CommRow to Undergo Three-Week Makeover

by Mike Van Houten / Dec 28, 2011

There have been quite a few rumors as to the status of CommRow after reports started swirling about managers and chefs being fired. Well, I'm stoked to report that according to the RGJ, CommRow will be undergoing a three-week makeover starting Sunday, which includes finishing the concrete floors, and probably changing under performing concepts out. I never did see Twisted open in all the times I have been to CommRow, so it wouldn't be an unreasonable guess that Twisted might become a different concept entirely.

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  • December 28, 2011 - 9:11:32 PM

    They opened after the big summer events were over. The floor was simple concrete and was depressing. They under ornemaented it. And At maybe put a Sports bar in there with some cool big LCD's and seats to get some traffic? Downtown Reno needs a cool sports bar/theater. The patrons can walk over after placing bets at the Eldo or Cal Neva. That's what I would do. Poster "Sara Lee" will (obviously) be all over this.

  • December 29, 2011 - 10:15:38 AM

    Put in something for people to do on the first floor for people to do beside eat and drink. Maybe an art gallery. The pet lounge on the first floor seems like a waste of space and I've never spotted a dog in it. Lose the dog bone and put in some interactive art of some kind. Finish the concrete floors too, and open up your venues for lunch during the week.

  • December 29, 2011 - 11:08:58 AM

    Seems like a good spot for a casino, possibly with an Irish theme.

  • December 29, 2011 - 2:20:07 PM

    @OLDJOHNNY: I've been laughing at that for minutes. Literally. As soon as I got it.

  • December 30, 2011 - 12:36:26 PM

    I suggest adding much flashing neon outside, and installing a `lucky Irish' themed horseshoe shaped bar inside, around three sides of the first floor, with large screen sports TV monitors every 10 feet all around it. In the center, install rows of slot machines (no table games), except for on one side, and put a dance platform there with a riser for alternate night rock or c & w bands. Advertise for the local 20s -- early 30s club crowd, and bus in San Jose area retirees for slot play on Mondays through Wednesdays. The first two floors of hotel rooms could be rehabilitated for overnight guests, the next two floors set-up for off-campus dorm rooms for U of N students, and the top floors rented out as extended stay, week to week or monthly lodging space. I think it could pay off to do it that way. The goal would be to eliminate separate bar and club staffing and entertainment costs, eliminate high cost liability insurance and wages for the rock hopping and climbing attractions, and create some modest but predictable cash flow.

  • December 30, 2011 - 1:03:14 PM

    Gaming is dead here.

  • December 30, 2011 - 2:40:37 PM

    What a load of BS in the paper. Lets get a few things straight: Chicago (DRW Trading) came in (or was sent in by Mr. Wilson) to shake it all down. I know this because I worked there - and everyone saw them come in for secret meetings with staff. There were NEVER 120 full time employees. And AT LEAST 15 of them have been terminated because they need to cut back expenses. The Chief Operating Officer, Executive and Sous Chefs, Director of Marketing, Operations Director, Floor Managers and many other non-food and beverage employees were terminated to reduce overhead about 4 days before Christmas. These people were just 90 days past a Grand Opening that was, as everyone could easily see, pushed too soon. A new GM was hired, and Mr. Leal was "retired" to doing what he does - developing not managing. The place was run like a playtoy. The place is/was bleeding financially, and the Boss came in to set it straight with new management. Thats exactly whats going on - the paper is getting PR spin fed them, and as they do, they spit it back out. Hopefully, new management can set the place going in the right direction. Personally, with that garage looking like it does inside without elevators working, and with the lack of hours of operation just after the place opened - Id close it until you can do it right. Remember the promises of Grand Sierra Resort when it was first bought from Hilton? I bet we wont be seeing any skate parks on the garage roof anytime soon. Lets see if Chicago wants to spend some real money and put their pockets behind finishing the place right. I think when they see how tough it is to make it in Reno without gaming and a whole lot more money, theyll sell or close it. I hope for the sake of downtown Reno...they dont shut it down, or open the hotel half assed.

  • December 30, 2011 - 3:22:19 PM

    wow ok that makes more sense.

  • December 30, 2011 - 5:48:21 PM

    It isn't accurate to say that gaming is dead in Reno, based upon state or county-wide trends. A properly managed property can still earn a decent return, through special event events, a large players' club roster for marketing purposes, and with good cost control. Peppermill and Atlantis are busy, as is the Stateline Harrah's. Business is down at most places, but not all, due to the economy plus Indian gaming, but that doesn't mean that gaming is dead everywhere. If one did the same sampling of any other segment of commerce, comparing the same time periods, it would also show decreases.

