Up to $2 million sought for owner of old Wal-Mart | NevadaAppeal.com

Up to $2 million sought for owner of old Wal-Mart

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

Carson City might pay up to $2 million to make the old Wal-Mart building suitable for occupancy – and do it quickly – so Burlington Coat Factory can open a store here early next year.

The Board of Supervisors will take up the matter during its meeting Thursday.

Last month Burlington representatives signed a letter of intent, an agreement to begin contract or lease negotiations for 70,000 square feet of space there, and have agreed on some points of the contract, such as rent and square footage.

“The owner is going to require some help from us in order to secure the lease,” said Joe McCarthy, manager of the city’s office of business development. “He must begin to refurbish the interior and exterior of the building in a couple of weeks to have it ready by March, when Burlington Coat Factory is going to open.”

The owner, Richard Rothe, also promised to make sure the heat, air conditioning and ventilation system is adequate for the tenant.

Giving Rothe incentive money to help improve the building quickly should pay off in the long run, according to McCarthy.

“You have to be able to entice nice retailers to town,” McCarthy said. “Without this incentive, they’d go to other areas.”

Money to help Rothe offset the cost to improve the building would come from funds set aside by city officials expressly for economic development.

The city anticipates that increased revenues will make up for its investment. Burlington alone is expected to add $15 million in taxable sales to the city’s annual total. It should generate more customer foot traffic, improve conditions for surrounding retailers, possibly lure more businesses to the area – all of which would boost city revenues even further, according to McCarthy.

And higher future revenues will bring “a significant return on that investment,” said City Manager Linda Ritter.

“It’s a business opportunity we can afford to take advantage of,” she said.

Burlington sells an assortment of designer and name-brand apparel, and home products, at discounts of up to 60 percent compared to other well-known department stores. The Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp., its parent company, operates 379 stores in 44 states. Among them is a store in Reno on South Virginia Street.

“It’ll increase foot traffic in the center, which will benefit all of the businesses around it,” McCarthy said. “That’s why the city is investing in it – in order to stimulate more activity throughout that district, add to our sales tax revenues and provide residents with more retail choices.”

The building where the store would be located was Carson City’s Wal-Mart until 2002. Max Baer Jr. purchased it in 2003 to use as a site for a Beverly Hillbillies casino. He sold it in May to Carson Southgate LLC, and intends to set up the casino in North Douglas County. The building has been vacant for five years, except for occasional short-term occupants.

Southgate has only a few retail tenants on its east end right now, such as J.C. Penney Co. Inc., General Nutrition Center and I Paint For Joy.

The building provides about 120,000 square feet, Rothe is still looking for a second tenant to occupy the rest of the space, McCarthy added. A parcel next to Nevada State Bank, some 30,000 square feet, is also available.

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

If you go

WHAT: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting

When: 8:30 a.m. Thursday

WHERE: Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.