Sparks Outdoor Events Center

The first Site Permit for the new Nugget outdoor events center at Victorian Square was submitted today, and WOW!  8958 seats, similar to the Laughlin Event Center (pictured).  Brings back great memories of concerts at the old MGM Grand / GSR.

For reference, Greater Nevada Field has about 6500 fixed seats and a 9100 total occupancy maximum. I’m sure if we ask nicely, they will add a fountain or two to their plans!

Does an urban outdoor venue of this magnitude become a dead zone on off nights?  I worry about that a lot based on the Aces failure to make the Freight House District something that works 365.

Kudos to Marnell Gaming and the City of Sparks for actually DOING something. Meanwhile back in Reno, the City Council will be hearing appeals about tree removals and a proposal to allow homeless services deeper into the community this week.

Serious question here.  Can can anyone explain to me why Reno is so constantly off-message and Sparks gets things done?


Baiting the Bantering Bear

Whassup, Bear?  You called the bottom back in 2006 or so on RRB before anyone foresaw how dire things would actually get.  Your only error was not going more negative.

I had a reader today say “the music has stopped, but they don’t know they need to take a chair”.   I believe that.  The True Believers are in for an ass whooping.   Look for Student Housing to lead the downward spiral.

BB. this is your chance to post your Manifesto.  I hope it generates some serious discussion!

Big Yellow Taxi

Jacobs continues to add Open Parking Lots as a primary use in their Fountain District.  Open Parking Lot is an allowable land use in DRRC Keystone, but why add more?  What is this additional parking (200 or so spaces) supporting or serving?

Jacobs Parking #1 is along 4th Street. The PERMIT claimed 37,584 SF and the Assessor says 38,390 SF so that’s pretty close.  Permit value was $140,000 for 104 parking spaces.  That is an absolute bullshit valuation considering the grading, abandonment and reconstruction of curb gutter and sidewalk, lighting and landscape that will be required.  Or if not, let me know your contractor!

Jacobs Parking #2 just got FILED.  They claim 35,000 SF but the parcels total 41,206 SF – not so close this time.  $208,380 permit value for around an additional 100 surface parking spaces.

Open Parking Lots are expensive to build – you don’t build them as a temporary use.  I would suspect that Jacobs does not plan to develop these parcels in a meaningful way for at lease 5 years.  And not a fountain in sight on the permits.

Greyhound Gone

Greyhound buses to Reno are now docking at the Sparks RTC stop (over Sparks’ objections).  I guess kudos are in order for the Reno Council for throwing up so many objections that the logical location at our RTC City Center location became “undesirable” and Sparks got holding the bag.

1st and Bell in Reno.  Riverfront property next to the ex-Grayhound terminal.  The 4 CLC properties that have been scraped are back in for 4 parcel maps and now 2 townhouse permits.  My best guess is that this will end up as 14 (min allowable) to 16 (max allowable by parcel map) SFR townhouses.   A single onsite parking space is planned for each of the units submitted for permit.  The developer might be well served checking on the sales at Tonopah Lofts and 3×3 Martin.

Looking forward to seeing what Tesla Dad plans for the old Greyhound station.


Just when I go all negative, a SPR (Site Plan Review) sneaked in for 70 units in Midtown.  The oneR midTown project proposes 70 units  (31 Studios, 33 1-bedroom and 6 2-bedroom) at the mostly vacant land at Tonopah/Arroyo/Pueblo most recently used as the staging area for the Tonopah Lofts.  Planning has given this site SPECIAL TREATMENT, and the proposed plan sorta kinda responds to this – it would be interesting to see Planning’s comments, but they generally aren’t published to the community at large on SPRs.  All in all a very nice project will most of the based covered (except parking, which may ultimately unfortunately affect the density).  1st Floor Plan can be gleaned HERE.  Elevations are HERE.  The proposed Landscape Plan by Artemesia (great to see them moving up to commercial projects like Haskell Row) is HERE.

