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Details of the City Council Meeting
re: Baseball Deal

I really wish they had posted staff links because there was a lot to try and absorb, but here is a "rough" plan summary.

1)  Freight House, Fire Station and Siena properties will be transferred by the city to the developers at no cost.

2)  City will acquire the Siena parcel by trading the RRA's riverfront parcel (011-016-07) west of the Riverside artists lofts and across the river from Palladio PLUS the two riverfront reno redevelopment agency-owned parcels (011-078-02 and 04) that lie just east of the old Nevada Inn (parcel addresses are both 340 east 2nd) PLUS the Men's Club building (011-380-30).  NOTE 1: The parcel by the Riverside will have a separate Development agreement that will commit Siena to a time line for development.  Note 2:  Dave Aiazzi objected to the inclusion of the parcels east of the Nevada Inn and wanted to further discuss it with the council/staff in private.  He is apparently aware of some other pending proposal - that probably includes redevelopment of the adjacent Nevada Inn - and wants to give Siena cash as opposed to those parcels.  NOTE ALSO:  The Men's Club - which has apparently tried to buy that parcel for 10 years from both the RR and now the city - is not happy that title (and their property lease) will be transferred to a third party.  Council, on the other hand, seemed delighted to be rid of the headache of dealing with them.

3)  The Fire Station will be vacated by 1/31/08 to facilitate stadium construction.  Prior to completion of a new facility (probably on parcels 011-350-01 and 30 that lie north and south of the trench between Keystone and Vine with the northerly parcel being the likely site of the new station and the southerly parcel being a fire station parking lot) the station itself will operate out of the existing old building on the south side of the trench and the admin staff will operate out of the office building that is directly across second street from the existing fire station. 

4)  For 20 years the developers will get up to - but not exceeding - $2 million per year of the incremental property tax (above current levels) from a newly created "baseball district" which "roughly extends" (I couldn't jot everything down quickly enough as the slides were shown) from the corner of 5th street and Virginia, down Virginia to where the facade improvement pilot plan starts where it jogs west into the alley behind and then jogs further west at 2nd street to go down Sierra.  The boundary stays on Sierra and goes across the river where it turns east roughly on State and continues east (on the south side of the river) all the way to roughly High Street and Mill where it goes north past the Police station and then turns east again on Kuenzli until it gets to Wells where it goes north across the river and turns west along the train trench.  At approximately Evans it goes north to 5th and then west back to the starting point at 5th and Virginia.  This is a LARGE AREA (190 acres according to the RGJ) and returning as much as $2 million per year of incremental property taxes to the stadium developers is no small deal.  NOTE:  Apparently a draft plan had the boundary extended up to 6th street rather than 5th but that was reduced "BECAUSE A LARGE UNANNOUNCED PROJECT IS PLANNED BETWEEN 5th AND 6th" and that area's increased property taxes - when the project comes to fruition - are not deemed attributable to the baseball project. 

5)  Developers also get access to the hotel room tax money - subject to meeting the Oct 1 deadline for completing a deal.  And, they are requesting "future consideration" for star bonds status on any new retail they construct.

6)  The city will purchase the existing RTC station block and transfer it at no cost to the developer.  The city will also allow the developer to build out the unfinished southern portion of the bowling stadium and will allow them a $1 per year 20 year lease.  They will also give the developer a $1 per year lease for the ENTIRE lower floor of the built out portion of the bowling stadium for additional retail development as well as the parking garage in the building.  The developer will also get free title to property at 427 Evans.  AND, the city will agree to abandon the one block portion of Evans street south of the trench and north of 2nd street.  Developer plans to buy the Mizpah block and the old motel property on the Freight House block.  This will give developers a much larger footprint for the stadium and associated retail and they showed a redesign of the ballpark which utilized the larger footprint.  RTC is not too happy about losing Evans Street as it will impact the operation their new transit station, but the council seemed to brush off those concerns.  The development agreement will apparently require the developer to complete retail development in two separate 3-year increments but what is required to be done in the first three years vs the second three years was not identified.  The city will have a no-cost agreement with the developer to stage a certain number (at least 12 per year) events at the ballpark when doing so does not conflict with the baseball schedule.

