Ramada Out

Ramada RenoThe Ramada Inn at 1000 E 6th Street will go to AUCTION on 3 June.  284 keys plus banquet and meeting space, and the opening bid and reserve price are both $500,000.  The Room Pictures and Reviews for Ramada’s own site are pretty revealing.  Outstanding staff and cleanliness (usually), dated rooms, sketchy neighborhood, and pretty consistent references to plumbing issues.  The auction comes free of management and brand affiliation – Ramada is out and you would be on your own.

Diamond’s Casino is next door on a separate parcel, attaches to the Ramada, and provides most of the food services for the guests.


Verdi Mega Land Sale

boom2All the land around Boomtown that we all think of as Verdi but is really Reno just sold for $13,125,000.  The buyer is Reno Land Development Company LLC, which has the same address as Monterey Advisory Group and email address as the old Monterey Development Group (MDG – The Village at Somersett).

The purchase excluded lots 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12 from THIS offering from a few years ago.  HERE is the land uses approved under the Mortensen Garson Area Plan and HERE are the parcels involved in the sale (excluding the 300 acres of remote properties).  There is a $10M 1st Loan and a $600,000 2nd.  Note the 586.86 AF of ground water rights and up to 250 AF of surface water rights that come with the parcels.

So what’s next?  The properties north of I-80 are level, served with sewer and water, and I would expect terraforming to begin almost immediately for about 500 units.  I also expect the developer to try to densify the project from its current zoning – it has all City services and Reno loves this sort of “infill” stuff on the edges of their service area – and rezone the commercial properties just north of Cabela’s to residential.  The properties south of I-80 do not have City sewer or water, so I don’t expect development in the near future (some of it is really zoned for a high-rise casino!).

There goes the neighborhood!  At least it isn’t going to be an “Everything Included”  Lennarburger.


Project 8

24001[1]Project 8 was my code name for 888 Mount Rose Street, the Mapes Walker mansion (Google it for a lot of history on Gloria Mapes Walker).  Sitting on 3.18 acres on the ever growing fringes of Midtown, it is zoned SF9 for 9000 SF lots.  Across the street to the north the zoning drops to SF6.

The property is/was listed at $1.6M and is now in contract, but that made the entry price for any redevelopment really high for my guys.  The “smart” development scheme would be to scrap the mansion (it is not historic but is over 50 years old, so would have to be reviewed by Reno’s Historic Resources Commission) and build as close as possible to be maximum 15 parcels allowed (I maxed out a 12 with access easements).  My SCHEME  was to restore the mansion into 3 or 4 units (requiring a Special Use Permit in a single family zone) and build around 9 new homes.  Everyone loved the concept, but didn’t want to be the ones to disrupt the neighborhood.  I have no idea what the prospective owners plan to do, but it would actually be sad if the restored the mansion and did not redevelop.  Cities evolve, and 3 acre estates adjacent to a Transit Corridor are relics.

It has been sort of amusing seeing the Marmots being dissed over at the Downtown Makeover site for not adding units when I know that they have over 10 in the permit loop.  528/538 Sinclair is my favorite.  They are digging a courtyard between two bungalows and adding wicked pisser basement units that won’t feel like basement units.  124/126 Caliente  each get an additional bedroom, bathroom and sleeping loft.  3 new units at 130 Caliente.  2 more dig downs with courtyards at 225/231 Moran.  227 Moran like you would never believe possible.

Reno Rundown

Just a bunch of random item to keep you amused:

–  For the first time in 8 years, units at Smithridge are selling north of $100K.  These were trading for $225K at the peak.

–  Single Family Homes coming to Keystone Canyon.  If you can read topo maps, so will see this will require a lot of terraforming to get in 109 houses.

–  Upstream out on Dickerson Road is Back.  Sold out of foreclosure 2.5 years go for $1.125M and included 90 vacant townhouse lots and 6 or 7 finished townhouses.  The lots just changed hands for $1.548M.  About a million and a half profit on a million dollar investment is pretty good ROI.

–  Also out on Dickerson, the Generator tried to lease option some of Reno’s Retrac land for a sculpture park, artist residences, and a new 50,000 SF co-working facility.  They ran into an absolute shit storm of unexpected opposition.  Issues ranged from the perceived sweet heart no bid land deal, to a NIMBY outpouring from the future owners of the Chism House and Trailer Park.  So the Generator is getting relocated to less desirable (but more appropriate) Retrac land east of Wells, the Chism’s get some land back.  No word on what the new owners plan to do with the trailer park.

–  Lennar is getting into the rental SFR business with their Frontera project.  Expect this to be a virtual man-camp for the Tesla factory construction crews.  They know the construction will go on for a limited time and don’t want to buy, credit is still tight, and a lot of the trades have had their credit wrecked from the effects of the Great Recession.  I think this will be a home run.

– D’Andrea Country Club is facing yet another day on the Courthouse steps (actually the County Commission chambers).  For $461,954.07, it can all be yours at the Delinquent Tax Sale on 22 April.

