Some businessmen from the Bay Area say Reno is sort of the new "It place" to go if you're looking for a new business location. They say dozens of starting out entrepeneurs want to move-in downtown...and the baseball park seems to be at the center of all the talk.
Developers plan to turn his empty downtown parking lot into Reno's very own Triple A Baseball complex...not just a ballpark...but shopping, restaurants and a whole new vibe.
"Reno's kind of becoming a 'happening place' now. Land values have been relatively depressed in downtown and some of the areas around downtown, but I think once this starts to take off and we have more people living downtown, and more entertainment downtown, I think you're going to see a lot more commercial business moving in," said Jim Hunting, President of Reno's Downtown Improvement Association.
It's already started...a few businessmen from San Francisco and Los Angeles just purchased the old Club Underground on Fourth Street...they say their friends are hoping to bring a coffee shop into one of the empty buildings across the street. While Fourth Street has never had a very good reputation, the baseball park may change that. Business owners smell opportunity...and they're acting on it.
"You have a tipping point when good things happen. When you have good things happen, it starts to push some of those things out that none of us like to see," said Hunting.
Just blocks from the ballpark site, is an old Fourth Street locals hangout Louis' Basque Corner. Carol Mathers and her friends have been going there for 30 years. She says with along with business opportunity and upper-crust urban redevelopment...comes something else.
"We see a downfall, much like the Mapes and places like that we used to consider 'Reno' are now gone. I think that was a mistake. I think the baseball stadium is great, but I don't want Fourth Street to change too much," said Mathers.
Not everyone likes change, but city leaders say the stadium will bring plenty of it. Developers are hoping to break ground in January...and hold the first game in Spring of 2009.
Until then, members of the Downtown Improvement Association say they think property values will increasingly go up down here...and we'll probably see a lot more interest from people wanting to open businesses in this area.