The ‘Sett

boulder –  Toll Brothers have finally released their floor plans for their Boulders project in Somersett.  The plans range from 4000 to 5800 SF with BASE prices from $702K to $904K.  I read somewhere that the base price of a home goes up 30% on average before the sale, so you can see the market they are appealing to.  I’m usually not a fan of Toll floor plans – Xerox enlarged tract houses – but these really do seemed tailored to their target market.

boulderssiteplan

 

-  On the other end of the economic scale, Lennar has purchased 108 finished lots in the Wintercrest subdivision associated with Somersett.  This is the extension of Scott Vally Road area originally owned by Columbus Reno I LLC.  The sale was combined with 151 lots in Wingfield Springs from the same sale, and the price works out to $72,000 per finished (streets and mass grading done, utilities to the lot line, water and transit fees later at permit) lot.  They should be able to reach the low $300’s price point as they have in their almost completed Canyon Pines project.  Somersetters refer to Canyon Pines as Section 8 Heights, but whatever.

-  The ballots have been mailed to the owners on the proposal for Somersett Owners Association (SOA) to purchase the Somersett Golf and Country Club (SGCC) for $2.75M, then lease it back to SGCC for $2000 per year.  This is a very complicated and emotional deal, and hella fun to watch from the sidelines!  It comes down to this – if you think the SGCC can be successful, vote NO.  Northgate closed, D’Andrea closed, ArrowCreek in bankruptcy – SGCC doesn’t have a prayer as a self standing entity in my opinion.  If you think the SGCC will fail and want to have a say in what becomes of the golf course, vote YES.  It will only cost about $1100 per lot owner spread over 15 years.

SGCC is part of the Somersett Area PUD, but is NOT part of the approved Somersett PUD – it is specifically excluded.  I ran some rough numbers, and the land could easily accommodate 600 SFRs.  At $20,000 per semi-raw lot, SGCC is worth $12M dead, and only $2.75M alive.  Reno would LOVE the addition $2M annual property tax income, and it would be a perfect infill development in an area where all their public service requirements are already in place.  Reno will ratify any PUD modifications that might be required in a New York Minute.  So add that to you menu of issues to consider as you prepare to vote, SOA membership.

-  The “Golf” lot adjacent to the Town Center recently sold for $150,000.  It is zoned for up to 5 storey heights and apartments/condos , though is significantly impinged by drainage easements.  No development plans have been announced by the new owner, but I’ve also taken a detailed look at this property.  12 townhouses, hardcore negotiation on some shameless unrecorded easements for the Canyon 9 golf course pencils.  Or go big and span the drainage easement and aim for 50 units of apartments/condos.  I’ll report back when plans start firming up.

The world isn’t all about Somersett, but I know a lot of the readers of this blog live there and care a lot about what is going on in their community.  So forgive me for boring you with this one, geopower!

Prop 3

Prop 3 on our November ballot is the Margins Tax or the School Initiative, depending on which side you fall.  In very loose terms, it imposed a 2% tax on business profits over $1,000,000, with the proceeds dedicated to education.

The Prop is a well meaning disaster.  Yes, the proceeds may be dedicated to education, but the Nevada Legislature can reduce their general fund contribution to education in light of the guaranteed funding.  No one can argue that education is adequately funded in Nevada, and the lily livered Washoe County Commission failed to approve the tax increases and funding the last Legislature allowed them to impose.

So why am I voting for Prop 3 at this point?  First, it is what we’ve got at this point in time.  And time is of the essence if we want to cure the massive deficits in school maintenance and overcrowding we currently face.  Add the Tesla Burden of 22,000 related jobs and the rug rats from the families that WCSD will now need to finance and support.  Te$la’s pulp donation of $7.5m for the next 5 years, none of which is dedicated to Washoe as of yet, shows they are at least aware our out concerns but are unwilling to meaningfully contribute to a solution.

So I plan to hold my nose and vote for Prop 3.  I don’t think we have any other option on the foreseeable horizon if we actually value education in this state, or more locally, Washoe County.  Convince me otherwise if you can.

