Toys R Us is permanently closed in Killeen and elsewhere in the country, leaving questions about what will happen to all those empty buildings.

The last of the toy chain stores closed on June 29, including the one in Killeen.

The Killeen location at 2500 E. Central Expressway currently is not on the market but may be one of the properties included in a deal that the company has in the works to sell as many properties as they can to one buyer, according to John Crutchfield with the Killeen Economic Development Corporation.

An auction for the company’s name, baby shower registry and various trademarks is set for later this month.

If the Killeen location is not sold with the other stores, Crutchfield doesn’t see the building staying on the market very long with the growth in this community.

“There’s a big demand for that area,” Crutchfield said. “It’s what’s called a second-use and there’s many in that development and they weren’t in the market long.

“They went to better use the next time around.”

The Killeen Toys R Us building is in the same shopping center as Academy Sports and Outdoors, an Aldi grocery store, Petsmart and a Spec’s liquor store — all in easy view of nearby Interstate 14.

Locations off of Interstate 14/U.S. Highway 190 are highly desirable, Crutchfield said. So if the price is right, the track record for the area shows that the traffic will likely attract a broker or national company that the EDC will work with if and when the time comes, according to Cruchfield.

The building, which is owned by Toys R Us, is valued at $1.2 million, according to the Tax Appraisal District of Bell County.

The company, which also owned the Babies R Us chain, was hobbled by $5 billion in debt after a leveraged buyout that left it unable to invest and keep up.

As the last of the stores across the country closed, more than 30,000 workers are looking for work. Toys R Us’ troubles have also shaken some big toy makers like Mattel and Hasbro.

Toys R Us filed for Chapter 11 reorganization last fall and pledged to stay open, but had poor sales during the critical holiday season as customers and vendors shied away.

In January, it announced plans to close about 180 stores, but then in March it said it would liquidate the rest of the 700-plus stores.

Retailers like Walmart and Target are expanding their toy aisles to fill the hole, while Party City is opening 50 pop-up toy shops this fall.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

fcardenas@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7562

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