It Flows Down Hill

Should sewer service monthly rates be based on sewer usage?  You would think so but that’s not now it is currently structured in Reno.  This 4683 SF SFR in Somersett with 4.5 bathrooms at 7530 Briargate with 23 plumbing fixtures is getting charged exactly the same rates and connection fees at my new 400 SF studio unit at 614 Elko with 6 fixtures.  Each will pay around $48/month.  Sewer connection fees are/were equal at $6376.

This is a structural problem that Reno continues to refuse to address.  Infill the the core needs to be incentivized with reduces fees.

Downtown Motion or Action?

Two of the “black hole” buildings downtown have recently sold.  100 N Sierra Street, home of Liberty Food Exchange and (maybe) Fitness for $10, sold for $5.7M or $102/SF.   210 N Sierra Street finally sold for $2.5M or $48.86/SF – 6000 SF is scheduled to become a nightclub.

Along with the announced (but unpermitted) renovation of 101 N Virginia Street, the is a lot of Motion downtown – all of it from out of state developers.  But will this translate to Action and real change?  I feels like herd mentality to me, though I hope I’m wrong.


329 Crampton

Save it or Shove it? Or just prescribe Clearasil for the acned facade?

329 Crampton just hit the market listed at $300,000.  I will have 3-5 emails when I get up in the morning asking what can be done with the property.  Here’s an inside look:

– Development Approach – This parcel maxes out at 4 units.  A parcel map to split off the existing house and build another on the alley is the only financially feasible alternative, so realistically 2 SFRs.  Could I build 2 new SFRs?  Yes, given the areas.  Probably no given Planning.

– Zoning – Wells MF30 which requires a 3000 SF minimum lot size, 15′ front setback and 10′ rear setback.  If you split this lot, the alley will become a new “front” for Planning purposes. Warning – this lot only 48″ wide instead of the standard 50′.

– Zoning Exception – Lot sizes can be smaller if common areas are under control of an association.  The current “opinion” is that lot splits that don’t require common space are OK with smaller lots that meet density standard of 1450 AF per unit.

– Parking – The existing home is listed at 4 bedrooms which would require 2 parking spaces – 1 on-site and 1 on street would work.  There is an existing recently improved by COR street cut for a driveway approach.  I think if you reconverted the non-permitted garage conversion back to a garage, Planning would play along.  But there is no certainty, which is a huge issue.

– Residential Infill Standards  – Probably the WORST section in all of Planning Code.  You must match your neighbor’s setbacks if they exceed Planning minimums.  But there is recent precedent in Wells that the required code setbacks can be superseded by Infill standards, meaning the proposed new alley lot would only have to match the building line of it’s neighbors and not the 15′ code setback.

Given 2 discretionary calls needed Planning, I’ll be recommending my clients PASS at this price.  Why isn’t this simple with no discretionary calls by Planning mucking up the Jell-O?








Compass Point

Almost a full city block in the Casino Core just changed hands.  Formerly part of the Tessera District and potentially eligible for STAR Bond funding, the block bound by N Virginia, 5th, Center and 6th Streets (excluding Reno Vulcanizing) passed from Northern Nevada Urban Development to Compass Point Holdings II LLC for $4,400,000 or about $50/SF of lot area.  Compass Point counts Leigh Rodney of Zephyr Cove as a Director and he has ties to NextG in case you want to do some sleuthing.  This doesn’t feel like an entirely arms-length transaction to me, but sets the comp for the Italian Capital / 661 Center parcel which is asking north for $80/SF of lot area.

– Lakeridge Tennis Club has been on the market for a while for $15,000,000 and the brochure has some interesting eye candy renderings.  The parcel is just shy of 10 acres and is part of the old Club Lakeridge SPD.  Reno is currently processing an Zoning Amendment Application  to CC (Community Commercial).  Although the existing recreation facility would be a compatible use in CC, no one would go through the process without a specific project in mind.  CC unless otherwise restricted allows unlimited residential density and a 65′ height limit by right.  My really rough calcs estimate that 500-800 units could be built, and the greater number of units the greater the feasibility.  The applicant is not the current owner but Reno Land, master developer of Park Lane, Rancharrah and other notable Reno projects.  Lakeridge residents went apeshit a couple years ago when the apartment component of the Club Lakeridge SPD was proposed to be demolished and densified, and I expect the same level of noise on this proposed zoning change.  But I say the more units the better in this location.

First Looks

First Look 2

Never confuse motion for action.  A marketing brochure or a prospectus does not equal a project.  But here is some stuff on the Radar:

UNR Gateway PlanThis is UNRs current Gateway Development plan.  What is most interesting is they have seemed to capitulate to Reno’s unreasonable demands and refusal to bargain, and this plan only requires a single alley abandonment (which is really not needed).   Easy Peasy = bad planning.

