Pilot wants to use vacant airport café as office despite its past

Carson City Airport Authority board members will hear from another business owner who wants to rent space in the old airport café, where many entrepreneurial dreams have come to languish and die.

Although the airport authority has debated about whether to demolish 2600 E. Graves Lane, that plan was cast aside until the master plan process is completed, airport Manager Yvon Weaver said Friday. The board is still caught up in the fervor of master planning. On that master plan is a proposed $24 million runway expansion, which the board would like to have partly funded by the Federal Aviation Administration.

"The airport authority is focusing its efforts on getting its ducks in order for the master plan, so tearing down the building is not a priority," Weaver said.

Buzz Devoll was the last business owner who attempted to turn the café into a profitable bakery. He spent about $45,000 remodeling the building. Devoll secured up to five years free rent from the board for his effort, but packed up and vacated after the board announced plans to lease out the area to a commercial developer.

The board had considered bids from developers in May to lease 250,000 square feet in front of the airport, which includes the yellow café building. Only one bid qualified and board members rejected the bid from Reno-based Ribeiro Co. because the lease amount was lower than what they had requested.

The café building has housed a 1950s family diner, a biker bar and a restaurant/karaoke bar. None lasted long. Past owners have complained about its location.

Barry Sklar will ask the board at its 6 p.m. Wednesday meeting if he can rent the northeast corner office for his sports aviation flight school. Students would learn on small, light airplanes.

Steve Tackes, airport counsel, said Sklar would have to offer a fair rent amount to justify switching on utilities for the building.

Weaver said if the board does decide to grant a lease to the business, then it would probably be month-to-month, with only a 30-day notice from either party to disrupt the lease. She said that's a hard atmosphere for a business to work under.

Even though the board won't be putting the land up for lease any time soon, Weaver said, members want to plan what they would like in the space.

"We only have so much land to lease and we have to do it diligently," she said. "We have to make sure we're doing what's best because it's the community's land."

The Ribeiro Co. may have an opportunity to bring back a proposal to the airport authority, she said. The board wants to be ready at that time.

-- Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.

If you go

What: Carson City Airport Authority

When: 6 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.


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