's not conceivable."

Rothe's total incentive package to bring in the two stores is about a quarter of his total costs.

The last major redevelopment incentive the city gave was to Dick Campagni in 2005 to buy six acres on South Carson Street to build a new Toyota dealership and to keep his four auto dealerships in Carson for at least 15 years.

The dealership is in the planning stages.

Rothe bought the vacant Wal-Mart building for $8.5 million from Max Baer Jr. in May. The former TV personality had planned to use it as the site for his Beverly Hillbillies-themed casino, which he now plans to build in Douglas County.

• Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.

Also at the meeting:

• The city voted to exempt the following positions from the city hiring freeze: Environmental control officer, two street maintenance technicians, part-time lifeguard, part-time recreational aide, open space assistant, public health nurse and chronic disease prevention manager. The positions had to be grant-funded, fee-funded or considered "critical." Supervisors said they might eliminate the hiring freeze at their next meeting and replace it with mandatory budget cuts.

In other city news:

• The Carson City Regional Transportation Commission has delayed taking over an agreement that would put Carson in charge of $2.2 million raised by Gardeners Reclaiming Our Waysides (GROW) for bypass landscaping. Commissioners said they needed to find out where the maintenance money would come from. The organization delayed awarding the city $20,000 at the supervisors meeting.

• The Carson Area Metropolitan Planning Organization accepted Lyon County's proposal to have a member on the seven-member board. The Lyon County representative will replace the representative from the Nevada Department of Transportation.


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