Wal-Mart makes plans for No. Carson store

Wal-Mart said Wednesday it will build a new supercenter in North Carson City.

A special-use permit application for construction of the 203,091-square-foot store was submitted to the planning department.

If approved, the store will employ 500 people, about 70 percent of them full-time, and is expected to bring $500,000 in sales tax revenues to Carson City coffers annually. Wal-Mart purchased the property from the Bernhard Family Trust and paperwork on the transaction was completed Wednesday, said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Amy Hill.

Located on the southeast corner of Hot Springs Road and College Parkway near the proposed freeway interchange, the site includes 20 of the 57 acres at the location. The store will include 36 general-merchandise departments and a full-service grocery and is 1.7 times larger than the store the company left behind in South Carson.

"We're very happy to have a Wal-Mart in North Carson City to serve our people in North Carson City," said Carson City Manager Linda Ritter. "It'll do nothing but improve our economy. People won't have to go to Reno and Douglas County to shop."

Ritter said she expects revenues to be split between the Carson and Douglas stores. The city lost $1 million in sales tax revenues when the retail giant pulled out in 2001.

"We don't expect it to be as big as the other store," she said.

Access to the proposed freeway and a burgeoning population in the Dayton and Silver Springs area were just two of the reasons for the location choice.

Wal-Mart officials don't expect the new store to affect their Douglas County store, Hill said.

"We really see a need for retail in North Carson City. That has always been our focus, the commitment we made to the people of there," she said. "Driving through Carson City isn't fun, and I'm sure a lot of people on the north and west side will be glad to know the store is coming."

Plans call for screening walls and landscaping to be architecturally integrated to minimize effects of dock areas, storage and trash enclosures. The design incorporates setbacks and landscaping to mitigate negative effects associated with parking lots and crowds.

A remote outdoor garden center will be built for seasonal sales, and a gas station with six pumps is planned for the northeast corner.

Outdoor lighting will contain devices to direct the light downward. No light sources or refractors will extend below the bottom of the shield. Parking lot light standards within 100 feet of residential zones will not exceed 12 feet.

Hill said Wal-Mart officials considered purchasing the Kmart building, but the floor plan does not fit their prototype.

"We would have to tear down the building. That would be too expensive to make it work," she said. "But I think the addition of our store on the north end will help facilitate retail to that area."

A special-use permit is required for any building over 50,000 square feet and the plan is tentatively scheduled to be reviewed by the planning commission Jan. 22. If approved, construction could start as early as this summer, Hill said.

"We've been looking for quite some time. We were finally able to settle on a specific area and come to terms with the property owner," she said. "We've done enough work on our site plan and we don't anticipate any obstacles. It just takes a long time."

It takes about nine months to complete a store. If all goes well, the supercenter could be open for business by the spring of 2005.

Wal-Mart relocated its store in South Carson City to northern Douglas County after failing to negotiate an agreement with Raley's which would have allowed it to expand and left behind an empty, 119,000-square-foot building.

Wal-Mart moved to Douglas County in September 2001, taking with it an estimated $1 million in sales taxes, which makes up roughly 2.5 percent of Carson City's $40 million, sales-tax dependent budget.

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 sales tax revenue.

Contact Susie Vasquez at svasquez@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.


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