Max Baer Jr. to be on hand as new development announced

Max Baer Jr., who once tried to establish a hillbilly-themed casino at Reno's Park Lane Mall, will be on hand today when plans are revealed for the former Wal-Mart building in Carson City.

John King of King Ventures in San Luis Obispo, Calif., is scheduled at 1 p.m. today to announce his intentions for the property he purchased last month for $4.3 million.

"John King bought the property, and I'm leaving it up to him to say what's going on and when," Baer said Thursday. "Any questions after that, I'd be more than happy to answer. I think that's best for everyone."

Baer, who played country boy Jethro Bodine in the 1960s sitcom "The Beverly Hillbillies," proposed the Reno casino project in the late 1990s.

"The project was approved as part of a redevelopment effort at Park Lane, but Max couldn't finalize the real estate deal between himself and the owner," said Jeff Codega, a Reno planning and design specialist who assisted on the project.

Since that time, Baer has found other ways to market the name --a deal with International Game Technology of Reno to produce hundreds of penny slot machines featuring "The Beverly Hillbillies" image.

Two versions are in casinos, and a third is to be released soon, said IGT officials.

Wal-Mart relocated its Carson City store after failing to negotiate an agreement with Raley's to allow it to expand and carry groceries. The retail giant relocated its store in Douglas County, leaving behind an empty, 119,000-square-foot building and taking with it an estimated $1 million in sales taxes.

City leaders made unsuccessful efforts -- including attempting to broker a deal with Raley's and offering several Carson City sites, including the city's fairgrounds and Fuji Park -- to retain the retail giant and its revenue.

Over the last 30 years, King Ventures has developed a variety of new and historical restoration projects, as well as residential and commercial office properties, including a 192,000-square foot office and manufacturing development in Santa Barbara and a 1 million-square-foot professional office building, the Ross Stores world headquarters in the Bay area.


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