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Kmart facility could have new tenant

by Jill Lufrano

The Kmart building left empty last year in North Carson City during a corporate bankruptcy process may soon have new tenants.

The owner, Verizon Communications, recently took full ownership of the building and is actively looking for a company tenant, a company spokesman said Thursday.

“We’re looking around for options for who might be interested to move into the store or redevelop the property and put it back into the marketplace,” said spokesman Jon Davies in Thousand Oaks, Calif. “We did some research and it looks as though the market is strong. We’re pretty confident we will have something lined up in a relatively near timeframe.”

In 1995, when Kmart Corp. began struggling, Verizon invested in 18 of the retail giant’s stores, including the Carson City site. Verizon was one of several investors in Carson, Davies said. Kmart sold the store and then leased it back as a way to pull out cash and continue operating.

When Kmart’s Carson store fell victim to the corporation’s bankruptcy restructuring last year, the company failed to pay nearly $80,000 to the city in taxes and Verizon continued to partly own the building. The store closed April 2003.

Six weeks ago, Verizon worked out agreements with the other investors to buy the building outright, Davies said. The city was paid its back taxes at the end of March and Verizon is now the sole owner.

Many of the old Kmart stores under Verizon’s ownership have been filled by Home Depot, Target and Meijer, a store similar to Wal-Mart, Davies said.

“We’ve been pretty successful in getting these back into use,” Davies said.

Contact Jill Lufrano at jlufrano@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.