Significant progress for Carson City’s Capitol Mall hoped for by 2017 |

Significant progress for Carson City’s Capitol Mall hoped for by 2017

John Barrette
A photograph of an artist's renderings of the Capitol Mall project are shown at Community Development Department. Building A is the parking garage west of the Carson Nugget on the parking lot/ice rink block.
Brad Coman / Nevada Appeal | Brad Coman / Nevada Appeal

The private sector Capitol Mall project, which just reached Carson City government’s review stage, is big by local standards and has big implications for traffic, water and the like.

Project documents detailing a special use permit request and a growth management application went into the Community Development Department hopper last week showing significant downtown traffic impacts may result and water usage triggered the need for the growth management review. Such details are yet to be aired in public meetings. Mayor Robert Crowell, meanwhile, stressed silver linings rather than seeing any clouds.

“I’m glad to see that this project is moving forward,” he said. “It has the potential to be a huge benefit to Carson City. I think it’s great news that it’s moving forward. There are a lot of balls in the air for Carson City right now. If we catch them all, it’s going to mean great things for the future.”

Matt MacRitchie of MacCompany’s in the Chicago area, speaking in general about the project well before it reached city planners, said he’s targeting to get work done or be through significant phases by 2017. That’s about the time the last leg of the I-580 freeway bypass is slated for completion by the state, and a city government public sector remake of downtown Carson Street will either be well under way or done.

The 10-acre Capitol Mall project near the Carson Nugget casino, called Capitol Mall North on a website of MacCompany’s, envisions a 150 key hotel, a technology conference center, two office structures and two parking garages, retailing spots, as well as public plazas and other amenities. Garage spaces can handle 1,602 vehicles.

MacRitchie of MacCompany’s and Carson City Center Development, LLC, emphasized those common area plazas and amenities weeks ago when he provided some news about the project coming together, but many project details then were still in flux. Now the Manhard Consulting documents let the Community Development Department and other city staff get down to the nitty-gritty of traffic, water usage, hydrology and earlier geotechnical investigations.

Regarding traffic, Manhard wrote: “The project is anticipated to generate 8,485 average weekday trips with 797 trips occurring during the AM peak hour and 944 trips occurring during the AM peak hour,” The documents also said required parking for the mall complex, according to city government, is almost 1,525 spaces, a figure exceeded by the more than 1,600 planned.

Regarding water: “The proposed project anticipates consumption of average daily water in excess of 7,500 gallons per day which, in accordance with Carson City Municipal Code 18.12.070 is the count threshold requiring a growth management permit.”

The project calls for more than 421,000 square feet in office space and more than 61,000 square feet of retailing, plus the 10-story hotel and parking for the both complex and existing casino. In all, Manhard’s submission revealed more than 680,000 square feet are involved.

Interest by companies looking to lease in the mall is solid, according to Bruce Robertson of NAI Alliance, the broker handling such matters. He said matters still are at the letter-of-intent (LOI) stage until cost factors can be built into equations. As matters move closer to construction numbers, he said, pricing can spur things from the LOI stage to actual leases.

“It’s just a great development for Carson City,” Robertson said. He said it will attract technology companies and create tech jobs that can lure local young people back to Carson City and bring in others.

Though no hard construction costs are available yet, a check with some in the building industry indicate you can figure $15,000 per parking space for the garages and $200 or more per square foot on office space or the like. An estimate using those figures showed at least $120 million to do the 482,000 in office/retail square footage and the 1,600 parking garage slots. That projection doesn’t include the hotel.

Despite such a large footprint and square footage impact, according to Manhard, underground city sewer lines can handle the job.

“The existing sanitary sewer system will adequately serve the proposed site and no improvements are necessary for the proposed development to meet existing Carson City standards,” said Manhard.

A review of other standards, meanwhile, showed why planners and commission reviews undoubtedly would be thorough.

“As expected with a project of this size and scale,” wrote Manhard, “some of these standards were not able to be met and therefore trigger the aforementioned special use permit.” Most notably, Manhard said, the mix of uses, the parking structures, the streetscape and building envelope standards dealing with height, specifications and required transitions are involved in triggering that special use permit (SUP) need,

The commission is slated to take up the matter on May 27 in the Carson City Community Center after a review by Plemel and other city staff. Normal commission start time is 5 p.m., though commissioners have occasionally met at other hours on their regular meeting date. This May session, as law requires, is going to be noticed with time and place included earlier in May.

The special use permit process means the commission has the definitive say unless someone appeals that panel’s decision. Then it would go to the Board of Supervisors for final determination.

Initial phases in the proposal will envision the parking garage west of the casino across Carson Street with an overhead connection walkway, which will go on the current parking lot/ice rink block, and the hotel well east of the casino on the block bounded on three sides by these streets: East Robinson on the north, North Stewart on the east and East Spear to the south. The west side garage is phase 1, the hotel phase 2.

Phase 3 will include an office structure with retailing south of the hotel, and it will be bounded on the north and south by East Spear and East Telegraph streets, on the east by North Stewart Street, as well as the second parking garage just south of that office/retail building. That garage goes between East Telegraph and East Proctor streets with North Stewart Street on the east side. Phase 4 would be another office/retail building from East Proctor to East Musser streets along North Stewart.