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by Michael J. Shapiro | June 01, 2011
Shiny and New
More than $1 billion has been invested in renovations and expansions for the tourism and meetings infrastructure of the Reno/Tahoe region over the past several years.
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Local Update
The Reno Tahoe Meetings Co-Op was formed early this year, a venture that includes the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, the North Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe CVBs and 17 meeting hotels and venues in the region. The co-op's "Come see. Fly free" promotion offers all-expenses-paid site visits for qualified planners (see comeseeflyfree.com for details).  

Rancharrah, a 147-acre ranch and estate in southwest Reno that has belonged to the famed Harrah family since the late 1950s, might open its facilities to the public. With the proper approvals from the local planning commission, an equestrian facility already in private use could open by the end of this year. An arena, 65 stalls and a veterinary clinic are on-site. Other plans include converting the estate's main house into an events center, and using the back terrace for private receptions of up to 500 people. Proposals to zone other parcels for health care and office space currently are being discussed as well.

The new owners of Reno's Grand Sierra Resort & Casino, The Meruelo Group, soon will begin upgrading the property's 1,993 guest rooms and suites as well as the casino. Tentative plans include building a parking garage and water park, and reopening an outdoor amphitheater.
 
CommRow, a 136-room nongaming hotel, is slated to open by August in the building formerly occupied by the Reno Fitzgerald Hotel & Casino, which was shuttered in 2008. The resort will have the world's tallest climbing wall, a 7,000-square-foot indoor bouldering park, two live entertainment venues and 11 food and beverage outlets. An additional 211 rooms may be opened in a later phase.
 
The long-awaited Nevada Discovery Museum, which will showcase exhibits for children, is scheduled to open late this year. Housed in the former Reno City Hall downtown, the museum eventually will offer event space, but as of press time details were not available.

Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe ResortThe 422-room Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, in Incline Village, Nev., completed a $700,000 renovation last December. The property's Lakeside Ballroom got a makeover, as did the Lone Eagle Grille, which increased seating capacity to 58. Both facilities received new furnishings and fixtures. Next up: All guest rooms at the property will be remodeled, with work slated to wrap up in 2012. The hotel also recently launched a Groups Giving Back promotion, in which groups can donate 5 percent of the master bill to a non-profit organization and/or arrange for a volunteer activity with local Lake Tahoe nonprofit agencies.

The 1,702-room Silver Legacy Resort Casino wrapped up a $15 million renovation project in mid-December 2010. The downtown Reno resort overhauled nearly all of its guest rooms and suites, creating a more modern atmosphere with new furniture, carpeting, linens and LCD TVs. The property has approximately 50,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as the largest working indoor mining rig, which is on display to simulate the silver mining of the region's storied past.

The 800-room Atlan­tis Casino Resort Spa in Reno is putting the finishing touches on the $100 million renovation on which it has been working for the past three years. New designs for all guest rooms in Tower I and Tower II are slated to debut by the end of this year. Rooms will feature 42-inch LCD TVs, new artwork, bedding and furnishings. Already completed renovations include 26,000 square feet of new meeting and convention space, for a total of approximately 50,000 square feet of event space on the premises.

The 214-room Siena Reno Hotel Spa Casino reopened in April, after being closed for several months while it was transformed into a full-service boutique property. More than 11,700 square feet of meeting space now is available on-site, including the Siena Ballroom -- a 7,000-square-foot space with views of both the Truckee River and the new Reno Aces Triple A ballpark for minor- league baseball.