Ormsby House making visible signs of progress | NevadaAppeal.com

Ormsby House making visible signs of progress

Becky Bosshart
Appeal Staff Writer

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Jim Fether, of Carson City, water blasts the side of the Ormsby House on Thursday. Hotel/casino owners have not released an opening date for the project that has been underway since 2003, but work is progressing.

Greta O’Kelley pointed her manicured fingernail at the Ormsby House across the street and traced the edge of the building through the window. For more than three years she has watched progress on the historic hotel/casino from her desk at the South Carson Street Century 21 office. She knows when what was painted and how long it’s taken to get this far.

“See, everyday they do something different,” she said about the tan paint on the portecochere as traffic whizzed by.

Recently released from its cage of scaffolding, the 1972 building is a spot of cream and tan in Carson City’s downtown redevelopment district.

“It’s a very valuable historic building that has to be preserved,” said Laura Sperry, a real estate agent at Century 21 Heritage West, a real estate office facing the 167-room giant.

The owners, Allan Fiegehen and Don Lehr, would agree. Some have criticized the long duration of the construction, it began in September 2003, but Fiegehen has argued that the project is more complicated than what most people thought.

Robin Zakzeski, operations manager for the Ormsby House, said the owners have declined to give a completion date for the project. The cost of completion is also being kept under wraps, though a figure of $13 million has circulated.

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“We’ve made huge strides on the exterior part of the building,” Zakzeski said. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive comments from the community.”

The scaffolding is still on the portecochere, the large decorative porch for valet parking, but she expects all of the scaffolding to be off the building’s exterior in about a month.

“We’re trying to make a quality hotel that Carson City can be proud of,” she said. “(The owners) are very detail-orientated and that takes time and it takes money. They didn’t want to go in, rush and get it done fast.”

Tom Metcalf, chief executive of Metcalf Builders, the principle contractor, said the four-story, low-rise roof is close to completion. The exterior still needs the rock veneer around the base of the building. The sandstone veneer will cover the mint green strip around the building’s base.

“We’re getting ready to start site work soon – the driveway and parking lot, sidewalks,” he said. “We’ll also start the rock base of the building. We’re putting back the existing rock that was on the building.”

About 50 workers are on site during the work week.

O’Kelley, the Century 21 administrative assistant, longingly waits for it to open. She used to go to eat dinner at the old Ormsby House before it closed for the last time in October 2000. O’Kelley has taken pictures of the hotel through the construction.

“I wanted to see the progress,” she said. “When they started, it looked like a mess and I never thought they’d get it done. Now the outside looks done. I just hope they can do the same with the interior.”

— Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.

Plans for the

Ormsby House

• Meeting rooms of adjustable sizes

• An outdoor pool on the fourth floor

• Fitness center

• Fine dining, buffet, coffee shop, bars

• 167 rooms and suites

• Casino

• A pedestrian bridge across Curry Street