Sweetland Building not so sweet to blues club plan

Daddy Dick's really is playing the blues, and it's not inside the Sweetland Building in downtown Carson City.

Businessman and blues player Bobby Joe Holman said Tuesday that he and three partners will not be opening a blues club and Cajun/Creole restaurant downtown. In August, business partner Sharon Slater was optimistic enough about the venture to project a Nevada Day opening. But the 2,600-square-foot first floor of the brick building on the corner of Proctor and Carson streets is shuttered.

"We had such a problem with the financing end of it," said Holman. "Everyone was really looking forward to it, even businesses there in Carson City. But it was $180,000 just to sell a beer."

He said the partnership, which had included drummer Floyd Sneed and Don and Sharon Slater, had planned to lease the bulding, but couldn't afford to do the "build out," or business renovations. Holman and Sneed are playing shows at Lake Tahoe and looking at opening a café at the Sands Regency in Reno.

The first floor of the historic 1929 Sweetland Building, the former Garibaldi's restaurant location, is one of about four prominent downtown vacancies.

"I know (owner) Tom Johnson is actively marketing it and looking for a quality tenant there," said Joe McCarthy, Carson City economic development manager. "And he has a number of interested inquiries, but nothing definitive yet."

The standard market rent downtown is about $1.25 a square foot. Johnson, of Sperry Van Ness commercial real estate, was out of town and could not be reached for comment. His family bought the building and land for $200,000 in June 1993, according to city assessor records. It was renovated in 2003.

Scott Johnson, co-owner of Stew's Sportatorium at the Lucky Spur, said a business in that location is exactly what neighbors need. Stew's is across the street from the Sweetland Building, 301 N. Carson St. Stew's LLC recently purchased its building from George Halyak for $1 million.

"As a restaurateur, the more destination points you have for the public to come into, the better you attract people," Johnson said.

He also works for Sysco Food Service, which distributes groceries to restaurants, and has mentioned the building to customers.

"The lease was too expensive and the remodel was too expensive," Johnson said. "For a restaurant to come, it's very expensive."

For Daddy Dick's that would've meant paying a lot of people back, Holman said.

"We really gave it a whirl," he said. "We even set up an initial public offering. It was just too big of a mountain to climb."

n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.


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