‘Big box’ retail may be a go | RecordCourier.com

‘Big box’ retail may be a go

by Sharon Carter

After months of rumors that large retailers planned to locate in Douglas County’s northern commercial area, and more than a month of building site preparations at Jacks Valley Road and Highway 395, county officials say things are beginning to gel.

“We think Home Depot and Target are pretty much a go,” Douglas County Commissioner Kelly Kite said Friday. “But, until they start pulling permits, we can’t be sure they’re a go. They have been able to move dirt with the (developer’s) grading permit, but to go any farther – for parking and buildings – they’ll need building permits. When they’re paying for those permits, we can say they’re here.”

– It takes two. Douglas County Manager Dan Holler said Friday that while he was hopeful and even excited about the large retailers potentially locating at the Jacks Valley site -the North County Plaza – he has not been told that the developer has finalized agreements with anyone. He said it will likely take two super stores to anchor the commercial project.

“My understanding is that the two stores, Home Depot and Target, are linked,” Holler said. “In this market, they say, one store can’t stand alone so we’ll either get both or neither. The biggest challenge is the market.”

Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., spokeswoman Amy Friend said Friday the Atlanta-based company expects to make a decision on where to build their hardware, lumber and home improvement store within the next few weeks.

“Our real estate division representatives say we’re a couple of weeks away from a decision, and nothing’s final while they’re negotiating,” Friend said.

Target Stores, Inc., media relations representative Kristin Knach in Minneapolis said Friday her company had no immediate plans to build in Douglas County.

“We’re officially still in the preliminary stages,” Knach said. “But, when things start to change they can sometimes change rapidly.”

– Costco comparing sites. And, although rumors abound that some current employees at the Costco wholesale store in Reno have asked that a Carson Valley transfer list be created, a spokesperson at Costco Companies, Inc., corporate headquarters in Issaquah, Wash., said she could confirm no plans for a Costco in the Carson-Douglas area.

“Costco is still on the back burner,” Holler concurred. “We heard they have hired a local engineering firm to to evaluate three sites they have been considering in this area.”

Holler said the possible Costco sites include one in south Carson City and two in northern Douglas County – one at the Jacks Valley-Highway 395 commercial center and the other on property owned by Las Vegas developer Bill Wellman (Las Vegas Paving) on Highway 395 near the Sunridge subdivision and golf course.

– Critical to economy. Officials say attracting such large-scale retail businesses to Douglas County is critical to the county’s economic health. In particular, such businesses are expected to reduce the flow of sales tax revenues on as much as $172 million in lost business, according to a recent University of Nevada, Reno study. That money is lost when Douglas residents shop in Carson City and Reno.

The North Valley Plaza site was included in the county’s first redevelopment project area by officials in order to facilitate its commercial growth. Such a designation makes special financing options available to the county and the developers for needed improvements to roads, water and sewer.

Holler said the county has received numerous preliminary requests for building information from the retailers, but has not yet been asked to review plans.

“We’re hoping to see plans submitted for plan check within the next two weeks or so,” he said. “Hopefully, they’re getting close. It looks like things are coming together, but until you have a signed contract, you don’t have anything.”

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