Free Land

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WestStreetPlazaWhy do people think it is Reno’s responsibility to give them public land for their projects?

The Siegel Group is presenting before the City Council / Redevelopment Board on Wednesday.  Their PROPOSAL is that Reno give them Fulton Park at the corner of 1st Street and Arlington and the riverfront West Street Plaza to aid their redevelopment of the Truckee River Lane building.  They already lease the Java Jungle patio space from the Agency.  I completely understand why they want the land, and redevelopment could be very positive in this location.  But why not an easement or lease agreement like the patio?  Or can I have it if I ask nicely?

Our Lady of Snows is also up Wednesday with their proposal to steal a block of Wright Street so they can build parking and a new parish center.  The staff report is generally supportive (and has a lot of history of the last Snows Lander Street semi-abandonment project).  Wright is a goofy little 5 block street with a jog.  This block really is used 90% by Snows and won’t really affect the neighborhood to badly.  Why am I so adamantly against this abandonment?  First, the neighbor on Monroe Street should be receiving the half of the right of way fronting their property.  Second, Snows is a crappy neighbor and the added parking will allow them to be crappier.  But my main objection is that Snows has simply outgrown their neighborhood, and this certainly won’t be the last gimme they ask for.  Time to move on to a site where their current and future needs can be met without being an eternal pain the butt.  Beck Street Plaza?  Park Lane Mall?

I wanted to keep this post local and not mention the T word, but I gotta crow a little bit.  IBT Media (parent of Newsweek among other publications) has evidently been following the Tesla coverage on this blog.  They interviewed me prior to the Governor’s press conference to gauge the local reaction.  All INK is good ink!

 

The $1.25B Tesla Bendover

light-end-tunnelTAKE……DEEP…….BREATHS……

I’ve avoided posting about the Tesla decision to build the Gigafactory here in greater Reno until the term sheet was revealed.  I had been warned that the announcement would be jaw dropping.  But nothing prepared me for the magnitude of the  $1,250,000,000 package on the table.  My first thought was of being sodomized with Playa Dust and no lube.

That’s when I started my deep breathing exercises.  Here is a pie chart of the tax breaks I stole from the RGJ (god knows how many things they have stolen from this website so no guilt):

Tesla Tax Breaks-page-0

The property and sales tax abatements are on tax income we don’t currently get, so I can live with them (with reason, more later).  I need to hear a lot more about $120M in “transferable tax credits”.  Transferable to whom and what kind of taxes?  Related businesses or can Pignic Pub and Patio buy some on the black market?  Same questions on “transferable job credits.

I am infuriated at the forced purchase of the USA Parkway connecting TRIC to Silver Springs for $43M.  HERE is the NDOT report on the project.  I’d comment that Lance is whoring himself on that one, but it would probably be taken as a complement.

$7.5M per year “gift” to “schools” for 5 years.  Whose schools and for what?  This won’t even cover Washoe County’s legal expenses they are facing for firing the superintendent behind close doors.  $35M per year might get my attention.

The out of pocket expense to NV is pretty limited.  Swap film production tax and insurance headquarters tax breaks for Tesla tax breaks.

My biggest concern is the impact of 6500 workers and their rugrats on the Washoe County school system.  We are overcrowded and underfunded today, and I have no clue whatsoever how we can accommodate 10,000 or so new students.  I had really hoped that Tesla would have addressed this in their “package”, and the $35M over 5 years is pure sop.  How this region can accommodate growth (any growth, not just Te$la) had to be seriously and rapidly addressed.

In the retail world, it is common to land your anchor store for free and make your rents off the ancillary stores that follow.  I hope this is the case for Tesla – Nevada cannot give away the ship to every company that “wants” to locate here.  Those “transferable” entitlements really bother me for that reason.

So is the extent of Elon-Gate or is there more below the surface?  SolarCity manufacturing panels at TRIC has been mentioned and not denied.  Is UNR working to prototype the Hyper Loop out at Stead as I’ve heard rumored?

