New role for the old Fitz

Some of this may be old news for readers who have been following the recent comments on one of Mike’s recent posts, but the details for the new project at the former Fitzgeralds Hotel Casino were made public this week in a front-page RGJ story.  See Fitzgeralds renovation in Reno: A multi, multi-million dollar project.

In case you missed it Fernando Leal, the developer of downtown’s Montage condominium project, plans to build a non-gaming, non-smoking, pet-friendly hotel and entertainment complex in the former Fitzgerald’s building.  With multiple restaurants, eateries, and a live stage, the complex will offer a variety of entertainment options for visitors.  But the project’s most unique draw will be the world’s tallest climbing wall affixed to the front of the building.

At 197 feet tall “The Wall” is expected to draw rock climbing enthusiasts from around the globe.  Additionally, professional rock climbing competitions are anticipated throughout the year; for example, the X Games.

The new project, named CommRow, already has a Facebook Page.  The project’s description from the FB page reads: “The first phase of this proposed development will transform the former Fitzgerald Hotel and Casino into a non-gaming, non-smoking, pet friendly, no frills chic hotel.  Renamed CommRow, the 60,000 square foot complex will feature the world’s tallest climbing wall, a world-class 7,000 square foot indoor bouldering park, two live entertainment venues and eleven uniquely designed food and beverage choices.”

Construction is underway and a grand opening is scheduled for this summer.

Also, DowntownMakeover.com has additional details of the project here.

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16 Responses to New role for the old Fitz

  1. Avatar GreenNV says:

    The Special Use Permits were all approved tonight during a Special meeting of the Reno Planning Commission. There was not a single negative conmment.

  2. Avatar Sully says:

    Wondering what the insurance company is going to say about the climbing wall, especially after the first person falls off of it!

  3. Avatar rocky says:

    Sully,
    Plenty of rock climbing platforms at gyms and I know of a business in Las Vegas that is nothing but a big 1/4 acre room covered with rock climbing walls. They seem to operate ok, even in our litigious society.

    Safety harnesses, helmets, and other gear make it a relatively safe endeavor.

    I don’t know if the business plan at the Fitz will work in this economy. However, this type of re-development is exactly what Reno needs if it is to pick itself up and try to shake off this depression. What, with Indian casinos in Cali, and riverboats everywhere else, the future is NOT in gambling here, IMHO.

    Better to bring in new folks and exploit the outdoor recreation riches that the area possesses. Hopefully, though, they won’t get scared off by the blighted downtown core after visit #1.

  4. Avatar Climber says:

    Is this largest climbing wall outdoors or indoors?

  5. Avatar Comeback Kid says:

    So who really thinks a non gaming hotel in the heart of downtown will make it? At the end of the day the Montage is a great addition to the downtown district, and no doubt the new Fitz will be too. But like the Montage, someone will need to go belly up before the costs becomes a working business model.

    You have to hand it to the guy though – after the bank he borrowed from for the previous project went broke, you’d think it would be impossible to find investors for this latest project. But apparently he has.

    I’m glad he’s doing it for downtown’s sake, but I predict it will hit financial hardship before the second year.

  6. Avatar MikeZ says:

    Got to give Leal credit for imagination. I wish him luck!

  7. Avatar Grand Wazoo says:

    Comeback Kid raises an interesting question – where is Leal getting the $$ for this project after the Montage?

  8. Avatar Dirtbagger says:

    This is not an attack on Leal, but I am very leery of promoters that are reliant on “Other Peoples Money” . Donald Trump comes to mind as a user of OPM and his ventures over the last decade have been mostly losses for his investors. These guys get caught up in their own hubris. Trump believes himself to be a self-made man, a brilliant developer, but conveniently forgets that his father was one of the largest landlords in Brooklyn.

    I don’t know how much personal money Leal has in the Fitz project, but unless it is a significant amount, this looks like another promotion with doubtful future prospects. With already low room occupancy, is this a good development for downtown?

    Reno and the surrounding area has a tremendous amount of natural beauty and outdoor activities that could be targeted for tourism. The climbing wall strikes me as another National Bowling Center that appeals only to a very tiny segment of the population. This seems to be more of the same old and tired marketing approach of trying to attract visitors to our gritty downtown hoping they will wander into the casinos and empty their pockets.

    The RSCVA needs fresh faces and new ideas. Casino dominated tourism is over, finished, done! Get out the world almanac and quit expecting the drive in market from California to revive the local economy. Australians can get tourists from all over the world to visit a red, sandstone monolith out in the middle of nowhere (Ayers Rock). It isn’t far-fetched that with proper marketing and promotion, we could attract these same type of tourists to places equally unique such as the Black Rock Desert. How about attracting visitors to not only Reno for a few days, but also directing them to visit Austin, Eureka, and even Bodie. These places are completely worthy of a visit.

    Sorry about the rant and getting off topic, but using a climbing wall to attract downtown visitors seems like the same old and failed marketing pitch. Tourism is large part of our local economy. Why let it slowly die, why not have a bigger vision and expand our visitor base? To get there we need to get past the local politics and casino turf wars and have a marketing vision that encompasses our regional attractions.

  9. Avatar Grand Wazoo says:

    Dirtbagger has some excellent points.

    As far as Fernando and the Commrow project, I doubt he has much of his own money in it.

  10. Avatar Steve Watts says:

    He hasn’t even paid up his lease on the Fitzgeralds garage.

  11. Avatar inclinejj says:

    He signed a document called…

    I promise to pay this time…

  12. Avatar RRB reader says:

    how has that bungee jumping contraption at the grand sierra been working out lately?

  13. Avatar billddrummer says:

    @RRB reader,

    Tough to ride it when the wind is 50 mph.

    But then again, you get a great view of the new Wal-mart parking lot.

  14. Avatar Comeback Kid says:

    FSBO – one vacant hotel in downtown Reno. No parking. No gaming license. Nice rooms. Rock wall to be sold with property.

  15. Avatar dapper dude says:

    http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?t=38651

    just a different take on helping reno

  16. Avatar MikeZ says:

    RE: dapper

    FYI, I didn’t make it past the third paragraph.

    You need to get to your point before your audience grows tired of wading through words. “Do I have your attention?” (2nd para) would have been a good time to explain why a visitor should keep reading.

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