Former K-Mart still empty

he former Kmart building on Cumberland Road in Bluefield continues to be marketed for occupants according to owner, Rajeev Chopra.

BLUEFIELD — The former Kmart building on Cumberland Road in Bluefield continues to be marketed for occupants.

Owner Rajeev Chopra, who purchased it a few months ago, said negotiations are under way, though, and he is hopeful something can be worked out soon.

“We are negotiating with many people,” he said about possible future business entities locating in the structure. “But we have nothing signed yet. If somebody wants to locate there it’s still available.”

Chopra said he wants any business that does locate there to be a good thing for the community.

“We are hopeful that what we do with it is positive for the community,” he said.

Kmart closed its doors in 2016.

Before the purchase, Chopra had requested, and was granted, a rezoning of the property, which is beside Tractor Supply.

“The reason for him to do that (request a rezoning) is because he is going to be seeking multiple tenants for that facility,” City Attorney Colin Cline told the Bluefield City Board at that time. “Under the Planned Unit Development (PUD) structure he could not commit to respective tenants their business would be approved without coming before the planning commission each time, so the planning commission is recommending rezoning … to Business Highway.”

That will clear the way for development of that property, he said, which has been deteriorating and recently saw a “pretty significant theft” of copper from the building.

“We are fortunate Mr. Chopra is interested in purchasing it,” Cline said. “From this day forward he can put anything in that building that is permitted under Business Highway zoning.”

Most retail businesses are allowed under that zoning, with the exception of some items like strip clubs or video lottery establishments.

Last year, U-Haul had told the city the company wanted to purchase the property and put in a showroom/headquarters and storage facilities.

However, that deal never materialized.

“U-Haul came in and sought a change to a Planned Unit Development (PUD) but they never actually completed their purchase,” Cline said.

Chopra said Tuesday he is busy marketing the building for tenants and has seen interest.

Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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