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.

Harrah’s Dead Pool

harrahsrenoThe parent company of Harrah’s is scheduled to go into a “controlled” bankruptcy tomorrow.  Want to join the deal pool on what this will mean for there Reno area projects?  I predict that either Harrah’s or Harvey’s at South Lake will be closed or sold immediately.  I predict that Harrah’s in downtown Reno will immediately close or sell all of their properties east of Center Street.  As a side note, EDAWN is scheduled to announce a MAJOR economic development project tomorrow.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Look for UNV to be added to the cast of characters on this one.

–  Reno Land Sales – Reno has published a public notice of their intent to sell to the highest bidder some ReTrak properties east of Keystone.  Reno is incredibly FUd knowing what they even own, and only seems to sell when someone has an offer on the table.  Minimum bid is the assessed value:

– 10-031-08  $96,872 (hard to justify)

–  10-610-01  $16,927

–  10-610-02  $95,558

–  10-610-05  $189,538

So I wonder who is interested in purchasing these Magic Fingers parcels along the downward slope of the train trench?  I think these parcels were originally optionable by SK Baseball, for what ever reason.  Sale of these would go to pay down the ReTrak bond debt, and no benefit the general fund if I understand things correctly.  And take a look at the NE corner of the map in blue.  This is the shuttered Winner’s Corner at 4th and Keystone.  In a quirk of geography, the city owns the parcel with the canopy over the fueling stations, and a private owner holds the mini mart.  In a David Cronenberg Eraser Head moment, Old Mayor Bob and Councilperson Brekhus BLOCKED the lease of this triangle that would have allowed this current hobocamp to reopen.

Reno Land Sale-page-0

– 100 Arlington – This is a weird 60’s mixed use project.  The 2nd Floor commercial condo unit is 10,500 SF and just sold for $620K.  Could “Start Up Row” actually be catching?  PLEASE, partner with the 3rd Floor owner and re-skin this beast.  I got out of my HexaGonagle phase decades ago!


Neon Marmot – Did  they go too far.  Lots of interesting comments from the Bungalow Huggers.


Three Prong Load

3 ProngA good friend and now client taught me a new phrase last week – the 3 Prong Load.  It is code for a tenant with lots of sophisticated electronics that can’t function with the old, ungrounded 2 prong outlets in an old house so the systems need to be upgraded.  I like it!

This post is going to be a brain dump of items I’ve got floating around that I want to clear by the New Year.  Maybe you’ll find something entertaining!

–  Lennar Somersett – Lennar’s projects now have names, but not web sites, pricing or plans.  The 100 unit project between the Vue and Sierra Canyon is called Plateau.  There are 2 model homes nearing completion and at least 11 inventory homes under construction that I’ve counted.  February availability.  The other Lennar project is the more upscale Wintercreek project, with March availability though I haven;t seen any hard construction there yet.

–  Somersett Country Club Sale – The lawsuit seeking an emergency injunction to halt the voting on the sale of SGCC to SOA was rejected by the Judge on the grounds that the harm would not be irreparable, and the plaintiffs still have legal options.  He interestingly noted that the plaintiffs will  most likely succeed in their suits against Somersett Owners Association.  Why SOA doesn’t just stop the contested vote and start anew is beyond me.

–  Somersett Commercial – All the commercial lots are once again spoken for.  The lot adjacent to the Club is slated for apartments/condos.  The site adjacent to the Town Center was purchased by SOA for $260,000 for “future amenities”.  And the site next to the Goddard School sold last week to Northwest Smiles LLC aka Reno Orthodontics Group for $135,000.  I’ll miss that lot a lot!  NoPIMP (No Pee In My Pool) was a sketch for an adults only swimming facility.  Goddard 11 or 12 was a set of moderately priced apartment/condos that took advantage of the killer view and idea solar orientation.

Goddard 12 11.1.2014



–  Midtown Housing – For all the commercial and retail development Midtown has seen in the last couple years, the housing element has lagged behind.  That will change in 2015, with more than 50 new units that I know of slated for construction.  The usual suspects of Haberae and The Marmots will be joined by some surprising newcomers.

