I’m Not Dead Yet

Sorry about the lack of posts lately, but I’ve been looking for some very specific recordings that haven’t happened yet.

  •  Italian Capital sale to the Standard for student housing.  This will reset downtown property values.
  • 235 Ralston – Approved permit, but $300,00 to pick it up.  This is the first piece of the West 2nd Street District, and it looks like a fail.  235 Ralston just received a $435K loan, but I think it is just to pay off the consultants.
  • 1402-1416 Tonopah – Yeah, my project working its way through the permit process and some units are back into the permit loop.  Certainly not “affordable housing” as the Council is defining it.
  • Ridges at Hunter Creek – $10M+ sale of whackadoodle development in the UWI.
  • Somersett County Club Value Engineering permit – word is that they ar $1M over budget going in.

Stay tuned.


  • Sunset Bluffs Site 2Sunset Bluffs above Mogul failed in 2008, leaving that gaping sore you see from I-80.  It was really the only visible memento of the crash that we saw here on the West Side of town, but was horrific and still is.  A permit was filed today to complete the SITE WORK on the project at a cost of $2,835,926 spread out among the potential 41 finished lots.  Land and development costs will exceed $100,000 per lot in an area with zero services, dangerous freeway access, and none of the cache of Somersett.  I want the scar removed, and wish the developer luck.  They will need it.
  • Not to be confused with Sunset Bluffs, The Bluffs Apartments are on W 4th Street just east of the Bella Vista development.  Originally 8 SFR lots, a large apartment complex was approved under Reno’s wildly ambitious W 4th Street Transit Corridor Plan.  Now going back to SFRs.
  • Mesa Rim Climbing Center – The hit of San Diego is coming here!  I think the address will end up being 980 Hahvahd Way at Yale, but is definitely APN 13-281-03.  After buying the dirt for $1,471,019, there is a permit filled for a new $2,841,175 12,641 SF building.
  • Meridian 120 has applied for mapping on the first 98 units next to Cabela’s – Frankenwarehouse – New Boomtown Truck stop.  There seems to be well testing going on right now at the SW corner of the Garson exit.  As a neighbor, I’ve got to ask why there isn’t a comprehensive traffic study that includes ALL the projects coming to this intersection.


Bric a Brac

dumpster divingHere are a few items that have caught my eye in the last couple weeks:

  •  Airport Square sold at auction for $15,250,000.  This is the Costco center on Plumb/Harvard, but excludes Costco itself.  The new owners out to the Pacific Northwest have already been talking to Reno Planning (take to the back room if you don’t want to be eavesdropped on, guys!).
  • The old Wal-Mart at 2050 Pyramid also sold for $1,475,000, less than half the 2004 price.  Local developers, but no clue what they are going to propose for the site.
  • Upstream – remember this project off Dickerson N of Idlewild Park?  Bought for a steal out of foreclosure, the have just filed 10+ permits for new townhouses.
  • Somersett Village 6 – This is everything NW of the “abandoned” fire station.  Toll Brothers have activated plans for 165 new SFRs. These lots will need $100K in improvements each to get ready to build on, so don’t expect workforce housing.
  • Sierra Canyon Village 15B – Pulte has pulled permits for the first house on Broderick in Village 15B.  This it – the large parcel matching lots adjoining Mogul.  I expect they will submit for all their remaining lots by 30 June, and the project will close out with the listing of their Sales Center properties.
  • 1 July 2016 – 2012 IEEC (International Energy Efficiency Code) goes into effect in Reno and Sparks.  R38 roof insulation goes to R49.  Windows need to get slightly more efficient, but it looks like Low E will be required.  We are building our envelopes so tight that indoor air quality has become an issue, so new mechanical ventilation standards are going into effect.  Net cost is approximately $5000 per unit.  I was there when one of the major builders came in with their revisions to their “Master” building permits, and is politely ugly at the Revision Desk.  It will get politely uglier as everyone else files by 30 June.
  • 1401 SVA – Over 95% leased with Morgan’s Lobster Shack expanding pre-construction to move their raw bar to the 2nd floor.  Only 1 space left – great office or yoga den.
  • Tonopah Lofts at 1401 Midtown  – 8 new SFRs in duplex configuration from Blake Smith at S3 Development.  All are in for permit (and you can check their progress using the info in the prior post).
  • Midtown Lofts aka Bridal Units aka Sinclair /Stewart – Another Blake Smith development, the 3 SFRs on Sinclair are permitted and ready to break ground.  The 6 SFR/Duplex unit are in the final Structural plan check phase, and permits should be issued later this week.
  • Within 2 weeks, I will have $8,000,000 in construction activity going on in Midtown alone, when you add in the Marmot activity.
  • 1250 Sullivan in Sparks is another $2.5M 32 unit apartment complex in the last plan check phases.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Fun With Virtual Permits

Permit ImageReno has the Acela permit tracking system, which is generally used for contractors to schedule inspection and architect to track their permit submissions.  But anyone can have a lot of fun digging through the data it provides.


