At RockStep Capital, we are passionate about improving the communities we invest in—and our work in Scottsbluff, NE is no exception. We purchased the Uptown Scottsbluff property in 2013, and have been working on developing it for the last 10 years. After identifying the neighboring Kmart property as a desirable location for redevelopment, we recently purchased that as well. See the details in this case study.
Formerly known by locals as Monument Mall, Uptown Scottsbluff is a long-standing RockStep property in western Nebraska. In December of 2022, RockStep purchased the neighboring abandoned Kmart property for $2.45 million—something we’d been looking into for nearly six years. The building has been abandoned since Kmart closed, experiencing damages from wear and tear over time, broken water pipes and vandalization.
By waiting until the time was right to purchase this property, RockStep ensured we were able to execute the vision we have for the space. It sits in a great location at the intersection of 27th Street and Highway 26, meaning it’s visible to the highway and has high traffic. Right now, we have plans in place to open two restaurants and a multi-tenant property. Our plans are still evolving, and we’re continuing to explore a range of possibilities for what the property will look like upon completion.
The Scottsbluff market appeals to us because of its regional nature and lack of cannibalization. Retailers aren’t really competing with one another, and they each experience a high level of customer support. RockStep is aware of the high demand for national retailers to open up; so much so, shoppers are currently traveling to cities to visit those retailers. We’d like to see them open up in Scottsbluff.
While we’re still developing these properties, a few key outcomes have happened since we purchased Uptown Scottsbluff in 2013:
- The Scottsbluff City Council approved a plan that implemented an extra half-percent sales tax on mall purchases, the only special occupational tax in Scottsbluff.
- The redevelopment of a former Walmart facility, which had previously been vacant since August of 2002 when Walmart moved. In 2015, Hobby Lobby took over 59,000 square feet of the building; shortly after, a 41,000 square-foot Dunham Sporting Goods opened up. In 2019, Dollar Tree opened in the remaining 10,000 square feet.
- Famous Footwear and Applebee’s opened in November of 2015, and the new owners of the movie theater, Reel Lux Cinemas, created an improved experience in 2019.
- Harbor Freight opened in 15,000 square feet of space in May of 2019.
Our goal is to see a number of desirable tenants come in the fall of 2024, boosting the job market in the area as well. Additionally, we’re partnering with an engineer to resolve a drainage issue in the parking lot.
RockStep has built or acquired more than 9 million square feet of malls and shopping centers and owns more than 7.5 million square feet of assets. The industry we operate in changes every day, requiring us to be nimble and light on our feet. One thing that won’t change: our mission to collaborate with the cities we invest in to cultivate thriving retail properties.
For more information on our investment in Scottsbluff, check out this two-part series in the Scottsbluff Star-Herald: