A host of dignitaries gathered Friday afternoon, Aug. 18, in a giant tent on the cracked parking lot of the former Park Lane Mall on East Plumb Lane to celebrate new life for the property.
Developer Chip Bowlby, president and CEO of Reno Land, Inc., talked about the project, which will transform the 46-acre parcel into a holistic environment of 1600 apartments, retail, dining, and parks with space for outdoor concerts and entertainment. It will retain the Park Lane name and even the vintage sign will have a place of honor.
The developers are also working with the owners of Century Park Lane Theatre, who have plans for a major renovation with luxury seating and concessions.
“Reno has never done anything like this before,” Bowlby said. “Reno is ready for something like this.”
Gov. Brian Sandoval recalled that when he was growing up, a trip to Park Lane Mall, which opened 53 years ago, was a special affair. He compared the renewal of Park Lane to an old friend who had left town then moved back.
“It’s a symbol of the rebirth of Reno; its renaissance,” Sandoval said. “It’s a symbol of permanence and where we’re going in the future.”
Mayor Hillary Schieve did a happy dance to see the project finally getting started.
“You are watching Reno transform right before your eyes,” she said, commending the owners of Reno Land for their commitment and vision for Reno.
Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto recalled shopping at the Park Lane Mall 20-plus years ago.
“I’ll be watching (the construction) and looking forward to its progress,” she said.
Later this year, an information hub will open across South Virginia Street from the Park Lane site and include a full-scale model of an apartment inside. Tenants are expected to start moving in by the end 2018.
The project is expected to provide 3,200 construction jobs, 700 permanent jobs to Reno.
The Park Lane project is expected to a total of $77.8 million tax dollars to the coffers of the City of Reno General Fund, Washoe County School District and the City of Reno Redevelopment District #2, plus more than $16.2 million in development fees.
But mostly, those at the event gathered to celebrate the recreation of a large piece of Reno into something to be proud of.
“Fifty years from now I hope my grandchildren come and stop under the mature trees and say we really did this right,” Bowlby concluded.