East Fourth Street is a part of City Councilman Dwight Dortch's district. It's an area he is very familiar with, and an area he sees as full of that dreaded work...potential. Potential means it could be, but isn't...which is a great way to describe this historic but not highly thought of section of Reno.
"I really think the goal is when we're done everyone wants to be like us," Dortch says.
But starting with the new transit station being built at the edge of the corridor, changes are happening...big changes.
"You've got a couple of developers right now that are looking at basically everything from here to the freeway encompassing Virginia Street and its a major retail center and they've already started acquiring some of the properties in this area," Dortch says.
Thanks to a redevelopment plan that takes into consideration the historic nature of the corridor, any new projects must fit in with the existing flavor of the architecture already here.
"I think that you've got the pieces to kind of start linking these things together and really turn it into a pretty amazing corridor," Dortch says.
Strategically located between downtown and its new condo projects and a fast-growing student population at nearby UNR, this would seem a logical location for businesses catering to students and young intellectuals. They city is creating a zoning framework to make it even more appealing.
"The goal is to have less cars and more foot traffic...and that feeds the retail and just builds that energy level for the entertainment and everything else that's gonna be going on in this corridor," Dortch says.
One of the hurdles to overcome is the seedier element of this neighborhood: adult clubs, rough bars, and run-down motels populate a portion of 4th Street. As of this time, the city is not planning to push these businesses out, but they hope that property values will rise as developers begin to move from downtown towards Sparks, and financial incentives will encourage them to relocate.
"The goal right now is to start working towards Wells Avenue and then as we get to Wells you've got even greater opportunity on the other side of the Wells...but it's going to take years," Dortch says.
Barry Slayton has worked for Forever Yours Furniture for 25 years..eight years ago the store bought a building that stands as a model for the area's redevelopment.
"What they need is people to come in and start buying the buildings up...but you know it's up to folks to kind of see what's going on on 4th Street...there's not a lot of streets left," Slayton says.