This is the Virtual Permit Place.

  •  Engineering – This is parcel maps for the most part.  You can enter the street or specific street number you are interested in and see what has been filed.  Or done enter anything, scroll down to Search and hit enter, and you will see a chronological list of engineering permits filed.
  • Planning – Same search tools as Engineering.  Planning intake is typically the 2nd Monday of the month, so some interesting stuff should start showing up soon.  Also check out the DRMs about mid-month.
  • Enforcement – Same search parameters.  It is really fun to see neighbors narc on each other for weeds and abandoned cars.
  • Building – This is what I track on a daily basis.  Enter nothing in the search fields and hit Enter on the bottom of the page to bring up a list of recently submitted permits.  You can enter an address range to track a specific location (try 1401 and Virginia to see what is active at the old Heritage Bank project.  Note that Morgan’s is back in Review status, and click on Processing Status to see what is going on).  One of my favorites is search by Parcel Number.  This doesn’t have to be complete.  To see what permits are in the system for Reno controlled Verdi, just enter 038 (the Assessor’s Book Number and the first 3 digits of the APN) and enter.  For most of Somersett enter 232.  Most of downtown is 010, 011, 012, 013 or 014.

The system has recently been “upgraded” and is a little buggy right now, but there is a wealth of information when you start to understand the drop down menus. Say you want to research 235 Ralston, the keynote of the proposed W 2nd Street District.  Go to Building, enter 235 Ralston in the address field (or just Ralston and pick from the results).  Pick the reports you want to see – Processing Status is the most important, typically.  235 is ready to pick up mostly – there are always details to handle at the end – and has been for a month.  Check out the Fees tab – it claims not to be accurate but it is.  235 needs to pay a $300K permit fee to pick up and active their permit.  Now when I see that at no financing recorded for a project, I start to wonder how real it is.  Just sayin’.  Picking up a permit and paying the fees is where the rubber meets the road.

Enter BLD16-06362 into the Permit Number field on Building.  That’s one of mine.  If you delve into it, it is an active permit with a Revision going on for Morgan’s Lobster Shack at Blake Smith’s 1401 Midtown project.  You could also find this by entering 1401 and Virgin in the address fields and selecting Morgans.  As of right now if you pull up Processing status, Building was supposed to respond by today and they haven’t, and Planning review is sort of messed up in the system.

Anyway, the Virtual Permit Place is a really fun tool to keep you up on what is happening in your neck of the woods.  And elsewhere.  Find anything cool or unexpected?  255 Sierra?

Heart O’ the City

Golden West ImageDo you prefer blighted buildings to blighted lots?  It is sort of a serious question, and I would generally prefer the buildings.  Northern Nevada Urban Development aka Tessera aka Nick Pavich has applied for demo permits for The Heart O’ Town Motel at 520 NVA, and the Golden West Motel at 530 and 538 NVA.

I haven’t heard even a whisper that there might be a new project following the demolition.  I guess they finally got tired of Alex and the Code Enforcement crew (who are averaging over 10 code enforcement actions a day right now).

Meet the new gapped tooth grin in the meth mouth of downtown Reno.

Pavich Demo-page-0


LegendsPieces of the Outlets at Legends (I think that is the current name) just sold for $29,800,000.  The sale included 89,558 SF of built retail including Best Buy as well as 2 vacant parcels.  HERE is what changed hands to an LLC tied to the Gerrity Group.  Gettity is the real deal, and I sort of wish they had bought the entire shit show that the Legends has become.

The proposed Wally Word at the legends has died due to a non-compete clause for a pharmacy in Target’s deed.  That is GREAT news for Sparks.  Legends is a STAR bond district, where 75% of the sales taxes generated return to the district to pay for infrastructure costs.  Lowe’s closed their Oddie location and moved to Legends – 75% sales tax loss for Sparks.  So did Target, 75% sales tax loss for Sparks.  Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe STAR bonds are an effective redevelopment tool if crafted well.  But the Legend’s was a scam and sham from the onset.  But a pretty mall as those things go.