7)  Developer will loan the city $10 million to be used to be used to relocate the fire station.  At one point a council member - Gustin I think - mentioned (somewhat tongue in cheek) that he wished that the developers would do a similar deal for the police station.  I think the developers sort of shocked the council by indicating that an additional deal for the police station property was certainly not out of the question and that they would be open to the discussion.  Guess we will see, in a couple weeks, what if anything comes of that exchange.

Comments:

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Posted by: dave aiazzi - 9/5/2007 11:01:46 PM
Those are indeed the "deal points" for a DDA coming to us soon. The only thing I think is incorrect is they don't get access to room tax money if the deal is done by October 1st, they get the car rental tax money (about $25M)

Posted by: RenoSteve - 9/6/2007 9:51:26 AM
Dave, any idea when details of the pending development proposal between 5th and 6th streets might become public? If it "happens" to include a rumored new hotel casino that I heard discussed some time ago, it would certainly add to the positive impacts of the Ballpark district plan and provide real momentum to the revitalization of a large swath of downtown. One other question. Since you have apparently added item L4 (shown below) to the Sep 12 City Council Agenda, is there any input you can give about your thoughts on the possible timing and location of any trench cover or covers which may eventually be approved and built? I personally think that doing this project correctly, and in the right location or locations, is one of the most significant long term downtown improvements that can be made downtown and that it may also prove absolutely essential to the success of Fernando Leal's attempts at both a financially successful completion of the Montage project and his proposed acquisition and revitalization of the Fitzgeralds property (acquisition was supposed to be completed in October if my memory is correct). L.4 Discussion and potential direction to staff regarding an Action Plan for the ReTRAC Cover. - D. Aiazzi

Posted by: Reno Citizen - 9/6/2007 1:11:26 PM
This deal is a the best thing to happen to RENO since the trench and will no doubt be the catalyst for a significant turn-around for the city and the goal of it being friendly to tourists and locals. However, this cannot come at the cost of Firefighter or public safety. Currently, RFD has a what is called "a hole" in response area over by the GSR, basically to the east of the current fire station #1. By moving the station 1 to the west we not only increase the times to get to the downtown core but also significantly increase the time to get to their second in districts like station 2 & 6 & 3. The station currently houses 10 firefighters and they need an additional engine downtown just for the current call volume let alone when all this development is complete, yet they have been repeatedly turned down by city council. Also station 1 sees on average of 32-37 calls pre day with spikes during events of up to 50+. Now they want to move station 1 and increase their district to encompass more of downtown? They also say that station 3 & 2 can make the wells corridor in less than 4 minutes and that is completely false. On top of all this, the developer wants to lend 10 million dollars to rebuild our staion when it would cost almost 20 million. Not to mention that the administration, if moved to office space, would have to incurr that cost every month when currently it's free because the city owns the building. There would go the money that could employ more firefighters and increase their ability to serve the citizens of RENO. The best thing that no one has mentioned yet is that the mainframe for the city of reno is located in the basement and would have to be moved. Again this is a great deal for the citizens of RENO and I hope that it goes through. I just hope that it's not at the expense of the firefighters that serve us.

Posted by: Bill Miller - 9/7/2007 2:43:25 PM
The City Council is to be congratulated for conducting a very thorough analysis of the ball park-they made the right decision and the ballpark will be the inspiration for the renaissance of downtown Reno.

