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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What's Next for the Newport Kmart Development?

It's a sad day for shoppers of the Newport Kmart. Photo credit:

Back in January, FortThomasMatters broke the news that the longtime retailer Kmart, which first opened in 1979, would close it's Newport location on March 30th. While that March 30th date was an initial closure date, it is still up in the air when the store will close its doors for the final time.

They will be staying open until the shelves are empty. As noted in the picture above from March 16, they are very close to bare, although a manager who FTM talked to said they do plan to be closed by early April at the latest. If you're looking to score deals, now may be the time to go. 

The lease of the property ends June 1, 2014, and the property is currently for sale.  The owner of the property is the Gator Newport Partners, out of Miami, Florida. Gator Newport Partners is apart of Gator Investments, which is a privately held investment firm, holding commercial properties. 

Gator Newport Partners bought the 9.7 acre property in 2001 for 4.4 million dollars from a similar investment group for 4 million.

So far, there are two avenues the development can take:
1) Repurpose the property to continue income-producing commercial property. There have, of course, been Wal-Mart, Sam's Club rumors swirling as we reported earlier this year.

According to a source close to the situation, FTM has learned that U-Haul has had preliminary talks with Gator about using the location as a truck rental/storage facility.

Storage rates would not produce the same amount of income as retail, however. So unless the property sits without a tenant, that may not be the direction the group decides to move in.

2) Sell the entire property to another group for a lump sum. The property was bought in 2001 for 4.4 million and is currently assessed for 3.7 million.

There have been rumors that Newport Central Catholic may want to purchase the property to build a football stadium. Currently, NCC pays rent to Newport Independent Schools for use of their football field for home games.

FTM reached out to NCC Head Coach, Dan Wagner, and NCC Athletic Director, Rob Detzel for comment.

Wagner and Detzel both said that those rumors were, "not true," and "that they were not aware of any negotiations."

Of course, according to the FOR SALE sign, Gator Investments is open for development ideas. 

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