The Agency Board directed staff to provide an update on RDA 1 Priority Projects at the meeting of 6/10/09, and is due back today with a report on priority projects for both RDA1 and RDA2.
Let's first look at RDA1 and RDA2 on a map, so those of you who aren't quite familiar with where the redevelopment districts lie can take a look.
AAA Baseball Stadium: This project is substantially complete and therefore can be taken off the priority project list. Staff is working to complete various follow-up issues related to the stadium at this time.
Freight House Entertainment District: This project should remain as a priority project for the Agency.
Downtown Parking: Staff is working to complete the demolition of the Gospel Mission site in conjunction with the adjacent land owners. Until the overall economy improves it is unlikely that they will be in a position to complete this project. Staff is recommending this project be removed from the priority projects list.
Façade Program: This project is currently unfunded. Staff is suggesting that one building in the demonstration block be completed with CDBG funds as a pilot project. Staff is recommending this project be removed from the priority project list.
10 North Virginia Street: The proposed developer of the site remains interested in completing the project once the economy improves. At this time the project is on hold due to financing constraints in the current economy. Staff recommends that this project be removed from the priority project list.
Post Office: The purchase of the Post Office is on the RDA agenda for 6/24/09. Following approval of the purchase agreement, the closing date is expected to occur by 9/30/09. This project should remain on the priority project list.
ReTRAC Cover Enhancements: The RFP for developers has been issued for the project. Responses are expected this fall/winter. The Agency Board will be provided an update after the first of the year. This project should remain on the priority project list.
West Street Market: The market is substantially complete and is approaching full occupancy. Summer programming has begun with the Farmers Market and other entertainment activities. This project should be removed from the priority projects list.
The Redevelopment Agency Board also wants to select priority projects for RDA2. There is no official list for the redevelopment agency to focus on.
On the May 19, 2009 and June 2, 2009 RAAB meeting priority projects for RDA2 were discussed at length as I reported before. It was determined that the RAAB would request that the 1)Tessera project, 2) ReTRAC Land Exchange; 3) University of Nevada, Reno Gateway; and 4) East Fourth Street Corridor be RDA2 priority projects. I interjected my thoughts into this meeting as well, and felt VERY strongly any projects either bordering the university of somehow connecting the university to downtown should be a priority because it makes UNR more appealing to prospective students. According to my poll, and just talking with UNR students, the surrounding neighborhood and activities play a significant part of a student's choice in university.
So let's take a look at the RDA2 Priority Project possibilities:
ReTRAC Land Exchange: Golden Eagle Industries has been amassing property in the area in the general vicinity east of Center Street, west of Evans Avenue, south of Interstate 80, and north of 6th Street in the late 1980’s They now hold two and a half blocks of property. This area has been identified as a possible priority project for Redevelopment Area 2 due to its proximity between the Downtown area and the University of Nevada, Reno. It has true potential to link these two regional centers and create a linkage between the University and downtown, anchoring that corner of redevelopment.
Tessera: NNUDC/UDM have invested more than $26,000,000 in connection with land assemblage, development costs and feasibility studies to initiate a redevelopment project on property generally located in the northeast portion of downtown Reno, between the Reno Events Center/Ballroom, the University of Nevada, North Virginia Street and Evans Avenue. NNUDC/UDM has engaged world-renowned companies to assist in the identification of a project that would result in the highest and best use of the project area. Currently, they have acquired more than six acres of real property in downtown for their mixed use project. This project is anchored by destination retail at a regionally unique location and is suitable, viable and would be a catalyst for economic development and tourism improvement for the region.
UNR Agreement: This project extends north along Virginia Street from Interstate 80 and seeks to create an inviting entrance into the City and University area. The project involves improvements to North Virginia Street with the addition of street trees, lighting, street furniture and architectural features.
East Fourth Street Corridor: This effort would bring the neighborhood together to form an association of invested citizen to address problems that the area is having. From these neighborhood meetings an action plan could be developed much like the work that has been done on Wells Avenue, including new infrastructure and beautification efforts.
Linden Grove: This project has the potential participation that would bring groups together to provide an array of human support services to the Linden/Grove community. The overall concept is to establish a facility that would support the Linden/Grove Community by providing human support services such as job training/education, youth delinquency resolution, and family support services.
South Virginia Streetscapes: This project extends along Virginia Street from Liberty Street to Kietkze Lane representing approximately 6 miles of sidewalk to be improved. The project seeks to create a unique pedestrian-oriented environment to support the South Virginia Street economy, improve the scale and lighting to create a memorable “public living room” and encourage increased business activity. This project involves the creation and implementation of design standards including improvements to streets and sidewalks and placement of street furniture, lights and trees.
Strategic Plan: This plan is expected to be an extensive and forthright assessment of the potential and liabilities of development in RDA2. This plan will include a written implementation strategy, a phasing plan with associated costs, a matrix outlining the plan implementation components and elements to measure the success of the area. The Agency, private sector interests and others will utilize this plan in marketing properties and attracting investment in the RDA2 and adjacent neighborhoods. The plan is also expected to split RDA2 into sub areas based on the specific needs.
South Virginia Street Commercial: This project extends south along Virginia Street and seeks to create a thriving business district south of downtown. This project will assist in the business development through the possible assistance of small business loans, grants, façade improvement assistance, or other necessary economic development mechanisms.
RDA-2 Expansion: This project would examine other areas that could be included in RDA to alleviate blight problems.
So there you have it. Which projects do YOU think should be a priority for RDA2? Stay tuned to read how the Redevelopment Board tackles this agenda item.