–  As the City Council was reviewing their Legislative agenda, a surprise new Bill was discussed.  STAR Bond Districts are in effect for 20 years after the date of the districts’ establishment.  The Bill allows that to be able to be extended in Districts that were established but no construction occurred for 5 years.  The ONLY District in the State that the Bill applies to our very own Tessera District!  Kudos to Jenny Brukhus for being the only council person to cry bullshit.

There, that should give you enough to chew on for a few days.  Next up will be a review of a couple interesting projects going up (and down!).

Parks and Rec

tennis ball–  You might not recognize HIC Investment Company LP by name, but they are the owners of the Lakeridge Tennis Club.  They have received a Notice of Default (click Log In tab) for missing the 1 December 2014 payment on their $10,700,000 deed of trust.  HIC is also in default with the Secretary of State and does not have a current business license.

Lakeridge Tennis Club sits on a prime 9.25 acre site at the corner of McCarran and Plumas.  If rezoned MF30, the site could accommodate 275 units – more if the City allows greater density, which I think they will.  I think the days of tennis being played on the site are limited.

–  The purchase of the land and water rights beneath the Somersett Golf and Country Club closed escrow last week for $2.75M.  The Somersett Owners Association are now “protected” if SGCC fails financially.  Before you get in on the dead pool on when exactly that will be, consider this:  SOA has the Right of First Refusal  to purchase the clubhouse site (club-tent).  For the first 5 years, SOA can purchase the property for 50% of any bona fide 3rd party offer.  After 5 years, SOA must match the offer 100%.  The property has a lot of encumbrances, but could easily take 10-12 new houses if zoned SF6 like the adjoining properties or hundred of units if rezoned MF – it is worth $1M+ as a development play.  The club-tent property is NOT part of the Somersett PUD, and Reno would gladly increase the density of a property already adequately provided with City services.  It will be interesting to see if SGCC makes any significant capital improvements, or takes a line of credit encumbering the property to cover operating loses.  I dib 26 February 2020 for the day the club fails.

–  Over at ArrowCreek, there seems to be an at least temporary cease-fire in place.  The golf course owners are trying to stay a private club with a membership drive.  The proposed sale to the ArrowCreek Homeowners Association is on hold.  I’m sure my friends over at ArrowCreek411 will chime in with their take on the current situation, but the opposition to the proposed sale to the HOA was overwhelming.  Somersett has water and no clubhouse.  ArrowCreek has a clubhouse needing a lot of work and no water.  Both Clubs are shouting the mantra “a green golf course adds to your property values”, when in fact it is the open space that adds value – not the golf course.  All in all, I think Somersett Golf and Country Club has a better chance of survival than ArrowCreek does.

Downtown Drive Thrus

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADo fast food drive thrus belong in Downtown/Midtown Reno?  They are prohibited as a new use in both the Downtown Reno Regional Center Plan and the South Virginia Transit Oriented District / Midtown Commercial Plans.  These Plans emphasize walkability,  pedestrian/ bicycle amenities, and support local Mom and Pop businesses.  All noble goals.

Blakebucks 2.19This is the line up this morning at the new Starbucks at the US Bank Building.  The queueing is over twice the code minimum 140′ based on this photo from Downtown Dude (and is there another world in the English language with 5 vowels in a row?).  Reno Community Development “Fredfathered” the pre-existing bank drive thrus for fast food use, and in this case, the runaway success of the drive thru is only impacting the building owner and his site circulation.  It might not be the case elsewhere, like the Wells Fargo at California and Arlington pictured above.

Here is the paradox.  The restrictions on drive thrus are meant to promote small local businesses – 20 carloads of latte fiends in line at Starbucks equals 40 people not patronizing the Hub, Dreamers, or Bibos.  But give the populous their choice, and they will line up for 20 minutes in Idle and catch up on their email while waiting.

Do the Downtown Plans need to be revised to meet the desires of the residents, or do they need to be stringently enforced to promote the intent of the long-term community planning goals?  I’m torn, and that’s why I’m posting this and asking for your thoughts.



BlueSketchSorry, no zippy graphics on this post.  I just wanted to let you know what I see going on.

–  The Highlands student apartment complex just sold for $40,931,513.  It last changed hand for $32,500,000 in November of 2004.  Nice hold while collecting rents!

–  Kings Inn demo is underway with a $150,000 permit.  The word on the street is that the project will be ultra-luxury and try to out Montage the Montage.

–  Montage units are on the market in record numbers.  There is a huge cash out going on.  They are actually selling north of $250 SF.

–  El Cortez construction was shut down because they forgot to apply for a window replacement permit.  “We have removed and replaced thousands of windows, and have never had to pull a permit to do so, and neither had our window supplier,” Crandall said.  Seigel might want to refer to the International Building Code which covers both Reno and Las Vegas.  Las Vegas might want to do some inspections on Siegel’s 1000’s of illegal window replacements.

–  NODs are trending WAY up.  Lots of 2009-2011 defaults showing up.  I think the first loan holders are now pretty well covered and are moving their “shadow inventory” to market in large quanties.

–  Wacko prices being paid on the Courthouse Steps for foreclosures right now.  There are a bunch of new players in the market, as well as the Caughlin Ranch dilettante housewives.

