City moves forward on business resource center |

City moves forward on business resource center

Sandi Hoover

The Board of Supervisors on Thursday directed city staff to explore leasing or buying the former Fireside building on Proctor Street adjacent to City Hall for a possible business resource center.

The goal would be to bring together the permit center, offices of planning, building, business development and business licensing, and the Community Development Block Grant program, said Office of Business Development Director Joe McCarthy.

He said other buildings have been considered, but the Fireside building looks most promising due to being conveniently located and move-in ready.

Supervisor Robin Williamson said the center also would provide resources to help small businesses.

“We want to create a customer service center and help businesses to grow,” she said.

McCarthy said most of the focus would be on companies with 10 to 100 employees, and that it would be overseen by the Public Works Department with some help from the library for resources.

The goal would be to open the business center by July 1 because Public Works is moving out of the Northgate buildings by then, and had planned to occupy space owned by the city on Butti Way.

“There are a lot of cost savings associated with combining services,” said Principal Planner Jennifer Pruitt.

Supervisor Shelly Aldean said she believes it’s a good idea to shift the redevelopment focus away from events and onto infrastructure improvements and providing assistance to businesses.

Resident Bruce Kittess said it sounded like the city was creating a mini business incubator.

And resident John Wagner said he would rather see the city use the existing facilities on Butti, even though they aren’t particularly glamorous.

“Why are we leasing or buying new buildings when the economy is in the tank? You could use existing facilities and use that money for something else,” Wagner said.

McCarthy said that if the Fireside Building is used, the first floor, or approximately 4,400 square feet, would focus on business support and technical assistance, communication and media support, redevelopment programs and collaborations with partners such as the chamber of commerce, builders association, manufacturers association, Western Nevada College and more.

The second floor, about 4,000 square feet, would be devoted to the essential city services and departments most needed by businesses.