The 5th Keystone 10+ acre development site has the S3 Development sign up, but requests for information on what is planned have not been answered.  I don’t know if S3 plans to purchase the entire site or just a portion.  One piece of the proposed development appears to be 230 units of 50% AGI senior apartments based on THIS filing with the HOMES Consortium.  Nice.  The 3.3 acre parcel referenced does not currently exist, so I can’t pinpoint the exact parcel location.

Is the market tanking?  See the RRB December Market Update.  Year over year “doit” appreciation in an economic boom, Pendings falling.  January 2018 was the  big “up” month that is currently keeping 2018 from being stagnant or negative appreciation.


Time for some predictions!

  • Casino Core – Don’t expect any meaningful improvements.  The Virginian will not finish their exterior improvements and their retail space will not be leased.  The Row and Harrah’s will do diddly squat to improve the exteriors of their properties or to improve the pedestrian experience along Virginia Street.  Baseball has a huge parcel assembled for development, but I can’t see any NEED for additional development around the Freight House.
  • Fountain District – Expect a few more demos and no meaningful construction.  Jacobs may finally deign to reveal their master plan, but they have overpaid and development just won’t pencil.  If Renovo is an example of there ROI, the project is doomed.
  • Keystone I-80 – S3 Development has signs up, but no transactions have been recorded.  What is this site screaming for?  Absolutely nothing, and that is what will end up here.
  • Midtown Commercial – There will continue to be tenant churn as the escalation clauses in the initial 2 year commercial leases kick in (Morgan’s).  RTC construction will continue to be a mess, with the completed street redesign project pleasing no one and looking just like the underwhelming E 4th Street renovation.  Meh.
  • Midtown/Wells – Haskell Row is under construction with 22 rental unit and Arroyotopia will break ground 1st quarter will 10 1-bedroom apartments.  That’s it – do not expect to see any additional rental units to be built in Midtown or West of Wells.  All new development will be for sale product.
  • Daybreak – It will return and be approved at 3500 units or so (1550 units are already approved as Butler Ranch).  5000+ units was just stupidly dense, and I never believed it was a real proposal (unless Flood Plan Andy managed to get it approved!).
  • Reimagine Reno – The slog to codify all the pretty words from the Master Plan will continue to bog down due to a lack of any real regional vision and special interest groups bitching and moaning loudly about any changes.
  • Somersett Retaining Wall Lawsuit – The best place to research it is at Somersett United.  The gist of the suit is that a couple of 3 tier rockery walls failed, but after the construction defect period had expired.  The suit tries to extend the guarantee period based on when the master developer turned over the project to a homeowner’s board of directors.  The HOA suit is costing homeowners a ton ‘o cash monthly, and has a virtually negative chance of success.  The ENTIRE construction industry will pile on in the developer’s defense – an arbitrary extension of construction liability is untenable and most likely not legal.  It will be an interesting case study if the case proceeds, and even more interesting to see when the Somersett HOA cuts off their legal assault.
  • Median Home Price – Currently $377,250 in Reno, and I see $350,000 in January 2020.  Not a crash, just a dive.  It’s already happening if you dig down.  The developers have the unit mix all wrong as they try to maximize profits.  There are WAY to may $750,000 stucco shit boxes chasing way to few RICCOHs (RIch Californians Coming Over the Hill).

You might get the idea that I’m a little negative on the Reno market right now!

Mini Storage

The Root of All Evil?  Probably, though perhaps only a symptom.  When Toll Brothers and all the other production builders standardize on 20×20′ (or smaller, code minimum is 18×19′) garages without room to hang a rake or locate your 2 Waste Management bins or store your Christmas ornaments, you either hire a dumpster and downsize your crap once and for all or rent a storage unit where your crap can reside for all time raking up monthly fees that exceed the $/SF of most apartments.

