As you are probably well aware of by now, Reno remains clearly a seller’s market. Low inventory partnered with a high growth rate thanks to more jobs coming into the area helped push prices up. Both rents and home sale prices hit record highs over the summer. The only way to help ease this at the moment is to build more smaller houses, townhomes, and apartments. Late last week, a new Reno development announced plans to construct as many as 4700 housing units at Southeast Reno’s former Butler Ranch.
New Reno Development – Butler Ranch, Southeast Reno
Instead of calling it “affordable housing”, the California-based Newport Pacific Land hopes to achieve “attainable housing”. They want to reach the market that can afford the median price for a Reno home ($335,000 as of September 2017). Currently, that’s the market buying up the smaller properties. This keeps the lower income renters and homeowners out to dry. How will these new residential properties help? They provide an inventory that the median home buyer can afford while leaving the smaller starter properties available for those who can’t.
One huge hurdle in the way of the new Reno development involves its location. It sits in the middle of a floodplain. Next, they must address the mercury-contaminated water leached into the soil from the former ranch’s irrigation ditches. After that, the developer needs to obtain a permit to work the wetlands that the property sits on. Also, this area of Washoe Valley was regularly traveled by pioneers and Native American tribes. Historical and archeologically significant finds could potentially be located underneath the land they want to develop. Finally, they’ll need to provide a way to keep the wild horses that currently roam the area to stay safe while continuing access to their main source of water: Steamboat Creek.
In June, Newport Pacific Land purchased the 990-acre property for $43 million. They did so with full knowledge of these potential problems. About 12 years ago, community concerns over the development of Butler Ranch stalled the project long enough that it simply died out. The new Reno development hopes for a more favorable outcome by reaching out to the community for ideas. If their permit receives approval, they expect to have the new development completed approximately two years afterward.