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December 14, 2007

Comments

DataGuy

Very nice presentation Ken.

I see that you maintained some of the existing buildings but I can't tell for sure if you took into consideration ALL the buildings that the developers say will NOT be removed?

- Theater.

- Gottshalks.

- Wells Fargo on NE corner.

- Old breakfast restaurant on SW corner.

- Colonial (or whatever it is) bank bldg to the north of the restaurant bordering Virginia.

- Further North still bordering Virginia, the Veterinarian operation that spans three S Virginia-facing parcels.

I thought the redevelopers might - at least - buy out the Vet operation sitting almost right on the corner of Plumb and Virginia and propose to clear all the old stuff (most of which they appear to own) that borders Grove St on the South. But, an RGJ article when they commenced the demo of the main mall stated that they were not going to do any demo aside from the main mall.

I really have no idea what they intend to do. I think the parcel "could" allow gaming as currently zoned. But, there is no indication that there is a gaming interest in the property.

Also, my concern regarding a very high density use with parking garages, is the significant distance from the freeway to the parcel. I realize that both Plumb and VIrgina carry tons of traffic and that is one of the busiest intersections in town, but...

Across Plumb, REA is getting ready (they recently put a construction fence up) to tear down a bunch of mixed property across from the Wells Fargo bank building on the Park Lane mall property. I was surprised that they apparently intend (since it is not fenced off) to NOT tear down the little bit of a dilapidated strip mall that faces west across a parking toward the McDonalds. I guess they will rehab instead (since they bought the property). Same kind of thing that M&H is "apparently" doing with Park Lane.

Gut part and retain other parts. Neither approach seems to suggest a massive makeover but more of a "spucing up" approach.

It will be very interesting to see what they decide to do.

.......

PS - M&H also owns a vacant parcel across Wrondel east of the rear parking lot for the theater. Perhaps future residential of some sort? That rear lot is also very underutilized and could also be made into residential. Particularly, if they elect to do parking garages elsewhere on the property as you suggest.

Ken

DataGuy, thanks for the great comment! Here's what I see happening with this site if my approach were used:

I keep existing buildings: Gottschalks, the movie theater, and heidi's restaurant - in the long run. In the short run I'd also keep the colonial bank and wells fargo bank buildings - but I'd be looking to buy and replace their buildings with the structures you see in the site plan.

I see this done in a phased approach. "Phase 1" is getting Gottschalks building shored up, getting the "parks" finished out, and the central buildings of the project surrounding the parks and the initial parking garages (the one behind the theater and the one on the north end of the property facing Plumb). The point is to get new retail tenants in and the project making money, and to get some supporting infrastructure in place for Phase 2.

M&H's M.O. seems to be that they only do retail developments - but they partner with other developers for residential and other uses. So I see Phase 2 being more about -- now, once the infrastructure is in place, to seek partners for the hotel portion (the biggest building - the green-yellow one on the east side of the site), and work on acquiring and redeveloping the two bank buildings and some of that property on the south end of the project, on Grove Street, which of course today are empty lots and out of scope for the project.

The long-term goal is to replace all the surface lots with garages and new buildings for shopping & other uses - garages that are big enough to hold all the cars necessary and that are scattered around the site enough to ensure it's not too far to walk from the car. The hotel would be about 400 rooms and would presumably include a casino, which would have the effect of keeping the project site busy day & night, a good opportunity for retail and dining.

I hadn't considered your point about distance from the freeway but it's worth study. One advantage I thought the towers would have is they would make the project visible from the freeway - which would help draw customers. 395 isn't very far but again it's worth studying. Also from a transportation perspective, this is right on RTC route 1.

Final point this comment is that I want to reiterate I would also see this working with Virginia Lake Crossing across the street, to create a whole new neighborhood/district for Reno - which thanks to its integrated design would be a natural visitor attraction. So, done right it'd have two department stores - the G's and something more upscale (spillover effect is advantageous for both), and some retailers you just don't see in Reno. And it would help round out Reno's attractiveness as a destination, which would help the whole market. This concept is not out of step with other stuff M&H has announced before. If I were the city, I'd be very interested.

Ken

Oh also - before the hotel got built - it'd make a great parking lot, which if I recall correctly, is what it is today.

DataGuy

It will be interesting to see what M&H, as well as REA (across Plumb) and Silverstar (across S Virginia) construct and what type of retail they attract.

The general area has a huge potential to be transformed into something really nice.

I continue to worry about the distance from the freeway - as relates to creating "destination retail" - but if a casino is made part of the deal, with a tall and visible tower, it could happen. Especially, with a second big casino - Peppermill - right next door.

BTW, their $400 million addition is VERY NICE. Can't wait to see the pool and spa areas when they are completed in the spring.

Clearly the top Casino in the area at this time in my opinion.

beatknicker

Does your plan keep the Klaich Animal Hospital at the curr5ent location? My family has taken our pets there for years. I was there a few weeks ago and somebody had put up sings and painted the parking lot with "No animal Hospital parking" in the parking spaces. I found out that the M&H people had done it to force the Klaich's to sell. Not a very Reno like way to do business if you ask me.

Ken

beatknicker - I've been confusing the animal hospital and heidi's locations this whole time, mea culpa. I hadn't accounted for it yet. anyway - short answer - yes, I'd look to keep the animal hospital. But in the same location - is a bit of a different question. The reason I say that is because what I'm proposing here is a massively different direction for that neighborhood - a lot of area. The phase 1 of the project would not make any substantive changes to business as usual at the animal hospital today. Phase 2 could be a whole different ballgame and that's why I think it's the responsibility of the developers and the city to work with the folks who run a business to see if they have something to offer. If the hospital needs to stay put and won't budge, figure out a way to work the design of the center out to accomodate the animal hospital (assuming the hospital would be making a change or two as well), or build a new location for the animal hospital and keep it open at the current location during construction - that kind of thing.

I'm against bullying (sounds like what you're describing here), and I'm against making huge changes in the neighborhood and then acting like it was the existing businesses' fault they were there the whole time (like the situation with the liberty belle and the convention center). Actually both amount to bullying.

One final point on that one - I'm using the word neighborhood and district freely very intentionally - a neighborhood should include a veterinary clinic. There are a lot of mundane things that can be easily and serendipitously mixed with all the stuff I describe like the hotel and the second department store, restaurants, etc.

Ken

Looks like there's no problem with people parking at the vet's office as of Dec 26, 2007

http://theurban.blogs.com/photos/dustbin/img_0758.jpg

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