  • December 31, 2011 - 9:32:01 AM

    ExCommie seems to have a bit of an inside view of the happenings at this place, and his post makes alot of sense. The concept is limited in scope, and developer Nando (sorry y'all I am not going to call him anything else until he builds something successful in Reno) shouldn't be running the facility. The limited gaming Uncle Tom proposes makes sense, and is the only logical way to make this facility profitable. Reno's downtown has lost alot of the fun aspect in the last 15 years. Gone is the whimsy of big flamingos (you can still see their pink footprints on the roof of the old Primadonna), Mr. O'lucky, leprechan hawkers, Riverboat styled buildings, showgirls walking around Harrahs, as well as many other odd yet fun things in town. I remember some years back walking near the Flamingo when a side door opened and a man with a tiger on a leash stepped out. Fun, good food and excitement are the keys to a successful entertainment area, and that is the focus should be in this facility.

  • December 31, 2011 - 10:03:43 AM

    How about a lower floor 'experience' for those who do not drink alcohol. There could be a bar offering non-alcoholic look-alike alcoholic drinks. Nutritious foods made to look like 'junk food'. Activities to promote interaction with other humans. There could be so many fun and simple ways to enjoy being with others in a healthy way. Remember, Twister party game; horseshoes , chess tables, musical chairs, darts, etc. An area for lectures on how to be psychic, read palms, do remote viewing and form groups to actively participate in solving some of the problems in Reno. There could be some martial arts competitions for youngsters. How does CommRow make money at this? Charge by the activity/hr. Set out donation 'jars' for those who just want to donate for the fun they have had. There are many potential customers who do not like to drink alcohol and just sit and watch sports on TV. There are lots of other casinos to watch TV. Think of the fun to be had by families or college kids who are looking for more low-key fun.

  • December 31, 2011 - 12:07:31 PM

    Annya, those horseshoe games, chess tables and such are available for free at most senior centers, and the seniors are the people who are attracted to those `town square' types of social interactions. As to the non-alcoholic drinks, people will only pay so much for a fruit slurpee or sparkling cider type drink. I hate to be one dumping cold water on your idea, but there is no profit potential there, and without that, it wont' fly. There is a required return on capital element for whoever is an owner/operator. I think you do have a nice idea for a senior activities center along the river walkway, though.

  • December 31, 2011 - 1:04:41 PM

    Ok, I think I heard a shoe drop! I know DTM dude is hopeful, but this is mixed news. The concept does need to be reworked. An outdoor sport hotel would be better suited for Tahoe. I visited Comm in early Dec. for a second time and was not impressed. The new group that has been brought in operates the Hotel Jerome. I think team should consult with the Kimpton Group. They have had much success taking over run down hotels and turing them into jewels. Or perhaps if they brought in the folks that run Imperial Lounge, Chapel Tavern and MidTown Eatery as consultants. These places have given Reno a cool hip identity and man they draw the customers. And Uncle Tom is right, gaming is not completely dead. If you approach it as an additional amenity to a property like the Hyatt Lake Tahoe, it is an added incentive to us visitors. Use gaming as the cheery on top, not the main draw. The best news in all of this is Leal seems to be moving out. Man Reno, you need another guy in your corner other than him. But as always, I'm a Reno Fan and plan on being back in the early new year.

  • January 1, 2012 - 12:04:03 AM

    DTM Dude is certainly hopeful - he's on the payroll, he does the CommRow website. Or did he forget to tell us this once again?

  • January 2, 2012 - 12:13:11 PM

    Greetings! I am not on the payroll, and while the web firm I work for built their initial site, all of their content is managed and updated in-house, and not by me or the firm I work for. Why do you continue to make this an issue Tom when it doesnt affect my postings, and I dont censor any comments regarding CommRow, even when getting as heated as above. Im a patient person, but Ive about had it with you constantly attacking me because of my profession. Its a small town, and theres bound to be downtown-related businesses I do work for. Get over it.

  • January 2, 2012 - 12:29:03 PM

    And where above did I sound 'hopeful'? I simply posted that they are doing a remodel and that Twisted never seemed opened in the first place. If I seem a little angered, I am. I work my ASS off on this blog, it takes a large part of my free time, and I work my ass off as a web designer in a community that's BARELY holding it together. If you think I am going to say 'no' to a downtown business who wants me to do work for them, because I also happen to own a blog about downtown, you are nuts, off your rocker, and not living in the real world. Have you thought for a second that the reason some downtown businesses come to me for web sites is because 1. I'm a good designer that's affordable and 2. I share a passion about the community and neighborhood that go beyond the effort of what a normal web firm might put into that person's web site? I honestly don't know what's happening at CommRow beyond what their PR person, Natasha, tells me and the rest of the media. However I do know that CommRow is important to downtown, important to the folks who have jobs there, and sitting right next to our arch, it's pretty damn important the project is a success. I think their planned changes/renovations are a good thing, and they are obviously fixing what didn't work. I would feel that way whether I did work for them or not. Oh and by the way, I'm damn proud of the work I did for them.

