Collaboration is key for Carson City Capitol Mall North project

Capitol Mall North is still in formative stages with the aim a technology innovation district can provide a collaborative environment for companies locating in Carson City.

So said Chris Baker of Manhard Consulting’s office here, who spoke Wednesday to business people at a Nevada Business Connections breakfast meeting audience. He also fielded questions about design and goals, including the parking garage anticipated west of the Carson Nugget casino, but his focus stayed on the fluid state of pre-construction activity and the goal of combining tech with mixed use elements.

“In today’s world,” said the consultant for Carson City Center Development, LLC, “companies are so fine-tuned they want to work in a collaborative environment.”

He said the private sector development project’s environment envisions a Hyatt Place hotel, two office buildings with a tech conference center, parking garages for 1,600 vehicles, retailing, restaurants and bistros, and a public plaza for downtown events. But it was the garage west of the Nugget that sparked interest. One person questioned it on Carson Street, another the look of it in preliminary renderings.

Baker said that garage has retail on the street level and the attempt is to make it blend in with Carson City’s other buildings. At one point he showed a picture of the building that used to be on the block south of Robinson and west of Carson Street which was brick to show similarity with the rendering, yet he wasn’t adamant about what the final lock would be.

“This is our first run at this,” he said. At another point, he emphasized flexibility and the tentative nature of preliminary decisions. “We were just trying to do our best to complement what’s in Carson City. We still have a lot to do.” He also stressed things may change with potential tenant interest in renting space in the project, though current prospects look good from letters of intent.

“We don’t want to build something that would sit vacant,” Baker said. Asked the estimated cost of the project, he indicated he wasn’t privy to that information from the developer.

Also speaking at the development organization breakfast meeting were Carson City Community Development Director Lee Plemel and Kris Wickstead, a mechanical engineer with General Electric (GE) Bently in Minden. Plemel spoke only briefly, urging those interested to attend one of the Monday sessions on Carson City’s public sector downtown makeover project to widen Carson Street sidewalks, add bicycle lanes and have three car traffic lanes.

On that separate public sector project, he said, the 12:30 and 5:30 p.m. sessions Monday at the Sierra Room in the Carson City Community Center will provide citizens an opportunity to comment on designs now at the 30 percent stage. Additional sessions will come later this year when the 60 percent and 90 percent design stages are reached. The $11 million city government makeover project is expected to begin in 2016.

Wickstead, in his presentation, said GE Bently in Northern Nevada employs 750 and the plant in Minden makes 75,000 product shipments annually. “We export over 60 percent of our products,” he said. “We’re actually Nevada’s largest exporter, as I understand it.”


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