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Scraping the Reno sky

Judith Harlan

Some might dub it Reno’s first riverfront skyscraper.

In the very least, the new, upscale project scheduled to be announced at a press conference today changes Reno’s downtown skyline.

Forever.

With two towers, one at 35 floors and the other at 21 floors, the project rivals Silver Legacy’s 37-floor west tower, the city’s tallest, and outstrips the Palladio’s 12-story plans.

Set on the 3.5-acre parcel on First and Lake streets, it fronts on the river across from the National Auto Museum.

And the architect? World renowned architect Carlos Zapata of New York-based Wood + Zapata the firm that designed Soldier Field (the Chicago Bears’ stadium), and the Concourse J, a new, 15-gate concourse at the Miami International Airport, and was one of the finalists in the redesign of the World Trade Center.

Signed on as architect of record is Renobased architect Walter E.

Estay of Tate Snyder & Kinsey architects,who will look at a role of documentation production.

Design, though, is by Zapata, and early conceptual drawings indicate it will be rooted in his clean, modern style.

(Samples of his work can be viewed on the architect’s website, http://www.Wood-zapata.com.) And next up for the project: entitlement work with the city.

“Carlos Zapata is a true leader in the field of new urban architecture,” said Terry Manley, a Las Vegas developer and principal on the company formed to develop the property.

Other partners, organized under Vero Development, include local businessmen Nello Gonfiantini III and Peter Stremmel.

“They’re all do-ers, and they can produce,” says Reno Mayor Robert Cashell.”And if it’s everything they say it is, then it’ll be a fantastic project.”

Plans for the project have been in the works for awhile, and according to the Mayor, the developers have been working with the city planning staff to refine their plans.

The initial planning meetings started just under two years ago, according to Manley.

Groundbreaking on the parcel currently a parking lot, and former restaurant and motel location is scheduled for mid 2006.

The riverfront project is slated to be a mixed-use development that includes 175 luxury, view-intensive condominiums, a boutique hotel, exclusive offices, and a themed restaurant.

Luxury and exclusivity define the early news on the project.

Cost of it is estimated at $111 million, and it’s slated to include pool, spa, fitness center, private parking, a clubhouse, and a private park on the Truckee River.

“Because of the importance of this riverfront mixed-use project to our team and the city of Reno, extensive planning has gone into ensuring the success of this new urban community,” said Manley.

The Nevada developer has also served as president of Champion Homes, Las Vegas.

Champion has built numerous homes in the Las Vegas area,with houses currently advertised from the low $140s, and other planned community developments in the works.

Gonfiantini, a third-generation Reno resident, is also president and chief executive officer of Specialty Financial, a Reno-based, creative real estate financing firm.

“It is our hope that this project will help shape a new downtown,” said Manley.

Also part of the development team is Glen Hopkins, of Hop Properties, Kirkland,Wash., whose role is project manager and owners representative.


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