Casinos to Condos

By: James Steiner
By: James Steiner

It was nearly three years ago the Golden Phoenix rose from the ashes and opened as a casino. Now, a developer wants to take 388 of the hotel's 604 rooms and transform them into residential condos with commercial space and a health club.

David Ziegler, Director of Regional Planning, says, "When you get 200-300 residences on an acre or two of downtown that's like a subdivision which would take up a half square mile. This is an efficient use of land."

The Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency encourages these kind of projects because they keep the area balanced. Much of urban sprawl is happening outside downtown Reno, and developers want to keep it inside the McCarran ring.

Ziegler says, "In Downtown Reno, there is a surplus of jobs but not housing. We could use more housing and in this particular instance bring housing to jobs."

National studies show about half the residents surveyed want to live in walkable settings, meaning they can go from home to work to dinner without ever using a car or bus, but what about people visiting Reno?

Where do we put them for all the specialty events like Hot August Nights, if we're losing hotel rooms?

Deanna Ashby, the RSCVA Marketing Director, says, "Stations’ announcement will help replace those rooms. South of town there will be a 500-room casino and across the street from the convention center there will be 300 rooms."

It means Reno would still gain about 400 rooms if the stations project is completed. Currently, there are 12,500 hotel rooms in downtown Reno.

The RSCVA says, if the Golden Phoenix project goes through, the city would lose a small portion of tax revenue from visitors, but city leaders say you replace those dollars by having people stay longer, and that's what rental style living is all about.


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