Reno is beefing up its Burner infrastructure, with a new hotel targeted towards the Burning Man community.
Next door to the Reno Gospel Mission on East Fourth Street, bricks are beginning to fall off the edges of the 84-year-old Morris Hotel. Residents, most of whom have been living there for a dozen years or more, rely on the breeze that comes through their windows for air conditioning, and use hallway outlets to plug in a TV or radio.
The rules in the lobby for residents must be followed: No visitors during the day or night, and no cooking allowed.
Jim Gibson is about to change all of that.
Gibson has bought the Morris Hotel, planning attractive and affordable lodging to stay for tourists, travelers, locals – and especially Burners.
“This hotel will become a piece of art and there will be performances, like fire spinners, behind the building.” Gibson said.
Gibson plans to call it the Burner Hotel.
“It was a fluke,” Gibson said, on why he bought the property. “I’m retired and I’m comfortable with my life. It was an opportunity and it just happened.”
Gibson previously worked for Diablo Industries in Minden. He said he’s looking for help from the community in re-purposing the hotel: the old, red oak floorboards in the hallways need repainting; public bathrooms need cleaning, and more.
Gibson said he wants to keep the vintage feel of the building.
Dave Aiazzi, a Washoe County School Board member, is giving Gibson a hand with the hotel’s rejuvenation. Aiazzi said the dirt lot behind the hotel could be used for performances, movie nights and art projects. He imagines a gate would surround the lot and plenty of shade would be available.
“It’s going to be good for the whole area,” Aiazzi said.