City gives nod to downtown building demolition

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An April 1998 fire damaged the former home of the Cafe del Rio and closed the building, forcing the relocation of businesses into another downtown block.

After more than a year, Carson City officials will allow the building's owner, Don Bernard, to demolish the building at 400 S. Carson St. if he can find a suitable temporary replacement to spruce up the spot.

Bernard said he was working with the city's community development and park and recreation departments to replace the building with a temporary park setting. Bernard would pay for the improvements.

Community Development Director Walt Sullivan said the building will not be demolished until the temporary solution has gone through the appropriate city channels.

City officials decided in 1998 the building could be salvaged. Since then, it has incurred severe water damage to its roof and walls, floundered under a termite infestation and the foundation is practically gone, Bernard said.

"It's a terrible liability and can never be repaired," Bernard said. "I can't get any insurance on it. It's a detriment to the whole block. No one will put money into an old, decrepit building that can't be repaired."

No demolition date has been set but when an acceptable solution is reached, the building will go as soon as possible, Bernard said.

A permanent solution would take a while longer, Bernard said because "it takes a long time to come up with the millions and millions to construct something.

"We can only take one step at a time, and then we worry about the next step," he said.

Three buildings were damaged in the April 1998 fire which destroyed a garage south of the old Cafe del Rio. Bernard said he has no plans at the moment for the other two buildings on the block, which housed Encore Consignment and the Assembly Room Bar.

"If we can get that big monstrosity out of there, maybe we can figure out how to bring the other two back to life," Bernard said.


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