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Mall welcomes city redevelopers

John Seelmeyer

The owner of Reno’s Park Lane Mall welcomes the possibility that a redevelopment district might be created to include the center at Plumb and South Virginia streets.

The Macerich Co.

of Santa Monica, Calif., thinks that city-led efforts to redevelop the area would show potential tenants that the city is committed to keeping the area vibrant, said David Contis, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Macerich.

Designation of a redevelopment district also would allow city officials to expedite some planning and permitting work, Contis said in an interview last week, and the tax structure of a redevelopment district would allow the city to better finance any infrastructure improvements that would be necessary.

Contis said Macerich executives have met several times recently with city officials and strongly support the direction Reno’s municipal government is taking.

Built in the late 1960s, the 350,000- square-foot mall last saw major renovation in 1978, shortly after it was purchased by Macerich.

The center property as well as the site of the old Mark Twain Motel on the west side of Virginia Street are among locations to be studied during the next year as possible new redevelopment districts in the city.

The Reno City Council, also acting as the Redevelopment Agency Board, last week approved $215,433 in consultant contracts to help the Redevelopment Agency study the retail areas.

The Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Nevada, Reno, along with Keyser Marston Associates, Inc.

of San Francisco and Meyers Nave of Oakland, Calif., will provide technical, analytical and legal expertise during the study.

The study is expected to be completed by mid-April 2005.

The largest area included in the yearlong study consists of land that wraps around the existing redevelopment district and continues to the city limits east of the Interstate 80 and U.S.

Highway 395 interchange.

It includes St.

Mary’s Hospital to the west and extends across Interstate 80 to the University of Nevada, Reno, and encompasses the Fourth Street Corridor.

Other study zones include the area between U.S.

Highway 395, Moana Lane, Virginia Street and Peckham Lane; underutilized property near Boomtown on Interstate 80; and a portion of south downtown that currently isn’t part of the redevelopment district.

Among the redevelopment work that could be planned during the next year, city officials said, is creation of new redevelopment districts, development of key retail sites, main street or corridor revitalization and formation of business improvement districts.