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November 28, 2007



Ken, in addition to the proposed new regional gaming you mentioned, don't forget this and this and this and this and this and...

(1) from
"On premier lakefront property in Sparks, Nevada, Olympia will be developing a $500 million destination resort featuring world-class attractions including a casino, luxury hotel, full-service spa, fine-dining restaurants, and convention facility. To be developed in partnership with RED Development, the resort will adjoin the Legends at Sparks Marina destination retail development." Site work is already underway, filling in a bit of the Marina lake - in order to build a sand beach. And, I believe that the major physical construction is set to begin early next year.

(2) And this... A California developer named Real Estate Affiliates has purchased all of the large area bounded by Keystone, I-80, Vine and 5th Streets except for one fast food parcel. Also, within the past year or so - the entire area was rezoned to permit a hotel casino. And, last May this announcement was made... (from Downtown Makeover)... "5/25/07 - DETAILS EMERGE ON KEYSTONE CASINO - Aha! After months of land acquisitions and a push to change zoning in the area, a new gaming company, Scodara, wants to build a 600-room hotel-casino at Keystone Avenue and Fifth Street, the Reno City Council learned Thursday in a planning workshop. Wow 600 rooms, that pretty much entails a nice-sized tower yes? To compare, Eldorado has 816. Councilman Dave Aiazzi and Mayor Bob Cashell said they would welcome a new casino on the block..."

(3) There is also the proposed new Lazy 5 Casino (I think that is the name) involving the Peppermill organization to be located in north Sparks on Pyramid Highway (if the litigation ever ends).

(4) Some kind of deal still appears to be slowly percolating near the 4th street eastbound offramp from I-80 on a long-abandonded gaming property known as the River Inn. The developer of Sommerset, Blake Smith, is apparently involved in some manner. A while back when the 4th Street TOD plan was being developed, Smith made sure that the gaming entitlement on that property remained intact and public auto access studies (over the RR tracks) were just authorized in the past few weeks.

(5) As part of the Convention Center Regional Plan, the entire huge "block" bounded by Peckham, S Virginia, Baker and Redfield Pkwy/Kumle Lane was zoned Hotel Casino. This is the area directly west across S Virginia from the Convention Center. The large 45-50 acre "block" includes Old Town Mall, an apartment complex and a variety of mixed retail among other things. What will happen there is anyone's guess, but an entity named Northern Nevada Acquisitions LLC has been busily buying some of the smaller parcels on the Southeast portion. In roughly the past 12 months they have paid almost $20 million for parcels totalling about 7 1/4 acres. Smells like a casino interest to me.

(6) Just south of the hwy 395 / hwy 50 intersection on the south edge of Carson City, the Caranos are partnering a new casino called Bodines - now under construction.

(7) Expansions and Rumors -In addition to Peppermill's $400 million expansion (which doesn't include a new 3 story employee parking garage that is up for planning commission approval next week), Atlantis has a $50 million project under construction which expands floor space and includes a new skybridge connecting to the Convention Center. Also, Rail City (recently bought by Herbst) is just completing an expansion. And, their other two Reno area acquisitions (Sands and Gold Ranch) are also rumored to be considering/planning future expansions/upgrades. The Fitz (recently bought by Fernando Leal and partners) is rumored to be a future rehab/expansion candidate. And, there are whispers of other possible downtown casino remodels.

I think there is a good chance that there will be A LOT of new casino investment in the next 5 years or so.

Now, about other "downtown stuff"... A couple weeks ago Basin Street Properties... ... made their FOURTH major Reno investment. Earlier they purchased two downtown office buildings and a strip mall just south of the Convention Center (50 West Liberty, 200 South Virginia and Coliseum Meadows - all listed on their website). They have now added a third office building (300 East 2nd) which is the riverfront office building with lots of extra parking that lies due south across 2nd Street from Fire Station #1 which is set to become part of the Baseball Stadium project. The office tower is kind of odd. It has MUCH more parking than needed for its 4 floors of office space (which I believe was originally - and perhaps still is - used as employee parking for Harrahs). So, why might a developer like Basin Street be interested in investing $20+ million in this building? Well, Mark Lewis (redevelopment director) has indicated that someone is considering the construction of a Hyatt Regency Suites hotel on the three parcels just east of the office building. But those parcels only total about 6/10ths of an acre so a new hotel would probably need to be a highrise of some sort with parking levels below UNLESS the developer just happened to own excess parking space right next door. Just a thought - but note that Basin Street's property listings already include other hotel projects.

Separately, Mark Lewis was recently quoted as saying that a NEW PLAN for the proposed but seemingly inactive Waterfront highrise residential/retail project (on the land immediately west Basin Street's office building) was due to be submitted "any day". Kind of looks like that entire riverfront strip might get a whole new appearance before long - along with the proposed extension of the public riverfront walking path AND the proposed installation of the second kayak park, etc.

