Rethink decision to build warehouse downtown
April 25, 2002
For all the good the state of Nevada has done to help downtown Carson City, we’d hate to see its reputation tarnished by building a warehouse in the midst of the redevelopment district.
We’d encourage state officials to rethink this decision before the building becomes an icon for poor land-use decisions by the state in Carson City.
It’s true the warehouse design looks like it will be an improvement over the Capital Apartments, which were purchased by the state and torn down.
State government also has spent millions to remodel the Legislative Building and turn the Capitol Complex into a park-like setting, a refuge of shade trees and grassy knolls along busy Carson Street.
It is restoring the former Carson City courthouse into offices for the attorney general’s staff, a significant historical landmark that might have been replaced by brand-new steel and glass.
The building next door, though, reminds us of the state’s power to do whatever it wants with a piece of downtown property. The fact that building was plunked down by the Supreme Court in the middle of King Street in 1937 — forever blocking a magnificent view of the Capitol — shows just how long are the consequences of construction decisions.
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So even though a warehouse may be a short-term improvement, there are still reasons it’s a long-term mistake.
First, building a temporary warehouse on such prime real estate doesn’t make sense. You can rent warehouse space in Carson City for a very good rate these days, sparing taxpayers the capital expense while leaving this prime real estate open for something more appropriate. Although you can call a building temporary, our experience tells us that the cost of building the infrastructure is almost as much as building something more substantial.
Second, of all the things our merchants in downtown Carson City desire, a warehouse is not on the list. At a time when they are trying to create a vision for downtown they find a big chunk of adjacent property converted to warehouse space.
Third, state executives have said repeatedly they would like to get out of the business of renting space and into the business of owning it. They believe it’s less expensive in the long run. We worry about the impact on local landlords if this happens too quickly, but overall we take no issue with the decision.
What we don’t like is the idea of a warehouse so close to downtown. The Capitol Complex should represent the very best Carson City has to offer. We’re proud of it, and we’d like to be proud of all downtown.
We dream of a day when the bypass reduces the blight of traffic on Carson Street. In the meantime, we can’t see how a warehouse — even a nice-looking warehouse — fits into anybody’s dream for downtown Carson City.
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