There are a couple of hot items on the agenda for Wednesday’s Reno City Council / Redevelopment Agency agendas. The meeting(s) will be telecast on Charter channel 213 at Noon and streamed LIVE on the City’s site. You can usually skip the first 30 minutes and not miss anything.
– Bowling Stadium – In order to reach an agreement for 10 more years of bowling events downtown, 75% of all the $2 downtown hotel room tax surcharge is being pledged to bowling stadium improvements. If the funds aren’t needed, they go into a trust account and can’t be spent elsewhere. If occupancy soars, the bowling stadium project gets overfunded at 75% of the collected surcharge. If occupancy declines, the entire surcharge fund can be diverted to the bowling stadium. This surcharge fund was meant to help all of downtown, and has been used almost exclusively to date for improvements to the old Citifare site. I guess it would have been too much to ask to see funding for the long dormant Virginia Street facade improvement project. Score another one for RSCVA and the big casinos.
Approved with minimal discussion. The council sees this as a deal purely between the downtown casinos and the bowling stadium folks, though the felt free to dip into the funds when they wanted to do things with the Ciitifare site. The fiscal affect of occupancy rate changes wasn’t even addressed. So another loss you the non big 6 casinos downtown.
– Virginia Street Bridge – The council gets to pick between 2 truss designs, 2 rail designs, and 2 colors. The process has been very “inclusive” – aka long, expensive, and resulting in total mediocrity. At least the final designs documents can finally get moving.
Yawn. The better of the boring designs got approved. Your kids might be able to drive over this thang.
– The sale and transfer of the downtown post office to developers Bernie Carter / TJ Day dba 50 S Virginia LLC is up for approval. This email that has been circulating brings up some pretty interesting issues about the “no cost to the City” deals about to be approved. And they will be approved. But at a cost of $700,000 in rent concessions to the USPS at their new location from the bankrupt Redevelopment Agency. Here is the Staff Report, and here is the current leasing brochure. From my recollection of early reports on the deal, it seems that the developer reduced their offer, and the RDA is making up the difference by offering rent concessions. But at “no cost” to the city.
Public comment was 100% against the deal. 50 SVA LLC shocked me when they said they haven’t reviewed the structural and historic reports, and in fact haven’t been above the 1st floor of the building. WTF? The council is ready to approve a deal with a developer who hasn’t even seen the building? But the council will, though it will take a few days to dot some t’s and cross some i’s. Please please please Reno, include a performance bond in the final deal to keep another half completed unoccupied Lear Theater situation from happening. And take the one great public comment offered – alter the deal to require the USPS back into the building when the renovation is complete. What’s so wrong with a historic post office being a post office? And the Parking Gallery could be revenue producing again for the RDA? But the council will end up doing their customary bend-over to the developers. Not that I think it is entirely wrong in this instance.
– Not an agenda item, but a bit of Schadenfreude. Wells Fargo bought a piece of land at Sharlands and Robb for a new branch bank in April 2005 for $1,200,000 from master developer Sharon Corp. Wells just sold the property back to the developer for $500,000.
– And also in the NW, the building permit for tenant improvements for the new Dottie’s at 5144 Mae Anne was approved last week, and the Privileged License for alcohol is up at the city council Wednesday for approval.This as next to Micky D’s at the Safeway on McCarran. Will Dottie’s finally be forced to play by the Gaming Board rules with “incidental” gaming only? Yeah, right.