Some neighbors and I were joking around that our property values went up 10% at 4:15 this afternoon.  Do you think we shot low?

So deep breaths.  Think hard about what the Tesla deal means for our region and the state of Nevada.  And please air your comments!

 

Shapeshifter

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IMG_1628The massive construction you are seeing on Marsh above the Keystone cut is the Shapeshifter house for Peter and Turkey Stremmel.

I love modern architecture.  I will defend to the end a property owner’s right to build what they want on their property.  But I also recognize that neighborhood design restrictions can be a positive factor to maintain the special character that makes a neighborhood special.

This house is in the heart of Newlands Manor, the genteel center of classic homes and old money in Reno.  Though the Marsh and Palisades escarpments have a decent measure of modern houses, they somehow manage to fit into the neighborhood scale and design.  Shapeshifter is classic example of Fuck You architecture, an architectural expression totally unto itself without even a hint of a nod to the surrounding development pattern.   It’s compatibility to the neighborhood was personally approved by Reno’s Director of Community Development.

Want to know why people hate architects?  Read this rationale for the house.  Mental masturbation at it’s finest without a money shot.  Did the client actually buy into this program or just like the house?  They had another design permitted, then cancelled it and went with Housezilla instead.

What do you think?

Correction:  The Shapeshifter is not technically within the Newlands Neighborhood Plan area.  But ask the neighbors on Marsh where they live and the answer will be Newlands.

NewlandsBoundary-page-0

 

What Reno Owns

reno_city_hallReno is broke and getting broker.  It is seriously time to look at the City’s real estate assets, divest what isn’t necessary, and make some tough decisions on some other properties.

HERE is what the Reno Housing Authority owns.  Mostly subsidized and Section 8 housing.  But things like 1004 Forest in booming Midtown thrown into the mix.  Some of the newer purchases are probably deed restricted, but what can be sold should be sold.  You have to ask why the Reno Housing Authority owns property in Sparks at all.

HERE is the City of Reno list.  Parks, fire stations, city hall, weird streets.  There are a lot of RETRAK parcels and Redevelopment projects encumbered by Reno’s bond debt (some of the lots at Keystone / Chism are actually optioned by the Aces).  But there is a lot of fluff that could be sold off to the highest bidder.  30 NVA aka 10 NVA – the winter Rink on the River.  Did you know that Reno owns the Starbucks parking lot at 532 SVA?  190 Liberty is the historic old Southside School being rented out to non-profits for cents on the dollar and is ripe for loft redevelopment.  The dead condo project on Riverside?  307 Morrill and 1880 Mill?

Councilperson Brekhus has been pushing for a thorough review of Reno’s real estate assets throughout her term and running into a brick wall.  Why?

See any other low hanging properties?

MMEs

MMErenoThat’s Medical Marijuana Establishments in legal speak.  Washoe County just posted the applications to date for the dispensaries,  cultivation (grow) houses , production (food)facilities  and testing laboratories.

Anyone want to go to the Secretary of State’s site to track down the applicants?  Ex-Reno mayoral candidate Eddie Lorton has applied for permits for both a dispensary and a a grow house (highly discouraged combination) in the Old Brewery District.

Reno Provisions

845001[1]Mark Estee (Campo, Heritage, Burger Me) just received a permit for his new Reno Provisions project.  The site is 10,537 SF located on parts of the 1st Floor and Basement of 100 N. Sierra Street, the long nearly vacant old JC Penny’s building (it looks better today than this old photo).

 

According to the PERMIT, the facility will include restaurant(s), retail, and a demonstration kitchen.  This is one more great step forward for the Riverwalk District.

El Cortez, Apple, Marketplace, Snows

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe historic El Cortez Hotel closed escrow today with a purchase price of $2,175,000.  That works out to about $19,000 per room or $53/SF.  The sale includes the vacant lots at 244 and 490 W 2nd Street.  Another fine project from The Siegel Group.

