Downtown Carson City enters new phase of redevelopment |

Downtown Carson City enters new phase of redevelopment

Ronni Hannaman

Carson City is not yet finished reimaging itself. Not even close.

After an 18-month hiatus, expect to see the orange cones return this spring as the downtown goes into yet another phase of the redevelopment — this time focused on Curry Street and some of the

side streets.

Construction is expected to begin in April 2018, but should not impact downtown traffic the way Carson Street construction did, but those detours and cones will be evident.

As the old saying goes, “Make hay while the sun shines.” We never know when the window of opportunity will be shuttered. Carson City continues to aggressively move forward while the economy remains robust. Happy 2018!

But, that’s not the only place you will see those orange cones. Sometime later in the year, expect to see Fairview Drive get a makeover as well. Until the opening of the entire bypass, Fairview was overused and the amount of traffic that passed through this area caused deterioration of the street, now badly in need of repair.

Since so much traffic — especially truck traffic — has been eliminated from South Carson Street, this street is to be repaved and redesigned to

better showcase the businesses along this very important and profitable corridor. The early design stage is now underway and construction is to begin in early 2019. The $5.1 million allocated by NDOT will be used to narrow the street to accommodate much less traffic than was seen when the bypass ended at Fairview. It is anticipated almost half of the 45,000 cars once traveling Carson Street are now using the bypass. Expect to see a new auto dealer here to round out the auto row concept.

The Complete Streets model will be the template for all new road construction adding pedestrian and bike-friendly paths. Complete Streets maintains the streets belong to more than the automobile and all streets should be made easy to cross, walk to shops, and bicycle to work. Expect to see center turn lanes, round-a-bouts and two lanes in each direction on South Carson. At present, it is almost impossible to safely cross North or South Carson Street unless you are at a light.

A new lodging property is now under review to accommodate those who wish to self-cater for a few nights. Towneplace Suites by Marriott is a four-story hotel rounding out the offerings on the Casino Fandango complex. In this general area a 300-unit apartment complex, Carson Hills Apartments, also has a building permit under review and could be the first to relieve the apartment shortage.

The downtown will continue to see remodeled storefronts creating more appealing visuals. The side streets will feature the same street lights found on Carson Street in the downtown, and Curry Street will be more pleasantly walkable with upgraded sidewalks and street lights. New businesses will be open after the first of the year in the remodeled stores, and the long-awaited Hop & Mae Adams Foundation multi-use building at 308 N. Carson St. that broke ground on

July 6, 2016 may soon be complete and accept tenants, giving the center of the city more vitality.

Oh, yes, the naysayers will have their naysay, but if the downtown phase one remodeling could be a bellwether, the naysayers do come around and are proud of their new city.

The dining options are predicted to increase, tempting those who stay home to get out more. And, we think this won’t be all fast-food. Some existing restaurants have already expanded — think the popular LA Bakery, a destination restaurant not seen from Carson Street.

Expect to see more emphasis on repairing and updating government buildings caused by deferred maintenance in the economic downturn. As it now stands, there may not be a new library, but it will be much improved aesthetically and far more user-friendly. There’s talk of more comfortable seating within the community theater that would be very welcome, indeed.

The water treatment plant is still top priority. The school district continues to remodel and upgrade to make our schools more energy efficient and safer for students. Kudos to the school district for continuing to use limited property tax monies wisely.

Highway 50/William Street is seeing some revitalization thanks to the private sector. The aging Slot World is newly remodeled and Classy Seconds Community Thrift Store has revitalized a weed-filled lot once home to vagrants. Expect to see more activity in this area. Success breeds success.

North Carson seems to remain ever stagnant despite new homes being built at Silver Oak. The extended stay motels aren’t reinvesting in their properties, creating a downtrodden look. New paint and signage would enhance these main street eyesores, though the overall problem would not be solved. There will be a new tenant in the old Tile Outlet building that should bring back a bit of life there in late summer. The shining light in this area continues to be the growth of our medical campus. Reno Orthopedic Services has a permit under review for a new clinic expanding medical services for area residents.

The news regarding the closing of SunOpta and the downsizing of Nature’s Bakery in the industrial area somewhat ends the year on a sour note, but we are told manufacturing is robust; therefore, the spaces should soon be filled though there is nothing on the horizon at present. Under zoning review, however, is a special permit to allow a marijuana distributor off Deer Run Road.

The building of new homes and apartments doesn’t seem to be as robust as once thought, but the Lennar Homes being built at the former racetrack in south Carson can’t be built quickly enough even though the starting price is now up to $380,000. Other plans have been languishing for about two years for various reasons. Smaller subdivisions are cropping up in the downtown infilling vacant or eye sore properties that will create more synergy in the downtown that will be good for business.

Overall, the lack of housing — whether single family homes or apartments — continues to be a lament heard not only by the realtors, but by those looking to relocate. The affordability issue continues to cause concern for those who seek workforce/affordable housing. According to the Mortgage Affordability Calculator, the average earner in Carson City can afford a home in the range of $198,360. According to Zillow, the local median price of homes currently listed is $324,900. The median rent price in Carson City is $1,350. The market, however, dictates the cost of housing, not government. Currently, more affordable housing is still found in the Dayton/Silver Springs area.

Should we mention the Ormsby House? This once vital hotel/casino/restaurant continues to remain shuttered. The opening of this structure with its incredible meeting space could be the major game changer so needed to attract those from out of town to spend their cash here. What’s happening here is only known by a few.

The long-awaited opening of the Nevada State Museum just might be a reality this summer. The non-profit NSPPS has been working diligently to meet all state requirements.

The Carson Mall has updated its Carson Street facade in hopes of attracting new tenants and could create new spaces internally as well. We’ve not heard of any major chain store closures and Carson remains the shopping hub for the region for those wanting to avoid the increasing Reno traffic.

While there is talk of a lot of growth in the future, all is dependent on the amount of new housing to accommodate new citizens. Until then, Carson will remain stable. The Nevada State Demographer predicts Carson to grow by 9,500 residents by 2032.

It’s an election year. You’ll be voting for two supervisor positions: one new supervisor and whether to retain another. You’ll have the chance to make your vote count when it comes to the retention of our state assemblyperson and senator. And on the federal level, you decide whether to retain our senator and member of the House. Your vote could be an overall game changer.

As the old saying goes, “Make hay while the sun shines.” We never know when the window of opportunity will be shuttered. Carson City continues to aggressively move forward while the economy remains robust. Happy 2018!