How do we get some?  Monthly rents at the scuzziest weekly motels are now $800+, Midtown 1 bedroom apartments are $1500, and suburban 2 bedroom apartments are $1600+.  The pipeline is full of high amenity luxury apartments, but virtually bereft of low amenity workforce housing.

The easy answer is that we need to make affordable housing more profitable to build  than luxury apartments. Harder is getting there.

  • Reno does have some programs increasing density and lowering parking requirements on certified projects at 50% AFI and below.  This threshold needs to be raised (80%?) to attract developers into this arena.
  • Sewer Connection fees and Transit Impact fees need to be drastically reduced within the targeted infill zone, inside the McCarran loop.
  • We need committed individuals willing to work in this arena.  I’ve been lucky enough to be working with a client who has added 48 workforce units to the Sparks market in the last 2 years.  Notice this was in Sparks, not Reno, where the Planning Code is more progressive.
  • We need massive public infrastructure improvements in our targeted redevelopment zones.  I have an inner city project being down-sized 50% because TMWA’s water system can’t support additional fire hydrants, and I’ve never met an infill project where NVE didn’t need a new transformer due to undersized existing capacity.

No solutions, but I wanted to get the discussion started.  What do we do to make housing affordable?