On historic highway 40, crammed between four lanes of traffic, abandoned buildings and railroad tracks is the Morris Hotel. The 85-year old brick structure mostly provides shade for the homeless. But retired space industry CEO Jim Gibson has used profits from the sale of a San Francisco property to buy this corner.
“Where we are sitting right here next to the homeless and the food center, its a relatively rugged area and to turn it into a normal hotel in this area would be very very difficult,” says Gibson.
He bought the 40-room hotel, unused retail space, and a half-acre of land for $400,000. The revitalization plan is to use volunteer artists from all over the world who would be drawn here for the annual Burning Man festival northeast of Reno.
"The burner community is so respectful of others and their needs and wants not only will the come in and enjoy it but they will probably dust and clean, they are that kind of a group. It is kind of funny,” he says.
Gibson has relinquished some control to the burners. He hopes the redevelopment will include a fire performance stage, community gardens and free public art exhibitions. Burning Man organizers say they are not aware of any other hotel in the world that caters to burners year-round.
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