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Metro East dealership owner buys the old Kmart next door

Since the Kmart closed in the 1990s, the building has gone through several owners
Credit: SLBJ
This former Metro East Kmart, seen from above, now houses multiple tenants along with part of a car dealership.

WOOD RIVER, Ill. — The owner of a Metro East car dealership has purchased a 116,000-square-foot former Kmart building next door, but has no immediate plans for the property.

Bob Federico, owner of the Federico Dodge Chrysler Kia at 1875 E. Edwardsville Road in Wood River, in late October closed on the purchase of the 11-acre former Kmart site next door to his dealership. The purchase price of the property at 1911 E. Edwardsville Road, from Kissimmee, Florida-based owner Wood River Capital LLC, was not disclosed.

One of Federico’s dealerships was already a tenant of the former big-box store, with Federico Kia leasing about 20,000 square feet inside the building as a dealership.

Since the Kmart closed in the 1990s, the building has gone through several owners, starting with its transformation into indoor paintball facility Colosseum Paintball Field.

Wood River Capital LLC purchased it in 2011 for more than $7 million, sectioning the huge building into offices for tenants that include AV Nation, Surge365 and Triune Canine Training. The site currently has 60,000 square feet of vacant warehouse space and 14,000 square feet of vacant office space, said the broker for the sale and leasing of the building, Duane Vancil of Alton-based Tarrant and Harman Real Estate.

Federico said his dealerships have the lowest level of inventory he's experienced, mirroring the recent experience of others in the industry. But he bought the Kmart site while looking ahead to a time when his dealerships will be able to keep more inventory on hand.

“I really bought it as a defensive move because I need the property. The ground is more important to me than the building is,” Federico said. 

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