Facelift Planned for Downtown Reno's Kings Inn
The Kings Inn has sat vacant for nearly three decades, but it's on the verge of having a new owner. The blighted property could soon be getting a makeover -- and the City of Reno is looking at ways to help out.
Thursday, October 9th 2014, 3:39 pm PDT by
Thursday, October 16th 2014, 3:10 pm PDT
The Kings Inn was only open for 12 years before it closed in 1986. Since then the eight story building has withered into what many thought was a state of disrepair.
But if the sale goes through, it could get a facelift.
"It's incredibly important to this area of downtown. Reno is on the rise and this is an indicator that we're heading in the right direction," says Councilwoman Neoma Jardon.
The outside is boarded up -- windows are broken -- and graffiti has been an ongoing problem.
It's even been a haven for squatters, over the years.
But Chi Chi Bengochea is in the process of buying the property. And he's hoping to turn the property into 144 apartment units.
"I just thought it had a lot of opportunities with the university being close, the hospitals, everything the city is trying to do."
The Las Vegas-based developer has several successful business ventures in southern Nevada. Renovating this building would likely cost $8 to $10 million.
"Brand new elevators, brand new fire sprinklers, fire alarms, interior, brand new plumbing. It's everything except the concrete columns and floors."
City leaders are discussing the possibility of identifying any possible funding sources to assist the project. It would not include tax dollars, but rather incentives.
"It really is a burden to the tax payers to pay for the services that are needed for those facilities that really aren't paying any property tax and basically no sales tax," says Bill Thomas, Assistant City Manager.
The current property owner owes about $250,000 property taxes.
Bengochea says he's working with Washoe County to get an extra $150,000 in penalties and interest waived.
Bengochea says that deal would be good for everyone. Right now, the annual property tax is about $7 or 8,000 that's not being collected.
But he says it will generate at least $40,000 once it's up and running.
The deal is set to close on November 15 -- and renovations could be complete within a year-and-a-half.