Reno City Center Update

by Mike Van Houten / Sep 13, 2023

Well, I certainly let out a sigh of relief, right along with the city council, after hearing the Reno City Center project was still a go, when PKWY Tavern addressed the Reno City Council regarding their application for 197 slot machines for their unrestricted gaming license. 

The building owner, which he said his name Phil, didn't catch his last name, laid out the fate of the project, along with some updates. Here are the goods:

- The project is still a go, and has a new general contractor, Moorefield Construction, who hopefully will be firing back up construction soon. 

- The two west/south towers will still be residential, and a substantial amount of units are already complete. 

- The east tower will operate as a hotel, similar to how it's been operating, but with substantial improvements, and they will also operate the programming of the Sammy Davis Theater space, as well as share the plaza with Fine Group for programming hopefully five days a week. This would be incedible for the activation of Virginia Street if it comes to fruition. 

- The new sky bridge is dead, and the building owner would rather have pedestrian traffic on the street instead (a big win) 

- PKWY Tavern won't open until the plaza outside opens, and the construction build-out time for this is approx 60 days, from when construction resumes.

- A leasing office will take the place of part of Clear Capital's vacant space, since they pulled out of the project. 

- The building owner assured the council that the plaza and exterior will be the highest priority once construction resumes 

The council still had some concerns that PKWY Tavern would turn into a Dotty's primarily gaming with little in the form of dining or restaurants, but Fine Group did everything they could to reassure the council that wouldn't happen. 

The building owner mentioned they are working with the lender to avoid any court issues, and that the auction mentioned previously was a procedural move by the creditor. 

The Mayor and the Councilwoman Brekkhus had concerns that this process isn't going through a conditional use permit, which would allow the council to add conditions to the license, including improving certain exterior sections of the building. Staff explained that because the conditional use permit is based off of square footage (which was decreasing from 40,000 sf when it was Harrah's to 4,000 sf for PKWY Tavern) and not the number of slots, and that the permit never expired and was active this whole time, that it didn't qualify for a conditional use permit. 

Mayor Schieve said she is taking a huge leap of faith trusting this project, because they have been burned by other developers so many times, so she is reluctantly supporting it. The gaming aspect makes her really nervous. The building owner said he will not disappoint. 

There are always future wrenches that can be thrown into the project to present challenges, but this is all very reassuring for a project that could completely change downtown. 

The biggest hurdle it seems now, is working with the lender/creditors to get construction rolling again. That aspect wasn't discussed at this council meeting. 

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