How Local Businesses Feel About Rebuilding Park Lane

Local business owners are concerned about the construction that’s set to begin in April, at the corner of E. Plumb Lane and S. Virginia St. where the Park Lane Mall once stood. Located just south of Midtown, this nearly 46-acre lot has been vacant since 2007.

The historic Park Lane Mall sign standing next to the lot that’s been vacant for 10 years. CREDIT/Brittany Flores

Reno Land Inc. purchased the lot in Sept. 2016. The site will eventually be home to 725 residential units, 110,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and 100,000 square feet of offices. Homes will range from studios to three-bedroom units according to Reno Land Inc.’s website. The project will be done in phases, and will approximately take 4 years to complete.

Community Planning Manager for the City of Reno Claudia Hanson, handles much of the coordinating between the designers, the owners, the planners, and the engineers involved with the Park Lane development. She says she works with them to, “explain code, and what is expected of them” in regards to the vision that the City of Reno has for that area.

According to Hanson, the decision to finally build on the Park Lane site is largely due to our economy’s progress after the recession in 2008.

“There was just no market for that kind of project, it takes a lot of financial commitment most of all but also a just a team that really believes in the site and is willing to take the risk to go there. The market has turned now, they believe it’s an appropriate time to come through, and also the developer (Reno Land Inc.), that now owns the property, is a major developer in the City of Reno and wants to meet the goals of the City of Reno,” said Hanson. The goal, is to encourage the revitalization of Reno by transforming an underdeveloped area that will increase business for surrounding areas like Downtown Reno, and Midtown.

Mix of future office and residential space to come. CREDIT/Claudia Hanson

“It’s going to encourage people to come down Plumb, and up Virginia, into downtown, which will support all of Midtown. So I think something that large is going to be a game changer for this area,” said Hanson.

Todd Kehoe, owner of The Vitamin Connection, has had his business across the street from the Park Lane lot for 22 years. He has mixed feelings about the new development, especially the possibility of a new grocery store.

“If it’s a Save Mart or something like that, they don’t really carry competitive vitamins. If it’s a Whole Foods type, I would probably be closing my business,” Kehoe said. Hopeful that the proposed grocery store won’t hurt his business, he says that the extra foot traffic in the area should ultimately be a good thing. “I’m hoping it brings more business,” said Kehoe.

Alicia Padron has owned El Amigo Market for 22 years behind the Century Reno Park Lane 16 theater, adjacent to where the construction will begin. Like Kehoe, Padron is excited for the possibility of having more customers in her store but worries that construction may negatively impact business. Padron reminisced about when Park Lane Mall still existed. “When there used to be a mall here, there were a lot more people,” Padron said.

One summer, Padron said nearby road construction severely affected business. “They took like three months. We didn’t even make enough to pay the rent,” Padron said.

Hanson acknowledges that while having larger population density in that community will benefit the area, that it may also potentially hurt existing businesses with the new retail coming in. “I think it will support [businesses]. Or if they’re not willing to improve, to bring it up to the new level of standards, then they’re not going to make it. I think it’s just increasing the quality of businesses in the area. Most of them should be supported by it. It’s not enough commercial to wipe everything out. I think it only brings more people in,” said Hanson.

Many nearby businesses are preparing for the soon-to-be neighboring community on the Park Lane site. Across the street, the owners of Shoppers Square have plans to revitalize their shopping center. Additionally, Carrows Restaurant on Plumb and Kietzke lanes, is being refurbished into a new restaurant called Redwood Rotisserie. But as for the smaller businesses like the ones that belong to Padron and Kehoe, are just trying to remain positive and do what they can to keep their doors open.