Luxury apartments planned on the Waterfront at Sparks Marina | nnbw.com

Luxury apartments planned on the Waterfront at Sparks Marina

For several years, Sparks officials and residents cringed at the site of the abandoned multi-story garage overlooking the beautiful Sparks Marina.

Steve Hinckley, CEO of LandCap Investment Partners, saw opportunity. The garage sits on prime real estate with views of the marina and the mountains that surround the Truckee Meadows.

Hinckley envisioned a luxury apartment that wrapped around the garage, a design that his southern California development company knew how to handle.

"We know this type of construction — wrap-around complex," Hinckley told the NNBW, adding that LandCap likes to go after "big hairy and complicated projects."

On March 23, LandCap with partner Guardian Investment Capital broke ground on the five-story, 209-unit Waterfront at the Marina Apartments, with city officials on hand to celebrate.

"We are absolutely thrilled to see what has been an eyesore at the marina, begin to transform into a luxury community at the Sparks Marina," Sparks Mayor Geno Martini said in a written statement. "The project is truly symbolic of the growth we are beginning to see in our community. I appreciate LandCap and its partners for taking on some of the tougher projects in the city that have been left closed and vacant from the Great Recession."

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Both the garage and the marina itself have a lemons-to-lemonade story.

Not all that long ago, the neighborhood was scarred by a giant gravel pit. Then the New Year's flood of 1997 filled up the gaping hole with water.

Today the Sparks Marina is a 65-acre lake offering outdoor recreation such as a beach, swimming, diving, boating, children's park, and walking.

The parking garage overlooking the marina was constructed in 2006 by another developer with big plans for the site. Then the recession plunged the dream into bankruptcy in 2008, and the garage sat abandoned.

LandCap, which has been investing in the Reno-Sparks market for a decade, purchased the property from the bank in 2013.

"I've been eyeing it since 2011," Hinckley said.

Hinckley has a good eye for abandoned structures worthy of transformations.

In 2015, he and his partners began reconstruction of the empty Silver Club Hotel on the east side of Sparks' Victorian Square and resurrected the property into 100 urban-style loft apartments, Square One apartments, which opened for tenants last summer.

The lofts have been popular with young professionals and Millennials. Hinckley said it's now 97 percent occupied.

At the Waterfront at the Marina, the central parking garage will get a new life while the apartments surrounding it will be completely new construction.

Hinckley said the wrap-around design isn't the hard part of the construction; it's the five-story apartment complex that's challenging.

"Five stories is more complicated than four stories," he said following the groundbreaking.

Hinckley expects leasing to begin in six months with the building complete in 16 months.

The luxury apartment complex will feature a clubhouse and tech center, fitness facility, pool and spa, barbecue area, landscaped grounds, rooftop deck, dog spa and park, and, of course, a secure parking garage.

The one and two bedroom apartments will have a modern design. gourmet kitchens with energy efficient appliances, quartz countertops, and European cabinets plus upscale flooring, a washer/dryer in each unit and scenic views.

"There is nothing like this project in northern Nevada," James Previti, CEO of Guardian Investment Capital, said in a written statement, "five-story elevator buildings and secured parking garage are extremely expensive to build … and impossible for others to replicate, it will be the premier, high-end community in the area."

The Waterfront at the Marina Apartments is only one piece of the developers' plan for the marina area.

They also own the three-story Marina Town Centre mixed-use building just south of the Waterfront property and the 240-unit Marina Village apartments across the street.

"Having the building next door helps our ability to control our environment," he said of why the company likes to cluster projects.

Both the existing apartments and the retail space will get facelifts to look more like the Waterfront apartments.

With remodeling plans in the works, the developer has kept occupancy light in the Town Centre. Current occupants include Lighthouse Coffee, Edward R. Jones office and LandCap's Northern Nevada main office.

"We want to pick and choose tenants," Hinckley said, explaining why it hasn't been marketed.

The plan is to have a mixture of office and retail spaces.

"Soon we hope to announce a sports bar and grill with a limited gaming to occupy the former Anchors space (in the Town Centre)," LandCap COO Jeff Holbrook said in a written statement.

Besides the marina properties, LandCap also owns 20 acres east of the marina near Sparks Legends Mall, which is approved for 600-900 units. Plans for that property are up in the air as the company focuses on the Marina projects.

LandCap also has more going on at Victorian Square.

As part of the Silver Club Hotel deal, LandCap acquired the former Bourbon Square Casino (originally the Silver Club Casino).

Plans for that space continue to evolve. Partners have looked at office space, retail and dining, and even apartments have been considered.

"It's such a special asset," Hinkley said. "We've decided we don't want to do something the community isn't happy with. We haven't found the right mix of amenities. It's an extremely important asset to the community.

"Daily we have project managers working on that."

For more information on the Waterfront, visit waterfrontmarinaliving.com.