News 7-27-07 South Meadows Project

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Posted by: Justin - 7/27/2007 2:40:14 PM
I just received a notice about this the other day in the mail (I live at Tanamera). Let me say, I do agree that ANY building this tall should be downtown. I don't see this project going forward as proposed, but I would like to see it happen in some shape or form. As currently proposed it's too tall for the area.....the tallest building in South Meadows is less than 100' tall and around 5 stories. With that said, if the project is well designed and affordable, I would definitely buy a unit. Why? As much as I love visiting urban centers, including downtown Reno, I prefer the peace and quiet of the 'burbs. I also appreciate the ample parking and close proximity to both downtown, my work, the airport, Lake Tahoe, etc. I could just envision the view from a unit on the 10th floor or above.

Posted by: doofus - 7/27/2007 7:53:54 PM
Huston, copy? The macro-economics of building a highrise downtown or in the South Meadows are petty much the same. Land cost is probably a little lower, but construction costs at are about the same. Why would it make more sense here? Based on the unit count and the SFs quoated, it looks like 3 or 4 40 storey buildings are in the proposal (sorry, Reno Planning site is down, so just a guess). This could be huge. Anyone have more information?

Posted by: doofus - 7/29/2007 7:47:57 PM
Ok, I read the entire staff report. Reno is going to slam dunk this one. It actually looks like a really good project from my viewpoint. High density housing near high density employment, with really good infrastructure. Different than what Reno is used to? Sure bet. Same day Winnemucca Ranch filed for their development guidelines to basically build Fernley 30 miles north of town. Which is the smarter growth plan? Housing near the dude ranch, or housing near IGT? This one should go nuclear at the Planning Comission hearing. If you can't afford a ticket to a movie, this should entertain you!

Posted by: Mike Van H - 7/29/2007 11:51:53 PM
Doofus they are two different apples. The City has a Master Plan. Which doesn't include that dense of residential in that light-residential of a community. Have you looked at the Reno Real Estate market lately? Only 9% of available inventory is selling, I would sure love to know how they will fill 1726 condos when most projects in town can barely fill half. The project does not fit the neighborhood....there's LOTS of available housing around IGT, most of it sitting empty for sale or with $30,000-off incentives to try to unload standing inventory and undercut resalers. In fact I counted no less than 7 new subdivision projects in that area, most of which have standing inventory developers are desperately trying to sell. Considering condos appeal to even less of a market than single family homes, I just dont see this project being right ANYWHERE in Reno right now. Besides they will probably build ONE loft tower before they realize there isn't the market to sell an additional 4 30 story towers. I see the retail portion of their site being successful, but the office and condos especially, not so much.