  • January 2, 2012 - 7:18:34 PM

    Looks like a nerve has been hit, once again the Dude has a meltdown. ALL YOU NEED TO DO - when posting a story about CommRow, which is your every right, since you do cover downtown, is add a little fine print at the bottom, something like this: "Fine Print: CommRow is a customer of mine from time to time". That's all it takes, problem solved. You could have done the same with your Montage stories as well, everything would have been fine. Google: "conflict interest disclosure". Every blogger wants to be a real journalist. If you want to play in that game, the conflict of interest statement is not just important, it is essential. If you refuse to recognize this, well ... not good. Best of luck to you Dude in 2012.

  • January 2, 2012 - 7:41:08 PM

    You said "I'm stoked to report" ... well, all the people who got fired 4 days before Christmas probably weren't "stoked", while Leal gets to skate AGAIN. At this point not only is CommRow a bad idea right from the start, but they're lousy human beings and I've no intention of ever going in there again regardless of how they rebrand it.

  • January 2, 2012 - 10:24:25 PM

    @Tom, what the hell? Layoff, all I have seen DTM guy do is post some stock releases about CommRow and opening photos. Taking this conversation back to CommRow, it was a bad bad bad idea to not have the first floor open more often. It was strange to walk in and everything is roped off but the coffee bar. That is not how to run a business. Delis can get away with being open until post-lunch, but you're not a hipster Chicago establishment, you are in Reno, and if you have decent priced food, you need to be open for lunch. Hello! The new Cargo line up is decent, Dubliners are cool. But the place is so massive can it survive off concerts and being popular during the weekend? I remember in a Reno Gazette Journal interview, Fernando Leal mentioned the budget for this project was very small and is what it is. More money needs to be invested to add detail. Open the hotel, and I agree with Old Johnny, add some slots on the first floor, old fashion pull handle style, and you suddenly have a Fremont Street style resort with a climbing wall and cool concert spaces.

  • January 2, 2012 - 10:25:13 PM

    Oh and DTM guy your Nonoi thing is difficult to type in the letters you might consider a different verifier thing.

  • January 2, 2012 - 10:50:02 PM

    Sara Lee I meant I am stoked to see them complete what many feel are unfinished portions of the building including signage and the concrete floors many complain about. It was one of the top complaints about CommRow's first floor in my previous threads. Obviously anyone who loses their job are not stoked, including those when small businesses close or downsize as well.

  • January 2, 2012 - 11:06:19 PM

    You guys are welcome to criticize projects all you want. Sara Lee is a longtime commenter who dates back to 2007, maybe even earlier. Any negative/attack/hostile comments directed at me, other commenters or anyone will be deleted. This web site was not put up to jeopardize anyone's reputation, including mine, and I can't afford a lawsuit either. If you have beef with me, use my contact form. Keep this on topic.

  • January 3, 2012 - 10:44:55 AM

    There's nothing like a Commrow post to get the opinions flying in here! Mike, I think you know we all respect your work, and enjoy this site. You put alot of yourself into this and it shows. I think Tom's post reflects a disappointment upon finding out that you are not a 100% public service provider, but that you indeed need to make a living too. I too had this disappointment at one time, but I realized you are positive about every new business in Reno, not just these couple of projects that have employed you. I briefly thought you were a shill for Nando at one time, but you are not, and although I don't think you are going to post negatively about him and his projects, it is more that you are a positive guy than you are getting paid for the positive spin. Tom's idea of a disclaimer would have prevented my initial disappointment and his, perhaps it is not a bad idea as your site continues to grow and more and more people turn to you for your positive journalism. You and everyone else here know I do not like anything Nando has done in Reno. He has shuttered 3 of my favorite casinos, put hundreds on unemployment, and done, in my mind, irrepairable damage to the downtown area. Nando is a developer, not an innkeeper, and I sincerely hope these Commrow changes will send him to new, greener pastures that he can bulldoze. Somewhere else. SaraLee, we have to get a cocktail someday. At the Eldorado. With AKB.

  • January 3, 2012 - 6:26:14 PM

    First DTM Dude, I did not mean to offend. I love this site, use it as a guide for downtown and have found many, many new areas and venues to explore because of this site. I often refer others to here over travel sites when going to Reno. I'm an outsider and try to share a point of view of a tourist and a regular visitor. I never see your reporting more than one individuals view of a city you deeply care for in a positive way. And for any accusers that insinuate you being on a payroll, should read the many posts that you allow and encourage. I doubt any of the stake holders in this property would want some of the comments that are voiced on this website to be read. I will say, as someone who posts comments, I often only comment on the bad news not the good. In 2012, I will change that and try to share my positive experiences as well. Please keep up the good work.

