Plans afoot to spiff eyesore

A long vacant and now derelict retail building vacated in 2002 by Wal-Mart will at last be colonized by new tenants.

But the 120,000-square-foot shell at Southgate Shopping Center needs a lot of work, says Robert Rothe of City Management Services, doing business as Carson Southgate LLC.

The property was held by Max Baer Jr., who wanted to build a Beverly Hillbillies-themed casino on the site. Stymied by legalities, he sold the property in May. During the intervening years, the building had been neglected the plumbing froze and burst, and the roof leaks. Plus, adds Rothe, "Retailers today want a more spit 'n polish facade than found in a Wal-Mart leftover from 1991."

The developer based at Bellevue, Wash., developer paid $8.5 million for the big box. It specializes in restoring down-at-the-heels properties.

Rothe previously refurbished two Reno properties. He transformed Old Town Mall on Peckham Lane which once housed a caver-nous movie theatre space into Reno Town Mall, and divvied up a vacant Target big box on Moana Lane into Ashley Furniture and Sportsman's Warehouse.

Gary Johnson, senior vice president for the retail properties group at NAI Alliance, brokered those transactions, as well as that of the Carson City project.

The Carson City government has stepped in to help with the newest project. It granted the developer a $2 million incentive, says Robin Williamson, city supervisor. Rothe requested the aid to close a contract with Burlington Coat Factory, which is interested in a 70,000 square-foot space. A national sporting goods retailer may lease the remainder.


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