Update on CommRow

by Mike Van Houten / Apr 18, 2011

A couple of items on CommRow. First, an article in Northern Nevada Business Weekly about the project. Second, a public notice published in RGJ regarding the sale of the garage to DRW Fitz.

Although there appears to be some kind of delay as no exterior construction has begun, it still seems like the project is moving forward and keeping its traction. If I had to guess and speculate, I would guess that the project can't happen without the parking garage (how many hotels do you know of with zero parking?) and there could be some delays with that process. It looks like the garage issue/sale will be on the April 27 city council agenda.

Post your comments
  • April 18, 2011 - 4:05:55 PM

    Talk is cheap! This old adage is so true, especially in Northern Nevada; just ask GSR (5 new towers, world's largest water park, Bellagio fountains, Ferrari/Mazzerati dealership etc). Siena-2 was better off purchasing the 'Fitz' property (closer to the downtown core). The Siena just needs to be left alone as a high-end Ramada, a quick stay for nearby courthouse business or condos with a climbing wall. The only way for it to succeed is to demolish and relocate the useless National Auto Museum, build a parking garage in it's place and expand the floor into the existing south parking lot. Here is a company that retains the name, which means no need to buy new uniforms, signs, logo's, aggressive marketing or even a new website (cost effective). Unlike it's previous predecessor, this GM did one thing right and not go all in. They're testing the waters, but I can give them a better future perspective on the Reno market without waiting 3-6 months and spending on numerous campaigns/advertisements. Just look at RGJ's "Metromix" and under photos section you can get a glimpse of downtown Reno's clientele (young confused bar hopping adults who spend no less than $20 and no more than $40). They usually have a plastic beer cup in there hands and sporting the victory sign in the photos. I also predict almost half of the ecstatic new hires will be let go by the second week of August and a complete property restructure (debt) by mid-to-late November and than complete takeover by a third party on or before the holidays. -Architech is a new up and coming professional constructive critiquer and a forward thinker who resides in the Bay area, eats all organic and tells you what you know or need to know but sometimes don't want to hear.

  • April 19, 2011 - 7:36:06 AM

    Rumor has it that all of the financing may not be in place for this project. Lots of hype but not a lot of money? Let's not forget that these guys Lost L3 development a little over $200,000,000.00. I would speculate that banks are not lining up to give them more money.

  • April 19, 2011 - 9:15:09 AM

    I don't think financing is the problem. DRW Fitzgerald keeps coming up in meeting agendas and on blogs,and in that RGJ Public Notice that downtown dude just posted. If you google DRW, the first thing that comes up is DRW Trading Group, based in Chicago (thus probably tied to Leal), and Donald R. Wilson(initials DRW), the primary principal, is a self-made multi-billionaire...everyone in the trading industry knows that name. If he owns the garage lease, he probably is part of this project to one extent or another. For the project outlined (budget hotel, climbing wall, indoor climbing gym, etc), a higher end renovation cost would be $10 million max, which would be generous. Wilson could fund that in his sleep, without a bank. The issue is pretty clear to me; CommRow needs a garage that is currently tied up as part of a ReTRAC bond issue that somehow involved future revenue from the garage when Fitzgerald's was open. If I were an investor, I would not want to touch this project until at least had dedicated parking. A hotel without parking would probably fail. Leal clearly stated in a council meeting that he did not want to invest in reopening the garage unless he also owned the land underneath...which is currently owned by the Redevelopment Agency because they condemned and seized it from Fitzgerald's to build supports for the Retrac trench, and then took out bonds against future revenue from the land lease to build the ballroom and beautify Virginia Street. Should be a very interesting meeting April 27. I for one hope this project gets built. That's my two cents and I am pretty darn smart.

  • April 19, 2011 - 9:55:00 AM

    Architect: Best to get your properties straight before impressing us with your "forward thinking and constructive critique". The Siena (or Siena2) is not associated with CommRow in any way. Metromix is targeted and developed for the "20 year old crowd", which is far from the real demographics in downtown Reno? How do I know? I live here, run a marketing firm, work downtown... and see it every day. Metromix is NOT Reno's core demographic. They are NOT the people visiting, gambling or staying in our hotels. And you might also be surprised at the average dollar amount that is associated with those plastic cups. Not quite in the $20-40 dollar range if you had real statistics instead of conjecture. And Melissa... you're right. You are smart.

