The Whitney Peak Hotel has started development on a new extended-stay property on the corner of W. Commercial Row and North Sierra Street in downtown Reno.

Owner/developer Fitzgerald Real Property will begin construction on a new 90-100 room hotel on site of the former Old Reno, Vino's and Reno mercantile/Masonic Lodge buildings.  

In early 2017, the City of Reno required the owners to erect safety fencing around the building due to concerns over the integrity of the mercantile building, which was built in 1872 and is the oldest standing commercial building in Reno. The owners subsequently spent more than $250,000 installing internal bracing to stabilize the building, which had been vacant since the mid-1970s. 

“We evaluated every option and leveraged considerable resources on the owners’ part to find a solution that would allow us to preserve the Reno Mercantile, but we determined that the safest – and only – course of action is to raze the building,” said Ferrari. “However, the owners absolutely recognize the legacy of this building and its importance to the Reno community, so they will salvage and re-use as much existing material as possible, bringing historic integrity to the new building.” 

Demolition is expected to begin in the next month, with construction completed in mid-2020.

ORIGINAL STORY: 

The Whitney Peak Hotel is in the process of upgrading three downtown properties. The company says the upgrades will make room for more office and retail space in the area. Eric Olson is the General Manager of Whitney Peak Hotel. He says the timing is right to fix up the Old Reno Casino, Vino Restaurant, and the ground floor of the Whitney Peak parking garage.

"We're seeing a lot of economic development in Reno and especially downtown, we decided it was a good time to clean up our buildings and start looking for tenants," Olson said.

Olson says the fronts of the building will look completely different than they do now. Two of the buildings are boarded up, and metal trim is peeling away from wear signage used to be. 

Vandals have also caused some damage.

"They are an eyesore," Olson said. "So yeah, we're working our best and fastest to get them cleaned up by the end of this year, so they're ready in action."

Phase 3 of the Whitney Peak Hotel's renovations recently finished, allowing the company to focus on re-purposing the older buildings.

"Some of the buildings are a little older so there is some extra work there but with modern architecture and everything, it's actually pretty easy to switch over," Olson said.

The company is hoping to diversify the types of businesses moving to downtown Reno, which Olson says is part of the revitalization of the area near the Reno arch and ReTRAC.

"We're seeing a lot of big retail pop up, a lot of tech companies coming to Reno," Olson said. "So, it's kind of also what we're looking at, tech companies, professional, that kind of business."

Whitney Peak also owns the old masonic mercantile on the corner of Sierra St. and Commercial Row. That building is not slated to see any significant upgrades yet.

"The old masonic mercantile building, nothing right now," Olson said. "We are gonna do some preventative maintenance but that's about it for now."

The plans have not been decided yet and the cost of the project has not been determined, but Olson says the renovations will be a much-needed improvement to the area.

"It's gonna be something a little more urban, modern, big city-looking, very cool," Olson said.

The search for prospective tenants is already underway. Olson says he hopes they can fill the vacancies as soon as construction wraps up at the end of the year.

(Whitney Peak Hotel contributed to this report.)