a blue house stands on Center St

Andrea Wilkinson/Nevada Sagebrush
A house in Reno’s Gateway District as it stands on Monday, Dec. 11. The discussion to move the houses has risen again after an organization backed out of a contract to move them.

After months of discussion over the fate of the historic homes in the Gateway District at the south end of the University of Nevada, Reno, the process of moving the homes has come to a halt once again.

The Faculty Senate met on Thursday, Nov. 15 to discuss various agenda items regarding the university — one of which being the Gateway houses.

“We’ve worked hard for the last couple of years to identify options for moving these homes,” said Provost Kevin Carman to the Faculty Senate. “As you probably know, we had an RFP [request for proposal] go out earlier this year to identify individuals or organizations who would be willing to move those houses to a new location.”

There are 12 homes in question looking to be relocated, according to Carman. Six of the 12 homes have eligibility to qualify for historical significance. Two of the six historic homes have plans to be moved by individuals.

“That process is underway and they have identified locations and are preparing the sites,” Carman said. “We expect those to be moved by, hopefully, the end of this calendar year.”

To move the other houses, the university entered a contract with Common Ground, a realty company affiliated with the festival Burning Man. However, the company withdrew from the contract on Friday, Oct. 26.

“We had a contract with them to move the other 10 houses,” Carman said. “They recently notified us that they were wanting to back out of the contract of the plan to move the houses. We notified them that this is a contract and we very much hope that they will fulfill it because they were a bit of a last resort.”

After more back and forth on the relocation of the houses between Common Ground and the university, Common Ground agreed to schedule a phone call to discuss options.

“My understanding — I just learned today — is that they have to come back to us and are going to continue discussions and the earliest we could arrange a phone call is after Thanksgiving,” Carman said. “My understanding is that this phone call is forthcoming. But our goal is to continue to work and try to find an individual or organization who is willing to move the houses.”

However, if the relocation with Common Ground or another organization does not get arranged in the coming months, demolition of the homes will be the next step as it is necessary that the land is cleared before plans for expansion can be made.

“But to be transparent, we need to have those houses removed in order to be able to make plans for the new business complex so while we are working with Common Ground we are initiating the process of getting approval for demolition if there are no other options available,” Carman said.

The business complex is planning to be built in the Northeast corner of the lot on Ninth Street and North Center Street where Jimmy John’s is currently located. Jimmy John’s is looking to relocate as well, according to Carman.

If demolition is the route taken, there are options for preserving historically significant pieces of the homes.

“If we do need to go through the demolition phase, there is an indication that there are organizations interested in salvaging part of the historical components of the homes,” Carman said.