Business center proposed for 395-88 junction

Developers expect to begin construction on a 200,000-square-foot commercial center - which may include a hotel, grocery store and restaurants - on the corner of highways 395 and 88 this fall.

Plans for the Minden Gateway Center, located across the street from Douglas High School, have been in the works for more than a year, said Jeffrey Lowden, managing director of Sky West Investments, Inc., the developer of the project.

Developers expect to close escrow on the 13-acre plot of land on Aug. 15. So far, none of the spaces in the center have been leased out, but developers hope to attract a grocery store, hotel and other retailers.

Lowden said the project plans have been submitted to the county planning commission and the project is slated to appear before the Minden Town Board Aug. 1.

Developers say the most important element of their project is the location.

"Location is everything when it comes to real estate and this is the best location in Douglas County," Lowden said. "Because it's got 40,000 cars that go by the site every day, because of the visibility, it's going to attract those retailers that will find it desirable to be here."

Jim Nickerson, commercial specialist with Century 21 Clark Properties, said they expect the development to attract foot traffic as well.

"You have all these people who live near (the project) who can walk over and have dinner," Nickerson said.

He said the project fills a gap in services and retail in Carson Valley.

"There's 80-plus million dollars in retail sales that's leaving Douglas County," Nickerson said. "We would like to bring some of the services to Douglas County ... so the people of Douglas County don't have to drive 50 miles to get those services."

Lowden said the architecture of the plan conforms to Minden town requirements and Minden's plan for prosperity.

"It really encompasses all the elements of old town Minden," Lowden said.

The plans include retail space built along the perimeter of the property with the parking lot hidden from the view of Highways 395 and 88. The developers hope to attract a grocery store, hotel and other franchises that fit with their vision of the Minden Gateway Center as a "lifestyle center," or a retail center with upscale dining and retail stores.

Lowden said a grocery store like the Sierra Nevada Trading Co. is the perfect example of a store that would fit in with their "lifestyle center" vision.

"There's a need for a lifestyle center in Minden," he said.


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