As featured in the Nevada Appeal by Anne Knowles 05.06.2017
Steve Neighbors hopes 308 Curry St. serves as a catalyst for Carson City development.
“The success or struggle of 308 Curry will speak to all developers,” said Neighbors, who’s one of three trustees of the Hop & Mae Adams Foundation, which is developing the mixed-use project now under construction. “I think it will create a domino effect.”
The goal is to demonstrate a small city like Carson City is worth investing in for developers and businesses who usually only look at bigger cities.
The complex will include apartments, retail and office space and has been in the works for years, starting with a lengthy public process to chose a design by Carson City architect Robert Darney.
Since breaking ground in July 2016, the project has run into a few roadblocks.
First, the 1960s-era Citibank building which was to be renovated was found to be unsalvageable, requiring a tear down and all new construction.
Then wet winter weather and a shortage of construction workers delayed the build out, although Neighbors thinks they can make up lost time and be ready for occupancy in October, as planned.
Now, the task is to lease it to the right mix of tenants.
Neighbors said there has been plenty of interest in the 10, 1,000-to-2,100 square foot apartments on the third floor, which will likely be occupied first once the construction is complete.
The idea is to put 11,400 square feet of Class A office space on the second floor and 10,300 square feet of retail space on the first floor.
But there’s been more inquiries for office space than retail so far.
That could change because retailers make decisions later, said Miya MacKenzie, chief professional officer, Adams Hub, another Hop & Mae Foundation project.
Still, the street-level retail may end up being a mix of shops, restaurants and offices.
“We’ve seen interest from professionals who interact with legislators,” Neighbors said, but he promised space would be leased by year-round tenants, unlike the lobbying firms who rent downtown space but only occupy it for a few months every two years.
“The focus isn’t to fill it as quickly as possible but to do what’s right for downtown,” he said.
The mixed-use project is the latest foundation undertaking and, for now, the main focus for Neighbors.
“The foundation has been trying to tackle one thing at a time,” said Neighbors. “If we try to do too much we’ll exceed our resources.”
First, he said, was the Adams Hub because there was a need to create an entrepreneurial space in the city.
That’s now active with co-working and office members, with a few offices available upstairs, and the addition of The Studio workshop and meeting space.
Then there was the brewery, which the foundation rehabbed over the years, installing a new roof and repointing every brick.
Now, it’s adding a couple of bathrooms and some other improvements for the new tenant, The Union, which plans to open a restaurant there in June.
The trustees considered four proposals for the space, said Neighbors, and decided on the team of restauranteur Mark Estee and Hub Coffee Roasters owner Mark Trujillo because they understand the local market.
“Mark squared — we started calling them,” said Neighbors.
Another foundation property at 808 Curry St., is in the early stages of development.
Another unsalvageable building, a one-time jewelry store, was torn down there. Earlier, Neighbors said it would not be another mixed-use project, but something else that fills a void in Carson City. He said ideas are being bandied about for 808 Curry St., and for what he calls City Center.
The latter is the project on Stewart Street that received a special use permit in 2015 but has stalled since.
Those permitted plans included a hotel, conference and commercial space, and two parking garages.
That’s essentially still Neighbors’ personal preference, but it has to pencil out for a developer, he said.
“If we could bring in 100 smaller conventions,” said Neighbors. “That would mean 130,000 room nights.”