What happens in Vegas doesn’t necessarily stay there, as Las Vegas-based developer CAI Investments kicked off Friday at Nevada’s first Kimpton boutique hotel — in Reno.
With real estate in states like Arizona and Florida, it’s no stranger for CAI to spread its wings outside its home market. However, Renault has received a lot of attention in recent years from CAI, which is working on two large projects in the heart of downtown.
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In addition to Kimpton, CAI is in the midst of renovating the former Harrah’s Reno Hotel and Casino into a mixed-use residential and commercial development known as Reno City Centre. The project, which has rented its first head office at Clear Capital and recently opened a new Starbucks, continues to move forward with construction and plans to open its first condominium sometime this year.
This Friday the 13th revolves around the Reno Kimpton project, however, with a pioneering celebration from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The project site itself is located on land between Court Street and Island Avenue but festivities for this event will be held at nearby Wingfield Park .
“Location is tight, so we will be taking a photo of the groundbreaking event with Kimpton and the presentation will be at Wingfield Park,” said Chris Beevor, CEO of CAI Investments. “There will be food trucks, we will have the CEO of Kimpton and the mayor will be there as well … so there is a lot of things planned.”
The laying of the foundation stone is a major milestone for Renault Kimpton. Initially announced in late 2019 as an unnamed hotel project, Reno Kimpton’s schedule has been impacted by the arrival of COVID-19 as well as a challenging construction environment marked by labor shortages and supply chain constraints.
The pandemic has led to delays in its sister project, Reno City Centre, which was hit by an outbreak among its workers during the initial wave of Omicron variant infections in Washoe County. A billing dispute with one contractor over the Kimpton project also led to a lawsuit filed last year, which has since been dismissed.
The project is now in its final pre-construction phase, with Beavor expecting all permits to be signed by the end of the month. The property’s final design is also still subject to change amid ongoing discussions between CAI, Kimpton and Obermeier Sheykhet Architecture in Denver.
Renault Kimpton’s design has changed several times since its announcement, which Beevor described as a natural part of a large-scale construction effort. Part of the reason has to do with the community’s response to the project. After the initial design was released, for example, questions were raised about the hotel casting a shadow over the surrounding neighborhood. Some of the site’s neighbors have also expressed concern about Kimpton’s potential impact on their properties.
“The apartment next door to the house didn’t want the offices to obscure their views, the city also reached out and wanted to keep[the historic Regina apartments]nearby,” Befort said.
“So it’s like a Rubik’s Cube and when we get the feedback, we listen to the community. The trick to being a developer is to make everyone happy.”
Beevor added that while the hotel’s exterior design gets the most attention from the public, it’s usually the last thing that gets finished.
The focus on design projects like Reno Kimpton usually starts from the inside, with things like getting in and out of the hotel, lobby seating, and meeting space.
“We program from the inside out so that[the design]is almost backwards,” Beevor said.
“The color of the paint, will we have more glass or less glass – those are the things that are still in flux. That is the last thing we worry about.”
Regardless of the final form of the design, Beevor stressed that the vision behind the project remains the same. Described by Beevor as the first large-scale building effort in downtown Reno since the Silver Legacy Resort, Kimpton described it as a major asset in pushing the largest small city out of the community.
Owning Kimpton in Reno, for example, means garnering support from a global hotel brand, including parent company IHG Hotels & Resorts, which will market the property and the city to clients around the world, according to Beavor.
The boutique hotel also provides guests with a great first impression of Reno, whether they are tourists, business travelers, or hotel staff. This includes proximity to the Truckee River, which CAI plans to take advantage of for guest activities such as kayaking, fishing, and biking. The property will also use Wingfield Park to hold events, including entertainment.
Beavor cited the Reno-Sparks Conference and Visitor Authority survey as one of the data sources CAI uses when formulating Reno Kimpton’s strategy.
“The number one reason for people like Reno is to have fun and be outdoors,” Beevor said.
“The number one reason people don’t like Renault is the rickety and dirty parts of the downtown area. This project helps address those two things.”
Befort added, “I mean, Las Vegas doesn’t have Kimpton. This project makes a statement to business and leisure travelers and on a global scale that Renault has matured.”
Jason Hidalgo covers business and technology in the Reno Gazette Journal, and also reviews the latest video games. follow him Twitter @jasonhidalgo. Like this content? Support the local press with a digital subscription to RGJ.