A No Man's Land, No More

by Mike Van Houten / Oct 8, 2018

When I checked out this neighborhood house-hunting in 2003, things weren't very pretty, but at the time, a particular home in this neighborhood was calling out to me and my partner, and having recently been to Bungalow Heaven in Pasadena, I knew this neighborhood had some potential. The market was so hot at the time, it was either this place or a new standard suburban one-of-two models in Turtle-Somethingrather (I forget the name), out in the valleys. This was during the time people were camping out at sales offices of new subdivisions not even built yet, in anticipation of new lots/homes being released the following morning. Not really opting for suburban life, and not being able to afford Old Southwest, we bought the small 900 s.f. home for a super cheap $137,000-ish in what is now the Wells Avenue Conservation District.


Shortly after moving here, I learned of a group of neighbors 60+ strong, pushing to create an overlay district which became known as the Wells Avenue Neighborhood Plan, and also work directly with police officers face-to-face to reduce crime in the neighborhood. I joined forces with them, and then-councilwoman Jessica Sverrazza supported and encouraged everything we did.

Also around 2006/2007, Haberae, a mostly-infll-development company, took the bold step of buying a lot on Center Street and building high-end townhomes, dubbed 8 On Center. 

If there was ever a catalyst project for Center Street, this was it. Soon after it was built, other projects on Center Street followed. Gui Drenby built a beautiful structure on Center Street that now houses several businesses. Then came SoDo 4, re-engineered engineer micro-homes, then Brasserie St. James, Discovery museum, then the murals, then 777 Center, and so on and so on. 

In my opinion, this area is now one of the most beautiful and architecturally diverse neighborhoods in central Reno, boasting dozens of beautiful murals and many different archiectural styles, from bungalows to Victorians to ultra-modern, all on the same street. This is my go-to street for walks. Walking down Sinclair from the Discovery Museum to where it merges with Holcomb, walking to the grassy park across from Brasserie, then back north up Center Street, is a great urban walk I urge you to try. Don't take my word for it, check out the photos I took below on a recent walk a few days ago.

Center Street

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