$100 million Summit Sierra opening in grand style | NevadaAppeal.com

$100 million Summit Sierra opening in grand style

0Becky Bosshart
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Infant-and-newborn buyer Tina Alnasser rearranges clothing at the new Dillard's in South Reno March 8 in preparation for today's grand opening.

Until today, Northern Nevadans have purchased their Coach bags, Ecco shoes and Ann Taylor jackets online, or driven two-and-a-half hours to Roseville to peruse the racks of America’s high-end retailers.

With today’s grand opening of phase 1 of Summit Sierra, located in South Reno, at the junction of Mount Rose Highway and South Virginia Street, that trek is considerably less.

Libby Bates, who works in the marketing department of Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare, has purchased her J. Crew and Banana Republic clothes online. One thing she doesn’t have: the Coach bag.

“I want a big black purse from Coach, that’s my thing,” she said.

Bates turns 28 next month, so she’s hoping that her boyfriend will shell out the $350 for the bag at the new Reno Coach store. “I’m OK with him spending the money,” she said.

The numbers are staggering: the $100 million center has 700,000 square feet; 180 acres; upon completion it will feature 70 shops and restaurants. Coming soon is a 16-screen Century Theatres. Anchor tenant Dillard’s employs nearly 400 at its 200,000-square-foot store. The open-air center has a bit of flair, which includes five imported fountains and two custom fire pits.

Summit Sierra has 37 stores not offered anywhere else in Reno, including the popular home accessory store Pottery Barn.

“Pottery Barn is just awesome because a lot of their products you’ll find in Target a year later,” Bates said.

Why not wait to get it then?

Bates, and other consumers like her, don’t necessarily want to wait. She said the product you get is worth the price. A $50 pillow can make a great wedding gift.

Larry Hunt, senior property manager for Summit Sierra developer Bayer Properties, said this center will attract the Carson City and Carson Valley customers. Just how many people, he doesn’t know. And if a market study was done, no one is releasing it.

“Anecdotally, 20 percent of Roseville (shopping center) customers come from Nevada,” he said.

Summit Sierra is billed as a regional shopping center, a behemoth compared to the independent niche clothing retailers like the Watermelon Patch in Minden, owned by Patricia Banks.

“I think that everybody has to remember why we live here and why we like it so much and why we don’t like the big box stores: because we like our community,” she said.

It’s the support of other business owners and local patrons that keeps a family business alive, she said.

The Watermelon Patch, which sells women’s and children’s clothing and is a nursery, recently moved to Minden after 35 years in Tahoe City. She was approached about locating in Summit Sierra, but she called the lease astronomical. The price was about four times what she’s spending now.

Ronni Hannaman, Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, said area retailers will lose some customers because Summit Sierra offers the high-end national retailers that Carson City lacks.

Would the average Carson City resident, making per capita $32,872 in 2003, shop at stores that charge beaucoups bucks for a purse?

“There’s the sales,” Hannaman said. “Even Ann Taylor Loft has wonderful sales. And Dillard’s has great sales.”

Joe McCarthy, Carson City economic development/redevelopment manager, said Carson City residents are represented in the demographics that made the Mount Rose intersection appealing to a developer.

“This tells us that we’re under served here,” said McCarthy, who has long advocated for more commercial tenants. “When they target a particular area they put a ring around it and that ring includes us.”

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

Summit Sierra grand opening

13925 S. Virginia St.

Grand-opening schedule:


9:45 a.m. Ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of Dillard’s

10 a.m. Official opening

7:30 p.m. Opening fireworks

8:45 p.m. $500 shopping spree drawing

9 p.m. Center closes


7 p.m. Dillard’s Fashion Show; special appearance by Reba McEntire

8:45 p.m. $500 shopping spree drawing. A drawing will be held daily until Sunday.