  • April 19, 2011 - 10:45:36 AM

    I agree with Melissa that financing has never been the issue here, what's holding this project up is the garage issue. It's wrapped up in litigation and I think the owners, Leal and Don Wilson worked out a deal with the City to purchase it outright and end the litigation. That's what will be decided, hopefully, at this meeting on the 27th. Once the City inks the deal and Leal has the garage, I think we're going to see MAJOR construction begin in the time after, it could be a day after or a week but it's going to be quick. That is just my estimation....I know full well this project is going to happen. They have all the permits, the wall is being built RIGHT NOW in Oregon all they need is the garage and its close. This project is closer than anyone thinks it is and when they execute it will change the dynamic of Downtown in the best way possible.

  • April 20, 2011 - 12:24:51 PM

    I think it will be interesting how the garage works out here. Wasn't the garage included in the original purchase of the Fitz from the beginning? Seems to me there was some fancy land trading and wheeling-dealing at one point between Nando and the city. I agree that the hotel without the garage doesn't make alot of sense. Still hate the name CommRow.

  • April 20, 2011 - 4:14:23 PM

    Melissa- Just wanted to say kudos to you for setting the record straight. I, too, can't wait to see this project green lighted.

  • April 23, 2011 - 6:04:55 PM

    You people just don't get it do you, "Downtown Reno" was built by Carano's for Carano's (Harrah's Corp. figured this out after the plaza design and gave up on Reno). Even if COMMROW acquires the structural unstable parking garage, it is not the magic pill. I have assessed the downtown district last fall and I can explain to you in detail why downtown Reno has failed from a design standpoint and will take at least 10-15 years and over $1 billion to turn it around. Las Vegas downtown, not the strip, has even surpassed Reno's downtown. Even outside of downtown, Reno has failed, the Peppermill spent $400 million on a ridiculous expansion (new tower looks like R2D2), Nugget looks like a giant UPS box, Atlantis new addition is a good start (reason being they hired a renowned architecture firm The Worthgroup, not Peppermill's mundane designer Peter W. who's design is always awful, never completed i.e National Bowling Stadium, Peppermill, original Atlantis, Nugget, and the Siena). City council approves The Summit Sierra to middle of nowhere rather than downtown Reno or the old Park Lane site etc. etc....

  • April 23, 2011 - 8:44:21 PM

    Oh we get it alright. We get that you are yet another Bay Area 'expert' who probably spent a few days in Reno and now all of a sudden you are some babbling expert on our city. Reno's downfall and sprawl is attributed to out of town developers and 'architects' such as yourself. If you choose to bash our city from your overpriced SF rowhouse, do it on some other site. YOU don't get it...this site is for people who actually enjoy downtown Reno. Your attitude makes me vomit.

  • April 23, 2011 - 10:04:45 PM

    You heard it! Reno has failed....if you had only hired Architect he would have delivered Northern Nevada from the clutches of all those Antonio Gaudi-Frank Loyd Wright wanna-bees. But alas he cast his pearls before swine and now you'll pay (1 Billion) and wait (15 years). Give up and go home...Reno has failed. Good lord I love the internet!

