Train-related concepts introduced for Destination Nevada project |

Train-related concepts introduced for Destination Nevada project

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

The concepts for a Chinese Workers Museum and a multi-use development called Destination Nevada are “extremely creative and innovative,” said Doug Hone, a local developer.

Hone said the late Walt Disney faced naysaying government officials in Burbank, Calif., when he wanted to build a theme park there. They were hostile and unreceptive, so Disney took his Disneyland ideas south to Anaheim, Calif., which grew up around the world-famous development, he said.

He also said he hopes Carson City officials will be receptive to the developers and able “to see what creativity and originality can produce.”

Dozens of people came out Wednesday afternoon to hear about development plans to accompany the Virginia & Truckee Railway. This Planning Commission meeting brought together members of various boards, commissions and committees who are expected to make recommendations about specific portions of the museum and Destination Nevada projects.

Destination Nevada could contain a casino, lodging, retail and office spaces east of the V&T Railway on 150 acres off Highway 50 East and Drako Way. The private venture’s cost could reach $900 million, and land acquisitions still are being completed.

The proposed $50 million Chinese Workers Museum will sit on what is now Bureau of Land Management property and border Destination Nevada. It also is expected to be mostly privately funded, and up to 500,000 visitors are projected to visit the museum annually.

The tourist train is expected to be ready by 2010, rolling along an 18-mile route between Carson City and Virginia City and costing up to $40 million to complete.

“Projects like this don’t come along very often,” said Art Hannafin, architect and owner of Hannafin Design Associates, a co-director of the Chinese Workers Museum and architect for Destination Nevada. “We’re convinced this project is going to have a big impact on Carson City. We think it’s going to be a winning situation.”

“Great concept,” said Peter J. Smith, of the Historic Resources Commission, about the museum plan. “But they need $50 million.”

People are extremely interested in China these days, Smith said. It also would provide “a great chance for mainland Chinese, Taiwanese and Chinese-Americans to cooperate on something.”

One concern is the overall design theme might be diluted because there is potential for many different parties to be involved. This, however, would be unlikely because “it has to gel together as a master plan development,” said Khan Tung, co-director of the Chinese Workers Museum and a Hannafin Design associate.

Overall design of the projects could change, Tung emphasized.

Other changes needed to accommodate that much development would include increased traffic and the need to increase the permitted density level, he said.

The city is considering construction a multi-use trail near the train and the Carson River is being eyed as a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The approximately 800 acres of Bureau of Land Management property that wraps around the development site and contain the city’s landfill might end up as a park, Tung said.

“It’s interesting,” said Dan Greytak, a member of the Carson River Advisory Committee, of the plans. “But there’s a long, long way to go.”

While the train is expected to be rolling within five years, the museum might be completed within six years, and Destination Nevada could take 10 years to be constructed, Tung said.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.