Businesses, city officials welcome Lucky Spur renovation
Efforts to turn the Lucky Spur into a sports casino and microbrewery are getting a stamp of approval from both Carson City officials and businesses.
Built in the 1860s, the empty building is considered one of the last true blights in the downtown area. Last week, partners Scott Johnson and Michael Stewart announced plans to renovate the building and open the business by Oct. 31.
“That’s a good thing for business,” said Scott Doerr, owner of B’Sghetti’s restaurant just north of the Lucky Spur. “I don’t see anything negative about bringing in new business to downtown Carson City. It’s a wonderful location, and the right people will be able to do great things with the property.”
Doerr said he’s seen an increase in foot traffic in the downtown area over the past six years. He expressed some concerns among local business people about parking, but overall he’s very pleased with the way business is expanding downtown.
“The area is becoming a destination,” he said. “The tourists fly by the downtown area, and we cater mostly to locals. They don’t seem to mind if they have to walk a little, as long as it’s worth the walk.”
Carson City Supervisor Robin Williamson said she’s delighted that Johnson and Stewart have shown an interest in the Lucky Spur, a priority for redevelopment downtown for years.
“This is very good news,” Williamson said. “I don’t anticipate any major hurdles, and I think city officials are trying to be very supportive.”
The building must be upgraded to meet fire and safety codes and retrofitted for disabled access, but Williamson doesn’t anticipate any major problems.
When the plans have been drawn and costs determined, the business partners could be eligible for up to $100,000 in grant money for redevelopment. The property is being purchased by Stewart and Johnson under a lease-option agreement, however, and grants are usually given only to building owners.
Mayor Ray Masayko said obtaining grant money depends in large part on the terms of the lease-option agreement. The owner must be willing to have a lien on the property, and much depends on how the lease option is written.
“We don’t know the details of that agreement,” Masayko said. “But if both the owner and the business partners want it to work, we can make it work.”