New use for old Victorian Square parking garage?

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SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) - The C Street parking structure has been at Victorian Square for years. But J Carter Witt, president of Silverwing Development, believes it could be used for so much more. He has proposed adding another level of parking and at least five stories of apartments on top.

"When we're done with it, it will look like one structure. It won't look like a building on top of a parking garage," says Witt. "It will look like it's tied together. It will have an art deco look to it."

It would be something different for our area. And it would bring more housing options to Victorian Square, something the city of Sparks has been working on. Fountainhouse, which opened last summer, is nearing capacity, according to Witt, who is also a developer of that property. The Bridges apartments at Victorian Square will be ready for hundreds of new tenants next year.

But the city of Sparks doesn't just want that downtown area to be a place full of apartment units. The goal is to turn it into a vibrant hub.

"This will become a very walkable community with entertainment, restaurants, just places that people can just relax when they're done with their long work day," says Steve Driscoll, city manager for the city of Sparks.

More shops and restaurants are in the works and the movie theater is being transformed into a luxury theater. Now, this latest proposal to transform the garage is something that people who live in the neighborhood are excited to hear about.

"It is very encouraging because I know there are a lot of people that need housing in this area," says Rachel Jackson, who lives nearby.

Driscoll says the plan to transform the garage is still preliminary. Last month, the Sparks City Council gave him direction to negotiate an agreement with Silverwing Development for the prospective sale and redevelopment of the property.

"This is all about getting a concept by the developer," says Driscoll. "Seeing if it's compatible with the plans and the land uses that the city has already, and if we can come to terms, that would be great."

Witt says the kind of development that is going on in this part of Sparks is just what our region wants and needs.

"This is going to be a unique lifestyle entertainment district for Northern Nevada. Probably the only one of its kind," he says.