  • April 24, 2011 - 8:16:33 AM

    Despite being outside the area for the past few years I've tried to keep up on recent developments via Downtown Makeover. After spending the last two months in Reno though it appears there are some reasons to be concerned. Looking at the current state of downtown, I don't see Comm Row having a real, longterm impact on the state of downtown Reno all on its own. Re-opening a shuttered downtown property in this market, when the property offers nothing not already offered downtown isn't going to change a thing. The whitewater park works because it's free and enjoyable to everyone in town. Sitting on a piece of concrete in the middle of downtown staring at a few paying customers climbing up the side of a building is going to lose its appeal real quick. If anything it brings to mind the bungee things the old MGM had next to the freeway all those years. Harrah's Corp. realistically pulled out of Reno long, long ago. Their decisions on how their property is run have nothing to do with the plaza design, and everything to do with a publicly traded company assessing the field there in and how a market is doing and what it can support. Harrah's has been in a gradual state of controlled decline for almost fifteen years now. And much longer if you speak with anyone with any real ties to Reno. The Peppermill is absolutely astounding in that they have so much money, and such bad taste. If Architech knows to call out Peter Wilday on that project then at least Architech has done a little homework on what's going on in Reno. While it's frustrating to hear someone assess a situation near and dear to your heart, it doesn't sound like Architech has a real axe to grind with Reno and is offering an analysis that's perhaps a little too real. Reno is a fascinating and lovely place. All of us who have spent our lives here want it to do well and succeed. When some of us offer critical assessment of certain aspects it's not because we don't want Reno to do well – we just want it to do better for everyone's benefit. There are still a lot of odd decisions going on though ... The amazingly slow development of California Ave. as a district with restaurants, bars, night life, and boutiques that can be enjoyed on foot is astounding. The old Mapes site on the river continues to be a disappointment knowing that the city council essentially gave us that instead of going with a dynamic proposal from an out-of-town firm like Sasaki, Walker and Associates. The current state of the downtown post office, which could be developed into the hub that Reno really needs to change downtown into a place where people want to go (sorry ballpark, but that's never going to be you). Unfortunately having been recently purchased by Reno good-ol-boy TJ Day I'm not holding my breath on the post office being turned into anything worthwhile. Who knows ... just a bunch of things off the top of my head.

  • April 24, 2011 - 10:00:56 AM

    I for one appreciate Sara Lee's and Architech's input. As a hometowner who left in 1980 and came back in 2000, it is astounding to me to see how much our city has botched things up. We were first cursed with cheap casino owners who didn't improve on the scale of Las Vegas, letting CA casinos bury us at a much faster rate. The city populating casino core real estate with government buildings, their boneheaded STAR bond giveaways to a baseball project that does NOT bring in tourists (rather just takes the entertainment dollar from other local venues that pay more in taxes) and overall lack of imagination (the mayor only knows what worked in the 60's) has left us asking "whaddya got?" of every underfunded developer coming into town with an untested idea. Yes, I'm bitter over how we got to this point. Hopefully some fresh new thinking will change things, but it will take quite a long time from this point.

  • April 24, 2011 - 11:07:41 AM

    Greetings all...my thoughts here... 1. CommRow is NOTHING like what is offered downtown. It will be a non smoking non gaming pet-friendly hotel, a product currently unavailable downtown. It will have the world's largest outdoor climbing wall, and will be the only certified Speed Climbing wall on the West Coast, and the interest within the sport of rock climbing is very high, including ESPN etc. That's not something currently offered downtown. Also, an 8,000 s.f. indoor bouldering park, a possible roof-top skate park, the food options, are all things downtown doesn't offer. It will actually be something to DO downtown besides drink. I wholeheartedly disagree with both your assumptions that CommRow won't do anything significant to downtown. I'm pretty convinced CommRow will do to downtown what the whitewater park did. 2. The Bungee thing at Grand Sierra resort is still open, and quite popular in the summer. 3. Slow development of Cal Ave? Have you been here lately? There's a great assortment of shops, restaurants and bars on this street. Le Garage just moved in, Sonic Real Estate opened up shop, a few other new businesses. 5. Who is TJ Day? The City gave up on the Post Office idea long ago when they discovered unexpected infrastructure work had to be done. This whole issue really fumed me. They were SO close to a deal...but then environmental concerns were discovered as well at the future post office's site at 6th and Wells Ave. So the MOU fell apart. 6. What happened with the Mapes and thereafter was truly a shame. They picked the WRONG group to work with initially (REA Associates or something like that?), which ended up developing squat, then by the time the council chooses another firm two years later (John Pappas from Cali), the recession was here and no one has money to develop it. 7. The city has gotten itself into a real pickle with West Street Market. But leasing the space to Parks and Rec for classes and workshops might breathe new life into the building. 8. Living and working downtown, there's a lot down here I can tell you HAS worked. More residents of Reno enjoy downtown than any other time in my 17 year history here. There are more residents living downtown and interest in living downtown than at any other point while I've lived here. I get weekly emails for folks wanting to rent downtown. Downtown has more businesses moving into it than moving out. Palladio's street-level retail spaces are all leased out except for one. Then there's the successes of my own neighborhood on the fringe of downtown, West of Wells, where a passionate group of 70 or so residents have reduced crime by 30%, have the most active neighborhood group in the city, converting our neighborhood into a conservation district, and encouraged a new wave of young homeowners to call our little 'hood home. Our list of accomplishments is impressive, including 13 addtl. streetlights, new curbs and gutters, 150 flowering trees donated by Dept of Urban Forestry planted by neighborhood volunteers, the restoration of Stewart Park, beautification of Wells Avenue etc etc. Just saying, to slap a generic 'Fail' stamp on Reno is a slap in the face of the highly intelligent residents of this community who strive to make it something other than a gaming destination. So in that sense yes, maybe Reno did fail as a gaming destination compared to Vegas...but there are of those of us in Reno who recognize this, and see potential beyond it. We're still a metro valley over over 450,000, and to me, failure is not an option. Melissa's criticism of Architect was a bit harsh. I understand her frustrations however and why she put up a defense mechanism against Architect's comments. Do you know how many times Reno has been screwed over by out of town 'experts' giving their analysis or proposals? How many times Reno's branding has been damaged by out of town ad firms who think they know what's best for this city? Over and over again.

