When Shannon Dobbs entered the building he bought at 210 N. Sierra St., it looked rough.
Abandoned 20 months earlier, the 17,000-square-foot space on the second floor still had all the furniture and equipment covered in dust from its previous incarnation, 210 North nightclub.
The escalators had seized up. The floors were filthy. Cola from one of the three bars had leaked, leaving a sticky residue.
“This place was allowed to go to wreck ... badly,” said Dobbs, 39. “We’ve been working hard to clean it up.
“I’ve wanted to be a nightlclub owner for 20 years. I’ve been writing plans on the back of napkins and talking to my friends about it for awhile.”
Dobbs, who has owned the 5-star Saloon in Reno for six years, opens Rise Nightclub Friday.
The two-story building has been home to failed nightclubs Reno Live (1999), Metropolis (2001), Pacific Beach Club (2003) and 210 North (2006). In October 2010, 210 North shut down.
This weekend, six months of hard work will be displayed in a upscale club that plays top-40 dance music and caters to locals. Dobbs said that formula, plus quality management, will help the club succeed on the property where many others have failed.
“It’s opposite of what you find at a normal large-scale club,” Dobbs said. “We want to focus on Reno.”
A look back
The property at the corner of Sierra and Second streets opened as the Money Tree Casino in 1978, a Mapes property. When the Mapes went under in 1982, it became Eddie’s Fabulous 50s Casino. Brent Gramanz, who died in 2011, bought the casino in 1994 and leased the upstairs to Ichiban Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar.
When the gaming business started to decline, Gramanz opened two nightclubs in the downstairs of the downtown space in 1998, Las Venus and Gators.
Intent on catering to younger people, he ripped out the slots and converted it strictly into a nightclub scene, according to RGJ files.
Gramanz remodeled the building to host Reno Live in 1999, becoming the largest nightclub in the city. The name then changed to Metropolis, though the old Reno Live sign still hung on the side of the building.
Pacific Beach Club opened in the space as an 18-and-over club in 2003 before Rob Stone and Jill Gianoli took it over and remade it into 210 North.
Reno Live, Metropolis and Pacific Beach Club all operated in the downstairs portion of the building, which was how it started when Gramanz took over, and 210 North moved upstairs to start from scratch.
“Pacific Beach Club had such a bad vibe, we just stayed away from it,” said then-marketing director Marko Virsa in a 2006 story in the RGJ.
When it opened, lines for 210 North formed on the sidewalk just to get in. In October 2010, the club closed for renovations and never opened its doors again.
An email sent to Stone was not returned.
The clubs in the building had a reputation to some as a sketchy place to be late at night, Dobbs said.
In February 2001, police arrested Reno Live’s supervisor of security on misdemeanor battery charges. The same night, police cited the club for allowing minors and also had 14 complaints from patrons who said security guards used excessive force while ejecting customers, according to RGJ records.
In 2003, fire department officials cited the club for nine minor fire code violations. In July 2004, a man was stabbed while waiting in line at Pacific Beach Club. Police made regular visits to 210 North.
Dobbs is aware of its previous reputation, and his goal is to change it.
His security team will honor an upscale dress code. It’s not written in stone, but no hats, T-shirts or obvious gang attire will be allowed.
“What we have is a reasonable dress code for a nightclub atmosphere,” he said. “ You should look like you care and you tried and like you’re going out for a night on the town.”
You shouldn’t look like you’re going to a movie.”
Dobbs said security will be equipped with dispatch capabilities and someone will monitor security footage at all times.
“We’re going to go in and run this right,” he said. “We’re going to have security who is paying attention to who is coming in.”
Rise is short for “the rise up of the human spirit,” Dobbs said.
Much of the club’s concept will revolve around elemental themes.
Upon entering, patrons will take an escalator that will show fluid light patterns like waves projected onto the walls, which are made up of skinny silver chains dangling from the ceiling.
The bar tucked away in the club’s west side is called “Origins,” which is separate from the nightclub and will open earlier to give downtown business folks a place to come for a cocktail after work. It will have happy hour specials and a tapas menu. Food will be served during club hours, starting at 10 p.m.
Rise kept the furniture and light fixtures from 210 North, and a few other things. Dobbs said the furniture was in good condition, but just need to be cleaned. He switched the bulbs out with LED lights, which are hooked up to a computer program in the back that simulates virtual projections.
Certain nights will have themes, and the lights can change colors, speeds and rhythms. Dobbs said the equipment was left over from previous owners, but to his knowledge they never used it.
The VIP lounge has changed. Low couches were removed and replaced with bar chairs and standing space, which increased the capacity of the club to around 1,100 people.
An extra stage was hidden at 210 North near the coat rack station. That stage will now be a spot for people to dance. On some nights, it will host fire dancing and hula hoop exhibitions.
The layout of Rise is the same as 210 North for the most part. The DJ booth was moved so that a 10-by-12 sheet of glass could be exposed.
Rise will open at 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. There is a $20 cover that comes with two free drink tokens.