I was downtown mailing my jury survey off (yay for me!) when I noticed half of Virginia Street blocked off for some CommRow construction. Namely, the signs coming down!
It's always nice to see another obsolete, gaudy, 1978-style marquee hitting the road out of Reno's downtown. Only 37 more to go. (or more!).
â€œObsolete, gaudy, 1978-style marquee â€œ Wrong...... Thatâ€™s what is wrong with Reno. Your erasing your past. I'm (and family and friends) are you downtown customers. I have been hitting downtown for almost 30 years. I love/loved the fact of a condensed â€œcombat zoneâ€. It is the absence of places like the Nevada Club, Harold's and the Fitz that have left you with the big empty in your most marketable area.
I travel a lot in my profession all over this country. Every major city I hit has some kind of night life. Austin has 6th street, San Francisco has Broadway and Columbus, Denver has LoDo. You had that.......and Casino's. If Reno (city officials) had the insight to capitalize on the district from the rail road tracks to the Riverside, you had the perfect night life district. Sure, some of the slot joints would have closed , but the city could have promoted nightclubs, restaurants and lounges to replace them. Look at south shore Tahoe, it's all happing in a three to four block area.
I know what I speak of. I went to college in San jose. I saw the city allow the retail and entrainment venues to spread out to the suburbs and the downtown died. Sound familiar . They have now spent the last twenty years to try to get it back.
Come on, stop trying to be a cosmopolitan city........your not! Your what is left of what could be the wild west, Bars, lounges and.......... casinos, mixed with a dash of sophistication of fine dinning and entertainment. You have to decide, appeal to the out of towner and a youth market that may make downtown a little off for the Reno residents Or make a â€œFamily Friendlyâ€ downtown and be the Davis , CA. of northern Nevada.
One last thought.........take a hint from Austin, Palo Alto, and not from San Jose....embrace your the collage up the road (UNR). There a lot of $$$ in those kids pockets and they need a destination point to spend it. Sure Mr. and Mrs. suburb may not want to go downtown on St. Patrickâ€™s day.............but they wouldn't anyway.
Renofan, you are exactly right. The photos here depressed me, the icon of the Fitz is now gone. The "gawdy 1978" neons and lighting Wiley speaks of was uniquely cool, and is disappearing way too fast, as is the whole excitement and fun theme of the downtown area.
I know the climbing wall will be something unique, so I am happy the Fitz is becoming a fun oriented place at least.
Erasing the past is turning everything into a light brown, stucco covered, gabled building. Look around, the fun in architecture is slipping away fast, as regulations and "remodeling" jobs are put in place.
yeah it's depressing that casino style gambling is available in some form in about 40 states now, (as opposed to 1978). It's also depressing that a new generation of consumers wants newer stuff and wants that new stuff to look modern and cater to them. Also depressing is that times change and we all don't live forever!
In Las Vegas they've blown up the Sands, the Stardust, the old MGM, the old Caesars, and now the Sahara sits dark. They must be killing their past too?
If we could go back to 1997, find millions of dollars, and keep Harrah's from tearing down Harold's and Nevada Club, and keep the original Fitz company from going bankrupt, I'm sure one of us would do it. Unfortunately... we can't, and so now, we're doing this. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose!
Let's say you buy a business in an old building. Your a dry cleaners, but the old business was a hardware store. Would you keep the signs up from the old business? Of course not. Would you save the signs from the old business as part of your history? For what reason? Historical value from the '70's?
Change is good. And Reno needs change now more than ever. The old Reno needs a facelift, and this is just one small step toward creating a more exciting downtown again.
Given this new development, what do you do? Lament the past. It IS sad that you can't let go of an outdated business model and welcome the new. That's what's wrong with Reno...we keep reminiscing instead of reinventing. Nobody cares that you'll miss the Fitz, because it wasn't an icon other than another smoky outlet filled with antiquated slot machines and overcooked Prime Rib. Maybe that's why Vegas is still a viable tourist product, while Reno continues to fall behind.
Renoite, I think you miss my point. I'm clinging to the Fitz literally. I think Reno had a good model that they let slide away. Yes gaming has spread far and wide, but what Reno had (has) is a condensed corridor that could be capitalized on. Have you been to North Beach in SF? Or the LoDo distract of Denver. These are areas that had been run down as down could be. The redevelopment of the area was executed on the foundation of the past. I'm not saying all the â€œrelicsâ€ should stay. But for the tracks to the Riverside, Sierra to Lake is a perfect entertainment zone. Speaking of the Riverside, a perfect example. Once a standard of Reno's gaming past, reinvented or â€œReno-vatedâ€......not torn down! Do you really think a rock climbing themed hotel in a downtown location is going to be a hit. The sports themed hotels in Tahoe arenâ€™t doing that well and they are in the mountains. How about a retro hotel that has a small casino, night club and a good restaurant. (see examples below:*) Kind of a 50's 60's motif? I agree with you, Reno does have to do major redevelopment, but that does not always mean what was there was all bad. You have a city Gov. seems far to quick to tear down than to preserve and develop. Harrolds, Mapes, Nevada Club, can you call these â€œredevelopment projectsâ€ successful? If you are looking for a number of cement slabs they are. I would question them first....who holds the demolition contracts?
Well I have pontificated enough, I'm outside that â€œLoves your Cityâ€ Some of the new and yes a lot of the old,no VINTAGE. Hay four to five times a year you get my money at the bars, restaurants and golf courses.
Thanks Down Town Makeover Dude, love the website and you passion for the Biggest Little City.
*Run down hotels redone:
Reno Fan, I share your viewpoint from an emotional perspective, and had those iconic old properties you mention not been allowed to decline, I think that model might have still been workable, with limitations. But we should remember that those old models had a key component which many of today's large hotel-casino operations lack: a full-time, old school owner-operator, who had his own chips on the pass line and an overview which had a long-term component to it. Now reinvestment decision-making for hospitality companies is largely done by absentee committees of young MBA types, who want every department to be a separate profit center and who are immediate-result compensated.
Labor costs stated as a percentage of gross income are also much higher now than in the 70s, and Nevada no longer has the monopoly on gaming it had Back in the Day, when I can remember people standing in line behind the slots, waiting their turn to play. Change has affected the ability of the old model to persevere. There just isn't the money left over for reinvestment that used to exist.
I believe there is still a place for the northern Nevada hotel-casino, but only if run as a very lean operation by a hands-on, full-time, owner operator--just one executive, working many hours, in and out during all shifts, then the people doing the actual work. It is also necessary to create a product that is better than the northern California Indian casino operations, and then keep that product up to acceptable standard--people who are housed in a shoddy, outdated room for the weekend won't come back, and some of them will post negative comments on the traveler review sites. It can become a downward spiral, unfortunately.
Uncle Tom you sum it up pretty well, there's also the matter that the Nevada Resort Association made the "old model" illegal back in '91 with NRS 463.1605. Nevada's "image" was apparently suffering due to small casinos. Try financing one of those now...