Median SFR price was down a bit last month.  Despite all the industry hype, the median has remained stagnant for 10 months has not shown a single 2 month rise over that time frame.  Below $300K is red hot for 1st time buyers if they can beat out the investor class.  $500-700K is hot with RICCOHs (RIch Californians Coming Over the Hill) and the 10 or so Tesla related sales occurring weekly.  The dead zone is the $300-500K market, our traditional move up zone. Those don’t pencil for investors, and are beyond the means of Reno workers given lending standards (and lack of savings).

Is the W 2nd Street District for real or just a pocket-pool vanity exercise?  235 Ralston, the 1st building, appears to have its permit almost ready to go, though there is no recorded financing for the project.  The master developer appears to “own” only 4 properties in the district, including his massively underwater office at 250 Bell, and the Town House which has suspect transfer taxes paid to the County under the sale from Joey Laub (Bankruptcy Wednesdays).  I won’t opine until they come forward with better financial and land information and I wish them well.  But…

Quick Takes

  • MME BlockbusterA Zoning Determination request has been filed for a MME (Medical Marijuana Establishment) Production Facility at 100 W Plumb Lane next to the Motel 6.  Wow, I never thought a brownie factory would end up as the highest and best use in this retail corridor, officially Midtown.
  • This joins the Zoning Determination request for a MME Dispensary downtown at 232 W 2nd Street (the old Waterfront Tower sales office).  Perfect for cannabis tourism.
  • Permits have been filed for a clubhouse and 16 and 18 unit apartments at the SE corner of Sharlands and Mae Ann, directly across the street from the fire station that Reno still staffs.  This was once a DR Horton project similar to Esplanade with 3-plexes named Villa Something Italianish, then shit canned, sold to Junuine, who flipped it to the folks revamping the Silver Club / Bourbon Street property in Sparks.  Given the 20 acre site, I think there will end up being 300 or so apartments (condo mapped) here.
  • While on the NW action, permits have been filed for a 15,000 SF retail complex between the new Hampton Inn and United Federal Credit Union.  The new Starbucks looks almost ready to open.
  • Lifestyle Homes has a little 500 SF building with a  $750K price tag.  It is the well house for their new Van Dyke well.

Don’t get used to 3  a week posts, but there is a lot of fun stuff out there right now.

The Substandard @ Reno

Substandard RenoHere we go again.  Now that The Standard @ Reno seems to be a go with alley and street abandonments in place (though no permit application or land sale yet), Italian Capital has been busy TYING UP the remaining parcels that they don’t already on on the next block East.  I expect the same level of concessions will be requested here now that precedents have been established.

636 Lake for $405,000, 637 Evans for $170,000, and 645 Evans for $400,000.  The Assessor values the land at $6/SF, and they are selling at an average of $57/SF.  I ignore any Improvement Value since these will all be knock downs.  #1 – What has Mike Clark’s office been smoking to come up with these ridiculously low land assessments?  #2 – Property owners in the area should expect the maximum 8% increase in assessed value and property tax next year.  #3 – The land W 2nd Street District want to assemble is assessed (generally) at $7-8/SF.  Not only is their $208/SF estimate for state of the art bleeding edge high rise construction “aggressive” (aka whackadoodle), but their land acquisition costs appear to seriously underestimate the market when you “need” a parcel.  #4 – On the bright side, if this doesn’t tank the project, it will make their TIF projections very conservative.

Where Next?

Lifestyle-page-0So where are we going to build from here?  A decade ago, the Center For Regional Studies at UNR had a graphic showing 65,000+ lots at least the Tentative Map stage.  Many of these have lost their entitlements  due to noncompliance with their time triggers, but I have never ever seen a single project denied reinstatement.

HERE is a graphic I put together of the major projects I know of lurking out there.  I’m sort of winging it from memory in some cases and I’m sure I’m missing other major projects in the pipeline.  Some comments:

  • North Valleys is going to be a shit show.  15,000 units with 395 as the only way in or out.  Can you imagine the Spaghetti Bowl in 10 years?
  • Copper Canyon failed once, but may now be in the primo location of all.
  • Balardini Ranch was controversial and cost the County a $13M settlement.  Hate me if you want, but given its location on McCarran and in-place infrastructure, it should be massively up-zoned.
  • Everything happening to the West around Verdi will still not support new retail out there in the former sticks.  Watch for the TCA project to resurface.
  • A second loop road is need on the north side.  Just connecting Pyramid to 395 won’t cut it.

The sewer connection fee for a SFR at Bordertown is the same as in Midtown.  So is the Transportation Impact Fee.  How can that be right? Reno/Sparks/Washoe, time to get your acts together and work regionally to funnel growth where it is reasonable and where it can be serviced.


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