Carson City’s Ormsby House has a buyer.
“We entered into negotiations and an offer was made in August,” Kim Fiegehen, representing Don Lehr and Al Fiegehen, the current owners, told the Board of Supervisors on Thursday. “We went into escrow, a deposit was made, and we’re in due diligence.”
The broker on the deal, Ted Stoever, senior vice president, Northern Nevada Land & Development Investment Services for Colliers International, told the board he anticipates closing on the sale by the end of the year.
The buyer, multiple investors from California who plan to move here, want to operate the property as it is already largely designed — as a hotel/casino with convention space.
“I’m tempted to stand up and clap,” said Mayor Bob Crowell at the news.
Supervisor Brad Bonkowski quickly intervened.
“Don’t jinx it,” he said.
The downtown icon has been vacant for more than a decade. The initial building permit to remodel it issued in 2002 expired in 2007. Another permit in 2008 expired in 2011 and a third permit, issued in 2012, has been extended three times by the board.
This last 18-month extension, which expires in March 2018, came with conditions, including finishing exterior work on the property and updating the board every six months on efforts to sell it.
After the presentation to the board, Stoever said the buyers had also looked at the Cal Neva Lodge & Casino in Crystal Bay but decided to purchase the Ormsby House instead, and also plan to buy some other, non-gaming properties in Reno.
After the meeting, Crowell and City Manager Nick Marano credited the current owners with their commitment to find a buyer and looked forward to what’s next, cautiously assuming the sale goes through.
“From city point of view, we think the eventual opening of the Ormsby House will be a transformational event for downtown Carson City,” said Marano. “I am happy to hear the plan is to keep the convention space. I think it will be a great draw.”
Supervisor Lori Bagwell agreed.
“I’m excited at the prospect of the Ormsby House once again being the center of downtown,” she said.
Supervisor John Barrette echoed the caution others did that there’s more to be done before the deal is finalized.
“It sounds like good news. We’ll see,” he said.
In an unusually short meeting, the board also approved a grant application for the purchase of new voting equipment.
The state has allocated $8 million for new equipment, including $231,388 for Carson City. The city has set aside $149,750 and a remaining $58,000 needed for the new gear will be financed, interest-free, through the equipment vendor, Election Systems & Software, said Susan Merriwether, Carson City clerk-recorder.
The new electronic system will use touch screens and a paper ballot voters insert into the machine then retrieve when they’re done to check and drop into a ballot box to cast their vote.
The board also heard a presentation from the public guardian, Deborah Marzoline, on her case load, which includes 84 clients.
The public guardian is a guardian for adults who have been deemed incompetent and have no family or friends able to act on their behalf.
The meeting started with the presentation of Care Flight’s Golden Rotor Award to the Carson City Fire Department for its work saving the life of a man who fell down a large ventilation shaft in the Blasdel Building behind the state Capitol in May.
The man, a state public works buildings inspector, attended the meeting, after being released from the hospital just last week.
“There are not enough words to show my appreciation,” he said. “I want to thank you one more time for saving my life. And I’ll never stop.”