  • January 3, 2012 - 8:54:35 PM

    Hilarious!! So apparently some people who post here don't like Fernando Leal, and they accuse the webmaster of "having an agenda" or "being on the take"! Here's an idea...if you don't like a website don't to browse it. And if you don't like the development being reported on...DON'T GO IN TO IT! I suppose CommRow would serve the community better by being dark? Right? More tax revenue would be gained from the ghosts of Fitzgeralds?

  • January 4, 2012 - 5:31:29 AM

    Alright, I actually stopped by downtown Reno just before 'COMMROW' shuttered temporary. I did manage to study/observe interior/exterior and take some photos of the superstructure, sidewalks, facade, ingress/egresses, landscaping, parapet, parking garage, traffic flow, path of configuration(s) (foot-traffic), quick building envelope observation, distance shots from all four cardinal directions (UNR gateway/airport/S.McCarren,Caulghin Prkwy/etc.) as a future study guide of what NOT to do when designing commercial buildings. Without any hesitation I will brand this place as a hideous design concept and a "drafted final" with no master-plan in place. It is a disgrace and offensive to not only me as a designer/customer but also to the field of design and architecture, your community, particularly the downtown corridor and nearby establishments (Eldorado/Harrah's/Montage)that have vested in this area. A good design takes almost 18-36 months of planning, site analysis, feasibility/aesthetic, interior studies. This project looks like it took 18-24 weeks! I need to write about COMMROW staff but I also want to explain in detail of what this building needs (should've) done. There is absolutely no reason to have a full second floor with existing escalator retained in place. First floor is very chaotic with numerous food/bar stations only 15ft apart, like it's some kind of international buffet! Majority of the second level should have been open to below with side glass panel rails and a square mezzanine. Almost all first floor walls should have been replaced with store front glazing similar to the Montage. The climbing walls should have extended from the second floor down to the finished floor of the first level. Yes, there is a stiff insurance policy for any climbing wall beyond several feet in place but a way around that is to provide one helmet, rope and safety harness on any climber (ex. REI, UNR had a climbing wall beyond 25ft. with these safety measures in place) so there is no insurance excuse for that, it's doable! A bar/deli could have been built around these "3" climbing walls on the first floor so diners may watch the climbing (ARCHITECT'S INSIDER NOTE: not the greatest concept in my opinion but the entire theme of the project was built around this "climbing wall" for some reason I still don't understand, as a designer you have to work with what you got or told by the owner, you can always laugh at it later all the way to the bank). Powder coating the ceiling is always cheap and an excellent idea that I would have also highly recommend for that rugged look (although a deep brown powder coat would have been my recommendation) with bright studio lights. No need for the escalator, a expansive metal staircase to the second floor would have been fine and stood out more. The Fitzgerald theme and footprint is still prominent property-wide and a terrible owner mistake. The designer needed to emphasize to Leal NOT to allow this, not even one square inch. Are you developing a new idea or expanding and reviving on a shuttered casino that obviously never succeeded after 1990? Decorative concrete staining or even a sustainable bamboo flooring needed to be installed BEFORE opening any doors. Hiring 150 staff members is not only crazy but ridiculous AND STUPID without the full project in place. I can run the place with 12 staff, with 1 manager on each shift with no directors and/or no support (have them brown-bag-it for lunch or PAY at a discount which would have helped the establishment at the same time). The 'Old Reno' next to COMMROW needs to be purchased asap for an expansion to the west. Why is this abandoned building still there? Not much else can be done without purchasing the entire block south (including the useless and filthy Douglas Alley, the rundown Motel, ghost of Golden Phoenix, and the Gift shop). Little Nugget, Red Nightclub, these two can be incorporated inside COMMROW for a future use after a buyout. My next report will be on the staff members, my brief contact with them and there welcoming greetings such as "What's up" or "What do you want" and even overhearing one female employee "What's this ugly 'brown' guy doing here, he didn't even shave, he's going to scare them away!" However, I did manage to brush those rare greetings off as employee "opening day" jitters or butterfly-in-the-stomach felling being it's a new property and all the employees are still nervous. I did see they're much more welcoming with there close friends, which was another story...I tried the over onioned/burned garlic Gyro sandwich on a paper plate. I actually had to reach over the counter to grab a plastic fork since the female chef was chatting with the male chef, avoiding me for most of the time (again, must have been the common first time serving the public shyness, completely understandable on my behalf, nothing serious). This was not even close to an official Gyro meat with the seasoning in place, rather a top sirloin steak cut in pieces with tzatziki sauce. It was very disappointing. I wish this property the best in there future endeavours!

  • January 10, 2012 - 4:03:03 PM

    Must....restain....myself. But I will change my prediction that Con Row will outlast the Siena.

  • January 11, 2012 - 8:25:09 PM

    I've been doing a few "nose print" construction observation tours, the last this afternoon. Swirls is now demoed (was it ever finished and opened?). Looks like the dog bone is being disassembled. No other visible changes or upgrades. Floors are all clean and awaiting new finishes - since the cracks haven't been filled in, I'd guess carpet tile for the most part. There sure isn't much visible work on the $39K construction permit, which should equal $100K+ in finishes upgrades. CR doesn't have much political capital left in the community, and can't afford yet another disappointing opening that doesn't meet expectations.

