Owners Scrap Plan To Demolish Ormsby House

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The owners of the Ormsby House have dropped plans to demolish the landmark hotel-casino.

A week after filing for a demolition permit, Allan Fiegehen and Don Lehr said they will proceed with a $25 million renovation of the 10-story resort.

But they warned that continued progress hinges on the city meeting its commitment to streamline the permit process for the project. They earlier cited frustration over city codes and red tape.

"We're ready to resume the project as long as the city follows through with its commitment," Fiegehen said after a meeting with city officials Friday.

"I don't think the city realized the numerous problems that can occur with this kind of remodeling project. Sometimes you need to stir things up a bit," he added.

The two already have invested $8 million in renovating the building that was built in 1972 by the Laxalt family, including Paul Laxalt, a former governor and U.S. senator from Carson City.

Closed in fall 2000, the Ormsby House was expected to undergo a nine-month, $10 million overhaul to convert it into a five-star resort. But workers have encountered one problem after another, causing several delays.

Supervisor Pete Livermore was pleased the owners have decided to move forward, saying the project will be a centerpiece for the downtown. It's common for the city to go to extra lengths for a major project, he said.

"The owners made some strong points about our process, and the city is committed to resolving these issues," Livermore told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Lehr declined Friday to estimate a completion date.

The resort has undergone a string of closures, bankruptcies and ownership changes since it was built.