Finally, when I watched the RDA meeting where funding for the two trench covers was approved I was fascinated by a question asked by Sharon Zadra. She asked Mark Lewis if the construction of the two blocks of cover would in ANY WAY limit the possibility of constructing other covers over the tracks. NO!! was his instant response... and she smiled. I have no idea about when or where other covers might be proposed or installed, but I do have some rather logical-seeming candidates. The ugly 3 story high empty space under the Fitz garage could someday become home to something usable. Or, Herbst - the new owners of The Sands - might want to connect its real estate north and south of the trench with something better than a trench bridge. Or, the baseball deal and its property east of Lake Street could be involved. Who the heck knows? Regardless of the details of how various projects may or may not work out, I think the combined downtown interest by a lot of big money types - Leal, mall developer Simon and the Baseball group, Basin Street, Herbst, and maybe even Olympia Gaming - if there is any truth to the recent rumor that they are negotiating to buy Circus Circus - CAN ONLY BE EXTREMELY POSITIVE FOR THE FUTURE OF DOWNTOWN.


DataGuy - thanks for your comment with these projects! The projects you mention were all on my mind when I started writing but obviously slipped my mind before I was done :) So I'm glad you bring them up.

One point I neglected to make in this piece and feel compelled to make now is that while this all portends great things for Reno's ability to host visitors and bring their money in through gaming, restaurant, and supporting retail, the facts remain that the casino business is largely run by a big money-big government cartel primarily not Reno-based, and as such is quite fickle, and will not bat an eye at taking its winnings and leaving the hapless burg holding the bag trying to figure out what to do with a forest of empty high-rises on the skyline. Ergo, Reno, in the late 90s.

These developments will be positive for the future of downtown if the business can be proven and if profits are reinvested in the properties and the community to reinforce the marketing and brand positioning strategy orchestrated at both the local and regional level.

Quality economic development will not occur without tertiary investments in education and other industries such as high-tech, biotech, and enviro-tech (renewable energy, water conservation, etc) which will be increasingly in demand as the 21st century marches on. These industries will help buttress the economy against declines in gaming and if their volume can grow to a critical mass, will turn into a visitor attraction in an of itself, drawing business and academic travelers to town also for meetings, conferences, and conventions in the respective industries.

Just some food for thought and again thanks for adding these links and projects. It's a very interesting time for Reno right now.


I couldn't agree more. While I appreciate seeing some of the downtown casinos have a chance at being updated after a long period of "deferred maintenance", it is the residential, retail and office additions and the enhancement of riverfront attractions, etc. that I am really excited about.

Non-gaming job growth has also been quite good in Northern Nevada in recent years and I certainly hope it continues.

It is also exciting to me that the Reno Sparks metro area seems to be hitting the overall demographic threshold that starts to bring in a much wider variety of retail and other offerings. I have heard more than one developer refer to recent changes as the "gentrification" of the metro area.

It is an interesting time.


Ken. here is another recent redevelopment announcement that will fit in nicely with whatever plans the redeveloper of Park Lane Mall has in mind.

The area to be redeveloped includes ALL the property east of the current Shoppers Mall... bounded by Plumb to the south, Casazza to the North and extending all the way east to Kirman.

Replacing and/or rehabbing the trashy retail and used car lot facing Virginia and removing the dilapidated housing behind it will be a very nice change to the area.

So too, will the additional new retail that is currently under construction facing So Virginia - part of SilverStar's Virginia Lake Crossing mixed use project.

In a year or two, we may not recognize the area around the intersection of Plumb and S Virginia.


Northern Nevada Business Weekly
Shoppers Square project planned
NNBW staff, 10/15/2007

Shopper’s Square Investment Holdings, LLC, a newly formed venture headed by managing member Real Estate Affiliates Inc., has purchased 7.84 acres of land from R&E Development adjacent to Shoppers Square for redevelopment into mixed-use retail space, says Ben Kieckhefer, public relations manager for Innerwest Advertising Agency and a spokesman for Shoppers Square Investment Holdings.

Kieckhefer says the majority of the parcel, 5.64 acres immediately east of the existing shopping center, will be redeveloped into a 64,000-square-foot retail center with several different footprints that could house up to 11 new establishments.

The space can be subdivided with three larger tenants claiming between 14,000 and 20,000 square feet each, and the remaining 12,000 to be split among six to eight smaller tenants.

Redevelopment plans also include existing retail buildings east of the McDonald’s at 305 E. Plumb Lane, Kieckhefer says. Terms of the sale were not disclosed, nor were the names of any potential tenants.

Twenty-two houses owned by the Casazza family will be torn down to make way for the new retail development, which will be managed by Shoppers Square Investment Holdings LLC. Homeowners have 90 days to clear out.

“They have been on short-term leases for a long time,” Kieckhefer says. “This property has been eyed for redevelopment for years.”

Initial site work is targeted for February, and the owners hope to have the retail center open in time for the 2008 holiday season.

“This is an area of Reno that is being redeveloped in many different areas,” Kieckhefer says. “Plumb and Virginia is a pretty big intersection, and it’s nice to be part of something to help rejuvenate that part of town.”

Rick Casazza of Colliers International represented R&E Development, and Roxanne Stevenson of Colliers International represented the buyer.


CORRECTION - "used car lot facing Virginia" above should read... "used car lot facing PLUMB"

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