I arrived in Reno in time to remember the Bundox. I certainly remember the River House Motor Hotel, which became an abandoned homeless camp along the Truckee for years. Karl Breckenridge has a great account of the property’s history.
The site was cleared and merged with an adjacent property to create the proposed Waterfront Towers project. That died of its own weight during the recession, though scaled back development was proposed.
Foreclosed and back to the bank, this prime 3.35 acre site on the Truckee at 2nd and Lake Streets was purchased yesterday by the creatively named Lake Street Parcel LLC for $1,950,000. Who turns out to be Simon Equity Partners, the shopping center moguls who own Meadowood Mall and the Reno Aces.
I can’t think of a better outcome*. A prime site already assembled, an experienced developer as the owner, and an owner with cash to make things happen. I can imagine a riverfront shopping and entertainment district to support the Aces and Downtown. The site is in the Freight House STAR Bonds district, which could be contentious.
News of the impending sale was leaked at a joint Redevelopment Agency / City Council meeting on Wednesday. A couple other interesting items from the meeting:
– The Rink on the River ice skating facility will be moving to the front yard of the Aces Stadium for at least the next 3 years. The current rink is 85′ x 185′, and the proposed new rink is 85′ x 100′. The Council was not amused by the pygmy skating facility, and the Aces vowed to make it bigger. Right.
– News also leaked out that Reno has been shopping development rights to the existing Rink on the River location on the 10 North Virginia Street Plaza, the former Mapes Hotel. A corporate HQ facility was mentioned, and I’ve heard about a smaller mixed use development proposal. City Hall and the Plaza are fairly recent developments. But it is hard to believe Reno would sell off their/our “protest space” and riverfront access for $1M, about what the site would comp for based on the Bundox and Post Office sales.
Fun times downtown. Don’t write off Reno just yet.
* Yes there was a potential better outcome, at least for me. Our group had the site tied up, but our financing didn’t materialize. Would have kept me busy for a couple of years. That said, I think Simon has the vision and capital to create a project for Reno that will make my sacrifice pale.