First container park, The Eddy, moves forward
Reno’s first container park is coming to downtown. The development, called The Eddy, will be located on the south side of the river at 16 South Sierra St. on the vacant dirt lot next to the Wild River Grille and Riverside Artist Lofts.
“The main premise behind (The Eddy) is to build a community space that services all sorts of activities from special events to farmers market to live entertainment,” Kurt Stitser, co-owner of The Eddy, said in an interview with NNBW.
The container park, an outdoor area made of shipping containers to create an enclosed beer garden and courtyard, will feature bocce ball courts, spaces for food trucks, three bar areas within the shipping containers, artwork by local artists and more.
The Eddy plans to start their alcohol sales at 11 a.m. They have agreed to limit the maximum occupancy to 350 people.
The developers signed a five-year lease for the lot in early March 2016. They plan to move forward with construction as soon as they finish getting all of the proper permits.
Phil Buckheart, co-owner of The Eddy, was originally inspired to bring this type of development to Reno after visiting a beer garden called Biergarten in the Hayes Valley area of San Francisco. He thought this concept would work well in the Biggest Little City.
“The goal of this type of development is to urbanize something that has been vacant for many years,” Buckheart said. “This is a type of a temporary space that tends to push development further in certain cities.”
They also plan to use local artists to help create the space and use the development as a place that artists can show off their artwork.
“The idea is to make it a fun, unique, creative space that people can come to check out,” Buckheart said.
Stitser further explained, “(The Eddy) is meant to be a public space where people can enjoy the river and enjoy downtown Reno.”
However, many people have expressed concerns about the project. Particularly, that the space will become a noisy outdoor bar which will disturb the neighboring residents and businesses.
“If The Eddy wasn’t being planned for a lot next to a residential building with single pane windows, I would be asking who I could give my money to in support of the project,” said Randy Pease, the appellant who represented Sierra Artists Lofts, LLP, which owns part of the Riverside Artist Lofts, at a public hearing held Wednesday, June 8 in City Hall.
At the hearing, the Reno City Council heard an appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of a special use permit for The Eddy. The Reno City Council passed the motion for the project to go forward on the conditions that the venue will be open to all ages during all operating hours, there will be no smoking or vaping on the premises and special actives must be limited to two days a month.
The council also approved revised hours of operation at the meeting. It will operate from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The developers also agreed to keep the noise level to 65 decibels and to install sound monitoring equipment with data logging technology to track the sound levels.
However, many at the hearing questioned if the development can realistically stay below such a low sound level.
“No matter what the developers do to insulate outdoor noise, there is no question the developers’ 350 person capacity will generate a good amount of (noise),” Ivy Antonowitsch, a resident of the Riverside Artist Lofts, said at the hearing. “Because of the building’s historical status, we are prevented from making alternations to the windows, which would normally help buffer noise.”
Chuck Shapiro, owner of the Wild River Grille, has also voiced concerns about the project since it was proposed.
“No one is afraid of competition,” he said in a previous phone interview with NNBW. “I would like to see them succeed.”
He said that his main concern was that the developers do the project well.
“If it is multi-use, broad appeal, family-friendly and it doesn’t stay open too late where people can sleep in their homes, it is a great project.” Shapiro said on June 8. “If it becomes a bar only and it goes late and everyone is upset, it is a bad project in a bad location.”
The developers have met with Shapiro, other business owners, residents of the area and members of City Council to try and address the concerns.
Multiple council members commended those on both side of the issue on the amount of time they have taken to work together and to try and compromise on the development.
“I have to take my hat off to you for the work that you have done to try and resolve the issues,” Councilmember Paul McKenzie said.
“We did a lot of very, very difficult evaluation over a very, very short amount of time and just concluded that this was the right thing for the company at large.”