  • April 24, 2011 - 11:32:17 AM

    I'm sorry, but in my humble opinion the features that Comm Row is supposed to offer – and as of today they're just a developers wish list – are going to make people want to come to and stay in downtown Reno. I appreciate that there is some interest in competitive rock climbing, and ESPN might even show an event or two a year, but it's not the panacea for a previously failed downtown property in a very weak market. On top of that, a "possible roof-top skate park", food options (huh?), and being dog-friendly ... Are there people not coming to Reno simply because they can't bring their dog? Because there's no where to eat downtown (hello, Eldorado)? Because there's no rooftop skate park or indoor bouldering gym? Egads. As an avid outdoor person and 30-year resident of Reno, I also find it difficult to see how Comm Row maintains enough support from locals to remain financially supported and open. First, a roof-top skate park is a total gimmick. If you like skateparks then you're going to skate at a FREE skate park in your neighborhood. And if I'm a parent I want my kid at Idlewild skatepark, not downtown Reno until it really gets cleaned up. Second, bouldering and outdoor climbing are all things I can do for FREE in one of the most beautiful settings in the country. Once the novelty wears off, why would I want to go downtown and deal with crap parking and sketchy people on the street, when I can go up into the Sierras or the climbing gym in Sparks? It's so frustrating because this project is once again being touted as a game changer ... just like the ball park, just like Legends, just like the Mapes site, just like Cabellas, just like the strip malls down by Mt. Rose. I'm not slapping a FAIL on anything here .. I'm just trying to be realistic with a hint of skepticism because I believe that's what Reno really needs right now. We need to be thinking smart, savvy, and longterm right now. Not this whole losing our minds thing we keep doing over and over whenever someone rolls into town and says they want to build a big project that'll change everything.

  • April 24, 2011 - 11:40:15 AM

    Also ... I don't have time right now to touch on everything else included in your comment but I think Wells Avenue is a really good success story and shows how much the people of Reno can do – it's being screwed by the city and vested interests that make downtown feel like such a lost cause sometimes. But the highly intelligent and wonderful people of Reno have great potential and DO great things. Let's not mix up where my observations and frustrations lie, please. If I thought the people of Reno were also at fault then I would have given up on this town a long time ago. Instead I feel like there interests aren't always best server and this town's continued insistence on dumping money into central DOWNTOWN is a disservice to the potential of this town, when the focus should be on the river and California Ave. area if you really want to develop a great neighborhood for locals and business.

  • April 24, 2011 - 12:01:19 PM

    And if you're really fumed over the Post Office – then you're probably not going to be ecstatic about Bob Cashell's friend being able to buy it for around 2.5-3 million. I seem to remember the building being assessed at 5.1 million when it was to be purchased by the City, correct?

