That our urban core should be our densest development zone is sort of a given.  I’m going to highlight 8 or so projects either finishing up, in construction, or on the boards.  DUA = Dwelling Units per Acre.  This measures how dense the unit count is, and roughly compares to Planning designations like MF30 – 30 units per acre, 1450 SF area minimum.  “Built Density” is a term I’m making up, but it is sort of like FAR – Floor Area Ratio – for commercial buildings.  BD measures how many inhabitable SF of living space is being provided as a percentage of gross lot area.  All figures are rough estimates based on currently available public documents.

Midtown Lofts is an easy place to kick this off, since the RGJ can’t seem to get the “What does a $600K Townhouse Look Like” drivel article off their site.  Midtown Lofts (new construction only) is 9 units totaling 14,710 SF of habitable space on a 16,600 SF parcel.  23.6 DUA, and .886 BD.

Tonopah Lofts will be 8 units shotgunned across the site based  on the Midtown Lofts 210/212 Stewart model, 2/2.5 units with a mezzanine (since 3 storey buildings are banned in Midtown Commercial zone).  13,560 SF of building on a 12,780 SF site.  27 DUA, and 1.06 BD.

Martin 3×3 are 6 SFRs currently framed up.  The market wants SFRs, even if our antiquated zoning code won’t permit them even if they meet the minimum area density requirements.  This project went through a $30,000+ SUP process to get SFR approved.  9096 SF of buildings on a 14,000 SF parcel.  18.6 DUA (18 DUA is the minimum  on Midtown Commercial) and a.65 BD.

The Haskell Project is a project that has been floating around for a couple of years now, and the site is currently being cleared for new 1/1.5 units and some new/renovated commercial space.  On the residential side, 19,118 SF of buildings on what will become a 25,558 SF site.  37 DUA and .90 BD.

Tiny 10 is in the punch list stage and landscaping is being installed.  10 new units totaling 6724 SF on a 19,486 SF parcel.  22.4 DUA (close to Midtown Lofts) with a .345 BD.

Wells 4 is an infill project in Wells CC zoning.  4 1/1 units as tight as they come, meant to be built and rented affordable.  2106 SF of habitable area on a 3541 SF lot.  49 DUA (CC has no density cap) and a .60 BD.

Out to the burbs for some context and contrast, Vintage at Sky Mountain is a 288 unit affordable apartment development of 264,468 SF project area on 449,726 SF of land.  28 DUA, but only a .59 BD (open parking kills you).

Nearby will be Summit 61, a market rate 2/2.5 townhouse development meant for sale.  61 totaling 113,884 SF on a 126,286 SF parcel.  21 DUA and a .90 BD.

If you are still awake, here is what I’m really trying to say:

  • MF15, MF30, MU and CC zoning don’t come near describing development potential and constraints.
  • Reno’s zoning classifications are accidentally favoring anti-family 1 bedroom units in the urban core.
  • Current Development Code is allowing and promoting denser development in suburban areas than in the Downtown Core.
  • Unit counts do not equal development density.  What the units are matter a great deal.
  • The 1/1 8-plex on a 7000 SF urban lot is the hottest deal in town, even as Reno seeks to eliminate them.

Any thoughts?