Max Baer reaches out to relief community

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Darien Kight, left, and Tammi Geraci bring donations inside during the grand opening of the Katrina's Hope donation center on Monday.

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Darien Kight, left, and Tammi Geraci bring donations inside during the grand opening of the Katrina's Hope donation center on Monday.

Although Max Baer Jr. is busy with a community relief effort triggered by the Hurricane Katrina disaster, he's still weighing his options on where he could build his $50 million Jethro's Beverly Hillbillies Mansion and Casino.

Baer has allowed a grassroots organization to use his 119,000-square-foot building at 4209 S. Carson St. - the old Wal-Mart - to house supplies for Katrina survivors. He said so far about 10,000 square feet of it is filled with donations, clothing, toys, shoes and nonperishable food. Alpine signs donated the banners that announce the Wal-Mart's new function for Katrina's Hope.

"And there are about 30 to 40 cars in the parking lot from people wanting to volunteer or donating," he said.

Baer has tried to develop the building into a hotel/casino and multiplex movie theater for more than two years. But he has been stymied by the other two property owners in the Southgate Shopping Center: J.C. Penney and the Glenbrook Co., a development corporation headed by Carson City Supervisor Shelly Aldean.

The shopping center rules prohibit the development of a casino. Baer bought the property because he believed the other two property owners in the center would amend the rules.

The former "Beverly Hillbillies" star has said he will break ground on a casino by June, whether that's in the old Wal-Mart or not.

He's also looking at three locations in Douglas County and two in Carson City.

Despite a recent announcement that shopping center developer AIG Baker will not build on North Douglas County land on the east side of Highway 395, Baer said that could still be a location for him if another developer steps forward. The land, across from the Carson Valley Plaza, is owned by Carson City auto dealers Michael Hohl and Dink Cryer.

"I have multiple sites I'm looking at," Baer said. "Just because AIG Baker isn't building there anymore doesn't mean somebody else may not build there. They may be interested in having me. If Carson City doesn't want me, and it doesn't seem like they do because they certainly haven't been doing anything to help me, if I go to Douglas and the movie theater goes down there and a hotel goes down there, that would be a loss to Carson City."

Baer said AIG Baker had pursued him as a potential tenant. Baer wants to own the property and build his casino. He has also had discussions with Lynn and Andy Hettrick, who are planning a multi-use development in east Carson City off of Highway 50.

Developer Andy Hettrick, project manager for RIDL Ltd., declined to say if he has had discussions with any other casino operator. Hettrick's proposed 153-acre development on the south side of the highway below the Eagle Valley Golf Course's East Course includes plans for the Virginia & Truckee Railway depot, a casino/hotel and museums.

As for the old Wal-Mart, Baer said he has no plans for it if he does develop his casino elsewhere.

But "I like to keep things," he said.

n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.


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