Posted by: indamernrno - 7/30/2007 10:36:49 AM
Ok, I really want to write a short novel on my visions of the Truckee meadows, but I fear Reno and Washoe county have reached the point of no return. Besides, who would really care? For too long we had (past tense) a city council who knew nothing about good urban planning and asset protection. For too long there has(not past tense) been way too many C.A.V.E people who want Reno to be more like Elko. Who, without really knowing anything, spout off with, "that will never work in reno" "no way will this come in under at at budget"or "the market is dead" or "not in my backyard" Now I feel we have a city council that understands, but it might be too late. After all, How many 15 acre, 30 acre, 70 acre office parks are already approved 15 miles from downtown requiring streets, and arterial roads, dumping traffic on inadequate highways. Oh,but it doesnt stop there, these office complexes require a 7,000 unit housing development built another 15 miles away, which by the way, requires sewer lines, water lines, streets, feeder roads, arterial roads dumping traffic on that same inadequate highway. The city/state doesnt even have the money needed to repair existing/aging sewer and water lines. Billion $$ shortfall to build roads? And now someone comes along to propose building the same number of offices and residential units requiring 5 acres instead of 100 and everybody gets upset. This should have been done 10 years ago. Now close your eyes, open you mind, block out that white concrete block building Reno is so fond of building. Imagine a tall glass and steel building, clean, with smooth lines, sleek, a buiding design by an actual architect (how cool would that be?) You wont see glass and steel, this is Reno Nevada, where the sun shines 360 day a year. you will see the reflection of snow capped Mt Rose and Slide Mt. Not so bad is it? and guess what, they didnt put in 50 miles of asphalt which would become taxpayer responsiblity to repair. Dont be against something just to be against it. In a perfect city(at least my perfect city) 20 story office buildings go downtown, just a few block away from the 40 story Wingfield residential towers. and a nice light rail system moves those who dont want to walk in between. And for those who want to live in a house out of the city, the rail system moves them quickly and quietly ending at parking lots at Longley and s. virgina, robb drive and I-80, Parr blvd and 395 unfortunatley Reno is what it is and a 20 story Office residential complex in S meadows may not be the best solution, but it certaily beats speading in out. I end with this. Fear not C.A.V.E. When was the last thing of this magnitude you saw proposed get built? Retrac (very nice work by the way, seriously, I laugh at all the cave and recall people.) But, Hows the wingfiled towers comming along? Waterfront? Arterria? GSR finished nikki beach, yeah. Mt Rose station? Stations at the convention center? Wasnt there supposed to be a casion with elevators that looked like balloons? Silver Legacy was supposed to be the glass and steel rounded achitectual delight. Didn't a group with the financing in place want to build a high rollers casino on the mapes site. Reno felt it would be wrong because you wouldnt be able to go in wearing jeans and a cowboy hat I wouldnt worry about seeing skycranes just yet

Posted by: RenoSteve - 7/30/2007 12:53:22 PM
My question is WHO??? are the applicants for this massive (Billion dollar plus???) Condo project? The Staff Report lists the applicants as Tami Topol/Mark Kubinski. When I google various combinations of the names, the only seemingly accurate hit I get is this little timeshare deal in Homewood... HARBORSIDE AT HOMEWOOD (EIAQ-3755) Proposal to add three additional tourist accommodation units to be sold and used on an interval ownership basis. A total of 11 timeshare intervals will be created. Project location: East side of Highway 89 (West Lake Blvd.) and south of Silver Street, Homewood. Applicant/Owner: Charles R. Kelley, Mark Kubinski/Nathan Topol I would expect to see a big-time development company involved what is supposed to be a "15-year buildout project" with 9 separate buildings, multiple levels of parking, etc. Is someone just trying to get the project approved in order to "shop" it to a prospective developer? Who knows, but if anyone has any info on Kubinski and Topol it might be enlightening. My own two bits worth is this is too much density for South Meadows. There is plenty of room there for more traditional apartment and condo developments that can fit into the existing 55 foot height limitation.

Posted by: Steph - 7/30/2007 1:03:24 PM
indamernrno, you should probably look at the staff report links before you write your short novel. This project is out of scale for my neighborhood. I did not spend $475,000 on a new home in a neighborhood I thought would remain quiet, just to have these towers built next to me. This is not a dense residential neighborhood. I dont want 10,000 additional cars a day fighting for turn lanes. I don't want it. If downtown Reno's infrastructure is antiquated, then that needs to be addressed to lure developers downtown. Show me a town with 210,000 people that has 30-story high rises on the edge of town.

Posted by: RenoSteve - 7/30/2007 1:05:52 PM
Maybe this Topol is involved (from the Reno Sparks Chamber of Commerce) Lakeridge Apartments 6155 Plumas St. Reno NV 89509 (775)825-0500 Nathan Topol, Owner

Posted by: RenoSteve - 7/30/2007 1:13:59 PM
Found this on Tami Topol from a 2003 attempt to rezone a 3 acre parcel in Douglas County... DA 03-068 Master Plan Map and Text Amendment and Zoning Map Amendment Applicant: Tami Topol, Topol Development Company Owner: John & Wendy Schopf... Looks more and more to me like this proposal could be the brainchild of local operators who perhaps hope to "package" a big approval and resell it to a big time developer for a profit. Also, the land in question is still showing ownership by the Double Diamond developer.