  • January 20, 2012 - 9:32:47 PM

    I was in CommRow today, one day in front of the grand re-post-soft opening. The concrete floor on the main level has been stained to resemble cow vomit. That's it for the fine tuning. RGJ reports that the only food venue to be reopening is a burger joint concept. Signs say the Row will now be open 7 days a week, but is saying otherwise. At this point, I really hope they don't try to open the hotel portion of the project and have to hire and fire the employees who have left other jobs to serve here in what is now a joke of a business.

  • January 21, 2012 - 9:37:43 AM

    You know what's sad in all this? Reno wants CommRow to work - but management isn't stable enough to give our community a product it can learn to love (or just like). Many people have been fired - most just days before Christmas. The RJG is getting CommRow's version of "responding to the public" - when in fact, there's not been enough time to open what they originally promised long enough to make that determination. It's going to take months before they settle this concept down - and after two "Grand Openinings" - I'm not sure the public cares anymore.

  • January 21, 2012 - 12:06:15 PM

    Stained floors and a burger joint. Sounds like Con Row is heading more towards the $1.99 32 oz Beer and Hot Dog business model than Urban Adventure. But a nightclub and food to soak up liquor with is a more realistic idea of urban adventure. So much better and different than a Casino on that corner.

  • January 21, 2012 - 12:30:23 PM

    Not very impressed that their main food venue will be serving hamburgers, especially with the Little Nugget's Awful-Awful just down the street. The original eatery options at least seemed more unique. Also have they improved the parking garage access since October? During the original Comm Row opening, there was a shared lane for entry/exit, fences blocking off all levels above the ground floor and plenty of opportunity to get trapped with no place to park if another car came in after yours. Still hoping that Comm Row will become very popular during the summer, but the next few months appear to be challenging, especially with no hotel and unfavorable weather for outdoor wall climbing. The concert venues (and bars to a lesser extent) will need to be wildly successful for this property to make a profit before the weather gets warmer.

  • January 21, 2012 - 1:35:55 PM

    What a joke -- this is bordering on infuriating even. The new business model is hamburgers and a concert venue? And what, once the weather gets nice you want me to come Downtown to climb when I've already been doing it all winter at the gym in Sparks and I'm looking forward to doing it in the Sierras when the weather's nice? As MJD pointed out, Awful-Awful is already next door and a few more doors down is Knitting Factory. Knitting Factory barely puts on enough good shows to get people downtown and the concert lineup released by CommRow is a total head scratcher. I'm with "doofus" on this one, I hope the hotel never opens up so those people they hired don't have to experience how it feels to work for a company that would lay off a bunch of employees literally right before Christmas. I would think the people of Reno would have enough pride in their community to not put up with being manipulated and used by these jerks anymore.

  • January 21, 2012 - 11:05:20 PM

    They removed the most interesting concepts, it's almost like the owners from Chicago came in and dumbed things down for Reno. CommRow had some unique eateries and all that's left is burgers? No Que? No TarTar Bar? No Lemoni? Everything interesting is gone, and I noticed their new posted hours still show them not being open during the day. I do like the stained concrete floor. It's better than what they had before.

  • January 22, 2012 - 2:20:50 AM

    Was at Comm Row yesterday around 730-800 pm. Maybe about 60-70 customers in the entire building (all three floors) although more people were arriving toward 8 pm. About 10 people on the bouldering area (no one climbing the outside wall), 15-20 at the second floor bars, and fewer than 20 at Cargo and scattered across the first floor venues (most of the original bars on first two floors were open, except the coffee shop was unstaffed). Floor surface looks better than before, and the leftover Fitzgeralds signage was removed. Didn't look like a grand opening to me, and it was way too easy to come up with a head count. I couldn't stay for the concert at Cargo--hopefully the crowd got larger after 8 pm. Ordered a bacon cheeseburger and philly steak (other items available included Kobe beef hot dogs, three salad choices, some side dishes, other cheesesteak choices including buffalo chicken, mexican-style, or veggie steak, three other burger variants, or build your own option for the burgers/steaks). Burgers were $7.50 (Steaks $8) with tax including choice of fries, tater tots or side salad. The food was decent although on the salty side. Still think Awful-Awful is better (and I preferred the Greek Gyro from the former Lemoni grill). All items were cooked to order, took close to 15 minutes to receive them. Server was generous with condiments and included a cup of ice water while I was waiting. I asked about the status of the vacant eatery spaces (formerly Que? and Da Stand) and was told that the plan was to attract locally owned restaurants/eateries, either existing establishments looking to open a second location or to start up their business there. So the types of food that may end up in the vacant spaces could end up being anything. Sure hope things pick up and the vacant spaces get filled, because this evening was much more subdued compared to the original October opening. Another down side--The blue parking garage across the train trench was staffed and charging $5 to park there. I found a free parking space about a half block north of the garage.

