Big business of the year, 2006 and beyond
December 27, 2006
Those who do business in the Eagle Valley saw no tremors like those felt from Enron and HP. Local consumers grumbled about high gas prices and the effects of a slowing housing market.
Sales tax went up to support a tourism project that many feel should only be financed through private monies.
The new owner of the Kmart building on North Carson Street promises to fill it with national retail tenants, but it will be in competition with a proposed shopping center over the border in Douglas County.
Looking back at the past also requires a look into our economic futures. All of these projects have repercussions that Northern Nevada will feel for generations.
An impending land sale
Carson City’s largest remaining plot of open space went on the market in August for $76.6 million. The Lompa Ranch, located in the heart of the city, off Fifth Street and Saliman Road, represents 65 percent of the total urban residential land still available in Carson City.
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To come: Those involved say it will sell to a large mixed-use developer, and probably for more than the asking price.
Housing market mimics the national trend
Many new home buyers saw decreasing prices during what the Fed characterized as a “soft landing.”
This price correction comes after a housing boom that revved in 2003, fueled by falling interest rates, creative mortgages and out-of-state speculators.
The Carson City housing market inched down to $310,000 in September, according to the Multiple Listing Service. Average prices in Carson City are still recording high. By the end of the year the assessor’s office recorded average home sales at $343,839.
To come: Real estate agents predict continued vitality in the commercial market and a glut of office properties. The residential market is still expected to decline … but many agents aren’t willing to be doomsayers.
A vacant property in North Carson City changed hands in late November. One of the investors who purchased the Kmart building in North Carson City for $6.7 million said they will bring in national tenants that are new to Carson City. It has been vacant for more than three years.
Carlyle/Cypress Carson City plans an extensive redevelopment effort.
To come: Some of the costs of redeveloping the vacant building will be covered by taxpayers. The Kmart will likely be annexed into a city redevelopment zone. The amount the investors will receive will be determined in the next few months of public meetings.
Competition with Douglas
Future development of about five acres in north Douglas County could mean that Carson City will see fewer new national retailers and less sales tax revenue.
Douglas County commissioners granted $24.7 million in redevelopment funds to a developer purchasing two parcels south of Topsy Lane. This could help finance costly infrastructure for the entire area.
Carson City officials said this future development means the city may not be able to compete for large national retailers, who could be more attracted by the cheaper land costs across the border after this hefty contribution.
To come: A similar deal in Douglas County with developer AIG Baker fell through in 2005. Local officials are watching to see if this one has the same fate. Douglas officials are optimistic. After all, they’re offering Riverwood Redevelopment LLC more than twice what they offered AIG Baker.
The money train takes off
Rail fans climbed aboard the first train to traverse the reconstructed V&T tracks 1.4 miles to American Flat in August.
Increased revenue from tourism and more retail options could also gain the confidence of Carson City consumers, who started shelling out a little bit more in sales tax this year to pay for $15 million of the rail project.
To come: The V&T is expected to transport 73,000 riders between Virginia City and Carson City by 2010, according to Sierra Railroad, the operator selected to run the V&T. Developers announced possible plans for a 30-acre commercial/residential development at the east Carson City terminal, which includes a $50 million museum dedicated to Chinese rail workers.
Theater breaks ground
Officials with Galaxy Theatres and Casino Fandango announced in February plans to develop the 41,000-square-foot, 10-screen multiplex on the west side of South Curry Street, across from the 3800 S. Carson St. casino. These will be the first movie screens to be built in Carson City in almost nine years.
To come: The theater will open on July 4 weekend. For all you “Harry Potter” fans, that’s the first big movie expected to be seen in all digital surround sound.
‘Good-bye old friend’
Carson City residents said good-bye to Bodine’s restaurant, which has served customers in South Carson City for 20 years. The future of the 3.1-acre lot at the gateway to South Carson City became even more clouded in November – when an investor announced plans to purchase the site from owner Kevin Coleman, a Southern California developer.
To come: The sale has not yet closed and Coleman is not returning calls seeking comment. The buyer said he would like to build a casino and restaurants on the site.
Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare reorganization
Carson City’s second largest employer announced reorganization plans in May, laying off about 50 employees and cutting several programs.
The hospital’s chief executive officer said these cost-cutting measures ensured the financial health of the private organization following its move to the new regional medical center in North Carson City.
To come: Completion of a $8 million-$10 million medical office building. Officials anticipate the 80-acre medical center campus will continue to spur on the North Carson City economy.
Wal-Mart center fills up
Chili’s Bar and Grill broke ground late this year in the North Carson Crossing shopping center, following on the heels of several other regional and national brands.
Al Bernhard owns the two completed buildings at North Carson Crossing and has been steadily leasing the 14 suites.
To come: The Home Depot plans to build beside the Wal-Mart. It’s special-use permit application will be heard by the planning commission in late January.