The Montage Reno
|The Montage Reno|
|Address||255 North Sierra Street
Reno, Nevada 89501
|Opening date||April 2008|
|Owner||ST Residential LLC|
|Previous names||Sahara Reno
The Montage Reno is an upscale contemporary high rise residential building in Reno, Nevada. The building was converted into a condominium tower from 2006-08 following more than 20 years being known and operating as a hotel-casino-resort.
The Virginia Street casino operated from 1955 until 1978 as the Primadonna. From 1989 to 1992, it was known as Pacos, before becoming part of the Flamingo Hilton and then the Golden Phoenix.
The main hotel/casino, on North Sierra Street, was originally opened in 1978 as the Sahara Reno. In 1981, the Sahara became the Reno Hilton, then renovated in 1992 and became the Flamingo Hilton. In 2000, Hilton declined to renew its licensing agreement with the Flamingo brand, and the Flamingo Hilton became simply the Flamingo Reno. Returning to the original brand formed in the 1940s in Las Vegas. The 602 room hotel-casino made a profit until its corporate owner Park Place Entertainment, owned by a subsidiary of Hilton Hotels, decided the resort was no longer profitable in a declining gaming market. They decided to close the property on October 21, 2001. The property was sold soon after closing to Vista Hospitality LLC of New York who pledged to renovate and reopen the hotel-casino. The new name "Golden Phoenix" was announced in early 2002. The property's hotel reopened in April 2002 with little to no renovations, those would come latter and much less than originally intended. The property operated solely as a hotel with one restaurant until the official "grand opening" in Summer 2003.
The Golden Phoenix's ambitions to rise above as a leading Downtown property never came to fruition and the hotel struggled from the onset. Beginning in 2004, a revolution spawning the country "condos" hit Reno and the fever to convert older, failing or closed hotel-casinos into condominiums tapped the Golden Phoenix. Chicago developer Fernando Leal was flown out to Reno to view the Golden Phoenix as a potential asset for future renovation, initially, he hated the building. But after repeat visits, was convinced and put a bid in to buy the ailing hotel. He would later win it and announce his plans to convert the property into "The Montage" following $170 million investment that would take the property down to its concrete support columns and rebuild based on the original platform.
Leal closed the hotel on December 6, 2005 and began gutting it in Spring 2006. The property's construction progressed even when the market would tank in 2007. The Montage was completed, much more ill conceived than presented in 2006, in April 2008. Originally, Leal envisioned The Montage as a flourishing condominium resort with a signed lease for Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and the other retail pad planned for the high profile Cafe Med. Both would fall out. And as a result, Leal would hand the completed project back to its lender to avert a foreclosure disaster, in December 2008.
The Montage is now owned by Chicago based ST Residential, a subsidiary of Starwood Assets and Holdings, a global company. The property is still marketed as a condominium resort with Reno's most exclusive condo amenities such as a 24 hour doorman, resort style pool deck, owners lounge and top grade finishes.
Retail space is still available in the property. Fernando Leal has moved on to other projects, his latest, CommRow also in Downtown Reno, is a conversion of the old Fitzgeralds Hotel-Casino into an "urban adventure destination" featuring the world's tallest climbing wall; unique eateries and concert and nightclub space. A boutique chic hotel also is part of the mix.