News 7-12-07 Downtown Baseball Stadium

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Posted by: Justin - 7/12/2007 9:40:41 AM
While I think this location overall is a good option, I am concerned about the possible loss of the Freight House. Reno cannot afford to lose any more old/historic buildings. We having shockingly little as it is now. The Mapes & Mizpah were huge losses for downtown, and it seems like Masonic Building, Virginia Street Bridge and Freight House will be next.

Posted by: Mike Van H - 7/12/2007 9:45:38 AM
It has historic status so I don't think they can just tear it down; my guess would be they will incorproate it into the design somehow. It's not just a stadium, it's a retail district as well, so maybe it can be used to house a year-round indoor farmer's market perhaps?

Posted by: Bugsy - 7/12/2007 10:32:14 AM
Im loving the fact that this stadium is looking like its the real deal. I too want the freight house to stay. Mike had a good point of incorporating the freight house with the stadium. Take a look at Petco Park (only a couple years old) in San Diego where the San Diego Padres play. You will notice a historical building that is part of the stadium and you can see it in left field. Its really a great and unique piece of the stadium.

Posted by: peter - 7/12/2007 1:46:43 PM
For starters love the site. Anyway did they talk about the traffic and street work the stadium will require. I am in full support of the downtown stadium but if it is difficult to get to then novelty may not be enough to bring people in. Neither 80 nor 395 gives easy access to the site so I am wondering how they are going to get cars there easily. I am sure this is a down the road issue just interested in others opinions. I was also wondering if they said anything about the eco channel in the advisory meeting?

Posted by: Steve - 7/12/2007 3:35:08 PM
We need to pick our poison Reno. Do we want historic buildings (which generate little revenue for the area) or a downtown economy that actually supports merchants and draws people to downtown. Seems like ideas get thrown around when we have interested investors, but then the National Historic Preservation Act (and SHPO) impede project progress. Developers need to do more due diligence and pick a part of town that lacks "historic" buildings. RTC found out the hard way a few years past, no?

Posted by: Justin - 7/13/2007 7:59:04 AM
Steve, Not to be condescending, but have you visited many cities? I just got back from a trip to Portland recently and it just blew my mind the amount of older buildings being put to good use (a stark contrast with Reno). Even Boise, a city the size of Reno, has been able to somehow find the money and fortitude to restore many of their older buildings. The problem is that it's often easier (e.g. cheaper) to build a generic new building than it is to properly restore and renovate an older one. Older structures often have more intricate detail work that is not easily duplicated/repaired, among other challenges. You make it sound as if there is no hope or use for older buildings. I couldn't disagree more. If the Mapes had survived another year or two it would likely have been converted to condos. The decision to implode the Mapes was incredibly short-sighted, and in the several years since, that site has done little if anything to recoup the expenses incurred by paying someone to blow it up. (Call me crazy, but how much money can a seasonal ice rink make?) Granted, this may change w/ the addition of the canopy and retail building when it gets built. For the record, I'm not some preservationist Nazi. I don't support preservation when it costs 3-4x more than replacing a structure or when it can adversely effect neighboring businesses (e.g. Virginia Street Bridge). The last thing I want to see for Reno is for us to become another Las Vegas. The most interesting cities honor their past by restoring, and often times, reinventing their older structures. If you don't agree, maybe a city like Dubai or Vegas is more your cup of tea.

Posted by: Toby - 7/14/2007 12:02:28 AM
The decision to implode the Mapes was incredibly short-sighted. What!? ----The Mapes sat vacant for 20 years.----- If you don't agree, maybe a city like Dubai or Vegas is more your cup of tea. ----Just because Steve has a different opinion than you he should move?----

Posted by: Steve (original) - 7/14/2007 7:34:07 PM
Whoa, there have sure been a lot of comments by and to various "Steves". As the original "Steve poster" (I think) - and one who has not been around for several days - let me add these thoughts. First, I agree with Justin who replied to "Steve" that he wanted to salvage what can be salvaged of the classic historic buildings in "old Reno". Preserving history is important. Second, I want to say that I am conflicted with respect to the Freight House. Other things equal, I would certainly want to preserve it. But, it appears (at least to me based on my "walk-by" observations - I have never been inside and could well be wrong - that it is much more "old industrial" than "classic architecture"). Third, there is a small multi-story potion of the building (that might well be moved - if necessary to accomodate the stadium) while the majority of the building appears to be nothing more than a an old partially covered concrete loading dock (which could be recreated using the existing timbers and the siding) onto a new "recreation" loading dock. In other words, I think this particular building might possibly (1) be worked around in building the stadium, or (2) be moved and reconstructed elsewhere if necessary. If either is possible, I would support the renewal aspects of the new stadium, together with some type of contingency program for the Freight House. Don't destroy it, but, if possible, preserve, relocate or reconstruct it.

