City Agrees To Cabela Public Financing

By: Brent Boynton
By: Brent Boynton

After two years of negotiations, the Reno City Council agreed Wednesday to provide up to $54 million in public
financing to build Cabela's 125,000-square-foot outdoor gear
superstore next to the Boomtown casino west of Reno.
"It's going to be one of the biggest tourism attractions coming
to this city," Mayor Bob Cashell said.
"Every time I played that spinning reel (during the talks), I
thought we were going to lose the big fish," he said at a news
conference.
City Finance Director Andy Green said while the $54 million in
bond sales is the largest public investment in a private
development he can remember, the short- and long-term benefits
justify the expense.
Cabela's will be obligated to purchase the tax-free bonds,
essentially funding construction but then getting paid back through
the taxes the project generates.
When the bonds are paid off in 20 to 30 years, the city and
other local governments will receive the full tax benefit from the
estimated $50 million in annual sales from the Cabela's store,
Green told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
City Manager Charles McNeeley said that despite approval of the
financing, many more public hearings on the overall project lie
ahead.
Kevin Rhodes, director of real estate development for Sidney,
Neb.,-based Cabela's, said the store and planned attractions would
be a win-win situation because people familiar with his company's
14 other retail locations and its online site would be attracted to
Reno.
"We're one step closer to bringing closure to this agreement.
While this is not the final opinion, it does provide the roadmap,"
he said of the council's unanimous.
Rhodes said the location, just off Interstate 80 about 10 miles
west of Reno, was part of what attracted his company to the area.
"Reno is close to California and people passing through on
Interstate 80," he said, estimating the tourism draw to the area
at 3 million people annually.
Under the agreement, the city would sell bonds paid off by the
sales tax Cabela's generates - the same financing arrangement the
company has for its store in Kansas City, Kan.
"No question that played into part of the interest we had in
coming here," Rhodes said.
Expected growth in property tax revenue generated by Cabela's
and other development in the area would pay off an additional 25
percent of the bonded funding and a special assessment against
Cabela's, Boomtown and other property owners would fund improvement
bonds for projects including a new I-80 interchange.
The Cabela's complex is expected to generate about $55 million
in gross sales its first year.
This would provide about $3.7 million in sales tax revenues from
the city of Reno, the county and the school district. Once the
bonds are repaid, the jurisdictions would receive all the new
taxes.
To underscore its wildlife theme, Cabela's plans a wildlife
history museum it will sell to Reno for $1. Its decor will include
animal displays, aquariums stocked with native fish and
presentations of trophy animals.
Products include hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, boating and
wildlife watching gear as well as outdoor-styled clothing and
gifts.


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