Posted by: RenoSteve - 7/30/2007 1:37:46 PM
OOPSSSSSSSSSSS - Upon further study, NATE TOPOL owns Lakeridge Golf Course and other real estate around the area. He may be fully capable of doing this proposed development without going to other developers.

Posted by: indamernrno - 7/30/2007 3:40:42 PM
I hear ya on the traffic concerns. That would be my biggest concern for that project. I think 30 stories conjures up images of monstrous view blocking/shadow creating buildings when that is not really the case. Maybe for the apt complex right next door(are those rented apts?) I am looking at the area in my mind right now and I see mostly shopping centers, constructed hotel, many many office buldings and the apts in the imediate area, I'll look again on my way home ( I live in the area) but I dont recall housing developments right next door. I could be wrong. I read the report and to me (with the exception of the traffic) looks to me like a good project. Good location if you think, the tech center just down the road, all the office complexes in that area. not far from longley ln/ neil road complexes. I think this is what Reno needs more of. City and county planners allowed these huge areas that are filling up with office buildings, and high density residential is needed, and personally I would much rather see this type of develpment than block after block after block of 2 story woodchase and Mountain Shadow apts(excuse me condos). Same traffic, much much bigger footprint.

Posted by: RenoSteve - 7/30/2007 3:41:24 PM
Another OOPS. An entity called MT3 partners owns all the parcels involved in the high rise proposal. Its mailing address is 6155 Plumas St which IS THE SAME as the mailing address for Nate Topol's Apartment Business (cited in an earlier post on this subject). Looks like they own the property and may well have the ability to do this rather huge project.

Posted by: RenoSteve - 7/30/2007 5:31:46 PM
Error Correction. An entity named MT3 Partners at 6155 Plumas St (same address as Mr Topol's apartment complex mentioned earlier) owns all the parcels involved in the South Meadows high rise condo proposal. I earlier indicated that the Double Diamond folks owned them - but I was wrong. Looks like a real property owner proposing a very possibly real project.

Posted by: Mike Van H - 7/30/2007 5:50:56 PM
Sure I see how it is, it takes a NON downtown project for all the commenters to come out of the woodworks LOL. I understand everyone's arguments for and against this. I think Reno is not large enough to start creating additional urban hubs, and still NO commenters seem concerned about the current real estate market. The thing is we're not creating enough 'tech' jobs as you say to fill up those condos. While you may like condos over miles and miles of suburbs (trust me, I do too) most people, especially families, don't like condos. It's a harder lifestyle for some people to accept. Even affordable new condo projects in this city have suffered. Which is a shame, because I like the European style city where nearly the entire city is dense residential...nice small footprint. My main point is I don't think this market could support that many condo units even over a 15 year period.

Posted by: Doofus - 7/30/2007 6:23:21 PM
Mike, it is getting confusing. Most recent posts show up differently all over the site. The master plan of this project makes so much sense to me. It is on the residential fringe, near major employers, on major transportation. And let's admit it , downtown Reno has become about 5 miles south of downtown (not that I like it). Developer time is not the same as "I need to unload my speculitive flip South Meadows stucco mansion". This is proposed as a 10 year build out, with lots of out opportunities. Think of Reno in 10 years. You will get your Wingfield downtown, and an animated environment there. 3000 units west in Verdi with the Mortenson deal. I can't remenber the number at Copper Canyon in East Sparks, but it is in the the thousands. 10,000 unit in Reno Tahoe Industrial. Master Plans change. Look at the S. Virginia and W. 4th Street Transit corridor plans, and even the McQueen plan. You adapt to what there is to adapt to (I think that's Kurt Vonnegut in "Breakfast of Champions", one ot the top 10 books ever written, but it could be from another story). I hope the Planning comission realises that they, on our behalf, need to move ahead with what RNO is going to become.

