Sparks city officials were smiling ear to ear last week at the unveiling of the second of two major development projects that are expected to transform Victorian Square.
Silverwing Development officially displayed its plans for Fountain House, a mixed-use development west and south of the Sparks Century Theater and across from The Nugget Casino.
Asphalt from one parking lot has already been torn out for the $35 million first phase of the project, which will eventually include 236 condo-style apartments in 12 buildings, 8,400 square feet of retail space and a clubhouse with a pool.
Silverwing has been involved in commercial and residential real estate development for more than 29 years in northern Nevada, northern California and Texas.
During the official ceremony and groundbreaking Sept. 28, J Carter Witt, Silverwing president, recalled a century ago when the railroad made downtown Sparks a bustling place.
“This is where it was all happening,” Witt told the officials, business leaders and interested citizens gathered for the announcement. “We’ll make it again the main hub of Sparks.”
“A year from now, people will be living here,” Doug Hunter, Silverwing director of construction, said.
Hunter and Witt complimented the Sparks city staff and elected officials for helping move the project forward.
Mayor Geno Martini presented Silverwing Development with the city’s first “Iconic S” trophy in recognition of the company’s efforts to improve the city heart.
“Since 1999, we’ve been trying to do something down here. Finally, finally we have something to be proud of,” Martini said.
“I want to thank the small businesses that have stayed here on the plaza and stuck with us. We’re creating something down here that’s very very special.”
Designed by CWX Architects, Fountain House has luxury urban style architecture. All areas will have high tech security system at all points of entry and the common areas.
Upstairs units will have vaulted ceilings, and first and second floor units will have a minimum of 9-foot ceiling heights. All residences have an outdoor deck/patio.
The clubhouse design includes a distinctive clock tower overlooking the pool. The fitness center will have 24/7 key access and the clubhouse includes free Wi-Fi, a business center, and coffee bar.
The development will include extensive environmental features including LED lighting. Instead of thirsty sod, all landscaping will use drip irrigation.
The complex will also have fiber optics to provide 400-times the data speed of the typical home, Witt said.
The clubhouse is expected to be complete in early spring 2016 with the first apartments ready for occupancy in May.
“We’re creating an entirely new district in Washoe County in downtown Sparks,” Witt said, “a place of pride.”
Over the years there have been numerous plans to revitalize Victorian Square. The Great Recession crushed recent efforts.
“We’ve had lots of hope and lots of dreams and lots of options with what Victorian Square could be,” said Councilwoman Julia Ratti, who represents Ward 1, which includes Victorian Square. “I have zero doubt this vision will come to fruition.”
The Fountain House development is one of a pair of major projects underway in Victorian Square.
On the other side of the square, LandCap Investment Partners and GreenStreet Communities are recreating the former Silver Club Hotel into urban-style apartments and the Bourbon Square Casino/Silver Club Casino into a mixture of retail/commercial and office space.
Together, the projects are expected to completely change the dynamics of the district.
“I’ve lived in Sparks for 51 years,” said Charlene Bybee, councilwoman for Ward 4. “It’s never had a vibrant downtown — great special events but never a vibrant downtown.
“For the first time we’ll have a vibrant downtown where people live work and play.”
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