Kmart and North Town Plaza considered for redevelopment |

Kmart and North Town Plaza considered for redevelopment

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

City officials are eyeing two prominent North Carson locations as candidates for redevelopment.

The Board of Supervisors will consider adding the former Kmart building and neighboring North Town Plaza shopping center to the city’s south-side redevelopment district during its meeting Thursday.

“It’s a classic redevelopment project,” said Joe McCarthy, the city’s redevelopment manager. “It’s an empty big-box that has stood vacant for years owned by a national company that had no interest in redevelopment, just selling it.”

The buyer of the Kmart building, Cypress Equities, understood the challenges involved with the property, which they plan to lease to one or more retailers. The most significant challenge will be finding tenants for a used building, he said.

“If the city doesn’t participate, the stores won’t come.” McCarthy said. “(Cypress) absolutely would not have invested in Carson City without our assurances they wouldn’t lose money in our town.”

Though many people still link the practice of redevelopment to areas of blight, today it’s more of way for communities to jump-start activities in “underutilized business areas,” said Supervisor Robin Williamson.

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Carson City doesn’t have a lot of land left to develop and what remains is expensive. For improving business conditions in a compact atmosphere such as Carson City, redevelopment is “one of the few tools we local governments have to create private-public partnerships,” Williamson said.

A portion of the taxes property owners within a redevelopment area pay is put aside for improvements, such as streets, lighting and landscaping improvements to make the area more business-friendly. Money culled also can be used for job creation and to attract or improve cultural, retail, educational and recreational amenities within the community.

Any spending, however, must be linked to economic improvements within the redevelopment area, McCarthy said.

The amount of tax money collected is expected to rise as more businesses begin to operate within the designated area. These excess amounts are put aside in a redevelopment fund – only the amount exceeding the assessed value of the year in which the area was established will be earmarked for this purpose.

Added benefits would be to provide more variety to the city’s retail climate. The more sales tax the redevelopment area generates, the better the city’s fiscal condition could be positively affected in the long term, he said.

Cypress paid $6.7 million for the 169,000-square-foot Kmart building late last year. It’s on 18 acres, and North Town is on 12 acres.

This proposal is an addition to the redevelopment area on South Carson Street that was established in 2004 to foster better auto sales. Last spring, the supervisors added a substantial number of nearby business sites to the original area.

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

If you go

WHAT: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. Thursday

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