City: Camping World pulls out from Killeen project

Until today, Camping World was looking to this location for a new store in Killeen.

Camping World, a national RV dealership, has announced it is no longer interested in setting up an RV dealership in Killeen’s former Gander Mountain location, a city official said Tuesday.

City of Killeen Spokesperson Hilary Shine confirmed the announcement from the company on Tuesday, adding that the issue was withdrawn from the agenda of Tuesday night’s City Council workshop meeting.

“They said the site plan will not meet their needs,” Shine said by email on Tuesday, adding that the company did not indicate if it might be interested in opening a dealership at another Killeen location.

When pitching the prospect to the city last month of opening a new RV dealership at the old Gander Mountain property, Jay Moore, representing Camping World, said the RV dealership would have brought about 50 jobs to Killeen about $40 million in annual sales.

“What they would like to do is do RV sales, RV service and they also have a retail component and so that fits really nicely in this 52,000-square foot building. They’re going to cut it up and use every aspect of that as well as the parking lot,” Moore said at the Dec. 8 City Council meeting.

Calls to Moore and Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra on specifically why the company pulled out were not immediately returned Tuesday.

Gander Mountain was big news in Killeen when it opened to fanfare in 2015, and perhaps bigger news two years later when it closed. The still-new building has been used since as a seasonal Halloween costume store and, more recently, a temporary furniture store, but Killeen residents and business experts alike have pondered what more the location, along a prime time business corridor, could become.

The Killeen City Council has discussed the Camping World project at several recent meetings and workshops. At the Dec. 8 Killeen City Council meeting, the council voted 4-2 to not allow a rezoning request for the property, which prevented the project from moving forward. Some council members said they were concerned about traffic congestion in that area.

Later, at it’s Dec. 21 meeting, the City of Killeen Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to approve a conditional-use permit for the property located at 701 and 709 E. Central Texas Expressway, which was formerly Gander Mountain and closed down in 2017.

The conditional use permit, which was supported by Segarra, would have been contingent on several new conditions being met. These include eight more parking spots, light shielding on the parking lot perimeter, and a requirement of the conditional-use permit expiring after 180 days of no activity on the business, and others.

The council had originally planned to revisit the issue at its Tuesday workshop, and vote on the conditional-use permit on Jan. 12.

At City Hall late Tuesday, Councilmember Rick Williams reflected on the decision.

“It’s just unfortunate that it did not work out, after the work they put in to try and make it feasible,” he said before the council workshop meeting.

Councilmember Steve Harris, who voted initially in favor of the rezoning to approve the outlet, said Tuesday’s decision was a “huge disappointment.”

“That was an opportunity to get a business here that was diverse,” Harris said, adding that denying the rezoning was a mistake, and that he would have liked the chance to modify the conditions of the conditional use permit.”

swilson@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7463

(8) comments

Kenlwilkerson

I'll try this again. Seems that my last post was taken down for some reason. If you want to discuss this issue based off facts not feelings, reach out to me at 254-251-7149. There are a lot of misconceptions about why Camping World decided not to go forward with this project, and none of them have to do with the Killeen City Council.

Kenlwilkerson

Camping World pulled out because they discovered that the site did not meet their requirements. It had nothing to do with the city council's vote to disapprove expanding the zoning. Had we voted to approve B4, we would have been stuck with it even after they pulled out. The proper zoning for what they wanted to do was a Conditional Use Permit (CUP), which apparently were going to submit until they discovered that the site would not work. I know it's fun to sit outside and throw darts at the city council for decisions we make. However, do your homework at least. Not everything is a conspiracy. The only true thing I've read in these comments is that you have a choice in your vote next cycle. I hope you vote for me, but if you don't that's fine too. I'm not a politician by nature, so I don't cower to threats of withholding votes. I'm here to do a job, not keep it. I'm trying to do my best to make the best decisions for the city. No backdoor deals or other nonsense I'm hearing in these comments. If you want to discuss the issues like adults, you can reach out to me at (254) 251-7149, and we can discuss the issues based on facts, not feelings.

ReneeRiley

This doesn't surprise me, Jose and his flunkies MUST go!! I wrote the major an email right in the beginning of Covid19 pandemic voicing my concerns of his lackadaisical response. Jose wrote me back a pathetic, informal and unprofessional copy paste email. The continuance lack of leadership and transparency in the city of Killeen shows i.e Infestation of Gang's, Ft.Hood, Homelessness, KPD Overtime Pay. When will Killeen resident's truly get tired of the bs and hold Members and the Mayor accountable unless they've become complacent and like it.

Roysalazar

You get what you vote for. Take notes on who voted against bringing additional jobs to Killeen and make them pay with your next vote.

CALMUM

Great job City of Killeen, you screwed the pooch on this one. If the company didn't feel the location wouldn't meet it's needs, then they never would of proposed setting up a location there. The TRUTH is the city leadership screwed it up. Maybe it's the corruption in the city politician pool that the company wouldn't bow down to. It's another sad day for the future of the city and potential growth. [thumbdown]

Noneofyourbiz

Just disgusting, this lays in city council lap. To think this city council is willing to put tax payers, home owners on the hook for 75year to push thier democrat agenda forward is just down right sick.

75 year they will be selling out the education of our children and yet refuse to bring jobs to this area.

Council woman fleming was so excited about the 75 year non paying tax apartments she was more than happy to announce it at the so called city forum she requested so the citizens could be heard.

Sadly all it was, was a forum to attack Me Right, and the Pursers. It was so bad at the forum that homeless people were brought in to fill seats, and one guy ( not naming names, but he plans on running for dist council) had the azz to call out things at MR Wright, like sit down old man.

This city council is the worst, and in all honesty the FBI, or at least we the citizens should remove them from office.

They treat home owners like dirt, sue citizens, have thier political parties terrorize any one that speaks out, they lie, and are so low and cheap they use the churches and pastors as political ponds.

If the city manager will not do his job and start removing these city council members, than its time we the citizens demand a FBI investigation into each and every one of them. Just like they did in L.A. it's time we stand up and tell this city council and the so called shadow council to step down and get out of town.

Truthprevails

Great job Killing jobs and sales tax on $40+ million in yearly sales.. y’all are more worried about giving 75years of taxes away to a apartment builder and placing more burden on current taxpayers to cover the added cost to city..

Y’all are a different kind of stupid..

No wonder they pulled out. Shame on you that voted against Camping World.

Noneofyourbiz

You are correct. It is just disgusting. They don't care as long as they and thier buddies can keep control of the citizens. They run the city like a slave camp

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