News 5-23-07 Canopy Madness Continues

Two of the three developers being considered would like a 'clean slate' regarding the design of the canopy when they start the retail building aspect of the 10 North Virginia project, or at the very least have some say in the design. They would like the canopy design to conform to the retail building design (which I thought was already designed by Sheean Van Woert) and not vice versa. Of course the council agreed, and it was hinted any further design work on the canopy would be postponed until a developer is chosen in two months. The discussion became so involved council members almost forgot they were simply motioning to accept the three finalists for the project. What does this mean for the design work already done by Sheean Van Woert? Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on that work. Sure, there's a good chance the reason two of the three developers would like a say in the canopy is so they can enhance it...but we have a canopy design approved by the public at meetings, approved by the design subcommittee, and given the green light by the council, and fits the budget allocated. I would love to get my readers' opinions on this. At least there was some mild comic relief in listening to the 'President of the United States' talk about the evils of newspapers and how newspaper racks are ruining downtown. The council as a whole today was unusually witty and energetic, making for quite an entertaining city council meeting.

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Posted by: Justin - 5/23/2007 6:30:31 PM
All these delays are upsetting to say the least. I can only hope they learn from this fiasco. At this rate, we'll be lucky if the city has managed to get both the canopy and train trench plaza completed by 2010. Keep in mind, the city "promised" that they would have the canopy built in time for the opening of the ice rink in Nov. of 2008. Then again, they also promised that they would have the Fitzgerald's sky bridge torn down by the end of 2006 and would start construction on the trench cover the 1st quarter of 2007.

Posted by: Crystal - 5/23/2007 10:15:36 PM
This is getting ridiculous. Why is it Renown and Peppermill can build entire towers in a quarter of the time the City Council has taken to finish this simple project? The building should match the design of the canopy. The canopy is the signature piece, the building is just a building. And who gave the interested parties the right to interfere with the design of the canopy, when the City of Reno owns the land and the building will just be leased anyway? The project started as two different bids, two different parties, one for the canopy and one for the building. The canopy is being payed for via the City of Reno, and the retail building is a completely separate entity. IMO, The City Council should have rejected the two parties who indicated they wanted to influence the canopy design, since the architects already designed both the building and the canopy to match.

Posted by: Mike Van H - 5/23/2007 10:27:44 PM
Well lets not get ahead of ourselves here, I was raising hypothetical questions based on the discussion today. The council did not intend to pick one of the developers today, they simply accepted the three and directed Mark Lewis to narrow it to one. Its not known yet to what extent if any the chosen developer will want to modify the canopy. Also its probably not fair to compare private funded projects like Renown and Peppermill to this project. Youre not taking into account how long Peppermill and Renown had planned their expansions before actually breaking ground. The construction phase of both the canopy and building are actually relatively short...its the darn planning phase that has taken forever. Too long, I agree. I do agree though that the canopy is the signature piece, and the overall site would look more artsy if the building matched the canopy. I really liked the building Sheean Van Woert came up with, it works with the canopy perfectly.

Posted by: Mike Van H - 5/23/2007 10:40:39 PM
Hey Mr. RENOvation! Great job on your blog so far. Justin, Im not even sure the train trench projects is on the books still, or if they may have something else up their sleeve. Its certainly not on their top priority list anymore. 99% of that isnt the Councils fault...I was told by a council member the funding was pulled by the feds for other things, like wars. The Rainbow Bridge was supposed to be demolished within 90 days of the agreement of the land exchange with the Fitz, however soon after that deal, the Fitz was sold to L3 Development, so perhaps that deal is in limbo or void, or L3 Development gets additional time to demolish it. I wouldnt be surprised if Fernando has something up his sleeve for the trench cover since it was him who recommended the City of Reno contact the group involved with the Millenium Plaza in Chicago, and now he has two blocks along the South end of the trench. The other big rumor I heard is it may not be a cover going over the trench, but perhaps an extension of an existing parking garage over the trench.

Posted by: Matt Z - 5/23/2007 10:54:40 PM
After the fiasco during the first round of this project back in 2004-2005, my thought is the redevelopment agency wants to povide as little friction as possible this time around, thus lessening the chance the developer will back out midway through the design process, like REA did. If that means the project is delayed a few more months, so be it. I feel the agency knows this is now a credibility issue, and wants to get this project done asap.

Posted by: dave aiazzi - 5/24/2007 7:33:34 PM
First off: fi•as•co (fē-ăs'kō, -ä'skō) n., pl. -coes or -cos. A complete failure. [French, from Italian fare fiasco, to make a bottle, fail, from fiasco, bottle (perhaps translation of French bouteille, bottle, error, used by the French for linguistic errors committed by Italian actors on the 18th-century French stage), from Late Latin flascō. See flask.] Or: fiasco; pl. Fiaschi [fee-YAHS-koh; fee-YAHS-kee] Italian for "flask," the word fiasco is most often connected with the squat, round-bottomed, straw-covered bottle containing cheaper wine from the CHIANTI region. The straw covering not only helps the bottle sit upright, but protects the thin, fragile glass. Fiaschi are seldom seen today because the cost of hand-wrapping each flask for cheaper wines has become prohibitive, and the more expensive wines with aging potential need bottles that can be laid on their sides. “I don’t think you are using that word correctly……” – Vizzini, The Princess Bride Easy ones first; Rainbow Bridge. The requirement was that the process started within a certain time (it has) and that it be completed a certain time AFTER THE RAILROAD APPROVES THE PLAN. We always knew this was the sticking point, the RR gets approval as to HOW the bridge would get demolished. REA (first developer on the plaza). They didn’t back out midway, in my opinion (legal stuff here) they didn’t perform to the standards of the contract and were asked to leave (and forfeit their $100,000 deposit). Peppermill and Renown. You will also never know if they went over budget and, if so, how it gets paid for. (Tell me which direction YOUR HHP rates are going) I’ll take Crystal’s piece in three parts. “The building should match the design of the canopy” Indeed it should and hopefully, it will. Since we have no agreement with any developer, there is no certainty they will use the existing design. In fact I believe REA owns the design of the building (since they paid for it). If the winning developer want to save some time and buy if from REA then…… “And who gave the interested parties the right to interfere with the design of the canopy, “ We are asking the interested parties to spend millions of their own dollars, they are also members of the public (who showed up at a public meeting) and expressed their thoughts. EVERYONE has a right to “interfere” with the design. “when the City of Reno owns the land and the building will just be leased anyway?” How the project gets built is yet to be determined. With REA we ORIGINALLY were going to GIVE them the land in exchange for them building ice facilities for us and leasing back the space at very favorable rates. When REA came back and want free land AND market rates, things started to get dicey. When they agreed to pay market rate for the land (in exchange for us paying market rate for the leases) and then back out of that deal too, things completely crumbled. Credibility Issue. When we originally did a nationwide request for proposals we had a budget of $4,000,000 to do a plaza and left the design completely open to the respondents. After awarding the contract a number of things happened that drove the price up considerably, The credibility issue we have is to keep this cost in line. We have been told before a price on the canopy and when it has been costed out, the number is immensely higher. So here we sit now with a GUESSTIMATE at $3,800,000. We are leery, as shown in the 5-2 vote. I would say we are being cautious. Lastly, “wants to get this project done asap.”. We want to get it done right. Would it make sense if the building and the canopy were constructed at the same time? If the public couldn’t use the plaza in the summer of 2008 due to canopy construction and then can’t use it in the summer of 2009 due to the building construction, does that make sense? There was a young bull and an old bull walking down a hill……….