Workers finishing Ormsby House exterior | RecordCourier.com

Workers finishing Ormsby House exterior

by Geoff Dornan
gdornan@nevadaappeal.com

Work on the entrance to the Ormsby House was nearly complete Friday as crews from Metcalf Builders worked to set the final pavers in place beneath the portico.

When that work is done, spokeswoman Kim Fiegehen said the chain link fence comes down and Carson City officials will walk through to inspect the work.

Ormsby House owners Don Lehr and Al Fiegehen promised to complete the outside work by Thursday. In return, the city agreed to extend their existing building permit 18 months while they sell the long-closed hotel/casino.

Kim Fiegehen said finishing the pavers will leave only the parking lot and entrance striping to do.

"Everything major is done," she said. "It's really just ready for somebody to come in and do their own decorating, flooring and that kind of stuff. All the electrical and plumbing and everything is done."

It's important to the potential owners to keep the existing permit because, if they have to get a new one, code changes during the past 15 years would require more upgrades in plumbing, electrical and other systems. That would further add to the total cost.

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She and Lehr said they doubt the eventual buyer will re-open the Ormsby House as a hotel-casino. After getting the permit extension, she said they will begin marketing the property to major chains in the U.S. and internationally after the first of the year. She said there have already been a couple of interested parties in contact.

That's one reason why the interior is still pretty much unfinished.

"If you're dealing with someone like a Marriott or something, they have their own décor schemes," Fiegehen said. "They wouldn't want it finished anyway."

She said that's the only way they're going to get full fair market value for the property but that they expect to find major chains interested in the property.

Lehr said in an earlier interview that he sees potential for the Ormsby to be turned into small living spaces either for seniors or for Millenials, among other possibilities. The total number of rooms was sharply reduced with most converted to potentially one-bedroom spaces or suites.

The complete renovation of the Ormsby House began in 2000 shortly after Al Fiegehen and Lehr bought it. The building permit has been extended a number of times as they worked through major structural issues, including cracks in the concrete floors that had to be repaired and filled, major changes in the electrical and replacement of the plumbing and HVAC as well as asbestos removal. In addition, the building had no insulation.

In all, Kim Fiegehen told city supervisors, the owners put some $30 million into the property.

They decided to sell it because, she told the board, "It's outlived its' master."

Lehr is 87 and her father-in-law is turning 80. Both want to retire.

To get a final extension in October, they agreed to do the remaining exterior work in 90 days — by Dec. 15.

"I'd like to give them the information on the 15th that it's all done," she said.