Aging Reno shopping center getting facelift, new tenants |

Aging Reno shopping center getting facelift, new tenants

Laura Cianci

South Virginia Plaza, an aging Reno shopping center, soon will sport a new face, bringing it into the 21st century, says a principal of Desiderio Properties, owner of the property since 1978.

The Plaza is at 1501-1599 South Virginia St. Sports West Athletic Club is its anchor tenant.

Ken Bartlett of Bartlett Architecture in Reno said the plaza’s 1970s look was outdated.

“We’re bringing it up to a more contemporary look with new fa ades, new awnings and covered areas,” Bartlett said. “The family wants to get the center more up to the look of current buildings so we wanted to add relief by means of the fa ade and trellises. When you add them it puts it more on a human scale”

But accomplishing that goal proved to be no easy task. Bartlett faced a number of challenges because of a lack of information about sewer and gas lines.

“They were so old they weren’t documented so that during construction we had to move some of the columns and change the look of some of the areas,” Bartlett said.

Although two new tenants are poised to move into the renovated plaza, Lorrie Desiderio said that was not the reason for the makeover budgeted at more than $1 million.

“We’re doing it because it was old and ugly,” said Desiderio. “I think pride of ownership is something.”

One of the new tenants will be Zephyr Books. The other new tenant, not yet identified, plans to occupy 6,000 feet, Desiderio said.

Renovation will soon start inside the two now-vacant spaces the new tenants will occupy, she said.

Meanwhile the 30 current tenants are managing their businesses as best they can and will continue to do so during the estimated three more months of construction.

“It’s a big inconvenience for all of the tenants, but after completion hopefully it will compensate them for that inconvenience,” Desiderio said.