–  Stealing from the Estate – Check out 260 Wellington you data diggers.  Bought through Probate for $40,000 with a $65,000 hard money loan, and immediately listed for $109,900.  The system is truly broken if this one sells.

–  Basin Street is pushing dirt on the new Marriott Courtyard next to 300 E 2nd and across from the Aces field of dreams.

–  Pulte has pulled permits for their first houses in Sierra Canyon Village 13.

–  Watch for a significant infill development at the corner of Stewart and Sinclair, across from the UNR Drone Center and the Discovery Museum.  The first 2 permits are already in process, one approved.

I’m exhausted, and I haven’t even gotten to VAT or Project 8!  Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Do Marmots Hibernate?

Sleeping Marmot 3The cute ones in the wild don’t.  The Midtown variety do.

The Marmots of Midtown have been going through a really messy, convoluted, reverse buy back from their former financial partner.  It is over now, and they have regained control of their former assets they want to hold onto going forward.  Since June, the ownership and management of most of what you think of as “Marmot” has not been Marmot.  The new sheriffs are back in town, and they are kicking butt and taking names.

So what does this mean for Midtown/Wells?  Great things, all in all.  A lot of dirt moving, and a lot of great new product for the rental market.  3 new units and 2 expanded on Caliente.  4 new basement units (you won’t call them basements when you see the plans!) in the Holcomb/Moran Assemblage.  A signature structure flying over the existing studio at 227 Moran.

So welcome back, you Furry Little Critters.  I know it has been painful for you leaving your tenants hanging out there, and they will love having you back in control of the property management.


MURPMassively Underutilized Retail Properties.  Park Lane is getting all the hate right now, but it is not the only huge hole that needs fixing.

I’m calling out these MURPs right now because Reno is embarking on a much-needed  update to their Master Plan.  There has been so much focus on the South Virginia Corridor that the much more forlorn Kietzke Corridor is being forgotten.

MURPS-page-0I was also blown away by the extent of the mobile home parks in this golden triangle.

I’m hoping that our Planners will be let loose to actually plan – Reno’s staff is pretty talented, if overworked and understaffed at the moment.  The update will probably end up being another Balkanization into defensive Neighborhood Plans promoted special interests with a few major developer oriented give-aways thrown in, but a blogger can hope.  Here are a couple of key issues and directions I would like to see:

–  INTENSIVE emphasis on driving development back into the urban core.  Sewer Connection fees ($7000 per unit) and Transit Impact Fees should be waived here where the capacity already exists, as well as Park fees.  These fee waivers would be for the Transit Corridors, Regional Centers, and Redevelopment zones.  Existing fees within the McCarran Loop.  Triple fees in the outlying areas.

–  Increase taxes/fees on undeveloped land in the Urban Core to nudge redevelopment.

–  Standardize Regional and Neighborhood Plan standards when reasonable.  The current system is Reverse Polish (TI calculator reference) and impossible to decipher.  Reno Planning has been wrong 75% of the time on their plan check comments on my recent permit submissions because even they can’t decode the code.

–  Update and/or eliminate the Neighborhood Plans.  West University was pushed through by residents primarily concerned with parking.  Newlands and Plumas by anti residential to office conversions which is now deterring office to residential conversion, ironically.  Wells is an unwieldy mess that covers too many disparate uses, and lead to West of Wells and the Conservation District.

–  Recognize that Reno in 5 years will not resemble the Reno of today.  There is a place where Woodland Village can coexist with Midtown.  Where does the new workforce we are attracting want to live, and how can we make that happen?

So what do you think are the important issues that need to be addressed in the Master Plan?  What’s your vision of the New Reno?


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board used to be where you got to hear about upcoming projects downtown first.  They kinda went away when the RDA ran out of money to do anything, but they are still around.  There is a meeting Wednesday at 3 PM that should be of interest to downtown watchers – updates on the Kings Inn, West Street Plaza (Siegel), and Virginia Street Bridge are on the agenda.  If anyone could attend and post a report, it would be much appreciated!  The RAAB meetings are so infrequent it would literally be June before the minutes become public.

–  There is a massive cherry picker set up on Virginia Street in front of the Virginian Hotel – sidewalks are rerouted and traffic lanes are shifted.  It looks like signage work to restore the marquee, where the red has faded to a dusty rose.

–  Across the street, The Siegel Group looks like they are in contract to buy the Reno Arch Wedding Chapel building at 141/143 NVA, across from the Virginian and adjacent to the Nevadan which they are also in contract to purchase.  Interesting that you cannot reserve a room after 1 March on the Cal Neva website.

–  And as long as we being Siegel-centric tonight, he has been served with a $60K Preliminary Notice of Lien by his painter on the Nugget Courtyard project in Sparks.  Dude, this is what Retention clauses are about in contracts – you don’t stiff your local contractors and expect to have a good name in this town.  And the Siegel organization is getting a very bad reputation from EVERYONE they have dealt with, with from city agencies, advisory groups, contractors and tenants – the term “neckless goons” has been used to describe them.  I hope Siegel can work out his issues, learn to play by Reno Rules, and do some projects that contribute positively to both our residents and to his bottom line.


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