Officials: Carson City's long-shuttered Ormsby House has new buyer

The vacant Ormsby House in Carson City, south of downtown.

The vacant Ormsby House in Carson City, south of downtown.

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Just two days before the 20th anniversary of its closure, spokesman Kim Fiegehen and Mayor-elect Lori Bagwell announced Oct. 28 the iconic Ormsby House hotel-casino is in escrow with a new buyer they described as well established and funded with a history of success.

“This is so right,” said Bagwell. “We see somebody who wants to invest in Carson City, somebody who loves the history. They’re excited to be coming to Carson City.”

They said the buyer has already put down “a substantial payment” into the escrow account, which is why they’re so positive about the deal.

But both said that, under the nondisclosure agreements signed as part of the sale, they can’t reveal who the purchaser is or exactly what kinds of plans he has for the Ormsby House.

“We can say he’s done several successful projects which is why we’re optimistic,” said Bagwell. “It’s a great company.”

Built and opened in 1972 by former Nevada Gov. Paul Laxalt, the property went through several owners before Don Lehy and Al Fiegehen, owners of Cubix Computer Corp., bought it in 1999. They shut it down a year later to do a complete renovation.

According to records of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the Ormsby House closed Oct. 30, 2000.

Kim Fiegehen said the pending purchase includes not only the hotel/casino on the corner of Fifth and Carson streets, but the parking garage across Curry Street to the west, the old AM-PM minimart property to the south and the old dental building, Platinum Salon and parking lot across Carson Street to the east.

Fiegehen said she can’t reveal the price tag at this point.

They said at this point a casino is not in the plans. Nor, they said, is anything like the nursing home once suggested for the hotel.

While extensive work has been done remodeling the property inside and out — including the hotel rooms in the tower— Kim Fiegehen said the interior is still unfinished.

But former Supervisor Shelly Aldean, herself a commercial Realtor, said that’s not necessarily a bad thing. She said that lets the buyer finish the project to suit their plans for the property.

When Lehr and Al Fiegehen evaluated how much work was needed, they decided to shut it down and perform an extensive renovation both inside and out.

Since, there has been extensive structural work on the concrete floors, complete replacement of electrical systems and HVAC, extensive repairs to the exterior and other upgrades to bring the building up to modern code.

They also did a complete overhaul of the 220 hotel rooms, turning them into about half that number of spaces that could become suites or apartments.

Laxalt sold the hotel in 1976 to veteran gaming operator Woody Loftin of Hawthorne. He operated the property successfully for a decade. His son Truett became the owner when Loftin died in 1985. Truett was forced into bankruptcy in 1993 and the Ormsby House closed.

It reopened in 1995 under the ownership of Barry Silverton who got a $5.5 million loan but lost the property to foreclosure in 1998 when he defaulted on the loan.

During this period, future Reno mayor and longtime gaming operator Bob Cashell was named manager of the hotel/casino and managed to turn it into a profitable venture for the first time since Woody Loftin.

Lehr and Fiegehen bought the property from Cerberus in 1999. Cashell announced in mid-2000 that the hotel/casino would close nine months for remodeling. It has been closed since.

But Fiegehen and Bagwell said last week week they are very optimistic this buyer will get the property back up and running.


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