STAR Bonds: Keep them Downtown

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Posted by: indamernreno - 7/23/2008 8:56:07 AM
I agree that a STAR bond should only be given to the GSR for the indoor water park. The original GSR expansion plans look to change the whole Reno-Sparks area. I am saddened to see it scrapped and that is what STAR bonds should be used for, a major community changing project. The original GSR in my mind qualifies as does legends in sparks(althought not to the same degree as the original GSR expansion). The plan to link the University and Downtown with greenbelts north of 1-80 and retail/housing/entertainment on the south border of 1-80 sounds awesome. I dont know the chance of that happening anytime in the near future but I would warn the city council/co. commission to exercise care when awarding STAR bonds. They should be used on projects that have a real good chance of actually being built. Bad to have too many STAR bonds out there and seeing one tied up on a "pipe dream" would be very sad. Been around Reno long enough to see many, many great projects go away.

Posted by: DodgeBall73 - 7/23/2008 10:26:24 AM
Great post dude. I thought every state had star funding. Of all the states to come up with this, it's funny Kansas did. They are smarter than the average bear.

Posted by: Sara - 7/23/2008 10:54:25 AM
I have some experience with this, I did my term paper on Sales Tax Anticipated Revenue bonds. Each bond is analyzed under a very powerful microscope. It's not possible for a 'pipe dream' project to receive that kind of funding, just like tax increment funding. In addition, there are many qualifications a project has to meet to qualify for one, which is what the mou is for. Great article. Kansas used it more as a land acquisition tool and to pay for freeway improvements/offramps to entice developers to that area. Our entertainment district is downtown, and that's where the the City of Reno's focus should be, particularly with all the money they have invested in downtown in the past few years.

Posted by: Revi - 7/23/2008 11:30:54 AM
I would like to know more about the north east downtown project. I have barely heard anything about this, except for on this web page. Is this the same project you have that downtownmap for on your home page? If so, that area is scumville right now. It needs a major facelift before people start taking downtown seriously. And Virginia Street between 2nd street and 4th street.

Posted by: PupTent911 - 7/23/2008 3:09:03 PM
I vote for the choo choo plaza because I will be moving into the Montage and will be a great place to hang.

Posted by: Greg Pachio - 7/23/2008 3:24:31 PM
I like the idea of demolishing six blocks of the most obnoxious putrid part of downtown. Are these guys for real and have funding? Not a 'Wingfield Towers' quick pitch n run?

Posted by: DodgeBall73 - 7/23/2008 8:57:52 PM
I agree with this perspective. After spending millions to improve downtown, the city and county should be focusing their energy on strengthening downtown and the urban core.

Posted by: David W - 7/23/2008 10:17:02 PM
Do you know how many times we were promised the waterpark was going to break ground? I remember seeing 3 or 4 articles about it in 2007. A couple in early 2008. Oh it will break ground this summer. Oh it will break ground this fall. Oh the waterpark is coming in spring 2008. Riiiiiight sure it is. Oh Kobi Karp towers completion date 2009. I feel sorry for the poor souls who bought hotel condos there under the guise and promise of all this. At least they got a Dolce!Demolish the entire property and use the 140 acres to build the largest family resort on the west coast, kind of like the resort you showcased is being built in Kansas. Schliterwhatever its called. Water rise and slides everywhere. Connect the entire property with a lazy river...because I am lazy.

Posted by: Christian Fey - 7/24/2008 9:44:56 AM
I can see no reason to give the GSR any STAR funding for their development purposes. As you said, it is not in the downtown tourism and entertainment area of the city. If we expend more money on one casino (where it is hard enough to park already) without a formal plan, we are opening ourselves to a failed attempt to draw people to the city. I agree that if we go with STAR bonds, the rundown part of downtown would be the optimal place for a retrofit. Reno has gone from a (excuse my term) trash hole, 10ish years ago, to an up and coming focal point that is now known more and more for the arts and cultural aspect than the allure of the casinos. We need to, and owe it to our city, to push developments through that will strengthen this ideal and get more people coming who are going to help our economy.

