So who’s buying the old Kmart?
I’ve been getting that question a lot since the news surfaced that an offer to buy the vacant store was on the table. I think I may know the answer, thanks to an astute reader sending in a tip in the form of a question.
First a brief recap. The Kmart, located at 2757 NW Stewart Parkway, was built in 1983. It sits on 4.3 acres and the store itself covers about 83,000 square feet.
The store proved to be popular here and sales held steady over the decades. However, sales began to wane about a decade ago, not just here but across the nation, according to media reports.
Sears Holdings Corp., which owns Kmart and Sears stores, began closing stores across the country. In 2012, the 65,000 square-foot Sears store in the Roseburg Valley Mall was shuttered. The losses continued. Sears Holdings Corp. saw a drop in revenue from nearly $40 billion in 2013 to $22 billion in 2017.
That prompted the company in 2017 to close more than 200 stores, and the Roseburg Kmart was among those on the hit list. It closed in the fall of that year and has sat vacant ever since.
There has been running speculation over the years about the property and what will happen to it. Recently a little gas was thrown on that rumor fire. That came by way of a meeting of the Umpqua Valley Development Corp., a nonprofit board set up to help get a proposed medical college off the ground.
The UVDC had been looking at the old Kmart as a possible site for the medical college. But during the Aug. 18 UVDC board meeting, it was disclosed that an offer had been put in on the property, and it is in escrow and therefore no longer available for the medical college.
So, back to the Big Question — who is buying the old Kmart?
The answer: OK, hang with me a little bit longer to find out.
First, know that the property for sale actually involves two lots; the old Kmart site and the adjacent Big 5 Sporting Goods building and property, which totals 5.1 acres. So combined, the available property is 9.4 acres, according to the county assessor. The listed owner is Invest West Alpha, out of Aliso Viejo, California.
The assessor lists the value of the Kmart property at $3.4 million, and the value of the Big 5 property at $1.9 million, for a combined total of $5.3 million. Keep in mind government assessments for tax purposes tend to be low, so expect the actual sale price for these two parcels to be higher than that.
According to the web site Loopnet.com, which focuses on commercial property, the properties are being listed by HSM Pacific Realty out of Portland. The listing agents are Scott Buth and Matt Martinez. I called and emailed both of them but did not hear back.
The listing was apparently last updated on Aug. 13. The listing brochure runs seven pages long and contains descriptions of Roseburg and surrounding areas (“Umpqua Valley’s wine country has grown international recognition with over 70 vineyards that grow over 40 varieties of grapes”).
It also includes descriptions of the property, photos from ground level and overhead, and a partial list of what the land is zoned for. Allowed uses include schools, breweries, assisted living facilities, athletic clubs, general retail and restaurants.
The listing brochure also contains the following:
- 2757 NW Stewart Parkway — 83,000 square-foot anchor building. Available for lease & divisible.
- 2655 NW Stewart Parkway — Single tenant pad with Big 5 Sporting Goods (leased thru 1/31/24).
I have also been told by reliable sources that the current offer on the table is at least the third offer that has been placed on the property. However, the previous two potential buyers were “developer/investors” that put a clause in the sale agreement that required the owner to secure a tenant for the property before the sale could close.
This current potential buyer of the property is considered an “owner/user” who has not required a tenant be secured for the deal to close, I am told. This makes the current offer much more likely to occur.
I am also told the buyer is in due diligence until the middle of September.
Now for the reveal. An astute reader named Jessie McNeil sent us the following email Friday morning: “What’s going in there at the old Kmart? I see they have been doing some work around and inside the building.”
McNeil said he works for DC Sunshine Taxi and sometimes he and other drivers park over there in the shade and have been watching the work and wondering what was going on.
I drove over there and sure enough a crew of workers was cleaning up the inside of the old building. I must say it looked quite impressive. I asked one of of the workers what was going in here.
“We’re fixing it up for WinCo,” she said, referring to WinCo Foods, the supermarket chain that has more than 100 stores in nine states, including Oregon, Washington, California and Idaho.
She said she didn’t know much more than that, but asked a favor of me.
“Spread the word.”