motels

A pink building with the word office on top of it. In the background are motel rooms and a staircase.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR

Hundreds of thousands of Nevadans have lost their jobs due to nonessential business closures meant to limit the spread of COVID-19. To protect them from housing insecurity, Governor Steve Sisolak ordered a moratorium on evictions, but there’s confusion on who is protected. Both tenants and landlords for weekly motels are concerned about what the future holds.

Picture Collage of Mid-Century Motels
Courtesy UNR Special Collections, Jerry Stefani, and Mike Roberts

Reno is home to a collection of quirky, mid-century motels. Some have fallen into disrepair, some serve as low-income housing and some are being torn down for new developments. But if you were to drive through Reno during the middle of the 20th century, you would have seen a booming motel landscape, when motels were icons of the vibrant tourism industry.

Illustrated by Stephanie Serrano

With high housing prices in Northern Nevada, Reno is seeing community members choosing to stay in motels as long-term residents. The city created a motel inspection program late last year and the team recently conducted its first inspection. KUNR’s Michelle Billman sat down with our reporters Stephanie Serrano and Krysta Scripter to learn more.

Local Activists Working To Save Weekly Motels

Sep 7, 2018
The entrance to a weekly motel in Reno.
Google Maps (June 2017)

Local activists and leaders are coming together to bring weekly motels to the forefront of Reno's housing debate. KUNR’s Paolo Zialcita reports. 

Google Maps (June 2017)

There are more than 100 motels in Reno alone. For some, they’re links to the city’s unique past as a gaming mecca. Others see them as hotbeds of criminal activity that bring down the surrounding area’s economic potential. But as Reno Public Radio’s Paul Boger reports, the motels are increasingly becoming a key player in Northern Nevada’s housing crunch.

The Golden West Motor Lodge sign on Virginia Street in Reno.
Natalie Van Hoozer

Reno City Council recently voted to demolish two downtown motels, leaving some residents wondering, “What will happen to their neon signs?” 

The neon sign for the Golden West Motor Lodge.
Natalie Van Hoozer

Earlier this month, the Reno City Council made a controversial vote to demolish two downtown motels.

Natalie Van Hoozer takes a look at this particular case and what might be in store for Reno’s vacant buildings as the city grows.

I’m standing on Virginia Street outside of the Golden West Motor Lodge with Britton Griffith-Douglass, the president of the Riverwalk Merchant’s Association. She says that to her, the property is an eyesore.

The City Council voted for the demolition contract unanimously.
Natalie Van Hoozer

Reno City Council has approved a contract to demolish two downtown motels, the Golden West Motor Lodge and the Heart o’ Town.

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.

Demolition Of Two Downtown Reno Motels On Hold

Jun 21, 2016

Reno City Council members are debating whether to tear down two rundown motels located in the heart of downtown.

At a meeting Tuesday, Mayor Hillary Schieve says she’s is in favor of removing urban blight.

“No one wants it to stay like that, I mean we all understand that," Schieve says. "Let’s be honest here, we all want the same thing, we want downtown to look great.”

Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus supports giving a local developer more time to make an offer on the properties. The developer has plans to turn it into a boutique motel.

Reno To Tackle Blight With New Fund

Oct 16, 2015
Google Maps

  Reno is gearing up to combat blight more aggressively, targeting some of the worst properties downtown. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey has more.

Mayor Hillary Schieve says she's serious about getting rid of eyesores, earmarking $1 million for a new blight reduction fund.

The city already has a dilapidated motel in its cross hairs. The Golden West Motor Lodge across the street from the Circus Circus hotel on Virginia Street could be first to meet the wrecking ball.

Schieve says the Recession slowed their progress.