Mall buyout possible |

Mall buyout possible

Rex Bovee

Permit applications for a project at the Silver City Mall are expected to be submitted today to the Carson City Community Development Department.

And operators of two restaurants in the Silver City Mall confirmed Wednesday they have been contacted about having their leases bought out to make room for a large project there.

Rumors have circulated for months that Lowe’s Home Improvement Hardware would build an Eagle hardware store at the mall, but neither a Lowe’s official nor mall owner Tsutomu “Tom” Wakimoto would confirm the plans.

“We have set aside time for a major project review on Jan. 25 for the purpose of reviewing some type of proposal,” Juan Guzman of the community development department said Wednesday.

“The paperwork is not supposed to be here until Jan. 6. We anticipate at the same time to review a special use permit application.”

The major project review is an informal process where a developer can have a proposed project reviewed by city agencies for compliance with codes, statute and planning requirements early in the project.

A special use permit application, also expected today, is a formal process and the information in it becomes available to the public, Guzman said.

“I’ll be able to say then who is submitting it and what actually is being proposed,” Guzman said. “Right now I’m not sure whether the permit application is for a hardware store or a lumber yard. That makes a big difference in the application.”

Panithan “Otto” Chotisin, whose family owns the Thai Spice Garden restaurant on the east side of Silver City Mall, said that his attorney is negotiating with Wakimoto about terminating his lease.

He said he has been given no specific date about when he might have to move out or amount he might receive. He said he was told there would be more specifics once a sale was out of escrow.

“I’ve been looking at other places that might be good locations if I have to move,” Chotisin said. But one of the spots he liked best, at North Carson and John streets, does not allow restaurants, he said.

“I hope I can find a place in town, but I don’t know where,” said Chotisin, who brought his family from San Francisco to open the restaurant here a year ago.

Bob Liou, whose family owns Ming’s Chinese restaurant at Carson Street and Fairview Drive, said there was some discussion of buying out his lease, but that not enough money was being offered.

He said Ming’s still has 12 years left on a 15-year lease and he is not interested in moving from the location.

Al Rogers, owner of Big Al’s Pizza at Fairview Drive and California Street, said he is not interested in moving out either. He opened the restaurant just last July.

He said he also has a long-term lease and he would want to be in the same place if something like an Eagle Hardware came in. He said building and lot owner Sheila Ramsden had been approached about selling it, but did not want to.

Ramsden told the Nevada Appeal that she had not heard anything specific about a pending sale but that she would be one of the first to know.

“My family owned all of that property since back in 1961,” Ramsden said. She said the family had sold the land under the mall to Wakimoto but had held onto the lot that now holds Big Al’s because her father, Harold Heitman, loved the spot.

“If there is a deal, I’d be notified because we still hold a few notes on that property.”

Ramsden said this is the latest of a number of possible sales of the mall discussed over the past decade, including offering the site to the city for a public safety complex, which was eventually built at Roop and Musser streets.

“This could be up in the air for many moons,” Ramsden said.

Alma Sanchez, whose family owns Taqueria Tres Amigos on the east side of the mall, said her family has not heard anything about possibly having to move out. The restaurant has been in the mall since 1992.

Rumors are that most of the mall would be demolished, from the former Ernst and Kmart location at the southeast end up to the Sav-On Drug. Sav-On and Office Depot would remain in the present facilities and the two detached restaurants, Big Al’s and Ming’s, would be untouched. But the need for sufficient parking room for a large business may have fueled inquiries about removing those buildings as well.