No sale to Carson City; South Carson land will stay with state |

No sale to Carson City; South Carson land will stay with state

Becky Bosshart
Appeal Staff Writer

Parking at the old National Guard armory in South Carson City will be taken up by state workers, rather than an auto dealer’s shiny new cars.

State lands Administrator Pam Wilcox said Monday a state agency will likely locate its offices at 2361 S. Carson St., which has been mostly empty since the Guard moved out in 2002.

The city had hoped to buy the vacant 13 acres and then sell it to a car dealership or another commercial user to bolster the city’s property tax roll and collect more sales tax from a high-traffic area.

Wilcox declined to say which agency would occupy the site, only that it would add office space.

“They are interested in using the entire site and may be able to use one or more of the (existing) structures there, and they’d be doing new construction,” she said.

The final decision on the new tenant will be made later in the year as part of the governor’s budget process.

Back in October, when the Carson City redevelopment authority first proposed to purchase the land, it was unclear if the state still wanted to use the property, since it badly needed office space. The site contains 14 buildings, totaling 84,000 square feet, that were mostly used by the military for storage.

The city’s redevelopment manager justified the sale saying the sales and property taxes collected from a car dealership would benefit the public.

Carson City Economic/Redevelopment Manager Joe McCarthy said the city would’ve bought the land and then sold it to a car dealer at that same price. A public auction likely would’ve escalated the cost. In 1999, the land was appraised at $6 million, but that could go up to $7.3 million if it’s appraised at $13 per square foot, which is comparable to land sold on South Carson Street to auto dealer Dick Campagni.

He was the first auto dealer to make an economic incentive deal with the city in early 2005 to purchase six acres on South Carson Street for a new dealership.

“The land values today may not justify the occupancy costs that auto dealers need to have a profitable business,” McCarthy said. “That’s where redevelopment comes in. If an auto dealer can grow their business and generate additional sales tax then we can share in that growth, and help them to acquire the property where that growth would occur.”

McCarthy said he is still looking at other sites “to allow our auto dealers to expand. There’re a couple sites along South Carson, south of the armory that are privately owned.”

Last year, the automotive sector generated one-third of the city’s total taxable sales. It is the largest single sector of sales-tax revenues, which city Finance Director Tom Minton said is estimated to be $23 million in fiscal year 2006.

McCarthy said the city’s long-term goal is to see the 13 acres as commercial.

• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.