  • April 24, 2011 - 12:20:02 PM

    Reno is branded because of it's long standing stereotypes thanks to Reno 911 and just the gradual closure of casinos and somewhat "sad" areas around town, people come here and they see that. What they don't see is what Mike said, they don't see the interest is really there and Reno really has cultural vibes and there are other cities in this country that are branded negatively from analysts so who cares what they think. Reno is a pretty big city, not huge like Seattle or Portland but it's still big with lots to offer and unique neighborhoods. People need to see them for what they are. Whatever you may think of the Siena, those people bought it with an interest in Reno and that was the start. People are starting to believe in Reno again, and actually want to spend money here. We should feel VERY VERY lucky that CommRow is coming to Downtown. With that facility open, it will take a building that has been closed and dark for over two years now and breathe new life into it. Let me tell you, which you probably already know, people formulate their opinions of a city beginning at it's base and the CENTER of Downtown, where the arch is, has been pretty sad these last few years. CommRow's arrival will change that. People need to understand exactly what CommRow is bringing because I feel they don't quite get it. They think, "climbing wall"? "skate park"? and laugh. Well it's not a laughing matter, CommRow will be so much more than just a wall or skate park. It will offer something for every demographic, from the food venues to the entertainment venues and there will be PLENTY of security to make sure nothing is out of order with anything as I'm sure many of you feel could be a problem. The hotel will be budget minded and pet friendly, you may think that pet friendly? Who cares...Well, it's actually a VERY large market and in Reno we don't have very many pet friendly hotels in the common area. Look at Vegas for example, their "Pet Stay" program at Caesars Entertainment properties has been wildly successful, it's even in Reno now at Harrah's and those of you who think Harrah's Reno is dying, it's anything but. I've heard rumblings of many renovations planned there over the next couple of years, Hash House is just the beginning. But back to the pet friendly part, at a non gaming facility in Downtown, that's a big untapped market that will be tapped. And if you don't like pets, they won't be allowed on EVERY floor. CommRow is the facility for everyone to enjoy and will offer something for everyone. It is the biggest thing to happen in Downtown Reno in YEARS, blows the Siena out of the water as far as what it's going to offer. Whatever your view of Reno is, try to think positive and stay optimistic and support these developments as they happen. Because there is a purpose behind them to change and re-define Reno for the better!

  • April 24, 2011 - 1:16:56 PM

    Matt - based upon what you wrote it sounds like you're in some way associated with this project, is that true?

  • April 24, 2011 - 1:18:08 PM

    Matt - based upon what you wrote it sounds like you're in some way associated with this project, is that true? ////////// Quoting from your post ... ////////// "People need to understand exactly what CommRow is bringing because I feel they don't quite get it. They think, "climbing wall"? "skate park"? and laugh. Well it's not a laughing matter, CommRow will be so much more than just a wall or skate park. It will offer something for every demographic, from the food venues to the entertainment venues and there will be PLENTY of security to make sure nothing is out of order with anything as I'm sure many of you feel could be a problem." ////////// Regarding the climbing wall and skate park, it's not that it's a laughing matter but it's very serious and needs to be considered and weighed as such. I'm sorry but people who doubted the Grand Sierra remodel were dismissed in the exact same way, so all I'm saying is perhaps it's best to honestly consider a project before dubbing it the second coming of Christ. ////////// So, climbing wall and skate park aside, you say Com Row will have something for every demographic. Pet friendly – already offered across the street at Harrahs. Food venues – top notch food already offered across the street at the Eldorado ... and Harrah's Steak House used to be exemplary before it got worse and worse because there was no demand or support for it. Entertainment venues – plenty of showrooms everywhere and an event center two blocks away. Budget minded hotel – there's not a single hotel in downtown from low to high end that isn't cheap right now. Security – it's not inside the property I'm talking about, it's downtown itself. Sure, I can't smoke crack in the Silver Legacy, but all I have to do is step outside and cross to the east side of Viriginia Street and duck into an empty storefront. ////////// It's not my job as a Reno citizen and taxpayer to continue to "think positive and stay optimistic and support these developments" when time after time they've proven to be mostly incompetent pipe dream money grabs that a few developers with questionable ties to the City Council have rammed down the people's throats. I'm all for "happy thoughts" once I'm given something worthwhile to support – until then I'm going to critically assess every new promise as the rest of Reno's wonderful citizens should.

  • April 24, 2011 - 1:25:27 PM

    I still am baffled by how the budget minded -pet-owning-non smoking-non gaming-wall climbing-skate boarding demographic is going to make this a profitable venture. Business travelers? Tourists? Pro Climbers? X Gamers? Locals? Who could they be?? My son is 10, fits most of the criteria and has no money. :^) So I am well aware how much a day pass at the local climbing gym is and how cheap Comm Row will have to sell rooms for to be competitive. I was not smart/wealthy enough to purchase the Fitz myself and conjur up this little gold mine, but I do enjoy the dream. Good luck to Comm Row!

