Which big stores will come to Douglas? | RecordCourier.com
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Which big stores will come to Douglas?

by Sharon Carter

The Douglas County Planning Commission’s move earlier this week, recommending big-box retail for 47 acres along Highway 395 at Jacks Valley Road, has increased speculation regarding which stores are likely prospects for the site.

“We’ve heard all kinds of rumors, that not just Costco, Target and Home Depot are considering the sites, but that Sears, Sam’s Club and Eagle Hardware are also looking,” Commissioner Bernie Curtis said Thursday. “But since the zone change and master plan amendment haven’t been approved, it’s still premature to speculate who’d be there.”

Developer John Serpa has asked the county for a zone change and master plan amendment to allow general commercial development on the property. The land is currently zoned for apartments, single-family homes and neighborhood commercial uses like convenience stores.

Serpa’s conceptual plan for property, which is west of the highway and stretches both north and south of the Jacks Valley intersection, proposes a 370,000 square-foot retail commercial center with sites for three large stores and six smaller pads. In order to accommodate the plan, Serpa proposes to move Vista Grande Boulevard to the western edge of his property, bringing the road to the eastern boundary of the Valley Vista Estates subdivision.

Although residents in Valley Vista appear resigned to the rezoning, the zone change and attendant master plan amendment must still be approved by the county commission, which is scheduled to discuss it in October.

“We have no firm commitment from anybody, so any type of speculation is, again, very, very premature,” Curtis said. “We (commissioners) have been told not to talk about this until they sign on the bottom line.”

Curtis, who dropped off a packet of information about Douglas County at Costco Companies’ corporate office in Issaquah, Wash., in April, said he fears rampant speculation would have a chilling effect on negotiations with potential retailers.

A call to Costco Friday elicited little positive information.

n Nothing for Nevada. “The current Costco construction sheet shows nothing new going in in Nevada,” a spokesman said. “And on our list of 30 ‘probable sites for development,’ there’s also nothing slated for Nevada.”

Costco, which operates 211 warehouses in the United States, has had a presence in Nevada since September 1986, when it opened a store in Las Vegas. It subsequently opened a store in Reno and another in Henderson. Costco also has 56 stores in Canada, seven in the United Kingdom, three in Korea and one in Taiwan. For its 52-week fiscal year, which ended Aug. 30, Costco reported net sales of $23.8 billion.

Denise Workcuff, a spokesperson at Target Stores corporate office at parent company Dayton-Hudson Corp.’s headquarters in Minneapolis, said Friday she can neither confirm nor deny that Target is scouting the Carson-Douglas area for a store site.

“Target is in an aggressive expansion mode,” Workcuff said. “Each year we build 60 to 80 new stores. So, at any given time we are actively scouting 200 to 300 communities for building sites. At this point it’s too premature to say anything more definite than that.”

As well as Target Stores, Dayton-Hudson Corp. owns Marshall-Fields, Mervyn’s California, Dayton’s, and Hudson’s department stores.

A call to Atlanta-based Home Depot’s corporate public relations department in Orange, Calif., was more productive.

“We’ve been considering a couple of locations in the Carson City area,” spokesperson Amy Friend said Friday. “We’re looking at opening there in (the year) 2000. I can’t confirm an actual location for the store because we haven’t finalized a decision in that area. But, we’re definitely serious.”

Home Depot currently has 641 warehouse-style home centers in 43 states and another 40 stores in Canada. In Nevada, there are three Home Depots in Las Vegas, two in Reno and one in Henderson. The company had net 1997 sales of $24.2 billion.

n Heard the rumors. Kris Holt, director of the Northern Nevada Development Authority in Carson City, said Friday he, too, had heard rumors.

“And Costco is not a dead duck,” Holt said. “The rumors I’ve heard have come from all angles and they’re all positive. My understanding is that it’s 80-percent certain that Target and Home Depot are coming into this area. At a meeting last week, the Carson people also discussed going about luring Costco to Carson City. There’s also talk of an In-and-Out Burger (drive-through restaurant) coming to the area. Since In-and-Out requires at least four locations to move into an area, we’re hoping they’ll locate one in Douglas County, one in Carson City and two in Reno.”

Commercial real estate broker Tom Johnson of Gold Dust Properties in Carson City said Friday he’s hoping to negotiate deals to capture the big box stores for Carson City.

“I can’t comment further other than to say timing is sensitive on these things,” Johnson said. “When these people hit an area looking for sites, they blanket it. To my knowledge, they’re still continuing to search for locations in this area.”

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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