Keystoned Commons Site Plan-page-0Here is a screen grab from the leasing brochure on Keystone Commons.  300 units of housing and drive-thrus for everything except the bank in a zone where drive-thrus are prohibited.  Watch for this to sail through Planning.

661 Lake Image

661 Lake Student and Micro Housing.  On the site of the old Standard, this is dubbed the Double Standard.  The land has been listed on LoopNet for a couple years at $9.6M, but you can now buy it with consultants on board for $10.1M.

Ryland Apartments

Ryland Apartments, 118 units in a transitional neighborhood, submitted for a SPR (Site Plan Review).  If I were a betting man, I would not be laying down chips on this one.

Woolworths Elevation

Woolworth’s just won’t go way, and here is the latest “Make Pretty” scheme.   Jeff Frame is rolling his eyes!  The building is an asbestos farm, the structure is not designed to current codes for stability or life safety.  And can Reno survive without bowling in the basement?

Ennis Fine Furniture

How can you say Ennis Fine Furniture and not sing it?  There store is for sale or rent.  No idea if they plan to relocate, but I doubt it.

Good Stuff?  Let’s talk about it!



It seems the final deadline to dibs and relocate the UNR Gateway houses in now 3 June 2019.  Okay Reno Planning, what concessions are you prepared to make to allow some of the remaining old/historic houses to be saved?  There are not many “historically appropriate” lots to move these houses to, and most of them won’t meet the letter of your Codes for setbacks and the dreaded Residential Infill Standards.  SUPs and Variances are not on the table with this demolition time-frame – Administrative action is required.  I try to be positive,  but Reno’s Planning Department will be a co-conspirator in the destruction of these historical resources.

A Few Updates

  •  The OneR 70 unit apartment project in Midtown (Arroyo and Tonopah) is working its way through the permit and entitlement process.  Seems like it will become reality.
  •  Haskell Row is under construction.  The project will be 22 new market rate 1/1.5 apartments with nice, usable dedicates yards.  The renovation of 8 1-bedroom units at 1060 Haskell by the same owner is underway.
  •  5th and Keystone – The affordable senior housing component has dropped out, so the current plan is  300 units of market rate housing, 45,000 SF of food/retail, and a “signature building that will change the neighborhood”.
  •  The Arroyoplex by Marmot is 10 new 1 bedroom units in the Wells Neighborhood.  Construction has started, and 4 of the units will be handicapped adaptable  in accordance with the Fair Housing Act.
  •  UNR Historic Houses – The Gilbert Humphrey house (finally) was successfully moved to 655 Arlington and is currently being renovated.  I am currently working on the relocation plans for 829 Lake and 820 Center.  821 Center also seems to have a good  fighting chance to escape kindling status.
  •  Why did Greater Nevada Credit Union by the Pink Hill student housing project at  1385 N Virginia for $9.35M?   They had an $8,391,600 loan on the property.   Looks more like a distressed sale, but who knows.  Student housing is recession proof, right?

Dear Community Development Department:

I am applying to you for a minor, low impact infill project that would really help me out with my housing crisis.  I would like to drop a 8×12′ Tuff Shed in my back yard and use it as a sleeping unit for Granny, who has come to live with me.  I will give her a key so she can use the bathroom in the main house and maybe use the kitchen – think of it as a “community center”!  Her room will have as much insulation as we can install even though it won’t be up to your adopted code minimums.  We will string and orange cord out there so she can have a few outlets and watch her soaps, run a heater and plug in a fan.  I know NRS prohibits electrical resistance as a primary heat source in a residence, but this isn’t really a residence, right?  RIGHT?

Hope Springs is the proposed 30 unit “mobile units on skids” project proposed for 400 E 4th Street, directly east of the 200+ unit Cells on Sage project.  The full application for the Special Use Permit is HERE, and the better graphics of what is proposed is HERE.  It will be constructed under a 3 year lease on City owned property and include a 3000 SF permanent Community Center that included restrooms and showers for the residents, as well as as “homeless food services” that could extend services to beyond the actual residents.

I’m all about finding solutions for our homeless/under homed population, and am acutely aware of the magnitude of the issues.  I am also acutely aware of the building code and planning requirements that drive up the costs of code complying workforce, “missing middle”, and even market rate housing.  Are we ready to loosen the codes for all construction and not just politically correct projects?  I really hope not, and adamantly believe that Hope Springs needs to meet IBC (International Building Code) standards.  Then best of luck with the project.