  • April 24, 2011 - 1:55:28 PM

    First off nobody I know of claimed Baseball or the Mapes project would be 'gamechangers' downtown. The days where even myself gets excited about every project that comes along are long gone. My somewhat dampened excitement about some of the projects downtown is evidence of that. However I am also smart enough to realize this is the most creative proposal for a downtown property yet. Let's be realistic...the property would most likely fail if reopened as regular hotel casino given the gaming market. It would definitely fail as condos right now in this real estate market. So then...what? What would YOU do with a property with a 3 level casino and hotel tower? Open a luxury boutique hotel catering to a luxury market that doesnt exist? Turn it into another weekly low income hotel/motel? Yeah that woukd be really good for downtown. It's easy to be critical of someone else's idea.

  • April 24, 2011 - 3:28:35 PM

    Sorry but it sounds like you're taking this much too personally as I'm not trying to be critical of someone else's idea just for the sake of being critical. Rather I'm trying to work out the logic on this project and for me it's not necessarily making complete sense. ////////// And I agree, it would not be successful as a regular hotel casino, condo project, or luxury boutique hotel at this point in time. But I also do not think their "creative" solution is enough to overcome the hurdles that these other projects would face. ////////// That's all I'm trying to say and I'd appreciate if we could have a mature discussion here instead of simply dismissing someone else's questions and thoughts with a statement about how easy it is to be critical of someone else's idea. I feel like I raised some valid questions and points, and if they are incorrect then by all means I would love for them to be addressed.

  • April 24, 2011 - 5:26:52 PM

    No no, please don't take my comments the wrong way....I am not taking it personally at all, it's not my project or my money haha. Also, it was posted prematurely before I finished typing it, I was on an iphone at an Easter party responding LOL. What I was also going to add below was: From my observances this city has a way of writing projects off before they even happen, and sometimes it's difficult for me to filter out legitimate comments from the typical 'Oh that will never work' comments that happen any time ANYTHING new is built in this town. It happened with the whitewater park, it happened with the movie theater being built, etc etc. Sometimes the CAVEs (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) are right, and some of the time they are wrong. You obviously don't fit into this group, so I apologize if you feel your comments are being dismissed. I agree with you on more points than not about the politics in Reno. But I wish you could have attended public focus group on the project or watched his presentations because to me, it makes great sense. Rocksport Indoor Gym in Sparks has over 500 active rock climbing members. Since Rocksport will be running the bouldering park and rock wall at the Fitz, I'm assuming there will be some kind of special deal so a member can access both parks, much like 24 Hour Fitness, Gold's Gym etc. If they build it as proposed, CommRow's boulder park will be nice, with two decks overlooking the street below, a juice bar, lockers, a lounge. I've heard that the police and fire will use it for training as well. There might also be tie-ins with the University and athletic training there. According to the presentation to the city council, his food options will be priced so college kids can afford them. I dunno. If it's such a bad idea, then why would people like the President of Sands, Caranos, CEO of Cal Neva, and Milton Glick show up at the planning commission meeting to support the project? It was standing room only. I was impressed with CommRow's presentation to both the council and the planning commission, it seems like they put a lot of research into it. In his presentation to the council, Leal stated quite candidly that he and his partner tried to sell the building to any interested casino operators for two years to no avail. You definitely have valid criticisms...when it comes down to it, I don't know anything about the rock climbing industry. So I can't sit here and say 'you're wrong'...but I did some Googling and saw how many travel magazines and outdoor magazines feature the current tallest and second tallest climbing walls in the world in the Netherlands and Texas, respectively. So, while I have some worries because it's so niche, I think it might work, and it's better than a shuttered building AND, unlike the Reno Events Center, Ballroom, baseball, etc, uses zero public subsidies. Your opinions are always welcome :) I'm right there on the frontlines pointing out what's wrong with downtown...because you can't fix it unless you recognize what's not working.

  • April 24, 2011 - 6:39:30 PM

    It is ideal to see this kind of discussion you don't get that from RGJ everything even a traffic accident turns into Obamacare or evil Republicans. I think a rock climbing wall along with other stuff downtown would tract people.

