Vacant office space soaked up by government agencies

David Woods, an office properties specialist with CB Richard Ellis in Reno, began working in September 2008 on the possible lease of an office building in south Reno to the General Services Administration, the property management arm of the federal government.

In late March, after 18 months of grinding, detailed negotiation, Woods brought home a lease of the 35,692-square-foot office building at 6999 Sierra Center Parkway, in the neighborhood of Microsoft Licensing and Intuit. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will occupy the entire building.

In the near-moribund market for office space in northern Nevada, government tenants are one of the few bright spots despite volumes of paperwork that accompany every transaction.

"They're the most active users in today's market," says Woods. "They can pay their rent."

The south Reno building has stood vacant since it was developed by Mt. Hood LLC, an affiliate of the Trammel Crow Co., in 2007 as the booming real estate market in northern Nevada neared its end.

The immigration and customs service was in the market for office space that would allow it to consolidate three locations in the Reno area into a single, more efficient office, Woods said. Tim Pavek of Carpenter/Robbins Commercial Real Estate Inc. in San Ramon, Calif., represented the federal agency.

In another recent transaction involving the federal government, the Veterans Administration Health Care System leased 6,656 square feet at 350 Capitol Hill in Reno for an outpatient clinic.

That lease, too, was created in a slow cooker.

Ricci Rodriguez-Elkins of Stark & Associates Commercial Real Estate, who represented the VA, says the lease of the space just east of Wells Avenue required about nine months of negotiation and preparation.

And those nine months, Rodriguez-Elkins says, came after she'd already spent six months working with a potential landlord who walked away from a deal with the VA because of the load of paperwork.

"You need to be patient," says Rodriguez-Elkins, who's developed a specialty in working with governments and nonprofit agencies. "But my niche is growing very rapidly. It's more of a passion with me."

In fact, she was busy last week preparing two more proposals at the request of government agencies last week.

The General Services Administration already is a significant tenant in northern Nevada.

The federal agency leases space in about 20 buildings in the Truckee Meadows and rents space in three buildings in Carson City.

Elsewhere in northern Nevada, primarily in the Elko area, the agency leases space in a dozen buildings.


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