Posted by: Justin - 7/15/2007 7:24:05 AM
Toby, Yes, I do believe the decision to implode the Mapes was short sighted. Although it sat vacant for 17 years, it still represented history and one of Reno's few architectural gems. If someone was able to save the Riverside, the Mapes surely could have been saved as well. It would have made great Artists Lofts, Apartments, Condos, Office Space, etc. All that was off was the timing. You have to consider the fact that there really wasn't any significant growth/development downtown, other than the "building of the balls" (e.g. Silver Legacy & National Bowling Stadium), from the mid-80's to late 90's, so it's no suprise the Mapes sat vacant for so long. I think I would have an easier time accepting the fact that the Mapes is now officially "history" if the city had the city done something special with the site in a reasonable amount of time. Afterall, why implode a building if you don't have something already in place for the site? The city council deceived the public by insinuating that it was the only viable option and that they had something great planned for the site. The truth was hey had no idea what to do with it. They kept going back and forth.......I still remember when an indoor market was planned for the site. In the nearly 7 years since all they've done with the site is pour some concrete and plant some grass/trees. Yes, the ice rink is there in the Winter, but truth be told, they could (and have) put the rink many other places. For me at least, the completion of the canopy and retail building (if it ever happens) will represent some sort of healing. For more on the Mapes (scroll down to the bottom): Look at the sign at the bottom. We are now nearly 2 years past the "completion date" of the Plaza which was initially supposed to include the canopy and retail builing! Even if we can trust current estimates, we're still another 16-18 months away from completion. Every day that goes by with no construction I grow more skeptical.

Posted by: Dave Aiazzi - 7/15/2007 11:34:46 PM
Justin, If you want to go back and remember history, you are required to remember ALL of it. In fact the Mapes WAS looked at as artist's lofts by the same people who took over the Riverside. THEY said it wasn't salvageable. EVERY engineer we brought in said it was an unsafe building. In my opinion EVERYTHING that could have been done, was done to try and save that building. I remember flying to Washington DC and meeting Richard Moe of the Nation Trust for Historic Preservation. He told us (Jeff Griffin and me) right in his office that there was nothing he could do to help us. There were no federal funds, no National Trust funds. There was not even any expertise or insights he could help us with to save the building. As probably the biggest supporter to save that building, when it was in the middle of being demolished, the contractor took me through the building and showed me a few of the faults. Hardly any re-bar, the beams were not connected to the floors, etc. That's when I came to realize that I had been lied to by Charlie Mapes. There wasn't 5-sack concrete, there wasn't railroad rails used for beams, the walls didn't even line up from floor to floor! No one in the community came forward to save it, even after I challenged them with giving up 10% of my own net worth to save it! (surprise surprise no offers). Remember it was the same City Council that saved the Riverside, and McKinley Arts and the millions we put into the California Building. Yeah, I guess I'm a little sensitive.................

Posted by: Drunken Stupor - 7/16/2007 11:32:45 AM
I would guess Justin does not live nor frequent downton much. If he did he would see that the mapes plaza is being used on a regular basis. It should just be left in its current state. The farmers market is held there. The roller derby girls practice there and hold bouts there. I have seen numerouse concerts as well as art town performances in the plaza. Some nights there are roller hockey games being played upon that surface. Kids love to skateboard there, which is a perfect place for them. Almost every night of the week something is already going on there and that is not even taking into consideration the ice rink in the winter. Why change a good thing. Congratulations to the City of Reno for creating a unique and obviously needed open space.

Posted by: Mike Van H - 7/16/2007 12:30:49 PM
Well I can see both points. Justin has a right to be upset/bummed about the Mapes Plaza. The Canopy is much needed not only as an icon, but for shade. I have attended nearly every weekend there's an event (farmer's market, Roller Derby girls, Roller Hockey, etc) and until 6 or 7 p.m., the plaza is like a huge hot sun collector. However, most of the delays are not the City's fault, or at least I don't blame them for the retail building; that was REA's ultimate screw-up of the project the first time around. A 2-year long screw up. The City picked the wrong developer, hey it happens sometimes. As far as the canopy is concerned, it WAS certain council members who requested the ice rink be enlarged to regulation size, and this was after the first and second round of canopy concepts. So everything, including the canopy, had to be redesigned. That, coupled with the failure of REA and the retail building, caused us to start the entire process over. The Good news is it's moving much faster than last time, and we have three finalists that are very passionate about the project. Trust me, the council feels the pressure and embarassment of this; they have stated publicly it's a 'credibility issue'. Back to the original issue, I agree with Justin that the original multi-story building of the freight house should be saved as part of the Ballpark project, or relocated at least.

Posted by: Justin - 7/16/2007 12:48:23 PM
Dave, Thanks as always for chiming in. I appreciate your "insiders" perspective. I have read much about the Mapes and this is honestly the first time I recall hearing about it's structural deficiencies. I realized it needed work, but wasn't aware it was so bad. That certainly sheds a whole new light on the subject. As for the commentor who stated that I probably don't live in or visit downtown....I happen to visit downtown at least 2-3 times a month. Not a lot, but enough to get a general idea of what's happening. I have heard about and witnessed the plaza being utilized for various events/functions. Still, as Mike pointed out, it's miserable in the warmer months due to a lack of shade. Just imagine how nice it would be with an arsty canopy overhead and in the background a retail building with stores and cafes w/ al fresco dining, etc.