So today was almost reminiscent of the 'old days' when Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board meetings were interesting and often the first stop for proposed project presentations. There were several updates that made today's RAAB meeting worth attending. Lots of goodies below!
Virginia Street Transportation Project
This project extends from Midtown to the University. The RAPID line has one of the highest ridership numbers of all the RTC routes. The plan is to extend RAPID to the University of Nevada and add three stops; One near 9th Street, one near the Davidson Academy, and one near Lawler. The RAPID buses would then circle a roundabout near the main parking garage entrance of UNR, and then head back downtown. The Midtown side of this project involves narrowing car travel lanes on Virginia Street, and widening the dangerously narrow sidewalks along Virginia Street, add bulb-outs at street crossings, landscaping, and some sort of historic-looking lighting, much like the 'pilot' project that extends one block north from Mt. Rose Street, where Stremmel and Miguel's Mexican Restaurant are located. This will be welcome relief for those who attend event like the Midtown Art Walk, where people end up walking along in the street or parking lanes because the sidewalks are so narrow. This year the project will enter the engineering phase, and is fully funded for this phase. In 2017 construction should begin. The project is $11 million short in funding for the construction phase, but RTC was accepted into a federal grant program that 'should' pay for the shortfall in funding.
I previously reported that the Kings Inn was to become an affordable housing project. They recently went before the City Council and were earmarked affordable housing funds. However, the project has now morphed into market-rate housing, though I'm unsure if that entails condos or apartments. They chose not to apply for the affordable housing grant. A demo permit has been pulled to begin gutting the place down to the skeleton. Unlike the previously proposed Denovo project, this will remain the same height. This is exciting! This has been a long time coming, and I can't wait to see the plans.
Virginia Street Bridge
Utilities for the Virginia Street bridge including power and ATT will be relocated this month. Expect some lane closures during this process. The bid for contracts went out, and the final contract should be awarded in March. Demolition of the bridge is expected to happen in June if all goes well and water flows cooperate (of which we have no water flow so that shouldn't be a problem.) The project has been 'almost' 20 years in the making, with one of the RAAB board members mentioned they heard about this project back in the early 1990's. The goal is completion of the replacement 12 to 16 months out. I wonder where the Compression Art and Fire Festival will be held in July since the plaza wont be available?
West Street Plaza / Truckee Lane Building
As reported previously, Siegel Group is looking to modify West Street Plaza to open up the lower level of the Truckee Lane Building to a couple of additional retailers and make it flush with the plaza. This involves both West Street Plaza and Fulton Park, the small park-like area to the west of the Truckee Lane Building snuggled in the corner of Arlington and 1st Street. For Fulton Park, Siegel is looking to simply transfer maintenance of it to Siegel Group and not actually lease the space. For West Street Plaza, they are looking to lease the space, subject to preset criteria of the City Council which includes programming of the plaza (events, etc), concept and design. Townhall meetings for stakeholders are scheduled for February, with a March 25 City Council Hearing scheduled.
Park Lane Mall
Though it wasn't officially part of the meeting agenda, someone brought up Park Lane Mall, and if there was any activity. The answer is zero activity.