Nugget Development Advisory Committee hears updates, details | NevadaAppeal.com

Nugget Development Advisory Committee hears updates, details

Sandi Hoover
shoover@nevadaappeal.com

Nugget owner Steve Neighbors and consultant Mark Lewis outlined an aggressive plan Monday for a public/private partnership it hopes to embark upon with Carson City.

Neighbors told the 14-member Carson Nugget Development Advisory Committee during its first meeting that he has no intention of cramming the project down the city’s throat.

“If Carson City doesn’t want to do this, then I will focus on getting the optimum value I can get (for the Nugget),” he said.

He said public/private partnerships have been around for decades and that as a businessman, he intends to follow guidelines established by the Urban Land Institute for helping guarantee success.

Panel members also learned that several developers are interested in working on the project and are expected to be on board within the next couple of months, but that a stringent vetting process would be followed.

He said once someone has been selected, details will be dependent upon what the developer is willing to risk and invest.

Lewis explained that a public/private partnership is based on a focus on mutual goals as well as leveraging mutual resources.

Panel members asked why a library was selected as the public cornerstone for the project.

“Part of economic development is to create an economic catalyst that will drive people into that area,” as the Aces ballpark did on his most recent project in Reno, he said.

The public portion of the $80 million project would likely be about $40 million which would be funded through a 1/8-cent sales tax increase as well as redevelopment district property tax increment funds known as TIFs.

City Manager Larry Werner said other sources were also available such as RTC transit funds, sewer and water funds and possibly other alternatives.

Committee member Dwight Millard was concerned about all the vacancies throughout town, but Lewis said part of the purpose of the project is to generate enough interest in downtown to help draw people and businesses to the area.

“We are talking about starting up the business incubators early before the project to help fill those vacancies,” Lewis said.

Millard was also worried about the parking needs to be shared by the Nugget, the library and businesses, but Neighbors said all of those needs will be taken into consideration when a parking study is conducted.

Werner said the committee’s role would be to decide whether the partnership can work and whether the investment is sound.

The developer’s responsibilities would be:

• Upfront cost for planning, architecture, engineering and other development costs; arrangement to be negotiated.

• Ability to wholly finance the project to include bonding for project completion and complete understanding of the city’s financial constraints.

• Complete project at agreed upon costs and schedule.

• Communicate with the public, earning its trust and maintaining it throughout the project.

• Absorb all risk of financing, construction, cost and schedule.

The proposed project schedule is:

• April 2010 – All development agreements completed

• June 2010 – Leases finalized with state agences, design package under way with first submittals

• November 2010 – Permits approved by all government agencies

• January 2011 – Start construction

• January 2013 – Construction complete

• April 2013 – Occupancy