-  Apple has applied for core and shell permits for 2 additional 20,000 SF data center buildings at their cloud farm east of Sparks.  In addition, they applied for tenant improvement permits to complete the last 2 of their current 4 building phase.  The current projects will bring the data center square footage over 140,000 SF plus their admin building and strange $500,000 free-standing bathroom.  HERE is a chronological list of their permits.

-  The Great Western Marketplace is already becoming less great.  Compare their original plan

GWM Plan-page-0 (1)

with their current plan.

GWM_RevisedFloorPlan_

-  Our Lady of (Perpetual Land Grab) Snows’ application to abandon the block of Wright Street adjacent to their “campus” goes before the Reno City Council on Wednesday 20 August.  You can view the entire application HERE.  I’m not sure if owner Noticing has gone out yet, but 90% of the neighborhood is renters and won’t necessarily hear about the change to their ‘hood. As Snows points out, over 95% of the Wright Street Traffic is already related to church/school activity.  On the negative side:

*  Reno has a policy against abandonment and to maintain the existing street grid.

*  The “professionals” who prepared the application forgot that in an abandonment, half of the right of way gets dedicated to the adjacent property.  The area that should be dedicated to 665 Monroe (blue box below) was “missed”.

*  Snows is famously opaque, and no one believes that this request is the end of their neighborhood domination campaign.  Sometimes a use just outgrows its site and it is time to relocate.

*  They simply don’t need the abandonment to achieve their stated goals.  A slight redesign of the new 30,000 SF parish center and/or a variance to allow a zero lot line setback from Wright Street.  The 18 parking spaces I show eliminated would be replaced by the existing on-street parking.

Wright Abandonment-page-0

TRIC or Treat

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TeslaGateLance Gilman absolutely hates it when the media refers to Tahoe Reno Industrial Center as TRIC.  Dude, if I also owned the brothels next story and was a sensitive type, I might have gone with Reno Tahoe Industrial Center.  Just sayin’.

So what do you need to know about TRIC?  First of all, it is vast – 167 square miles (for reference, the Martis forest fire was 15 square miles).  Second, it is its own little fiefdom within Storey County.  TRIC approves construction plans and sends them on to the County for a rubberstamp.  HERE is the approved development agreement.  Hard core industrial and manufacturing uses are per-approved, sort of a little unregulated future Superfund site.

Want to live near TRIC to ease your commute?  You can’t.  The back-end of the development agreement above has maps of where housing is allowed in Storey County.  Feather River  had a 320+ unit SFR development approved at Wadsworth, but they got foreclose.  G Blake Smith of Somersett fame/infamy proposed the Cordevista  development on a site so remote it had been previously approved for rocket fuel testing, and Storey refused to change the zoning.  Man, that got really legal and ugly if you Google it.  Storey has decided (probably correctly) that residential development is nasty and can’t support its costs to service it.  Who needs housing next to a toxic industrial complex that is paying the freight?

TRIC wants to connect their USA Parkway from I-80 to US 50 near Silver Springs.  This would open up potential air freight from the Silver Springs airport, and make the center much more accessible from Carson and the meth labs in Silver Springs itself (seriously, I have traveled this country extensively, and Silver Springs is the worst place on earth).  The proposal from TRIC?  We will build the road, bill NV $40M for it and dedicate it to the fine citizens of the state.  We just won’t built it to state standards, pay prevailing wages, or respect the cultural artifacts we may find in the process.  NDOT WISELY passed on the deal.

So we have a developer trying to land the biggest economic development project in the world right now, and he is meeting with Mistress Donna to set her hourly rates in the morning and then meeting Elon Musk in the afternoon.  This is a little too wild west for my comfort zone.

Should Tesla be locating at TRIC?  Absolutely yes based on logistics and all practical considerations.  Will they?  Ask Albuquerque how true to their agreements Tesla is.  Can Nevada bend over far enough to make this happen?  In the end I sort of doubt it, and I will respect NV if they call bullshit on Tesla’s unprecedented welfare demands.  That said, I hope we can get it.

 

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