Posted by: Mike Van H - 7/30/2007 8:51:28 PM
Hey Doof, what do you mean it is getting confusing and comments are different all over my site? If there's a technical issue I definitely want to fix it. Reagrding this project.....I guess I'm ok with it being so far away from downtown but I still have doubts about its validity in this market. Are you sure developers won't just build a ring of dense residential around the McCarran Loop and unintentionally let downtown die a slow death, like Los Angeles circa 1980's and early 90's? That's EXACTLY what happened to downtown L.A., and just in the last ten years has it seen a resurgence in development and residents moving back downtown, including actors like Johnny Depp and Heather Locklear buying pads in downtown L.A. Anyways, it would be nice if we don't have to go through that letting-downtown-die-phase if we can avoid it. I understand not ALL development will be downtown, and I agree with the people who say this project is better than sprawling out with 5 more subdivisions. But I still question the timing of this project and its location. Please don't think I'm against it just because its not downtown, because I am for these condo towers http://residences.grandsierraresort.com/main.swf (if they get built) and the location, on the river makes more sense. I don't think there's room for both these AND Boulevard South, so we'll see who actually moves forward.

Posted by: ModGirl - 7/31/2007 9:23:16 AM
ok, I will throw in my opinion as well.... A Condo Tower in the middle of a sea of homes.... hmmmm..... What an interesting "cityscape". I understand the whole concept of wanting to provide an affordable residence to DINKS (dual income no kids).... but are there enough of them? and if so, why would they want to live that close to suburbia? In my opinion the south meadows area isn't a very desirable place to want to live if looking to live in a high rise (views would be rooftops, highways and strip malls). The majority of this demographic, who would be interested in living in a high rise, would want to live in the downtown sector, a place where there is action, events, wine walks, music, art, theater, unique restaurants, retail, farmers markets, ect..... I honestly don't think this project will break ground anytime soon (or at all). And yes, if I were living down there I wouldn't want to see this thing popping up in my neighborhood. I can see why some residents would be upset. I would be interested in seeing what research they did to come up with this rediculous concept... its almost as bad as the Summit Sierra Mall (AKA "Lifestyle mall") (AKA huge parking lot with some retail)...... hmmmm...... frustration level rising...... GRRRRR!!!!

Posted by: indamernrno - 7/31/2007 10:07:01 AM
Mike, you touch on something very important in your post and that being which of these projects can move forward first. Wingfield, Waterfront, GSR, or South Meadows. Same could be said for casinos. The peppermill didnt move very fast on their expansion untill Stations came in and proposed a couple new casinos. Then boom! up goes the new tower. In South Reno there may be a race between Stations and the Atlantis to get something built. I think the same can be said for hi-rise condos and maybe the Paladio and Montage beat everyone to the punch. I think once those fill up and we start seeing more "mass" downtown the wingfield or waterfront may go up. I think the ball park is a great step, and I think the city council has to blow up a few of the flea bad drug motels even if it means having an empty lot for 5 or 10 years. I know there are good people who are stuggling live in some of those flea bags, so maybe the city can help developers create a (for lack of a better word) projects type of hi-rise, lower income, just east of downtown maybe, high density 10 stories or so. The downtown core should not be north las vegas!! I could possibly see a so meadows tower and a downtown/gsr tower co-exist. To me so meadows would house south Reno workers and a downtown or GSR project would be more gear towards older retired or second home people or maybe young affluent downtown workers. I dont know the demographics of downtown Reno so its hard for me to say whether there is enough younger affluent people to support a new hi-rise. and it seems to me that Reno, by approving these sprawled out office complexes, are not promoting new offices downtown. Doofus also had a good point that the crappy real estate market will turn around. Making quick money on real estate isnt going to happen again for quite a while but the market will go back up and you'll see most properties increasing at a normal 4 or 5 percent once prices come out of the bubble. I think people still believe that the equity they had in there homes 2 1/2 years ago was real money and combine that with skyrocketing inflation and you have a real problem. I am no expert but if I was a developer with the means to do these projects I probably buy the land now, while it low, and compare construction cost against market condo prices now and in 5 -10 years, keeping in mind competitors who might try to beat me to the market place. Tricky dealings as most investors are probably like me and not going to sign away huge chunks of cash on artist renderings. I would love a pad in the propsed GSR or Wingfield towers but I got a life and I cant tie up $$ waiting. Bottom lines here is that hi-rise condos are a risk, as is a 150 unit housing development. Sooner or later a developer has to just do it or get out. I think a "build it and they will come" will work in Reno to an extent and if done right. Again the ball park, if done right its going to make money, Reno's a great place to live, I dont want to be las vegas, but vegas takes risks and most of the time it pays off big. Reno can't build the spectacle vegas can, but reno can offer a terrific quality of life, I strongly believe a wingfield, waterfront, GSR project could make reno even more desirable.

