Jacobs Entertainment Sells Reno’s Oldest House for One Dollar

Jacobs Entertainment has sold what is believed to be among the oldest homes in Reno for just one dollar.

The historic home located at 347 West St. in Reno has been sold for a dollar after Jacobs Entertainment paid $1.2 million for the property in January. The buyers agreed to relocate the home, which is thought to be among the first homes in Reno’s history. (Image: Historic Reno Preservation Society)

Jacobs Entertainment remains on an investment spree in “The Biggest Little City in the World.” The Colorado-based gaming company acquired the Sands Regency in 2017 for $30 million and has since rebranded and renovated the Reno casino property to the J Resort. Jacobs also owns the nearby Gold Dust.

Jacobs is amid an ambitious plan to overhaul the western side of the downtown area with the introduction of the J Resort Neon Line, a mixed-use development extending from the J Resort at Arlington Ave. between W. 3rd and 4th streets west to the Gold Dust at Vine St.

Jacobs has been buying up properties along its proposed Neon Line and east towards the Reno Arch and primary casino corridor. One such property it acquired was 347 West St., a boarded-up historic home that is surrounded by parking lots.

Jacobs bought the home, thought to be among the first homes built in Reno dating back to the late 1860s, in January for $1.2 million. The company said at the time that the purchase was part of the Neon Line project.

Home Sold for $1

Jacobs Entertainment bought the home from John Gorham, a local businessman whose parents opened the shuttered Bonanza Inn in 1986. Gorham owned the home since purchasing it in October 2015 for $142,500.

Jacobs acquired the Bonanza through an auction in February for about $3 million. The company plans to convert the deteriorating building into approximately 50 affordable housing units where many Neon Line workers will live.

Jacobs Entertainment said soon after buying 347 West St. that it would sell the historic single-story, 1,500-square-foot home for just a buck. But the terms came on the condition that the buyer would preserve and relocate the property to clear the way from Virginia St. to the Neon Line.

Three bids for the property were fielded, Jacobs reps told the Reno Gazette-Journal. The company picked Logan and Angelina Needham as the $1 buyers after a “thorough vetting process.”

It’s important to preserve Reno’s historic homes as we continue to revitalize downtown,” said Jacobs Entertainment CEO and owner Jeff Jacobs. “We are happy to see the West Street home go to the Needhams. This is an example of progress and preservation happening hand-in-hand.”

The Needhams plan to relocate the home to a nearby vacant property the couple owns.

347 West Street is seen in a 1986 photograph. (Image: Historic Reno Preservation Society)

Home History

According to the Historic Reno Preservation Society, 347 West Street was for decades known as the Benham-Belz House. Historians believe the address to be the oldest homestead in the Nevada city.

There is persuasive evidence that [the home] was constructed in Reno’s founding year of 1868 or early 1869, making it the oldest known house constructed in Reno,” the historical society’s website explains.

The home was originally owned by the Benham family, whose patriarch was a stone mason who came to the settlement to help build what would become Nevada’s third-largest city behind Las Vegas and Henderson. The Benhams moved to Spokane around 1880 and sold the property to local barber John Belz. The home remained in the Belz family until 1981.

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