All posts tagged reno

Friday, December 15, 2006

Grand Sierra Resort

Posted Friday, December 15, 2006 at 12:07 AM

If you haven’t been reading Myrna The Minx over at renodiscontent.com regularly, you have to go over there and check her out. She consistenly blows me out of the water on a weekly basis, both with the quantity and the quality of her posts. Thank god she only writes about Reno; if she lived in Carson City, I’d be out of a job.

And she mostly writes about downtown Reno, but just a couple of days ago she took a field trip to the Grand Sierra Resort (formerly the Reno Hilton, and Bally’s and the MGM before that) to write an excellent report on what’s been going on over there ever since the new owners took over and changed the name. Sounds like a lot of exciting stuff. I haven’t really been to the Hilton GSR in years, but back in the 90s that was one of the favorite haunts of my crew. Back then we used to hang out at FunQuest, catch movies at the Keystone theater, walk around the shopping mall (back when it was really a shopping mall – before they gutted it and turned it into convention space), get milkshakes at Johnny Rocket’s, and stay up all night bowling. The bowling alley cut its prices in half at midnight, so we’d always wait around because none of us had very much cash. I actually met my first girlfriend at that bowling alley. So I’m kind of invested in what happens to that property, even though I haven’t been there in years, and it’s great to see that there’s a lot of good stuff in the works.

And it’s great that Reno has bloggers like Myrna so I don’t have to read the newspaper to find out what’s going on.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mapes Demolition

Posted Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 5:43 PM

I was going through some old pictures, and I found these. I thought it would be fun to post them. These are from the morning the Hotel Mapes in Reno was demolished, January 30, 2000. My friend and I went down to witness it (at something like 8:00 in the morning…jeez) and we wandered around for a while in the aftermath. A fine layer of dust settled on everything, and we scooped up some of it and put it in a jar. I’m proud to say I still have my Mapes Dust on my mantle.

The full set of photos, 17 in all, can be found at Flickr. Here are few highlights of The Pile.

Mapes Hotel Pile

Mapes Hotel Pile

Mapes Hotel Pile

Update: I guess I forgot to put up a “before” picture of the Mapes, for those who weren’t around when it was still standing. This one is from Flickr user lasvegasmikey.

Mapes Hotel

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

New Plans for the Grand Sierra Resort

Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2006 at 1:33 PM

A hit tip to Yukon Sully (who tips his hat to Myrna the Minx) for pointing out this article about the latest incarnation of the ever-changing plans for the Reno Hilton. A development company is working on buying the place and converting it into condos, just like so, so, so many other hotels in Reno. But this new property, to be christened the “Grand Sierra Resort”, will be so much more than just condos. Restaurants, shopping, outdoor entertainment, water parks, fountains, and a pile of other yet-to-be-announced ideas (the designer prides himself on changing his mind often) will be part of the final package, when and if it ever gets built. The sale hasn’t even gone through yet, but they’re already taking $10,000 deposits from interested buyers, so at least the place will be partly occupied.

The Reno Hilton opened in 1978 as the MGM Grand, at the time the largest hotel/casino in the world. It went through a short stint under the Bally’s name in the late 1980s before becoming the Reno Hilton. It’s already a pretty impressive place, with a huge casino floor, several restaurants, a large showroom, gigantic conference center, a wedding chapel, video game arcade, shopping mall, bowling alley, and movie theater, all under one roof. I’m guessing most of that will be kept, or enhanced, as a way to bring in visitors. If any of this gets built at all. The designer, Dodd Mitchell, comes across in the article as one of those flaky artists who will get bored with the whole thing before it’s done. He’ll move on to something else, and sales will be below projections, and they’ll be lucky if they finish converting the tower that’s there now, much less building anything new.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I shouldn’t be pessimistic until it actually fails.

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Virginia City Without Water

Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2006 at 12:17 PM

This is one of those weeks that I’m glad I don’t live in Virginia City. It seems that the whole town is without water right now – well, they have a small amount stored in tanks, but their supply has been cut off. Because Virginia City is high up in the mountains in the middle of the desert, they don’t have any wells or lakes or any other source of fresh water. The only way they get water into the town is through a pipeline that runs from a small lake above Tahoe, down the hill into Carson City, and then back up to VC. This pipeline is over 130 years old (even though parts of it were replaced just fifty years ago!), and they rely on it for all their fresh water. Well, yesterday they discovered there was a break in the pipe. And the break isn’t just anywhere, it’s located right underneath Hwy 395, at the top of Lakeview Hill. So they can’t just do a quick dig and fix the pipe, they have the close down one or more lanes of the highway, tear up the asphalt (which they just laid as part of the freeway project) and find exactly where the break is. Then they can fix it, rebury it, and repave the road. It could be done by tonight, if the break is near the shoulder, or it could take a few days if it’s right in the middle of the highway.

So Virginia City is under a strict water conservation lockdown right now. If their supply tanks get low enough, they might have to bring water in in trucks. And they’re going to have a lot of trouble up there if there’s a fire. Just another reason to be happy I live in the valley.

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