Posted by: battlmnkey - 7/31/2007 6:02:26 PM
indamernrno , Nice comments, and I think I agree with you on everything. I think this project sounds fine, but then again it's hard for me to sympathize with the south meadows lifestyle anymore, and I owned a home and lived there and worked there for years. Now I live downtown in a high rise. BUT, I just don't think it'll get built in either case... 'Cuase of the real estate market and all. At least they've got a great grocery store there ha!

Posted by: Matt O - 8/2/2007 8:16:59 AM
I approve of this project and let me tell you why. Reno needs it badly, if you ever read traveler reviews on trip advisor. Toursits HATE the Reno area, calling it smallish and dirty and they dont want to return, a project like this could really clean the city up, and boost the economy alot. Toursim would improve, and would make Reno look more like a city. From Downtown to the south end. Very classy. Okay, 1 thing thats crazy is over 1700 condos, those many wont sell, I approve the project if they think more reasonable, maybe 1 or 2 towers but not 4, in todays market, 1700 condos wouldnt sell. So I say, approve the project, for Reno's sake!!

Posted by: Matthew A - 8/2/2007 7:35:41 PM
I watched the planning commission meeting live over the internet (www.sncat.org) and they were really on the fence on this project. This project almost got approved, but they decided to send it back to the developer to maybe make some updates to the plan, do some additional studies, and to have some meetings with the local residents and see if they can smooth over some hard feelings about the project. It almost passed though. I read the entire staff report (117 pages) and I agree with the staff findings that the project should be approved as currently proposed. It is an awesome example of smart growth and use of existing infrastructure. If you are a resident and you are upset about this project, I urge you to read the staff report before coming to a negative conclusion. If you still have questions, contact the developer and they would be happy to talk with you about the impact of the project. The city's expert that did the extensive traffic analysis was there and presented his findings that the increased traffic would not significantly impact the area – even after the project is completely finished. So, the developer will come back to the planning commission again in a few months and try again. I hope they don’t compromise on the proposed plan though. It really is a step in the right direction. While some believe that the towers would ruin the view in the area, I commute past that location every day and am fairly tired of seeing just the sea of single family residential and mundane office buildings. This project would add a great, attractive visual interest to the area. One of the things the developer did was show a wide panoramic photograph of the city of Reno (taken from somewhere up by Arrowcreek I think) and it showed downtown to the left end and a continuous shot all the way down to about the south end of the south meadows area. The photo had a scale version of the towers photoshopped onto it as well. It really fit in nicely past downtown, the peppermill, the nugget, the grand sierra resort, and the atlantis. In my opinion it made the south meadow area tie in better with the rest of the city skyline. He also noted that the stations casino project is projected to build high-rises even further south. Anyways, that is my opinion. Thanks. Oh, and Mike, I tried looking up that grand sierra residences website (http://residences.grandsierraresort.com/main.swf) several times and it does not seem to be available either at home or at my office computer. Is the site not yet functioning for some reason?