–  The Saint –  Building permit have been pulled by the Brasserie Saint James folks to convert 761 SVA into the Saint nightclub.



–  CVS – The CVS at 7th and Keystone is about to be demolished and replaced by a new state of the art CVS plus a drive thru pad.  That CVS had an amazingly good garden department in the spring, and it will be missed.  I feel sort of sad that a better, denser use couldn’t be found for a site this close to UNR.

– Verdi – Hot on the tail of the approval of the nasty West Meadow Estates project, the developer has now purchase the 12 Acre River Bend Mobile Home Park.  The 30′ public access easement along the Truckee will at least save the swimming hole used by the locals for generations, but expect this to be another contentious project.

–  Hotel Swap – The Siegel Group already owns the Nevadan Hotel which is connected (and formerly leased by) the Cal Neva.  Siegel is apparently in contract to purchase the Virginian Hotel across the street from the Cal Neva.  Rumor on the street is that this will be a swap, with Siegel ending up with the Virginian and the Cal Neva getting the Nevadan back.

–  Logicenter – New permits just pulled for an additional 625,000 Sf of logistics buildings at 8020 and 8040 North Virginia.

I feel so much lighter now!  Check back for updates – there are probably more items for me to purge.

Exit 1, Kings, GWM, Student Housing

Exit 1 Elev-page-0-  I need to get over the hill more often (or at least to Gold Ranch to buy lottery tickets).  What I was tracking at the abandoned truck stop at Exit 1 on I-80 as a mini storage and RV storage facility (NOT a great “Western Gateway statement) has in fact morphed into the Verdi born and bred Snow Park Technologies.  This is one of the best building renovations in all of the Truckee Meadows and a GREAT Western Gateway statement!  Kudos to ECJ (Eric Johnson) Architects for a job well done.  You can see the plans for the renovation/expansion HERE.  There is more space on site to develop based on the LISTING, though the broker thinks that 100,000 SF may be pushing it.  Give Paddy Egan a holler if you or your company is interested in Western Gateway space.

–  KingsLightsDon’t get too giddy about the lights on and construction happening at the Kings Inn just yet.  It turns out the new owner/contractor was performing asbestos abatement without a permit, and the City had to shut them down.  Not an auspicious beginning for a project Reno has pledged ALL of its 2015 Affordable Housing funds towards.  Photo courtesy of Downtown Makeover, though I really just stole it.

–  So have you been to the Great Western Market Place yet?  I went opening weekend where maybe 15% of the stalls were leased and open, and the rest were painted with enough beige paint to cause a shortage at Home Depot.  According to plans working their way through Planning, the market mix may be changing with RV sales replacing the Events space, and a U-Haul rental facility in the parking lot.  I’m trying to give the concept a fair shake, but this one is doomed.

– More student oriented off campus housing coming to the NE corner of campus.  Building permits to clear a 12 acre site for “future student housing” were pulled last week.  The site is located between the existing Highlands and Sterling Sierra (what’s with all the water damage repair permits there?) and could accommodate up to 1000 bedrooms depending on the construction density.  I wouldn’t care a whit, but this is more development occurring on the wrong end of campus to support the highly publicized southern expansion into downtown.

Student H-page-0


courtyardbymarriottYou may have figured out that I am more than a bit of a cynic when it comes to development.  In fact, my user name on the old blog was “jaded”.  Once in a while, I’m proved wrong.

The long delayed Courtyard By Marriott hotel located on the Truckee across from Aces Ballpark is moving forward – the $250,000 site development permit has been issued and the $9M permit for the 135 Room 4 Story main building is awaiting pick-up.  This is a tough site, with just about every local and regional agency reviewing the project, and in the Riverfront Promenade district of the Downtown Regional Center.

No word yet on Herb Simon’s plan for the old Waterfront Tower site up the block at 2nd and Center.  3.35 Acres, also on the Truckee.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 204 other followers