Reno/Sparks/Washoe will add something like 3000 new housing units this year including apartments, and over 10,000 mini storage units.  Mini Storage used to be land use that happened in the wastelands on the far outskirts of town.  Now it is viable even at Park Lane.

233 Court Street

Don’t recognize the address?  It is the vacant lots surrounding the Park Tower condos at 280 Island.  It was once proposed to be the site of the Wingfield Towers condominium project, one of the most ambitious in Reno history.  Downtown Makeover has an interesting project summary on their Post Mortem page HERE.  I’m not sure the link to the fly through (“if you have high-speed internet” – a lot has changed over the last decade!) still works, but HERE it is on YouTube.

And if you order by midnight tonight, the development opportunity could be yours for just $9,498,000 or 4 low monthly payments of $2.5M.

The last decade has been a series of contentious lawsuits reaching the Nevada Supreme Court over some very interesting minutia all architects should be interested in regarding lien laws.  (start HERE and work backward on the Recorder’s site if you are interested).

Is is just me, or was the proposed Wingfield Towers a really beautiful looking project?

Dueling Entertainment Districts

The Freight House District appears to be waking from the dead.  It was our original “entertainment district” which for many reasons became un-entertaining.  The related owners recently purchased APNs 011-074-07, 08, 12, and 13 for $2.4M.  I’m sure these were tied up earlier for less during the original Freight House Fenzy, and I’d love to be Chaves right now!

Does Reno need an “entertainment district” at all?  Do we need 2 with whatever Jacobs is planning for the Fountainhead District on W 4th Street?  Will they compete for excellence, or grovel to the lowest common denominator?  Bubba
Gump’s Shrimp Company, table for 5?

It’s been a long time since I’ve even thought about it, but I believe the Freight House is still in a STAR Bond District, eligible for up to a 75% reduction in property taxes.  Fountain District is not a STAR district, and has so far not (publicly) asked for TIF (tax incremental financing, reduced property taxes in lieu of public improvements) to reduce their tax burdens.  I sorta don’t think they will given how they have operated so far.  As much as I dislike some of Jacob’s tactics, I sort of appreciate their development approach so far, even when I diss them.

So Jacobs, how is that Spring of 2018 unveiling of your Fountain District plans coming along?  Will competition get you to the megaphone?

“Argos for $600,000, Alex”

Argos aka Meridian 120 South just closed their first production home.  9040 Boomtown Garson sold for $610,066 or $216/AF, apparently as an investment property.  Bates Stringer has sold 2 of their model homes with lease-back agreements for an average of $903,978 or $265/SF.

–  Ryder has started closing their production homes at the Pointy in Somersett.  There have been 4 completed sales so far with an average price of $633,730 or $245/SF.

– D R Horton has yet to close a house at The Estates at West Meadows, but they seem to be aiming for this same price point, and are building as fast as lumber can be harvested in Canada.

Pine Bluff in Caughlin Ranch by Homecrafters is selling as fast as they can build them.  The 8 closings so far average $975,100 or $312/SF.  Larger lots than the other projects.

– Toll Brothers haven’t started marketing their 165 unit Landslides Cliffs project in Somersett yet, but it is priced from $598,000.  I’ve seen the plans, and don’t expect to see any sales south of $1M.  Is the market for gauche homes going to be large enough?

As a general rule of thumb, you can add at least 30% to the base price of a production home to get to a real sales price. There is ALWAYS a “lot premium” and niceties like toilet paper holders and towel bars in the bathrooms can be an extra – no joking.  Approximately 30% of Reno residents can afford a home at the current median price of +/- $375,000.  Maybe 10% can afford these new Californicated monsters?  I do not aspire to be able to buy a $750,000 home 5′ from my neighbor’s $750,000 home with mirrored plans looking into each others bathrooms, and no way to build a pathway to my backyard without disrupting site drainage.  And I never expected to be looking UP at an Interstate Highway in my (code minimum) back yard, at any price point.