Surrounding Verdi

Verdi RailThe dominoes are falling into place to totally surround Verdi with new, dense development.  Two new legacy properties around Gold Ranch have recently hit the market, Stremmel East and Stremmel West.

Both properties were included in Reno’s spectacularly misguided W 4th Street TOD plan.  Both properties lie within the Tourist Commercial Gateway zone, with MINIMUM residential density of 30 units per acre.  While the W 4th Street TOD has been suspended, the zoning remains and in fact there is no density cap whatsoever now.  This is a developer’s dream and a community nightmare.

1401 Midtown

LobsterIt has been called many things (1401 South Virginia, COV, the old Heritage Bank Building), but 1401 Midtown is the new official name of the project.  And what a project it is going to be!  You should see construction barriers and dirt moving next week.

What’s the project all about?  New outposts for local businesses.  The existing 9000 SF building will be renovated, and joined by a new 12,000 SF addition.  The tenants on board are:

Bristlecone Holdings – New HQ for this exponentially growing local tech firm.  Their algorithms are blowing FICO scoring back into the Stone Age.

Morgan’s Lobster Shack – The demand for this Truckee restaurant and seafood phenomenon to expand here into Midtown has been incredible.  Will work for lobster rolls!

SDL Jewelry – This is a new offering from the owners of Reno favorite Michael’s and Son’s and will be the largest independent jewelry store in Reno.

T4 – This could be you.  A2 occupancy on the second floor with elevator access and overlooking the Plaza.  Distillery, Brew Pub, Tech HQ, Yoga, Jimmy John’s or whatever you want it to become for your business plan.

Chic – Fil- A

Marie'sFamily Values to replace family values.  Closed on Sundays to respect traditional values, according to their required Special Use Permit application.

CFA seems to have successfully compartmentalized their chairman’s recidivist politics from their corporate mojo.  I hope so – their product is to die for.  Welcome to Reno.

Unbuilt Midtown

Ho Hum EighthHo Hum was almost ours, but we lost out in a semi corrupted court ordered bidding war. Instead of up to 5 stories with new retail and lofts, we have another Hobotel forever.  Could have been THIS with SF loft plans like THIS.

VAT (Virginia Arroyo Tonopah) is the existing Statewide Lighting Showroom that no one has ever been inside to make a purchase.  But the owners won’s sell just yet or probably ever.  I had it pegged as 38,000 SF of ground floor retail and enough parking to support a downtown Trader Joe’s.  32 or more lofts above.

Midtown is in a bind right now.  There is endless money chasing zero viable projects.  The old money owners keep holding on out of inertial or dreams of an unrealistic paydays.  The new owners that have acquired property like the Porno Theater dude are investor backed with no skin in how Midtown plays out.  So I just get to sketch and dream about urbanizing my little piece of the Biggest Little City.

West Reno Developments

sTETSON2Lots of action on the West Side of town right now.

Boomtown Industrial – the proposed 885,000 SF Industrial / Manufacturing building just north of Cabela’s has been approved by the Planning Commission.  The length of a small airfield, Dermody properties will purchase and develop the project after all entitlements are in place.  Dermody are good people, which is some consolation.

Meridian 120 – Meridian 120 is the residential portion of the Boomtown project west of the industrial property.  It has been submitted a Special Use Permit and some minor annexations, and is projected to be 273 single family units.

West Meadow Estates – West Meadows has also submitted their SUP for 324 single family units.  Like Meridian, the project is likely be be sold a Lennar type after entitlements are in place.

Park Place – Park Place is a 44 unit apartment project off Robb adjacent to the new memory care center.  It has been a decade since there has been new apartment construction in the NW, though I assume these will be mapped for condo conversion.

Montebello 2 – This project is the partially developed apartment pads just west Home Depot and the existing Montebello apartments.  This will be an interesting story to watch play out.  The original developer sold off this 41 acre property during the first Dot Com Bomb, and deed restricted the property to single family development that would not compete with their apartment project.  Reno has the property zoned MF14 multi family.  Duets or for sale townhouses might be able to satisfy both requirements.

Starbucks – Just about to break ground with a store and drive thru at Robb and Sharlands (technically Ambassador) between Maveriks and the new Hampton Inn.

West Reno Development-page-0

Reno has a neat, interactive map of development projects going though the Planning process.  Below that is the link to the DRMs (Development Review Memos).  The DRMs are often the first public notification about some pretty major projects, and are worth checking out monthly.

Status Check

BUBHey.  I’ve been busy, so limited posts.  More on where busy later.  “Sparks” will fly!

So where is the Reno market right now?  No empirical data in this post, just my gut reactions after following every sale for the last decade or so.

There was a sales blip early this Summer in the $400-600K range, particularly in new construction.  Lots of out of area buyer.  That momentum seems to be petering out rather quickly.  I sense it was mostly speculation, with a fair number of tech relocates thrown in.  Now, we are back in the seasonal market of jaded old homes hitting the market where the photos scream “dead people”.