Posted by: Mike Van H - 8/2/2007 8:25:57 PM
Hey Matthew thats really strange I just tried again and it worked? Perhaps try installing the latest version of flash since its a pure flash site. I like the South Boulevard project, but everyone is still forgetting the real estate market right now. Only 9% of inventory is selling, to put it another way, 92 out of every 100 homes on the market is not selling. There are YEARS of excess inventory out there. 1 in 40 homes in Nevada is being forclosed on. Nearly every subdivision project has standing inventory in which they have to undercut resellers just to sell properties off. Other condo projects (not just downtown) can barely fill their units up, I just dont see enough folks out there to fill this project up. So, my prediction is they will build one or two of the smaller towers, realize the buyers arent out there that they thought, and their master plan will turn into more like a 20 year plan than a 10 year plan.

Posted by: indamernreno - 8/3/2007 10:01:07 AM
Even if market conditions dont improve to the point of filling up all towers in the next few years its still a plan, a smart growth plan. Encouraging development not taking up 100 acres of land. I strongly feel that Reno has to start going up. The recent bridge disaster is shining a light on just how much money is needed to make existing infrastructure safe. Why create more. I think these towers would be positive for the veiws, these developers arent going to build something ugly, they wont be able to sell them if they did. And they are not very far off the 395 corridor, which being a transit corridor, should be the type of development going in. So here in my mind is what the planning commision needs to do. Approve the variances and then make the developers come back and show everyone what is being built, have the developers work with the neighborhood and say, "we are going to build 20-30 story condo here, how do we want it to look" "This is how we will change so meadow parkway and Double R blvd to keep traffic moving."

Posted by: Matthew A - 10/3/2007 9:51:16 PM
Hot off the press. The zoning changes for this project were just approved at the planning commission meeting a couple of minutes ago. Now it has to get city council approval and they can get started on their individual phasing maps. The project was retooled since the earlier proposal and, I belive, is even more attractive than it was before. Anybody else have any thoughts?

Posted by: Crystal - 10/4/2007 10:06:50 AM
I wonder how many young professional start-ups (which is their target buyer) would want to buy the smallest Boulevard South unit (studio or 1 bed probably) for $380,000 when I spotted many 1400 square foot South Meadows homes for sale in the $259,000-$350,000 range, just as close to IGT, the expanding tech market and their target market.

Posted by: David - 10/4/2007 3:10:05 PM
I agree, Why would you pay 380k? Isnt the Palladio cheaper?

Posted by: Matthew A - 10/5/2007 5:44:08 PM
Yes, there are homes for less, but there are still people that want the condo lifestyle I guess. For some people, where they live and the type of lifestyle they want is more important than the difference in cost I suppose. It seems like the american way is to buy what you want on borrowed money and then find a way to work hard enough to afford it (I personally disagree with this policy). I don't mean to argue, but it doesn't make sense to me to compare this project with the downtown condo projects. They are both highrise condo towers, but the overall lifestyle seems like it would be very different. Personally, I would not consider living in the downtown condos but would strongly consider living in this project. I have nothing against downtown, I think it is becoming really great down there, but it isn't the lifestyle I really want to have all the time. I prefer to visit downtown for events and/or activities. This project isn't in as dense of an area and has superb freeway access, the architecture is world class (not that the others aren't), and the proximity to the south meadows industrial and commercial jobs is superb (unmatched for a development of this type). The project is a standout winner if you want the condo lifestyle and work in the south meadows area. I am not saying that it will sell out overnight, but I believe it is meeting an important need for the south end of town and providing an important option to people looking to move to the area. As a sidenote, I also really like the design/location of the new condo towers planned for the Grand Sierra site (Mike posted the URL in an earlier comment). Hopefully it all gets built as planned, right?


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