Old Wal-Mart sold for $8.5M | NevadaAppeal.com

Old Wal-Mart sold for $8.5M

by Susie Vasquez
Nevada Appeal News Service

Max Baer Jr. has sold his property at 4209 S. Carson St., formerly Wal-Mart, for $8.5 million to Carson Southgate LLC, a new firm in Bellevue, Wash., according to broker Gary Johnson of NAI Alliance in Reno.

“The company purchases buildings like these and puts new tenants in them,” Johnson said.

The sales deed has been filed with the Carson City Recorder’s office.

Baer paid $4.3 million for it in August 2003. The property includes 12.8 acres and a 119,000-square-foot building.

Joe McCarthy, Carson City’s economic development and redevelopment manager, said the new owner will completely refurbish the building constructed in the early 1990s, bring in tenants and, if successful, boost business for other tenants at Southgate Mall and for other businesses in the South Carson City-north Douglas County area.

“Our community is terribly underserved in a lot of retail areas,” McCarthy said. “We’re very strong and significantly above state average with respect to auto sales, but far below the state average for general merchandise sales.”

Possible uses for the large, vacant building could include a general merchandiser, a large narrow-focus retailer, a discount retailer such as Stein Mart or Burlington Coat Factory, or a combination of stores “like a shopper would find in an outlet mall,” McCarthy said.

Residents could use a furniture store, men’s clothing store or narrow-focus sporting goods. There have been no talks between the city and potential retailers in that site, he said.

The building, empty since July 2002, could be occupied within the next 12 to 18 months, McCarthy added.

Carson City and Douglas County agreed earlier this month to consider working together to collect – and possibly bring in more – sales tax revenue from sources in both communities. They are determining needs and looking for a firm to study the matter.

The old Wal-Mart building went on the market after a previous agreement with Raley’s Supermarket and Drug Center prohibited the sale of groceries within a given perimeter, thus preventing Wal-Mart from expanding its inventory.

Carson City officials made unsuccessful efforts to keep Wal-Mart in Carson City, including attempting to broker a deal with Raley’s and offering several Carson City sites, but the retail giant relocated to Douglas County, taking with it an estimated $1 million annually in sales taxes.

Another Wal-Mart was completed in northeast Carson City and opened in 2005.

Baer’s friend, California developer John King, purchased the former Wal-Mart property and signed it over to Baer in August 2003. Plans included a 30,000-square-foot casino with 800 slot machines, 16 gaming tables, a 240-room hotel and restaurants, all encompassing the “Beverly Hillbillies” theme.

Standing in the way of the project were the covenants and restrictions governing Southgate Mall, which prohibit development of a theater, bowling alley, nightclub or other place of recreation or amusement. For months, Baer negotiated with the other two Southgate owners, Glenbrook Co. and J.C. Penney Co. Inc., but no agreement was reached.

Money from the sale of the old Wal-Mart building will be used to purchase about 23 acres in the proposed Riverwood commercial development for the Beverly Hillbillies theme Douglas County casino project, Baer said.

“I’m trading a building with paving, utilities, ingress and egress for a pile of dirt in the hopes this location will be superior because of what’s going on around it,” Baer said.

A Kohl’s department store and Sportsman’s Warehouse are two of the anchors that have made applications to county officials to build in Riverwood.

The casino project proposed in Douglas County includes a 40,000-square-foot gaming area with 800 slots and 16 tables, a showroom, cinema complex and five-story, 240-room hotel in almost 300,000 square feet. Variances will be required for a proposed 200-foot flameless oil derrick and readerboard.

• Nevada Appeal reporter Terri Harber contributed to this report.


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