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HAZARD, KY-A 210,000-sf Super Wal-Mart here has changed hands for $25.5 million, two years after the contract was signed. “It was two years of hell, it really was,” Helen Putterman, the broker in the deal, tells “Every time we were supposed to close, something happened.”Putterman is president of Cohen and Co. Inc Real Estate. She tells that the sale was delayed several times, first because construction took longer than expected due to the terrain and then twice more when debris from the adjacent hillside damaged the property.”It should have been simple; it was a single-tenant net-leased building,” says Putterman. “But because of its surroundings, it was not.”Due to mountainous terrain, room for the store was made by cutting into a hillside. As a result, construction took “easily 13 months” instead of the more standard nine-month schedule for Wal-Mart stores, says Putterman. Then just as the sale was ready to close, part of the hillside collapsed and destroyed part of the building. “That happened twice,” she says.In addition to all that, Wal-Mart, which likes to own its buildings, reportedly lost its right of first refusal to acquire this one by missing a procedural deadline related to a letter of intent. As a result, the seller had to go with the back-up buyer. Wal-Mart would confirm for only that it did have a right of first refusal to acquire the building and that the building is now owned by a third party.Citing confidentiality agreements, Putterman would describe the buyer only as “a private investor from Florida and Colorado” and the seller only as “a Tennessee-based developer of Wal-Mart’s, Lowe’s and Kroger stores.”

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