  • April 24, 2011 - 8:48:03 PM

    I shall defer and take middle ground on this matter. It will not be the almighty Ark of the Covenant and forever change all of downtown. I agree it will be nice downtown and have more tourist appeal than Fitzgerald's did. An Irish theme casino in bankruptcy with a neon rainbow bridge just oozes class. Not. Do something with the train trench covers, we spent tens of millions on a trench only to get cement covers? Put a ferris wheel on it. Put something in the Golden Phoenix (also owned by L3 Development) and then poof, you have redeveloped half of the joke that Virgina Street has become. Tourists in the four-hour zone from Reno would take notice, and we could probably retain more repeat visitors. My all-knowing prediction is a combination of CommRow, something opening next door in Golden Phoenix, could be more of a catalyst than baseball. There's a lot of lazy old blood property owners on Virginia Street that could be stimulated by a Knitting Factory / CommRow combo. So what to turn Golden Phoenix casino into? I vote for high class adult toy shoppe but I don't think Bobby would go for that so close to the precious arch. Oh one last thought. I wonder if it has dawned on casino gamne makers that the reason gaming numbers keep going down is they take the fun out of gaming. No more slot machine pulls, no more quarters, just ticket in ticket out. Boring! If I just wanted to sit there and press buttons I would go visit my inlaws.

  • April 25, 2011 - 10:46:38 AM

    A true CAVEman at heart, I have returned to again post my take on Commrow. I absolutely hate the fact that the Fitz is gone. That said, I agree with Mike that there is very little you could do with the building besides what is coming or re-opening as a casino. I disagree that the casino couldn't be profitable, I do think it could be, possibly moreso than the Commrow idea, but it has been done and the wall hasn't, so no one knows for sure. Nando and DRW paid way, way too much for this property to make it feasible for the casino option to work financially. If done right, a casino here would be modestly profitable, possibly supporting a small group of owners. What is truly missing in Reno is a planning department. A casino zone, without the pawn shops and minimarts, cleaned up, safe and stylish would again attract the California gamblers. What has been allowed to happen to the downtown core is a dirty shame, and it looks downright scary to the average tourist. There needs to be some real planning done, with emminent domain and rezoning powers used to bring casinos closer to down town, and make one real destination rather than scattered casino destinations for tourists. The outlying resort casinos encourage little outside business, rather they keep the gambling tourist on the property much moreso than the downtown casinos do. No more back room deals and no more allowing whatever developer has money and an idea to do whatever they want. It's time for Reno to come into it's own and build a real city here. What I do like about the Commrow project is the fun aspect. When a tourist thinks of casinos he thinks of fun and excitement. A climbing wall bouldering park is all about fun and excitement, and I think the down town area, as well as Reno as a whole will benefit from that. Although it's not my personal bag, hopefully it will become something good for Reno. I still love the down town feel of Reno. The Circus clown, old style twinkle lights and neon are to me very old school classic and very cool. I miss the rainbow bridge, and some of the skywalks. I think they all provide and provided a unique feel for the town, one you cannot get anywhere else. But, I still hate the name CommRow...

  • April 26, 2011 - 4:20:02 PM

    Hey DowntownMakeoverDude, thanks for the follow up and further insights. ////////// Unfortunately I was not aware of the public focus group but it sounds like a real gathering. I understand why all the downtown properties would have someone there representing them – and I'd guess Glick was there as if CommRow is on the ball they'll try to get some times with UNR to increase student traffic to the climbing facilities. It also makes sense that there would be a tie-in between the two Rocksport properties and how that all pans out with crossover traffic. ////////// I still have some questions regarding this property being successful in general though with pulling in enough people to support the property – but that can really only be answered by this project actually happening ... otherwise, no one knows anything for sure. ////////// Another observation I have is that the whitewater park is a frequent comparison when discussing CommRow. Having spent two hours down at the park today though I think there's a huge difference. While there were only 2-3 kayakers in the water at a time when I was down there today, the area remains fairly popular thanks to diverse activities and a pretty nice park to hang out in on a Tuesday afternoon. Now, CommRow has talked about watching people climb the outside with regards to drawing traffic, but there are a lot of times when there's not going to be almost no activity on the wall ... and when that happens that concrete slab is a very uncomfortable and unwelcoming place to be. ////////// Lots of issues to address and it'll come down to the answers CommRow comes up with ... and a little bit of luck as is needed with all large projects.