If you are a 1st time buyer, be warned that credit standards are tight and you will be bidding up against the investor class.  If you are the investor class, be warned that you are bidding up home prices way over any reasonable rent/own ratio.  If you are a landlord, the above forces put you in the driver’s seat.

Where is the new product to house our expected new workforce requirements?  There are some incremental developments moving up the development chain, but nothing of Regional significance.  The developers with shovel ready projects are actually slowing down new product in anticipation of massive price appreciation in 2016.

What do you all sense?

Sheriff’s Sale

Washoe Sheriff 2One of the roles the Washoe County Sheriff plays is to execute on Judgments that have not been paid.  On Friday at 9 AM, 2200 Bronze Hill Road will be the subject of of one of these Sheriff’s Sale.  Based on recent vacant land comps in the Antelope Valley area, this 40.18 acre parcel is probably worth in the $100,000+ range, if there were time to list it and properly market it on the MLS.  The $43K or so minimum bid at the Sheriff’s sale looks like a bargain, if this is the sort of property you are looking for.  Any amount raised over the amount of the Judgment and costs reverts to the “seller”.

Getting to Yes

RefractionI’m the chairman of my HOA’s Architectural Review Committee.  I review issues big and small, but my overriding mission is to find ways for our homeowners to achieve what they want to build under our rules and regulations.  Getting to Yes.

Dealing with Reno’s Planning Department has become a study of Getting to No.  The Zoning Code is a frigging mess, and Planning is quick to point out why you can’t do things and slow to point out why you can.  They are creating adversarial relationships with the design and development communities when we should all be working together for the betterment of our City.  If you want to totally geek out, take a look at the discrepancies between Tables 18.08.26 and 18.12.15 – what IS the residential landscape requirement in a MU Zone?  It is crystal clear to me that it is 10% based on the Mixed Use table, yet Planning insists it is 20%.  You can’t have an effective code that is based on “Mother May I”.

I don’t want to air dirty laundry (sure glad THAT wasn’t my lead image!) on current projects, but I do want to state for the record what is happening due to the antagonistic relationship Planning has established.  I have more units under development in Sparks right now than in Reno.  My Midtown developer clients are moving their money to Sparks.  Sparks has very clear planning requirements in their TOD (Google “sparks tod”), are gracious and helpful.  Little things like codifying that parking requirements round down instead of up (Reno – a 2 bedroom SFR in Midtown in a Transit Corridor has a HIGHER parking requirement than a similar unit in Somersett!).  That’s OK I suppose, it’s in the Code, but is killing infill development it the Transit Corridors.

I don’t mean to rant, but people always ask me “where’s next?”.  Reno is pathologically reinforcing that “next” is Sparks and Victorian Square.  The development center of gravity is definitely moving East, the E 4th Street Transit Corridor improvements start in a couple of months and will make getting to Downtown Sparks as fast and easy as getting to Midtown.  Midtown Transit Corridor Improvements are sliding into 2018 or later, if the business owners – RTC – Complete Streets folks can’t start agreeing on a plan.

Reno can’t afford to think it is the only game in town anymore, or we will continue to lose any development momentum we have going.  It needs to proactively help us in the industry getting Yes.

Midtown Lofts & Bungalows

Bridal Site BWMidtown is about to get an infusion of 9 new and 3 renovated units.   Midtown Lofts & Bunglows aka the Bridal Units will break ground this Fall.  The existing Victorian at 214 Sinclair will become two flats – modern, but with a lot of period detail still intact.  210/210, 218/200 and 222/224 Stewart are new lofts with dedicated interior garages, flexibility to be used in many different ways, and roof decks with Mount Rose views to die for.  The existing bungalow at 520 Sinclair will be renovated a 2/2 single family home, and 500, 504, and 510 Sinclair are new bungalows sharing the same design philosophy as the Lofts.  (500 is my favorite unit!)

You can find the package with the site plan, unit plans, and neighborhood context drawings HERE.  S3 Renovation Investors LLC is the developer, M3 Construction (the commercial side of Homecrafters) is the builder, and Welsh Hagen did an outstanding job helping the team navigate the entitlement process.

SLaB 1

Dick’s On Hold

Dicks4The approved plan to add a 50,445 SF Dick’s Sporting Goods and a 53,561 SF new Century/Cinemark movie theater to Meadowood Mall has hit a snag.  The approved SPR (Site Plan Review)  has been appealed, and the City Council will hear the case on 9 September.  The Staff Report won’t be published until the end of the week, so it is only speculation that the appeal is coming from the Park Lane Mall folks who would lose their existing cinema to the new development.

420 Mount Rose Street in Cottage Row at Midtown closed escrow on Friday for $473,803.  That works out to $273/SF for the 1732 SF plan.  I have twice the number of for-sale infill units on the boards for Midtown than I do for-rent units, a complete turnaround in the last year.


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