Reno Council To Decide On Downtown Stadium

Triple-A baseball in downtown Reno could move a huge step closer to reality when the Reno City Council votes on a deal for a baseball stadium and entertainment district.

The proposal calls for housing a Pacific Coast League franchise in a stadium built where a collection of old buildings and vacant lots now stands, including the leveled site of the torched Mizpah Hotel.

The plan before the Council on Friday is being pitched by Stuart Katzoff, the managing partner of SK Baseball, which has bought the
Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders and plans to bring them to Reno in 2009.

Using a minor league baseball park as an anchor, Stuart Katzoff and his father, Jerry Katzoff, and mall developer Herbert Simon would build an entertainment zone with shopping, dining and bars on the cleared Mizpah Hotel block, the first floor of the National Bowling Stadium and the displaced City Ride bus station.

"We bring baseball to Reno, and the city gets development," Stuart Katzoff said.

He said the SK Baseball/Nevada Land companies expect to invest up to $100 million in downtown Reno.

Mark Lewis, Reno Redevelopment Agency administrator, said the agency would trade city or agency land and had budgeted $6 million to buy the Regional Transportation Commission bus station before SK Baseball appeared in June.

"It's all up-fronted by the developers," he said.

"We do not have a dollar we are putting into it. The city of Reno will not
have one dollar."

The agency would relinquish considerable assets and future revenues, $11 million worth of land in assembling the stadium site and a $10 million loan to build a new fire station.

As part of a land trade with another developer to assemble the stadium site, the agency would give up the vacant lot next to the Riverside Lofts, once part of the Riverside Hotel.

If the council approves the deal, Washoe County commissioners will decide on Tuesday whether to relinquish a 2 percent county car rental tax that would generate $27 million to help the developers pay for the $42 million stadium.

The tax was approved several years ago by the Nevada Legislature for a baseball project and will expire Oct. 1 if not used.

The agreement also includes perks for Reno officials, including a luxury suite for the redevelopment agency and 12 tickets for games.

Lewis said the tickets and suite would be used for economic development efforts and as a fundraiser for local charities.

The Katzoffs met with individual council members Thursday and returned to New York City to observe Yom Kippur.

Stuart Katzoff said he has purchased a home in the area to oversee the enterprise.

"I have always had a passion for baseball and professional sports," he said.

"When this opportunity came across my desk, it was exciting."