Earlier this year, news broke that local property developer Silverwing Development had purchased the historic Immaculate Conception Church at 590 Pyramid Way in Sparks.
The brick building was built in 1932 by famed Nevada architect Frederic DeLongchamps, also known for erecting the State Capitol in Carson City, the Riverside Hotel in Reno, and the Washoe County Library System Sparks branch. DeLongchamps graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1904 with a degree in mining engineering. He went on to build over 500 significant structures in the state of Nevada during his career.
Immaculate Conception Church was added to the National Historic Register of Historic Places in 1992 and is/was the oldest surviving Catholic church in Sparks, its architecture reflecting a Mediterranean Revival style.
However, the Immaculate Conception has remained vacant since the Catholic Church moved its congregation to 2900 McCarran Way in Sparks in the early 2000s. During the same decade, ownership of the former church changed hands in least three times.
Now owned by Silverwing, the building is at risk of demolition when it became known that the City of Sparks issued the developer a demolition permit from its building and safety department on December 28, 2021. The permit is valid until in June of this year. The cost of the permit was $1,545.39.
“As for this historic building, since it is on the historic register, we took that into consideration when issuing the permit,” says Julie Duewel, Community Relations Manager for the Town of Sparks. “We also love this building and it is historic, but it would take a lot of retroactive work to make it functional again and being on this register is not a good enough reason not to issue a permit,” she adds. . Silverwing Development has indicated it may use the property to build more housing, but the City of Sparks has yet to receive an application for any of its plans.
Silverwing has built several apartment complexes in Sparks, including The Bridges, DECO, and Fountainhouse in Victorian Square, as well as a few living spaces in Reno. The Immaculate Conception Church building is located less than a mile from Victorian Square.
Silverwing representatives could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.