At the time, they announced it would be a 52,000 sq. ft. store employing up to 100 associates, of whom about a quarter would be full-time employees. The building will be built behind Menard's on a 4.824-acre lot carved out of the southeast corner of the vacant land located there owned by Marion Heights, LLC, the original developers of The Hill.
Officials declined to say at the time how much they paid for the land. However they finally filed the deed and other paperwork with the county last Friday. They paid $1,470,896 for the 210,128 sq. ft. of property, which if those numbers seem hard to fathom that's okay. The price was $7/sq. ft., less than half the $15/sq. ft., the price property has been selling on Halfway Road.
Realty Income Properties 4, LLC, a Delaware corporation based in Escondido, California, took possession of the property on Nov. 13, which they will apparently lease to Gander Mountain.
Comparatively speaking the price seems low, but in real estate development, that's the benefit of getting in on the ground floor so to speak. Gander Mountain sets the stage for the first new major commercial development in Marion since the recession, not only do they get a cheaper price, they also get to set the rules for further development.
Like most major retailers they requested, and received, deed restrictions on other future development on The Hill. While there are a variety of rules, the key one prohibits any key competitors:
... no portion of the Restricted Property may be used by Academy Sports and Outdoors, Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops, Dick's Sporting Goods (including Field and Stream), Scheels, Sportsman's Warehouse and any owned or controlled affiliate of the foregoing companies (collected the "Specific Competitors").
There's nothing sinister about this, as those stores, particularly the larger ones, would require the same restrictions if they were the first to locate here. As to department stores such as Walmart, they would be allowed but only if they kept their hunting/fishing/camping sections to less than 10,000 sq. ft.
The interesting part, particularly as it relates to the future of the STAR Bonds project, is that these restrictions aren't just for the adjoining property behind Menard's, but for all of Marion Heights' land on either side of Interstate 57.
Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops are two of a very small number of retailers that would qualify as a destination retailer for the STAR Bonds. There needs to be at least one of those involved before the STAR Bonds incentives could even be activated.
Does this signal the end of the effort to use the STAR Bonds legislation, or do the developers have something else up their sleeve? The development west of Kansas City, on which the legislation is based, utilizes another big retailer, Nebraska Furniture Mart. Although the former developers of the STAR Bonds district were trying to secure them, it's not clear if they had any interest as they only have two locations in the entire country.
The 38 or so acres left north of Menards remains in the STAR Bonds District awaiting the arrival of additional retailers or other developments. But back to Gander Mountain, the chain has been aggressively opening new, larger stores around the country. Marion appears to fit in that trend.
As part of the deal, we'll see more roadwork take place on The Hill. The day before they signed the deed, Marion Heights LLC dedicated Home Run Drive will be a new street that runs behind Menard's. It will connect Blue Heron Drive which runs along the interstate on the east, to Miners Drive which runs between Rent One Stadium and Menards. Down the road we'll also see the development of Stadium View Drive on the north side of the development and Miners Drive be extended north as well.
According to the sign out on the property, Gander Mountain expects to open sometime in April 2015.