Posted by: Casey Black - 7/24/2008 1:43:12 PM
I have an archive pass to rgj, so I took a look for you:
June 8, 2006 - "Reno Hilton sale gets initial approval" - Gambling regulators gave initial approval Wednesday for the $151 million sale of the Reno Hilton to Grand Sierra Resort Corp., which plans to spend another $140 million overhauling the property. Among the plans are a Dolce restaurant backed by celebrity investors, including Ashton Kutcher of "That 70s Show," a nightclub featuring raunchy Las Vegas comedian Jeff Beacher, and the largest indoor water park in the U.S.
February 2, 2007 - "Big Things Planned for Grand Sierra Resort" - Grand Sierra Resort announced plans to begin building the largest indoor water park in the nation this year, and it will enter a partnership with Florida-based Nikki Beach clubs to build a new 200-room hotel.
April 10, 2007 - "Grand Sierra Resort Seeking Tax Break" - Grand Sierra Resort is seeking a sales-tax break to pay for a "rocket water roller coaster," and the rest of a 150,000-square-foot indoor water park. We need to get the bonds started quickly President/CEO Michael Carsch said.
April 12, 2007 - "Cashell to GSR: Hire Nevadans to build water park if you want STAR bonds" - Reno Mayor Bob Cashell on Wednesday gave Grand Sierra Resort officials fair warning that he expects local contractors to build its proposed indoor water park if they want the city to approve STAR bond financing for the project. One way or another, Cashell said the city will require "teeth in the contract to hire Nevadans. Im not the mayor of Tucson." The City Council then unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding. - - - - The first MOU was definitely for an indoor water park. If all MOUs last 150 days, then the MOU approved April 2007 would expire next month. Thats probably why Nevada Land II is seeking a new one. So they are still seeking help, except now its under the radar (no rgj articles about the new mou) and suspiciously generic.
I agree with this article...Grand Sierra Resort should only get help for the waterpark. Oh and by the way, they are going to have to up that square footage to about 200,000 to be the new nations largest indoor waterpark (they opened a 173,000 s.f. one in Sandusky)

Posted by: PupTent911 - 7/25/2008 6:32:39 AM
The City shouldn't help Grand Sierra Resort at all if the Grand Sierra Resort, old owners or new, is not going to build what we promised. The baseball people, who already got our fire station.

Posted by: James P - 7/25/2008 7:22:05 AM
It is a free market. Grand can build whatever they want on their property. However if the city gives them financial assistance to build fancy retail, new owners or old, they are are stabbing their own downtown retail projects in the back.

Posted by: Crystal - 7/25/2008 10:54:29 PM
Lots of developers have blighted lots. I can name some, Grants Landing, that Waterfront lot, several developments that are in Spanish Springs. It's called a housing bubble. Half of downtown is blighted. I would rather they fix up blocks of blighted property downtown than blighted property at Idlewild, wherever that is.

Posted by: Devin - 7/25/2008 11:04:17 PM
I think all the projects should be judged on their own basis, including grand sierra resorts and the others. Thats the only fair way to do it. If the government had influence to give preference to one project or the other, that would be bad. And land with overgrown weeds doesn't make someone a bad developer, or else half the people on my Akard Way block would be guilty.

Posted by: Mike Van H - 7/25/2008 11:07:28 PM
Hi Homey, I removed your comment it was a little bit too personal-attack oriented. If there's a slightly nicer way you could phrase your concerns over that project, that would be super cool. I just want to stay aay from personal attacks on anyone.

Posted by: CPAO - 9/8/2008 11:14:33 PM
I am a Kansas City resident. I urge each and everyone of you to request a copy of the Kansas City Star Bond Audit. While on the surface, it all sounds great....the taxpayers pay the price in the end.

Posted by: Wmice - 3/18/2010 7:07:41 AM
STAR BONDS....are a politician's SCAM! Buy the land cheap...put it into a no-name Trust...neglect the zoned area....have your lawyer petition for a TIF re-zoning...get your friendly "developer" to issue BONDS...underwritten by our pension funds...losing tax dollars....and claiming JOBS for Main Street