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Mammoth developer and businessman Paul Rudder, along with real estate investor Drew Hild, pulled a rabbit out of their hats this week.
Together, their investment group purchased the Sierra Center mall, the town’s largest single commercial building, situated on Old Mammoth Road across the street from the Vons area.
The 76,000-square foot, three story mixed-use building is the largest commercial mixed-use retail and office building in Mammoth and is currently home to Mammoth Sporting Goods, Shogun and Mono County offices.
It also has many vacant spaces, the result of the economic decline.
In recent years, the property had fallen on hard times after the previous owners suffered the effects of the general economic recession and drop in property values.
The net result of this transition was that the property lost tenants and did not seem to have any life to it as many locals wondered what would happen to resurrect the once robust and fully leased property.
In 2006, Paul and Kathleen Rudder owned Sierra Center and engaged Hild, of Highmark Properties, to sell the property.
“We are coming full circle back to Sierra Center where we started,” Rudder said, “and we are happy to do so. Our goal is to re-animate the building to make it a lot more user-friendly and fun.”
Hild was equally enthusiastic.
“We want to make it a place locals as well as visitors will want to come to,” he said.
Rudder and Hild said they would “immediately address some of the dated look and feel of the building,” and would be doing several improvement projects right away.
“We really wanted to change the image of the building,” they said in a press release, suggesting that a name change was in the works as well as some other branding ideas.
“We want to also create some positive energy here championing the idea that we will come out of the recession and that Mammoth will recover despite some of the current challenges it faces,” Hild said. “We feel very bullish on Mammoth in the long run. Mammoth is a great place to vacation, and an even better place to live and work and we want to get that message out and promote it.”
The two businessmen said their immediate plans were to focus on the needs of the existing tenants and do everything possible to help their experience at the building improve.
Rudder will handle the day-to-day operations at the building.
Hild and Highmark Advisors will continue to represent the property for leasing inquiries.