  • January 22, 2012 - 10:22:02 AM

    I am new to Reno, and this blog. Great job with this site by the way. I went to Commrow for the first time last night, and I don't understand the fierce hatred on this site for this project. Though there were a couple of closed venues, the food was decent, drinks were cheap compared to where I moved from and the rock climbing concept is neat though I bet it's better in the summer. Can someone explain to me what is so unappealling about this place? Reminds me of a toned down LA Live.

  • January 22, 2012 - 10:35:48 AM

    To MJD I think the only grand opening last night was Cargo, which ushered in their new concert line-up for the place. I was there toward 10 pm and there was a lot more people than earlier in the night. To Paul, not everyone hates CommRow, a few of my commenters are very vocal regarding their opinion of it, but not everyone feels that way. Check out my Facebook fan page and you'll find a more positive stance on CommRow. It's a fun place place to go see a show and do some climbing.

  • January 22, 2012 - 11:06:58 AM

    They are called CAVEs, Paul. Citizens Against Virtually Everything. Reno has an unusually high number of them. Had Fern built a luxurious casino in Fitzgerald's hull, they still would completely trash it. It's what they do. They all criticized the Siena when it reopened as a luxury casino, then complain that CommRow doesn't have gambling. Huh? I remember when these same people said bums would urinate all of the doorsteps of 8 On Center and windows would constantly be broken. Didn't happen, and the reverse happened. People are shocked that CommRow is not busy during the winter time. Nothing downtown is busy during the winter time!

  • January 23, 2012 - 11:45:34 AM

    Oldjohnny... a little consideration, even though I agree with some of what you say. The business model may be flawed - but I don't think it can be judged until the hotel opens for at least 6 months afterward. Once that happens, there will be more customers on property, and downtown. Will it be enough? Good question that neither of us can answer yet. Montage is NOT a failure - check their increased purchase rates since the real estate crash of 2004 - the time when it first opened. Poorly timed? You bet. But can YOU predict the future of the real estate market? Neither can I. While I might agree that "Fern", "Nando" or Fernando (whatever you choose to call him) made strategic mistakes - I personally don't think they were intentionally done to hurt Reno. Nobody plans failure... especially in this economy. I'd like to see you have a real chance to put an actual business plan in motion downtown, so we can judge you without warrant like you're so quick to judge others. And no...I'm not on his payroll or his friend - just someone who hopes for the best in our community (and for any venture like CommRow) at a time we need it. Everyone is entitled to their opinions - as long as they're factual and don't hurt others. "A legacy of shame"? Come on... I don't think the people that live in Montage, or those that are still working at CommRow consider their opportunities shameful. I think you could spend your time being a little more positive for the benefit of us all. But then... maybe being the all-knowing naysayer is what you get a kick out of from behind your anonymity on this blog.

  • January 23, 2012 - 11:08:44 PM

    What happened to Old Johnnys post? I read it but now it's gone. I do have to say that I bet if we all get on board and spread happy supportive vibes ConRow will be a mega success. It's got to be CAVEs bringing their viral buzz kill to the internet and dooming this plan. It couldn't be 30 years of poor planning and bad marketing in Reno. Call me a CAVE if you like but a bad plan is a bad plan. Nando and his minions obviously believe he has some sort of special touch. I am sure he is a good talker and has the gift of persuasion. But in reality he is just like every other failed devloper that rode high when the bubble was growing and anyone with access to cash could make a killing. No special skills or vision needed. Just make sure you are not standing when the music stops. The big question is what will happen if this mess fails.

  • January 24, 2012 - 9:25:46 AM

    Old Johnny emailed me and asked me to remove that particular comment. He felt it crossed a line for him, so I respected his wishes and removed it, though I didn't find anything offensive in it.

  • January 24, 2012 - 9:56:14 AM

    AKB, I actually emailed DTM Mike and asked him to remove my previous post. I wrote that post when I was in a particularly bitter mood and it was more negative than I wanted to be on this site. Sometimes I tend to drive a nail with a sledgehammer. Renoite, I agree, Reno needs Commrow to work. I however don't believe in the "think good thoughts and it will succeed" strategy in business. Restaurants and bars are very hard to make a living in, let alone be successful at. It takes hard work, long hours and alot of personal investment of the owner, which I have not seen in Commrow. I do not think Nando planned failure, rather he did not invest enough time in research and number crunching with Commrow. Even with the opening of the hotel, how many 1978 style rooms are going to be rented in a town where casinos give them away? (Harrahs has "petsay rooms", and they are free or very cheap) One of most recent causes of my bitterness in regard to Nando is that in the decades I have managed businesses, some of them hospitality, there was always an unwritten rule we followed. You never fire or lay off employees after December 5th or before the new year, if there is any possible way not to do so. It breeds too much bad will, and it is kind of cruel. What upsets me the most here is that a version of the concept COULD work. Personally, I can't see it without casino income. Maybe I am wrong. Hope so. The dirty windows, the odd hours, the unfinished floors, the unopened food stations should never have happened in the first opening. You never get a second chance at a first impression. Hopefully, the new management will understand this and change it enough for Commrow to survive.

