STERLING – Local economic developers want to attract more businesses to the area near the Walmart Distribution Center. And they're working on it.
In February, the Greater Sterling Economic Development Corp. bid on the property across the road from the Walmart facility, said Heather Sotelo, the corporation's executive director.
The sale is expected to close in early June, she said.
The property at 24236 Lincoln Road, just west of Sterling near an Interstate 88 interchange, has been the home of the Double G Arena and Wahl Equestrian Center. The facility held shows last year, but its Facebook page has nothing on the schedule for the coming months.
Owner Gary Schreiner couldn't be reached for comment. Roger Colmark, trustee of the G.W. Schreiner trust, confirmed a contract is pending. He provided no other information.
Sotelo wouldn't say how much her group is paying for the 40-acre property, which has been on the market for several years. In 2011, it was listed for $1.2 million, but its price since dropped to $649,000.
"We are buying the property to develop it," she said. "We're not buying it for any specific person. We hope to have a big business go there."
The equestrian center's arena has seating for 1,850 people, a warm-up area, two outdoor barns with 200 stalls, a large parking area, and a large store, according to its listing.
The Walmart Distribution Center, which opened in 2006, employs about 800 people. Its opening was considered a big boost to the area's economy, helping fill a gap left by the closure of Northwestern Steel and Wire 5 years earlier.