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Reno Developer's Offer To Save Blighted Motels Rebuffed

The owners of two blighted downtown motels have rejected an offer from a local developer to save the properties from demolition. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports.

Developer Kelly Rae and her business partner offered the owners of the crumbling Heart o' Town and Golden West Motor Lodge motels $1.2 million dollars.

Rae says their offer was rebuffed without explanation and she wants to know why.

"They [the owners] have the financial means to demolish it themselves but are yet asking us as taxpayers to foot that bill. And that's after being offered $1.2 million for three of the 10 parcels."

City Council was prepared to demolish the two buildings last month, but postponed the action to give Rae time to make an offer.

A message for the firm representing the owners was not returned. A representative for the owners — there are 62 investors total — has previously told the Reno Gazette-Journal they are holding out in hopes of selling all 10 parcels.

Rae says her firm, Haberae, had plans to convert the motels to apartments. She says her firm has done dozens of these adaptive reuse projects in downtown.

"We're real developers with real money who've done real projects here in the city of Reno,” she says. “And we have an unblemished track record."

City Council is expected to revisit a demolition contract for the two motels at its next meeting.

Rae says she and her partner, Pam Haberman, intend to make another offer, to buy the entire block, which the developers purchased for a little more than $2.3 million nearly a decade ago.

The group, Northern Nevada Urban Development LLC, had plans to build a large mixed-use development before the Recession hit.  

Julia Ritchey is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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