Downtown land swap, new 65-unit workforce housing project

by Mike Van Houten / Feb 28, 2024

Jacobs Entertainment and the Reno Housing Authority have reached an agreement that will result in the construction of a $20 million, 65-unit affordable housing development by Jacobs Entertainment. Once completed, the new property will be transferred to RHA in exchange for Jacobs Entertainment acquiring the 60-year-old 60-unit Sarrazin Arms Apartments, formally appraised as being worth $2.15 million in December 2017.

The Reno Housing Authority board unanimously approved the agreement, which will provide 65 new units, including studios and one-bedroom apartments with amenities including dishwashers, ceiling fans, an on-site management office, bike storage and a community room. The deal also provides for guaranteed parking for RHA tenants. The new building will be located next to the Gibson Building, a 20-unit apartment building built in 1917, which Jacobs Entertainment also intends to restore. 

In keeping with the policy of the RHA board of commissioners, these new units will rent for no more than 80% of the current market rate. Every Sarrazin Arms resident in good standing at the time of construction completion will have the option to move into the new units.

The RHA board will have approval of final building design prior to being submitted for permitting. Jacobs Entertainment will cover all construction costs for the new building. The property swap option agreement extends through 2028. Jacobs Entertainment has also committed to providing financial support to relocate the existing tenants of the Sarrazin Arms Apartments to the new development. Until the new complex is completed, RHA will continue to own and provide routine maintenance and upkeep at Sarrazin Arms. The prequalifications for both Sarrazin Arms and the new property will be identical, giving every resident living in Sarrazin Arms the opportunity to relocate to brand new housing if they so choose. 

Having new inventory that falls into the workforce housing category is important, because it fills a gap for people who can’t qualify for affordable housing, yet don’t have enough income to be able to rent market-rate apartments. This is the positive I see with this project. Reno Housing Authority has more projects on their books then any time in recent memory. 

Reno Housing Authority is rockin’ it, with $175,000,000 in affordable and workforce housing projects under construction or in final stages of design within the McCarran loop. Let's take a look at some of these other projects. 

Hawk View Apartments – This is likely the most dynamic and far-reaching of the projects. Hawk View Apartments, located at 1548 Steelwood Lane, currently has 100 units of public housing on the site. Due to a number of factors, it has reached the end of its useful life and will be torn down. The area is zoned to allow RHA to build 200 units on the land, in a mixture of 1-, 2-, and 3- bedroom apartments and townhomes.  Reno Housing Authority is doubling the number of affordable homes on the site with new, energy efficient units. The site will also have large greenspaces, a kids playground, exercise room, community events area, gardening space, dog park, and more. While the project approvals are making their way through HUD, they expect to relocate all current residents and begin redevelopment this autumn.

Silverada Manor - Built between 1962 and 1966, Silverada Manor is a mix of 150 studio 1-and 2-bedroom units at 1400 Silverada Blvd. Due to the age of this complex, it too has met the end of its useful life. RHA will take these apartments down to the studs and bring them all up to today’s standards.

Dick Scott Manor - This 12-unit complex is nearing completion and is set to have new residents move in this summer or early autumn. The complex is at 1035 E. 8th Street in Reno, near public transportation and community services. It’s earmarked for military veterans, many of which will be coming out of homelessness. With ongoing case management being handled by the local Veterans Administration, this affordable housing is sorely needed.

Railyard Flats - RHA just broke ground on this new 15-unit complex in January. This community benefit property is at 419 10th Street in Sparks, a few blocks from Victorian Square, public transportation, employment, and more.

McGraw Court/Silver Sage Court - This set of 40 public housing units for senior residents will see a substantial rehab begin in the next two years. It’s located at 2455 Orovada Drive in Sparks.

Carville Court - This small complex, only 6 units total, is further down the pipeline. It’s located at 1245 Carville Drive, and the preliminary concept is for it to serve as supportive housing, with increased density to about 11 units.

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