Must be high

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

Last week, I got a private sneak peek, guided tour of the CommRow renovation of the defunct Fitzgerald’s Hotel Casino from Natasha Bourlin, the project’s communications director. I met some of the movers and shakers behind the venture, including Fernando Leal, the developer.

Let me say this clearly: CommRow is the most exciting project in downtown Reno since the construction of Project C, the Silver Legacy.

And as is often the case, news reports have missed many of the plan’s coolest details, vastly underestimating the project’s potential. I’m not going to go into them now, but if one-tenth of the team’s hopes are realized, this will be a focal point in Reno’s post-gambling-tourism future.

Of course, I had to get a little guff about Deidre Pike’s column, “Why Reno’s broke, broken” (View from the Fray, May 19), but as I explained, we’re not really in the business of censoring columnists’ opinions just because they contradict the previously stated opinions of the editorial staff of this newspaper.

One thing I like about CommRow is the way it pays homage to the things that keep locals in Reno. Every time Natasha mentioned one of the lounges, she’d mention the Reno icon to which it was most similar. The very idea of the world’s highest climbing wall honors the rivers, mountains and deserts that the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority attempted to market with the slogan, “America’s Adventure Place.” Leal and I shared stories about the moments we decided this town was for us. Both were outdoors, mine on the deck of Baileywick’s; his at Wingfield Park.

One thing I wish I’d see at CommRow that I’ve heard nothing about is entry-level-priced condos for 30-somethings in the upper floors of the old Fitzgerald’s hotel. Reno’s future is primarily for locals. Having a youthful population with disposable income on premises couldn’t help but improve the environment for everyone downtown.