Walks Like a Duck…..

What is the difference between an Efficiency unit, a Boarding House unit, and a Single Room Occupancy unit (SRO)?  And why does it matter?  Parking!

An Efficiency Unit per Reno Code: Section – Dwelling Unit, Efficiency.

 A dwelling unit consisting of not more than one habitable room, together with kitchen or kitchenette and sanitary facilities.
A Boarding House unit defined:
Section – Boarding or Rooming House.A building or portion thereof (not a hotel or motel) where, for reasonable compensation, lodging is provided for more than five guests. Cooking facilities may or may not be available.
And SRO:
Section – Single Room Occupancy.A commercial residential hotel providing sleeping and living facilities that may rent on a weekly or monthly basis as a primary residence. Cooking and sanitary facilities shall be provided within the unit. Does not include any building, structure, or property in which persons are housed or detained under legal restraint or hospitalized or otherwise under medical, nursing, or psychiatric care.
You can do a long-term lease on an Efficiency unit, but only month to month for Boarding House or SRO uses.  Parking requirement for an Efficiency is 1.12:1 City wide and 1:1 in Midtown and Wells.  SRO is 1:2.2 or 1:4.4 if within 500 feet of a transit STOP (not just transit line).  SROs require a common entrance which is tough to comply with neighborhood plans that require street facing entries.  So Boarding House land use seems to be the killer app – there isn’t even a restriction that would prevent a full 1 bedroom unit being considered a BH.
Planning intent trumped by their own code and Business Licensing requirements?  I’m not weeping.
This post may sound petty and esoteric, but Planning and Land Use decisions are being made based on archaic land use and parking standards.  There are huge development opportunities right now if you where to look and know how to work within a dysfunctional code.   Think Wells CC!

What is a Bedroom?

Yes, I’m a bad boy, and this Administrative Decision was probably based on a project I have in the permit loop.  “Bedroom” is not a term defined in the International Residential Code (nor IRC Commercial for that matter), NRS or Reno Code.  So Planning came up with one.  They missed the IRC requirement that a  habitable room requires a  minimum 7′ dimension, the missed the Washoe Assessor’s definitions, and they missed generally accepted MLS standards.  But they have covertly established a new definition of “bedroom”.

The complaint that initiated this Administrative Ruling came from a disgruntled neighbor who’s own property is a Code Compliance complaint in the flesh.  Why Planning is taking his vacuous ravings seriously is beyond my ken, but it has cost  my client several thousand of $$$ to respond to.  And in the end, the unit count and parking is A-OK.  Who can we back-charge?

Planning’s ruling was meant to “clarify” an issue in Midtown/Wells, but has far reaching impacts.  Every “office” in every production builder’s portfolio now needs an additional parking space.

Local decisions have regional impacts.  And COR will be held accountable on this one.

Smooth Bourbon

The last remnant of the old Silver Club / Bourbon Square casino in Sparks just sold to Smooth Bourbon LLC.  That looks like it track to Marnell out of Vegas.  This piece never seemed to get any traction, and Marnell seems to be able to make things happen, so positive news.

The Great Western Market Place on the NW side finally closed last month.  Finally.  The property is rumored to have been sold, but nothing is showing up on the Reorder’s site yet.  The site is just short of 20 acres and is on multiple RTC bus routes.  CC zoning (65′ max) with no maximum density for multi-family.  A smart developer can get 1500+ units here, and I hope a smart developer is the buyer.

1/1.5 Midtown Apartment for $1500 (plus parking)

That’s the future of Midtown as I see it, and these are type the projects the owner/developers have me working on.  We are replacing/renovating the existing 7/-8 plexes the City hates with prettified and market rate units of the same density and building type.  The market is saying 1 bedroom units rule, so that’s what will will get built.

I’m sort of the heretic that doesn’t buy into the Myth of Midtown, but Dog knows my clients have.  So what will be built will be about double the rents the already struggling (they say) residents are paying.

Change for the better or worse?


Urban Infill Cheat Sheet

Why is Midtown and the rest of Downtown such a pit today after over a decade of redevelopment work?  Maybe it has something to do with what the potential developers have to work with courtesy of COR.  I’m not dissing the requirements, just telling you what they are.