  • January 24, 2012 - 7:01:51 PM

    I hope they are successful, and I think there is a place for them, especially with the right mix of entertainment plus limited gaming, and with the right general manager who is living on the job and who is totally invested in the project. My father, a Reno investor in the `50s and who was a Detroit police officer in the 40s, took me with him sometime in the very early `60s to the Silver Dollar Club, a place run by a gentleman Dad had known in Detroit. That man was Lincoln Fitzgerald, and his employees knew how to make you feel welcome. Later I stayed in Mr. Fitzgerald's brand new hotel in about 1977 or so, which was on the spot of that same old Silver Dollar Club, or close to it, as I was told. Again, the employees were trained to make you feel like you were a visiting relative they were glad to see, unlike at most of today's Las Vegas mega-resorts, where you are just a number on a players' club card. Those old school guys knew how to make it work. I think that kind of "hands-on" operator can make CommRow work, but if it were me, I would try to put some slots and a long bar on the first floor, and get some live music in there for older players like me. I won't be climbing any rock walls, but I would buy a steak sandwich, some good wine, a concert ticket, and I would play a combination 3x dollar slot for a while before the show starts, too. Now isn't that worth at least a Hooh-rah?

  • February 24, 2012 - 12:54:56 PM

    Can anyone confirm the rumor that CommRow's GM was busted at the front door smoking a joint? This place is quickly turning into a bad version of the Knitting Factory. Maybe it's time for some new management...AGAIN...within 6 months of opening their front doors. I think what they've done by eliminating all the food places and putting in a burger joint next door to the Awful-Awful is well... awful. Anyone have any bets when (or if) the hotel will actually open now? Reposting comment because I think it got deleted.

  • February 24, 2012 - 6:45:19 PM

    Ask ConnRow what happened to their security contract. Like they will be honest anyway.

  • February 24, 2012 - 8:16:26 PM

    From the sounds of some of these comments, it seems like people *want* this place to fail. It's no wonder why Reno has some of the problems it does; some people will stop at no end to see a business that's at least doing *something* downtown fail. I guess they would rather see another Kings Inn working as a pigeon sh*t collector. It's quite sickening that, in a city as great as Reno is, there's this many backwards-thinking individuals who have nothing better to do in their lives than to make everyone else's as miserable as their own, pardon the phrase, pathetic existence. Seriously, if you people have this many problems with the way things are in Reno, either do something about it, or move. Being a back benching whiner won't accomplish a damned thing.

  • February 25, 2012 - 12:11:50 PM

    Other than clearly not reading many of the posts in this thread, what exactly are you doing to support your "non-pathetic existence" Anakin-Marc? What are YOU doing about it other than being critical of others you don't agree with?

  • February 25, 2012 - 5:20:10 PM

    Anakin-Marc, I think you are misreading the tenor of the comments. Absolutely EVERYONE wants CommRow to succeed. But we are frustrated beyond words by the 8th grade level business plan, the criminally negligent staffing decisions, the utter lack of truthful communication. It's not Leal people are railing against - he is just a hired hand now and his "vision" has long since been abandoned. It is the lazy and quite frankly stupid decisions being imposed on the project from the "home office" in Chicago.

  • February 25, 2012 - 9:10:35 PM

    Well it's not looking like a game changer. Too bad.

  • February 25, 2012 - 9:12:01 PM

    Dude, Tom never accused you of being one of the diciples who prostelized Comm Row. Why the defensive hissy fit? Or did it hit home a little too close?

  • February 25, 2012 - 11:29:05 PM

    Just a reminder also any comments flaming other commenters or me will be deleted. Theres no way in hell I am going to allow commenters turn this blog into what RGJ used to be before they changed to Facebook-powered comments only. Im obviously liberal with moderating comments given the recent comments on CommRow. Criticize a project all you desire, including CommRow, though constructive criticism is encouraged. But dont expect ME to ever flame a business on this blog, CommRow or other. Thats not why I built this site. Thats not how I roll.

  • February 26, 2012 - 12:01:17 AM

    Head honcho is running the place into the ground. He is creating a dangerous environment. I would mention name but fear retribution. He is drunk every weekend and this week started fight with his own staff. Why someone hasn't filed suit against him is a bewilderment. CommRow needs more than a nightclub manager. Are they run the hotel like this too? I appreciate this blog so the truth can come out about. Yes ExCommie heard that too. I know an eyewitness. What they did to Nugget is inexcusable too Sara is right.

