Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Camping World Invests $10 Million Plus Into Marion

Camping World's investment in the former Gander Mountain property on The Hill in Marion will soon top $10 million.

The Lincolnshire, Illinois, based company bought the shuttered Gander Mountain store last March as part of their larger expansion and takeover of Gander properties across the nation. Since then the green Gander Mountain sign has changed to a blue Gander Outdoors.

The company bought the building and parking lot last April for $3.1 million then took out a $700,000 building permit for renovations of the property in September. In July the company purchased 10.1 acres north of the property along Blue Heron Drive fronting Interstate 57 from Marion Heights LLC, the developers of The Hill for another $2.4 million. Then, just last month the company filed for another permit for a second $3.5 million building of just under 12,000 sq. ft. That permit is still awaiting approval by the city.

All total the investment in real estate and buildings comes to $9.7 million. Take into account furnishings and inventory the project will soon enter eight-figures territory.

It's not clear though what names the new retailer will be using besides Gander Outdoors. Last week Camping World announced Marion as one of 11 new locations for Gander RV, a new chain of RV dealerships it has developed on former Gander properties.

Marion Mayor Anthony Rinella announced at the beginning of the year that Gander Outdoors expected to be open in some form by the end of March.

It's not the only major move for The Hill development on the northwest side of Marion that started 18 years ago when the local Marion Heights developers bought their first five tracts of land back in the spring of 2001.

The Marion Republican reported that Mayor Rinella told the Marion Lions Club a few weeks ago that Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores is eyeing land on the east side of the interstate between the proposed extensions of Stanford and Carbon Streets north of The Hill Avenue (formerly known as Morgan Avenue) for a new truck stop and travel center. This would make the first major development on the east side of the interstate.

The move would be the second truck stop for the city and the first new one in more than four decades. The closest Love's Travel Stores are at Ina on I-57, Sikeston, Missouri, on U.S. 60, and Calvert City, Kentucky, on I-24.

In preparation for that development and others in the area, the Marion City Council approved bids at their last meeting in January for a new $1.3 million roundabout to be constructed at the intersection of Carbon Street and The Hill Avenue. It will be similar to the one on Russell and Boulevard. This comes after the city purchased lots on the northeast and southeast corners of the intersection last year.

CORRECTION: This story was updated Feb. 8, 2019, to show the total investment announced at $9.7 million with the renovation building permit for the existing building taken out in September 2018 totaling $700,000, not the $500,000 as originally written.