In just two short years, this neighborhood just north of Downtown Reno along the river has been transformed from a vacant lot, to a bustling neighborhood filled with high end retail, gourmet chocolates, locally roasted coffee and five star cuisine. This, thanks to one local developer and some like-minded business owners who were willing to take a gamble.
Formally known as Little Italy, the neighborhood known as the Powning District dates back to the 1920's. It's a prime piece of real estate, even though it hasn't always had the best reputation.
Dorinda Vance, owner of Dorinda's chocolates, is one of many tenants who call the Powning District home.
"It was a dump," says Vance. "The whole building, the dirt parking lot, it certainly wasn't what some people would look at and say 'Oh! I want to move down here!"
Vance says she immediately saw the potential in the neighborhood, when she first visited it a few years ago.
"You could really see the vision. Knowing that The Hub was moving in and Beaujolias was going to be coming in. We knew it was going to be a really nice niche for Reno.
Bill Gilber, Chef and owner of Beaujolias moved his famed French restaurant from its former location on 2nd Street Downtown to it's current home in the Powning District this past January.
It has great appeal," says Gilbert. "With the Riverwalk, and the beauty of the river, it was just waiting to be discovered. Back I the day, it [Reno], was a little more Western driven. Now, it has more San Francisco influences coming in. There's more sophistication."
In addition to Beaujolais, The Hub, Dorinda's Chocolates, and a number of commercial properties, the popular yoga retailer Lululemon has just announced plans to open a showroom sometime this Spring.