Posted by: david roach - 9/15/2007 10:46:57 AM
I live in fort wayne, indiana. We have a downtown redevelopment project called "Harrison Square"- a downtown baseball stadium to replace the perfectly good one we already have. Its a classic struggle between all the vultures who stand to cash in on the taxpayers money- as usual. The biggest difference is we dont have downtown hotels and casinos, nor enough tourists to fund our dubious "hail Mary" project. There is also talk to develop another vacant brownfield-scrap metal yard near north of downtown (google maps- hybrid- keyword "Fort Wayne Indiana". An old NYC RR freight depot, and small industry/warehouse district is also encompassed. Anyway, I am following what is happening, in a strangely parallel universe- like looking through a carnival mirror- seeing the universality of human behavior, and the webs they weave, in the name of "Civic Progress"- whereby of course anybody opposed is tagged "obstructionist". Anyway- my point is that the biggest difference between these interstingly similar projects is yours is funded mostly from private investment, and gambling revenues. Ours is on the backs of the Wal-Martians; and McDonalds cooks. Maybe we should be sister cities? FTW has lots of party places, but beware of the PD. Cheap airfare via Allegiant airways. BTW- was steve fosset kidnapped by aliens? I wouldnt doubt it..

Posted by: Brenda Hill - 10/31/2007 9:50:35 AM
I am not quite sure what the City Council is thinking... when it comes to this "Baseball Deal" I wonder who's pocket is being thickened by this deal?? I have worked in the downtown area for 23 years and have seen the City start to crumble in a big way. There are drug deals and prostitution in broad daylight. Then a "White Elephant" of a bowling stadium was built and the problems became worse! The area where the City wants to build the "Baseball Stadium" is the worse part of town with every kind of crime imaginable. Did the City Council check into that...? That is the start of the problems... Who is going to ALL of these games??? Oh yeah, I want to go to RENO to see a Baseball Game??? (add sarcasm here) NO, they come here to gamble their money... not to spend it on a game... or be mugged in the parking lot!! They are going to squeeze a "Baseball District" into a "Drug District" .... Wonderful!! I don't think there is enough room for both! I work with the public... the public that lives here and has lived here... people are angry at this idea! Oh, let's not forget the homeless center right next door or the "Soup kitchen"... what a wonderful site for this to happen in! They lay in the gutters and hassle people as they walk by. I see the homeless, drug addicts, gang members and mentally ill wander the streets all day in that area... What is the City going to do about that?? What a sight!! Has the City Council or Mayor been down here lately to really take a look where they are putting their dream?? Now, the RFD. They have been there for years! They are valuable asset to this community. Why do they have to be moved for just another "White Elephant"?? I would love to be the first to sign a petition to STOP this nonsense of an idea!! What happened to the idea of the Baseball Park being built in Sparks anyway?? It is a much better location. Did someone count the dollar signs and figure it would be better in Reno??? It just doesn't make sense at all! I love the Kayak Park! It made an impovement to the looks of downtown... BUT! Two days a week the homeless line up to get free food... they sleep in the park and RPD does nothing... What will they do when the homeless and drug addicts line of for baseball tickets just so they can dig in the trash cans for a half eaten hotdog? So, as for me, and hundreds of people that I have spoken with... I won't ever buy tickets to see a game! So, good luck with that Baseball idea!!

Posted by: Justin - 10/31/2007 11:09:34 AM
Brenda, Do you also go by the name of Terry Walters? Your post sounds supsiciously like a letter to the editor by Terry Walters in today's edition of the RGJ. Either way, I never thought I'd meet someone who makes me sound like an eternal optimist, but you've somehow managed to do just that. Most of your complaints about downtown Reno could be levied at nearly ANY city in the United States. I've traveled quite a bit and don't get why people are so scared of downtown Reno. Our homeless population is probably the most passive I've ever encountered and I've never witnessed these so-called "daytime drug dealings". Do you really advocate using police resources and tax dollars to pick up every homeless person in downtown? And if so, what do you think should be done with them? At least Reno is attempting to deal w/ it's homeless population instead of picking them up and dropping them off in another city as Sparks has long been accused of doing. Regarding the Ballpark location, I have my concerns as well, but I definitely feel it's a more fitting location to that of the Sparks Marina. Let's face facts, gaming revenues are down. We need to do all that we can to make downtown a more diverse and interesting place to visit for all types of tourists. Things like the Artown, Whitewaterpark, and the Baseball Stadium are steps in the right direction. I just hope it actually gets built.

