Jacobs Entertainment’s demolition of weekly motels received official opposition today.
The company has been buying and demolishing weekly motels west of downtown as part of what it is envisioning as an arts and entertainment area called the Fountain District.
But the district is lacking of a solid plan for the properties, according to those who are protesting three new demolition permits filed for the Star of Reno, El Ray, and Keno motels on Arlington Avenue.
“We have no commitment from Jacobs Entertainment, or approved plans, on what they want to do with these properties,” said realtor Barrie Lynn, who filed the appeals today. “Vacant lots with fountains on them is not an allowable use in the (city’s) master plan for the downtown area.
“Right now, they’re just speculating,” she added. “The have no commitment to stick around; if they do leave, we’re going to be stuck with all of this vacant land.”
Lynn is joined by others calling themselves the Mid-Century Motel Team, and the Historic Reno Preservation Society (HRPS), which is encouraging Jacobs Entertainment to adopt creative uses for a number of motels in the area.
“There are eight historic-era, mid-century motels dating from 1946 t0 1979,” Carol Colemen of the HRPS wrote to Jacobs. “It would take some vision, but we believe that this block — adaptively reusing the sites for entertainment, restaurants, shops, and galleries — could become a draw for locals and tourists.”
Appeal Won’t Stop Demolitions
Lynn said that her appeal will be heard April 3, 2018, and that the city gave no indication if that would halt the demolitions.
“All I’m asking is to hold off on demolition until my appeal is heard,” she conveyed. “The problem with these motels is that at some time in the ’70s, the city decided the motels could be used for long-term housing, and the owners did not have to pay a room tax.
“The city created this monster. It has the means to (fix) it.”
The city’s community development department told ThisisReno that the appeal will not halt the work order allowing demolition.
A ‘pause button’ happens only when an appeal cites safety issues or a staff mistake in filing, according to a source.
Lynn’s appeals were apparently reviewed, and neither of those determinations were found. The demolitions are therefore free to proceed.
Jacobs Entertainment did not have a response by the time of publication.