  • February 26, 2012 - 12:07:54 AM

    - comment removed -

  • February 26, 2012 - 12:11:50 AM

    To Tom, I warned you any further comments flaming me will be deleted. There are obviously larger issues at hand. Stay on topic.

  • February 26, 2012 - 2:44:41 AM

    Tom, Sara, and others with passionate views about CommRow - is also covering the situation and ALL comments short of libel are welcome there. I was there this afternoon and saw the ghost town 1st floor patrolled by the new security force in SWAT team regalia, and the amazingly active bouldering area on 2 (where did the slack line go?) A 7 year old kid at a birthday party can get a slice of pepperoni pizza at CR Base Camp, but not the tweaked out raver at Cargo. Just another one of the psychotic business model decisions.

  • February 26, 2012 - 8:36:04 AM

    Anakin, doofus is exactly right. I have hated this project from the second I heard about it. I have always dissed Nando and his projects, and the lack of business sense in them. I enjoyed the Fitz, and still abhor the loss of the place, as well as the Golden Phoenix. That said, what is done is done, and I too want this place to succeed. What angers me is that the people that own the place don't seem to care whether it does or not. This is a public recreation facility. The public, especially locals, need to understand and like the place. Any hospitality business relies on word of mouth to succeed. Many locals were hired when the place opened, many were laid off soon after, take excommie, who was laid off just before Christmas. Any business manager knows that is wrong, and it did PR damage. None of excommie's friends or relatives will spend a dime in a place that laid him off just before Christmas. Now the rumor is the GM is smoking drugs outside the place? Fighting with security? What a PR mess. I walked into the place on a Saturday night at 7 pm 2 weeks ago. The burger stand was just opening up, 2 employees were moving around in them, there were 2 bars, one with a bartender and no customers, the other with about 10 20something customers. The place was cavernous and dark. No music. I was never greeted by anyone. I left shortly afterwards. The concept is hard enough to make money at. I don't think it could even with the perfect management. But this mess? Come on! Can't we at least TRY here??? The Fitz was a place it's customers loved. The friendly staff, the location, the fun atmosphere. It seems to have been replaced by exactly the opposite. I'll bet the Fitz, run down and run by a BK trustee, made more money than Commrow will. Someone please, please come to Commrow and turn it into something good!

  • February 26, 2012 - 9:42:24 AM

    That was probably the best, most constructive comment comment on this thread OldJohnny. They are having major issues over there and they need to pull it together for the community and at least try.

  • February 26, 2012 - 10:18:51 AM

    Right on oldjohnny. We do want something to work that everyone can feel safe going to and have fun - especially right at the Arch. I still believe the older concepts could work there; but today's management doesn't seem to be in tune pleasing locals unless they're partying at their concerts or clubs. The whole family-friendly concept is being "dumbed down" for tourists. It's what the owners from Chicago believe we'll buy - burgers. Not more ethnic foods like gyros or tacos. Too bad...I think that's now a lost opportunity at a very important location in Reno. Reno is smarter and more cultured than they give us credit for, and we have a bad taste in our mouths from opening, closing, changing, fighting, and all of the drama they've created in five months without honoring their commitment to be open for business... and fun for everyone. Reno is disappointed in CommRow - and I hope that changes like everyone else.

  • March 3, 2012 - 4:07:57 PM

    It's a burger joint and a nightclub. So much for "Urban Adventure". It is interesting to watch this mess if it weren't so sad for downtown. My odds are now back on the Siena to outlive ConRow. Unless Nando convinces someone to back the worlds largest ball of twine and food court there.

  • March 3, 2012 - 7:19:41 PM

    No permits for the hotel renovation. No apparent renovation activity on the ugliest wallpaper in Reno. No booking info on Expedia and their ilk. Former insiders saying the hotel is "seriously" delayed. Spring 2013 anyone? Or just never?

  • March 3, 2012 - 11:29:05 PM

    Hey! I'd pay to see the world's biggest ball of twine! AKB you may have saved this place!

  • March 4, 2012 - 11:08:44 AM

    I can't imagine the hotel opening anytime soon. I get mailers from the Eldo, Silver Legacy, Siena and Harrahs every month offering free rooms. Even the Sands internet rate is stupidly low. How does ConRow fit into this scheme? Who are their customers? No doubt there was some serious hemorrhaging of cash in the defunct food court idea and I suspect that if the climbing wall does not perform this spring summer "season" there may be more drastic changes ahead. You can also be sure that there is no will or resources to keep this open if it costs more to do so than closing it. And don't forget the parking garage deal and the renovations planed for that. Will we see a skate park and zip line? Hey Old Johnny, I'll be in town on the 17th to support the local craps dealers and I'd be happy to allow you to buy in on that ball of twine franchise.