Past Pages, July 4, 2011: CommRow seeks to change Downtown Reno image

The cover of the July 4, 2011, edition of the Northern Nevada Business Weekly.

The cover of the July 4, 2011, edition of the Northern Nevada Business Weekly.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week in 2021, we will feature snippets of stories that published a decade ago to provide readers a 10-year perspective of business news in the region. This week’s stories first published in the July 4, 2011, edition of the NNBW.

Tourism in Virginia City begins to bounce back

Retailers in Virginia City hope the start of summer brings about an increase in business, which for many has plummeted in recent years due to the Great Recession.

Many of the small gift and antiques shops in Virginia City live and die on tourism generated by popular Virginia City events such as the Mountain Oyster Festival and International Camel Races.

But visitors to the famed Storey County town have tightened their spending over the past few years, many store owners say. As a result, owners worked longer hours and laid off employees to reduce their overhead. However, some retailers, such as Pascal Baboulin, owner of Pioneer Emporium, feel optimistic that tourism is picking up in Virginia City.

— Page 1, by Rob Sabo

CommRow team seeks to change conversation about downtown

Fernando Leal, one of the biggest believers in the renaissance of Downtown Reno, counts on a bunch of strangers to help him make his case. And so far, the strangers are stepping up.

Leal’s active sports venue — CommRow, the old Fitzgerald’s — is less than two months away from opening, and his team is beginning to provide the first hints at its marketing approach.

CommRow launched a photo contest at to solicit photos of outdoor activities, cultural offerings and special events around the region. Winners will receive memberships in CommRow’s sports facilities — notably, a 167-foot climbing wall on the building’s exterior — and VIP treatment at the property’s opening in September.

But Leal says the contest marks the first step in a concerted effort by DRW Fitzgerald Real Properties LLC, the entity developing CommRow, to change the way Northern Nevada residents think about Downtown Reno.

— Page 1, by John Seelmeyer

Gaming projects returning, says WorthGroup president

WorthGroup Architects, a Reno-based firm that’s specialized in gaming projects since its inception 21 years ago, sees signs that casino projects are beginning to move again.

Since February, WorthGroup has started work on eight casino projects, says Brian Fagerstrom, president of the firm, and more projects are likely to get into the pipeline soon.

Two factors are at play, Fagerstrom says.

First, projects that were put on hold while their owners gauged the damage caused by the recession that began in 2008 are coming back online to take advantage of the recovery.

Second, some owners who have been able to finance projects themselves without reliance on the financial markets want to take advantage of still-depressed prices for construction.

— Page 4, by John Seelmeyer


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