Big plans for Park Lane

Chip Bowlby, managing partners of Reno Urban Developers, stands in front of the 45.6-acre blighted lot with redevelopment plans in hand.

Chip Bowlby, managing partners of Reno Urban Developers, stands in front of the 45.6-acre blighted lot with redevelopment plans in hand.

New plans are underway for the blighted site once occupied by Park Lane Mall.

Chip Bowlby, managing partner of Reno Urban Developers, is working to redevelop the 45.6-acre lot into a mixed-use development that will include 1,200 residential units, 100,000 square feet of retail and 100,000 square feet of office and professional space.

Bowlby envisions the development as a hub for Millennials (and other Reno residents) to live, work and play. He described the location of Park Lane as a “bookend” to Midtown.

“Midtown is cool because it has all of these small little eclectic bars and restaurants,” Bowlby said. “This gives us the opportunity to take a 46-acre property and really plan it as one development that has all of the elements.”

The residential units will be built first and will be comprised of three different multifamily complexes. One will be an urban-garden style complex and the second will be an urban-wrap development, which is very high density housing with approximately 85 units to the acre. The third type of multifamily complex is to be determined.

Bowlby said the project has already received a tremendous amount of followers and interest. He wants to get the right mix of retail tenants in the space and envisions it with boutique grocery stores, fitness centers and restaurants. He compared the project to other mixed-use developments such as Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., and Kierland Commons in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“When you have this much land to work with … you really have a canvas,” Bowlby said.

The property is still in escrow and they are finishing their due diligence and feasibility studies. The parcel of land does not include the 1.7 acres that the Century Park Lane 16 movie theater sits on, but it does include the parking in front of the theater. They currently have several planning and architectural firms bidding for the project.

Bowlby plans to start putting in the major backbone infrastructure in the end of the first quarter or the beginning of the second quarter of 2017 and to start building in the second quarter of 2017. He anticipates that residents will be able to start moving into units by the end of 2017.

Bowlby started looking at Park Lane back in 2013. Park Lane Mall opened in 1967. Over the years there have been several redevelopment plans for the property that never came to fruition. M&H Realty Partners, now Merlone Geier Partners, was the last to purchase the land back in 2006. However, their plans to redevelop the property withered in the recession and it has remained a mostly empty lot since it was razed from 2007 to 2009.

“Obviously it is an eyesore right now,” Bowlby said about the vacant, weed filled lot. “I think people are just super excited about something happening there and I think they are somewhat excited that we are going to do it because we like to do things right.”

Bowlby has a lot of experience in master planned mixed-use development projects and has developed in California, Nevada and Idaho. He is also the developer for the 141-acre master planned Rancharrah development.

“When we were looking at Park Lane, we felt there was a tremendous opportunity to deliver a lot of housing, which is needed,” Bowlby said.

He pointed out that the impact of Tesla, Switch and Panasonic hasn’t even started and northern Nevada is already feeling a demand for more housing. The need will only increase as more companies come to the area.

According to Bowlby, who sits on the board of Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN), there are at least 12 companies that have solidly committed to move to northern Nevada that have not been announced yet and many more that are looking at Reno.

“We think that the biggest impact to this market on jobs is going to be late 2017 and for sure 2018 and 2019,” Bowlby said. “We want to have at least two of the three residential developments going simultaneously.”

Bowlby also identified some of the challenges that come with redeveloping the space including the increase of building costs, the future of the economy and making sure they deliver what is promised.

He estimates that the redevelopment will be a half-billion to a billion dollar project and that it will take five to 10 years to totally build out the development.

“This deserves a lot of attention,” Bowlby said.

In addition to Park Lane and Rancharrah, Bowlby is currently working on several other projects, all in various stages of development.

These developments include The Summit Club in South Reno. It is a 584-unit multifamily apartment complex with 26 percent of the units being dedicated to workforce housing. According to Bowlby, they will break ground on the project this August.

Other projects include Meridian 120, located near Boomtown and a 240 units multifamily development in Fernley, which they plan to start building in late 2017-2018.

Bowlby also owns three parcels of land in Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center. One of the parcels is dedicated for restaurants, one for an extended stay hotel and the last for a storage site. He plans to start developing in TRIC in late 2017.


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