No plan for former Bernard property

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Two years after it was demolished, there are no plans to replace the former home of the Cafe del Rio across Carson Street from the Legislature.

The building on the corner of Carson and Fourth streets and two buildings next door were heavily damaged in an April 1998 fire set in a neighboring vacant garage. Owner Don Bernard tore down the building -- considered an eyesore and a liability -- in 2000, and city officials allowed a small plaza with benches and small trees in planters to replace the building until a permanent solution for the site was worked out.

Bernard, who has owned the property between Jacks Bar and the St. Charles Hotel for about 25 years, said he has no plans to develop the site. While he receives phone calls "about once a week" from people interested in the property, no serious offer has been made to improve the area.

"We're always thinking about things, but we're in a holding pattern," Bernard said. "It couldn't be used as a building. I had two options. I leave it condemned, and it looked like hell, or I could tear it down. It was way more attractive to tear it down."

Bernard said it "never entered by mind" someone would develop on the site within a few years.

"That property is the only piece in downtown Carson City owned by one party. That is a piece that's all put together," he said. "All it's waiting for is a person to put something on it that makes sense."

Bernard said when something is planned for the site, it will be a multi-million dollar project that likely will encompass all the property he owns on the street.

"When it happens, it will be something big," he said.

He envisions a multistory building with offices, parking and restaurants.

The buildings south of the Cafe del Rio building, which housed Encore Consignment and the Assembly Room Bar, have been remodeled and rented by lobbyist Harvey Whittemore.


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