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Cocopah Tribe buys former Kmart building
The Cocopah Indian Tribe has purchased the former Kmart building at 32nd Street and Avenue B, Liz Pratt, director of communications for the tribe, confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
"The tribe considers this piece of property to be an asset to the tribe's future and a valuable property investment for its membership," Pratt said.
According to the Yuma County Assessor's Office, the Cocopah Indian Tribe purchased the property for $9 million cash.
No decision has been made yet on the future use of the property, Pratt said.
"The tribe has received various business proposals from entities interested in using the facility," she said. "The tribe plans to review all proposals before deciding what would be best for its future use because it is such an important investment."
The sale had been pending for several months and was finalized earlier this month, said Charles E. Lakin III, who had purchased the property for $2.5 million in the fall of 2003 under the name Bluelight LLC.
"I figured it would take awhile, but given enough time, it would work out," he said of finalizing the sale of the long-vacant store this month.
Various rumors had been circulating about the future of the property, including it possibly being leased for an indoor swapmeet.
"The sale was a better choice," Lakin said. "It was a process of waiting for the right thing to come along. Things fell into place and it's time to convert it and move on."
Yuma's store was the largest Kmart in the nation with 190,000 square feet when it opened in November 1993. Before that, it had operated for a number of years at 115 W. 32nd St., where Lowe's is now located.
The store closed its doors for good in April of 2003, after the company could not renegotiate lease terms for the building. At the time, Kmart was in bankruptcy.
Lakin purchased the property a few months later as an investment. While the store has sat vacant for more than four years, Lakin said he has had work done on the building to maintain the property.
Lakin said he is "looking for other opportunities" in Yuma and the Phoenix area. He currently has a number of investments in Yuma, including property along Avenue 3E and south of Yuma near the Johnson Controls plant.
Joyce Lobeck can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6853.