Historic hotel still on track to open next year | NevadaAppeal.com

Historic hotel still on track to open next year

Dave Frank
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

The Ormsby House is still on schedule to open next year as work on the interior of the historic downtown Carson City hotel-casino continues, according to co-owner Don Lehr.

Workers have installed new roofing and piping, fixed floors and ceilings and fireproofed the walls of one of the city’s most famous buildings. The escalator is being installed and dry wall is sitting in the skeleton of hotel rooms where it is ready to be hung.

The building has been closed since 2000 for renovations. Work on the outside is done and owners Lehr and Al Fiegehen got a permit in October to start work on the interior.

“We’re coming,” Lehr said.

The 10-story building will hold a casino, ballrooms, restaurants, a fourth-story pool and about 135 hotel rooms when finished. It connects to the parking garage with a sky bridge crossing Carson Street to Curry Street.

Lehr said construction will be done by the end of 2009.

But work on the inside of the hotel-casino involves more challenges than people realize, Lehr said. The Ormsby House is in six different buildings, he said, which makes it difficult to do infrastructure improvements.

“This kind of stuff is everywhere,” he said, pointing to a hole in the floor left by a removed pipe.

Lehr and Fiegehen bought the Ormsby House in 1999. The remodel of the hotel-casino that was first opened in 1972 by former Gov. Paul Laxalt will cost more than $25 million.

The original Ormsby House was built in 1859 at the corner of Second and Carson streets. The building was demolished in 1931.

But the owners are committed to finishing the project despite the frustrations they have had with the city, Lehr said.

He and Fiegehen threatened to have the building imploded in 2003. The city sped up the building permit process after that.

Construction will be finished on time despite doubts, said Ormsby House construction consultant Mark Hauenstein of Technical Designs.

“There’s bets going on as far as when that project’s going to be completed,” he said.

Mayor-elect Bob Crowell called the Ormsby House a landmark and the “centerpiece of downtown.” The owners know how important it is to Carson, he said, and the city will do whatever it can to help.

– Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.