  • Trash Enclosures – Buried in the Landscape and Screening section of the code. Trash Enclosures are required for BUILDINGS containing more than 4 units.  You can have as many tri-plexes as you want without triggering the 11×10′ trash enclosure.  Go figure.
  • Handicapped Parking – The requirement for HC parking gets triggered at 5 units total on a parcel.  Reno Planning should be picking this requirement up on the ir Plan Check Reviews, but they routinely miss this.
  • Sprinklers – A duplex doesn’t have to be sprinkled. but anything from a 3-plex an up does.  $5000 per unit on the average.
  • Codes – 2 units are IRC (International Residential Code, 3 and above are IBC (International Building Code).  A tough estimate is an additional $5000 per unit based on the code upgrades.
  • Code 2 – We have adopted the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code.  Conservation is good, but complying with the code is adding $5000 in cost per unit in compliance costs alone just to document, plus another $5000 per unit for the energy conservation upgrades.
  • Planning – Improving density is the goal, until you try to increase density, then the 1236 pages of our Development Code kicks in.  I have a benign duplex infill project pending that Planning has now reviewed 4 times because of a nasty neighbor, with new requirements each review.  It is costing my client thousands in fees to respond to issues Planning should be dismissing,

West of Somersett

First off, the 221,000 SF 1st phase of Demody Properties Frankenwarehouse project is nearing completion.  I’ll set the rumors straight – the tenant is Patagonia.  They appear to have rented the entire building, based on their permit for nearly a mile and a half of pallet racking over 8′ high.  The second build of 4 has been sitting idle for a couple months, but now work has resumed and is going backwards and forwards at he same time.  The WWM (welded wire mesh for you construction geeks) for the slab reinforcement has been removed from most of the site, and it appears construction is gearing back up without a slab.  This would indicate a more manufacturing use, where the underslab utilities will be added at a later date.

The real story is what else is planned W of Somersett (and a few projects within it).  I think you should be able to click the map above and make it huge.  West Meadows is already grading and has their final maps approved.  Meridian 120 S should start mass grading any day, and has started to submit their “Master” floor plans for permit.  Meridian 120 S hit the Planning Commission next month.  The Boomtown and Meridian 120 S multi family lots (up to 622 units) are both on the market.  It is rumored that the 676 Stan Lucas property is going to DR Horton and will be submitted in the near future for a Tentative Map.  To the W of the Stan Lucas parcel is the 350 acre Kronish holding – no word on their ultimate intentions, but they are already developing “estate lots” off of the Riverdale development.

So what was once known as Verdi is in for some changes, and in the near shovel ready future.  There are a few thousand acres in private ownership moving up Peavine that are assumed to be public, but are actually developable and Reno will gladly annex them in.  Lots of competition for seats on the deck at Sasquatch in a couple years, Steve Jobs!

I want to make a point about perceived “open space” and developable land.  Caughlin Ranch is surrounded on the western side with developable land, though the County/City will need to approve density.  Both have policies to allow increased density at locations where public utilities and services already exist.

I’d say that it sucks to see my ranchero surrounded by development, but in this case, I’d actually like to see more density.  It takes 6000 or so roof to support a grocery store, and West of Somersett S of the Truckee will never support that as planned.  At some point, a bridge connecting the Boomtown/Garson interchange will need to be built over the Truckee to Old Us 40 now know as W 3rd Street.  In my dreams!

Gold Dust West Buying the Sands

The press release announcing the agreement for Jacobs Entertainment, Inc. to purchase the Sands Casino snuck out on New Year’s Eve Eve, and didn’t draw much attention.  Now the Piazzo family has sold the GDW building to what sure looks like Jacob’s when you track down the signatures.

I’ve talked about all the acquisition activity in the 4th Street Corridor, and Jacobs now controls a huge swath of land.  I haven’t heard anything about what the project will become – unlike some other developers, they are keep quiet.

Large version HERE.

Portfolio Buy

TDC Reno Office 1-DE SPE LLC just purchased most of the AMH/TICO/Alex House portfolio of properties in the biggest transaction of the year.  A combined $22,360,000 for 6 buildings totaling (my best guess) 144,877 SF at $150/SF.  There are also 3 parking lot parcels thrown into the mix.

TDC is Tolles Development Company, Par Tolles, formerly the main man at Basin Street Properties and now on his own mission.  In an industry full of scum bags and loosers, I can tell you that Par Tolles is the real deal – someone who can be trusted absolutely and respected by the entire corporate real estate world around here.  I wish him success.

How did AMH do in the deal?  It is really impossible to tell.  They bought in the last swell, but also invested heavily in improving their properties.  I don’t think they lost.

So here they are:

100 Washington.

140 Washington.

275 Hill.

241 Ridge.

201 W Liberty.

301 Cordone.