Hyatt to anchor Capitol Mall

A Hyatt Place select service hotel will anchor the private-sector Capitol Mall North in Carson City, the developer disclosed at the Carson Nugget casino Wednesday.

“We have just inked the deal,” said Matt MacRitchie of the Chicago area’s MacCompany’s, speaking at a meeting to divulge development plans to and take input from nearby property owners and city business people. MacRitchie, also a principal of Carson City Center Development, LLC, said DLR Group of Omaha, Neb., would serve as designer/architect for the 150-room hotel in the mall complex east of the casino at which he was making his presentation.

“It’s done,” said MacRitchie. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful hotel. They’ve done several other Hyatt Place hotels.” He called it a modest but fine hotel, saying it is “no Circus Circus.”

MacRitchie went through various aspects of the proposed downtown development, spending significant time on the first parking garage set to go in just west of the casino on the surface parking lot bounded by Carson and Curry streets on the east and west and Robinson and Spear streets on the north and south. It’s going to be constructed, if all goes smoothly, beginning this summer and done by next spring. He said people have expressed concern about it.

“It needs to look like it’s always been there,” he said. He said brick and colors have been selected to fit in, so “there’s nothing different about this building.”

He said a restaurant/bar has been attracted by leasing real estate agents to go on the ground floor of the garage, which plans envision also have an elevator and a sky walk linking it over Carson Street with the casino.

During a question/answer period after his presentation, MacRitchie was asked about that sky walk.

“It’s an amenity, right now, for the casino,” he said. When the questioner said he wasn’t raising it as a problem, the developer indicated he was talking of it in such terms because he was there to seek feedback and was showing the plans as preliminary rather than set in stone. Throughout his presentation he made it clear matters were still being reviewed and “there are variables all over the place.”

“It’s cause for pause,” he said of the sky walk, which is the attitude he brought to the question at another point of whether the open space portion of the mall complex should have a water feature despite drought.

Regarding water in general, he told the crowd of almost 40 — some of them his consultants and others city staff on hand to answer technical questions — the development would use just “a fraction of what you’re throwing on a couple of golf courses” and would be built to LEED Silver standards. LEED is the U.S. Green Building Council acronym for Leaders in Energy & Environmental Design.

MacRitchie said the overall mall “will enable the city to do wonderful things,” predicting it could get underway soon if city government reviews go smoothly, and laid out other aspects along with the first garage and the hotel, which are in the first two phases. Those aspects, though, were discussed in less detail and subject to later review because they were later phases.

The mall plan, he said, envisions more than 300,000 square feet of rentable office space, more than 50,000 square feet of rentable retailing space, parking for 1,400 cars and 150 incorporated with the hotel, and has 50,000 square feet of conference space. It will be on some 10 acres, mostly east and southeast of the casino.

The developer or his consultants fielded various questions on traffic flow, phasing of work that might cause disruptions for neighboring business and other matters. He also took suggestions regarding what should be included or excluded. For example, one man said rather than two smaller stages at the north and south ends of the green space allocated between new and the existing structures, one larger might be better.

“This is the type of input that we need,” MacRitchie replied.

Other questions concerned the height of some buildings, which he acknowledged in some cases exceed current design standards and are among reasons a special use permit is needed. He said, however, the project uses significant setbacks as a tradeoff, so there’s ample space around the buildings. “We’re creating these huge plazas in front of these buildings,” he said.

He also said he’s working with Fire Chief Bob Schreihans to deal with any fire safety concerns due to tall buildings.

“They either need a ladder truck or we’re going to have to spend a great deal of money,” he said, but also predicted problems will wind up resolved.

The next step is a presentation to the city’s Planning Commission, which is Wednesday. After city government approval, MacRitchie said, he’s hopeful the initial phase can begin soon.

“When do you break ground,” an audience member asked. MacRitchie replied as soon as the special use permit is granted and other matters are lined up. Speaking of the west side parking garage, he put it this way:

“We could potentially start construction in early June.”


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