Another Article on the Ormsby House

The Nevada Appeal has put together the latest in its annual string of articles about the Ormsby House. These articles come out just about every 12 months, just a basic refresher on the state of the hotel, all, “no it’s not open yet”, “yes they’re still working on it”, “no, there is no opening date”, “yes, it’s become a punch line.” This article seems to be a step above the others, as it’s Brian Duggan’s first stab at writing an article about the Ormsby House, so for him the material is still fresh instead of wearying like it is for the rest of us. Plus this article is more wide-ranging. Instead of just talking to the owners and maybe one city official, this article includes interviews with historian Guy Rocha, contractors that had worked on the project, and economic analysts. It looks at the Ormsby House from several different angles, even bringing up the fact that if the Ormsby House were to reopen this year, it might not be able to survive in this economy. There are also several hints as to what the real reasons are for the project taking so long. It doesn’t seem to be money, because owner Don Lehr talks about how has has sunk over $10 million of his own money into the casino so far, and it seems the remodel could have been done for less than that if they had knocked it out in less than a year. There are little tidbits thrown in about “a handful of men” working on the project, and how early efforts to renovate were gung-ho until the owners started bogging the process down with changes and corrections. There’s a passage about how hands-on Don Lehr is on the construction process, and I think that is the heart of the problem right there. Don is acting as project developer, construction manager,  supervisor, and foreman, and he’s trying to do them all at once even though it’s too much for one man. He needs to bring in an experienced developer and a team of managers to get the project back on track. Instead of tackling just one aspect of the building at a time, with a “handful” of men, they need to assemble a huge construction force to swarm the building and do everything simultaneously. That’s their only hope of getting the hotel open this decade.

So I guess we’ll keep driving past the Ormsby House, wondering when it’s going to open, watching two or three guys trickle in and out of the front doors. And we’ll keep doing it for another 10 or 20 years, and every year the Nevada Appeal will write another article on the progress. And of course I’ll keep grinding on it like I always have.


  1. The Ormsby House is a joke. The situation is reflective of Nevada in general – unskilled, screwed-up, ill-planned and full of broken promises and lies.

  2. Nevada is the land of last resort and ultimate failures. The Ormsby House is just another example of a Nevada failure.

  3. Scott, I do not know if Don Lear and Al Fiegehen will not speak to the Carson City BOS or is it the other way around? I have said this before, The Ormsby House with it’s 190,000 sq.ft. plus parking garage would make a find CITY CENTER: #1 City Hall #2 Other City Offices #3 Knowledge,Discovery Library and Digital Media Lab #4 Meeting Space.
    Now take City Center project breakdown:Library 52,500 sq.ft., Office Building #1 50,000 sq.ft., Office Building #2 65,000 sq.ft. and Meeting Space 5,000 sq.ft. for a Total of 172,500 sq.ft.
    190,000 sq.ft. – 172,500 = 17,500 sq.ft. extra to Ormsby.
    NOW to get out the paper and pencels!

  4. Really, The OH debacle is a terrible reflection on Carson…
    This place could provide many jobs…
    Can you imagine a man like Don Trump procrastinating on a project
    like this? That is why he is a success-he finishes what he starts…

  5. I don’t know what they are waiting for. Seems like they just don’t know what they are doing. I would love to stay at the Ormsby House again if they ever get it finished.

  6. Good grief! We were married on the Capitol steps 30 years ago, May 16th. My husband and I stayed at the Ormsby House and loved it! As each anniversary approaches, I check for any construction advances. My husband and I have remodeled 7 homes in those 30 years and these folks can’t even get this grand old hotel open for business!!! I can paint walls and refinish woodwork. My husband is an ace at tile and marble. I’m an excellent cook and baker. Both of us have a business background in manufacturing, distribution and sales. I’ve even worked as a front desk clerk for the Red Lion Inns and a certified travel agent. I was also employed as a secretary for a General Contractor. My husband is highly experienced in contract negotiating. Maybe the owner should hire us to help whip this project in shape!

  7. The situation at the Ormsby House has a simple cure. Give the owners a date certain to either reopen the darn thing or raise the place. Say “You have one year from today to reopen the Ormsby House. The day after that one year, you can longer get any further state or federal tax breaks and you will have to pay Carson City fine each day the eyesore sits there hurting the landscape and tourism. If you sell it, the same will apply to any future owners and there will be no extension for the new owners. You’ve had over 10 years, so any crying about fairness or beating up on the poor corporation, will fall on deaf ears. One year gentlemen. The clock starts……NOW!”

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