Gander

The Gander Mountain store on I-35 in Waco closed last year.

When Gander Mountain closed its 52,000-square-foot Waco store less than a year ago, many predicted finding a user would become a drawn-out affair due to its size.

But now it has been placed under contract for potential sale to a furniture chain with a national presence, said a spokesman for Edge Realty Partners, which is listing the building.

Thomas Burrets, who is co-listing the building for the Austin office of Edge, said in a phone interview the building was being offered for lease, but a prospect was so impressed with the property that a sale was discussed.

“The owner was willing to part with it,” said Burrets, noting the building was being leased to Gander Mountain. The outdoor sports chain has liquidated all stores nationwide following Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Waco store opened in 2014 to anchor a development at South Valley Mills Drive and the Interstate 35 frontage road, where Leon Capital Group of Dallas leveled the old University High School campus. The site has attracted Chili’s, Bubba’s 33, Starbucks, Potbelly Sandwich Shop and Zoe’s Kitchen.

Burrets said other developers eyed the Gander Mountain space for use as a bowling alley, movie theater and fitness club, but land-use restrictions made those applications impossible. He said the sale likely will close by fall.

Patrick Farrar, a local commercial real estate specialist, said finding a prospect in less than a year is good news and reflects well on the Waco market.

“There are not a lot of big-box locations out there, only Gander Mountain and Toys R Us,” said Farrar, who markets the CenterPoint shopping center adjacent to Waco’s Toys R Us store on West Waco Drive.

The Waco Toys R Us is among locations nationwide that are holding quitting-business sales. Farrar said he expects that building will find a user.

“I would expect the Waco store to be auctioned during the next round of auctions, and I would guess that an investor would snatch it up and try to lease it,” said Farrar, noting the building covers 40,000 square feet.

CBRE, a Los Angeles-based commercial real estate company with an international presence, first took a stab at marketing the vacant Gander Mountain assets in Waco and Killeen. The Waco building was being offered for lease at $15.50 per square foot, $19.80 per square foot counting taxes, building maintenance and insurance, according to real estate sources.

Dan Shoevlin, a senior vice president of CBRE in the Dallas office, listed the building and expressed confidence in finding a user eventually, but said its location was not necessarily ideal. He said most retailers using buildings of that size prefer to cluster near other retail establishments “to create synergy.” The Gander Mountain site is flanked exclusively by restaurants and a hotel, though other vacant land on the site is being marketed.

CBRE gave up the listing when the owner “took back the building,” said Shoevlin in an email response. Now Edge Realty signs appear there.

Edge agent Charlie Quisenberry, who is co-listing the Gander Mountain building with Jurrets, also is marketing commercial sites on Bagby Avenue adjacent to Central Texas Marketplace, according to the Edge website.

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