Board questions Neighbors on Nugget project
The Carson City Board of Supervisors learned Thursday that the Office of Business Development is aggressively moving forward on a financial plan for the $87 million Nugget downtown redevelopment plan.
OBD Director Joe McCarthy said that by Jan. 21, the board would see a financial plan and schedule, and that by Feb. 18, a complete business impact statement for a 1⁄8-cent sales tax increase and business terms will be presented.
Supervisors also questioned Carson Nugget Vice President Steve Neighbors about details of the Nugget project.
The Carson Nugget could soon be under full ownership of Neighbors, pending approval of the state Gaming Commission, after president Alan Adams agreed to sell his 50 percent stake in the property last month. Neighbors is sole trustee of the trust of Hop and Mae Adams, who owned the Nugget with Alan Adams.
By implementing a 1⁄8-cent sales tax, the city believes it can raise the $12 million needed for a new library that would anchor the project. The Nugget proposes to bring private investment dollars, thus rejuvenating the local economy.
Officials asked Neighbors why the Nugget would retain the property where the library would be built.
Neighbors said under that arrangement, the city could retain that portion of the property on its tax rolls for revenue. He said the city’s lease payments would be fed back into the Adams Foundation, which would continue to benefit the city as outlined in the trust.
“The city has expressed an interest in creating an element that interests private developers,” Neighbors said. “It’s a fast track. Is this aggressive? Very. Can we do it? Yes, I think we can.”
Neighbors said he and his consulting team are working to bring a business incubator, digital media lab and other private investment companies to Carson City.
“I am a steward capitalist, and I believe businesses should answer to somebody, and I’m trying to leverage this for all my stakeholders,” he said.
Supervisor Molly Walt said she has heard from many constituents that they feel everything is being done behind the scenes, but said transparency is why the regular updates are coming before the board every month.
McCarthy said there are no secrets and that the OBD’s Web site – http://www.nevadas
jects.html – is updated daily with every turn of the wheel.
“Have I done a turn-around of a city? No, I have not,” said Neighbors. “Have I done successful turn-arounds for businesses? Yes, I have. In my mind, I’m being very open, that’s what these meetings are about.
“I believe we can create a number of new businesses coming to Carson City for the incubator, and we’re still in the digital media process, but we have letters of intent and it’s starting to gain momentum,” he said. “We’ve spent a lot of time and money on research, and the heart of all this is that the community has said, ‘Give me jobs.'”
Resident John Wagner said he wondered why the library had to be tied to the Nugget project.
“Why can’t we put a second story on the library’s parking lot where it is now?” he asked.
Officials have said that a new library provides an ideal anchor for the other components of the project.