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Restaurants, casino planned for buildings near CommRow

Rob Sabo

Lights may soon come back on at four long-dark properties in the downtown Reno core.

Reno Real Estate Ventures LLC of Chicago, owner of CommRow, plans to open two restaurants and a small casino in four shuttered properties. Reno Real Estate Ventures owns the Old Reno Casino at 44 Commercial Row; the historic Masonic Building at 98 Commercial Row; the former Vino’s Italian Restaurant and Lounge at 236 Sierra St.; and the Primm property at 241 N. Virginia St. The four properties total 26,565 square feet.

Work soon will commence on gutting the Old Reno Casino and Masonic Building and combining the two properties into about 10,000 square feet of restaurant space. Built in the late 1870s, the Masonic Building at the corner of Sierra Street and Commercial Row is Reno’s oldest commercial building.

Additionally, Vino’s will be gutted to its shell and repositioned as 10,500 square feet of restaurant space. A similar-sized space upstairs will be dedicated to convention and meeting space for the CommRow hotel. The building owners also are contemplating a short skybridge spanning Douglas Alley to connect the properties to CommRow.

Work is expected to be completed in the next four months, CommRow General Manager Dean Hanson says.

The Primm property, which fronts Virginia Street, eventually will be house a small gambling hall. The 8,800-square-foot property has an unrestricted gaming license attached to it that must be activated by the end of 2013, Hanson says.

Reno Real Estate Ventures LLC already has funding in place for its extensive renovation plans of the properties, Hanson adds. Buildout of the properties, along with a complete renovation of the 320 CommRow hotel rooms, is expected to cost in excess of $10 million.

Brian Egan of Egan Commercial Real Estate is handling leasing of the restaurant venues. Both sites are high traffic footholds into an already expanding downtown entertainment core, Egan says, and he’s hoping to place a national or regional restaurant concept into either space.

“With the addition of several successful businesses and entrepreneurs into the downtown market, the barrier to entry has become lower and feasibility much higher,” Egan says. “Dowtown Reno continues to grow as a destination. It has been established that different business types can be successful and will continue to be successful.”