Posted by: Mike Van H - 10/31/2007 11:53:48 AM
Greetings Beth! I have to respectfully disagree with most of your comments. I have LIVED in downtown Reno area for 10+ years now, and I have seen the improvements. If you think the bums and drug deals are bad now, think back to the late nineties and 2001-2002-ish....I see less now than I did back then, especially regarding the homeless. The City of Reno, along with the Downtown Improvement Association, are taking proactive steps to deal with homelessness. It's a tougher problem than you think....it takes more than just police presence...because the homeless, if forced to move by police, simply walk over to the next block. Don't forget, Reno is a city, not some country town. Show me a downtown environment without homeless folks or drug deals going on at night. L.A.? yeah right. San Fran? try again. Seattle? nope they have drugs and homelessness too. Sacramento? Same thing. Some cities have managed to successfully consolidate all their homesless folks into one bad neighborhood and out of tourist areas, however that only compounds the problem of the homeless folks, and definitely is not a proactive way to fix the problem. The City has spent millions recently building homeless shelters, job centers, and family shelters to help with this problem. I think one is currently under construction or soon to be. Regarding the baseball stadium, I can tell from your comments you aren't a baseball fan. The stadium is for baseball fans, it's not there to try to talk people who hate baseball and sports into coming down and supporting their team. Out of 350,000+ people in Washoe County, I'm sure there are at least 10,000 or so fans who would come down and watch. I will. It will also be used for special events, AND the retail built around it will support it. Like other stadiums downtown, if you do the research, people will make a day of downtown activities, including a ball game. Regarding your comments about the neighborhood where it's going, are you saying that because a neighborhood is currently a bad area, that no one should invest in it and turn the neighbrhood around? If that is the case, the concept of redevelopment or revitalization would be non-existent. I think some retail and baseball stadium is EXACTLY what that neighborhood needs. Right now there is nothing but empty parking lots and abandoned buildings, so of course there are homeless folks and drug dealers wandering around. That will change once the area is filled in with new retail and a ballpark. That's how it works. That's how downtown Los Angeles is helping with its current issues...the city is completely revitalizing its downtown. You wouldn't be caught dead in downtown Los Angeles after dark 15 years ago. I should know, because I spent nearly every day downtown after school hanging out with my Dad at City Hall where he had an executive position. Now, downtown Los Angeles is a vibrant urban core with nightlife, family activities such as the Disney Theater, Staples Arena, stadiums, a vibrant jewelry district and more. And it didn't happen by people thumbing their noses and saying 'ooh this neighborhood is too scary to build in'. Los Anegels took a big step in introducing the Grand Avenue Plan, and other development plans for each district downtown, and developers started renovating old buildings, and it took off from there. DO you have any idea of how much private money has been invested in downtown Reno in the last few years? It's quite astronomical when you think about it....since 1999, The Riverside Artist Lofts, the Movie Theater, the Palladio, the purchase of the old Woolworths Building, the purchase of the Bank of America Building and Wells Fargo Building, the purchase of the JC Penney Building, the conversion of our new City Hall, the Montage, the River Park, all the street beautification, The Events Center, of which I've already seen 2 concerts at, the ball room project, which will make holding events downtown much more attractive, which is more revenue from a redevelopment district, the renovation of Regency Apartments, Sundowner, etc etc I could go on and on. Yes, there are areas that the City needs to work on, and at times I am their biggest critic, BUT, they usually get it right. We have a GREAT city council. I am not brown-nosing, I don't even know any of them, I am just saying it's a good balanced group that do their best with the tools and developers they are given. I for one will be down at the ball games, supporting the folks that chose to invest tens of millions of dollars into our lil' ole city and give us a Triple AAA Baseball team to support and cheer for. Well, hopefully cheer (win some games!)

Posted by: BUGSY - 10/31/2007 11:58:23 AM
Hi Brenda, I hate bums, drug dealers, tweakers and winos like you, but I know this stadium will transform the area. In San Francisco, People felt the same when Pac Bell park was being built at the China Basin. That Area was one of the worst areas in San Fran..But now the stadium was built, It became the nicest area in San Francisco. Pac Bell park (aka AT&T Park) area is the cleanest in the city where trash and bums fester most of the city.

 

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