In 2013, Pamela Loveless was deemed permanently disabled. “I blew out both of my hands with double carpal tunnel — never could type again,” said Loveless, a longtime mortgage underwriter in Reno at the time. “A judge basically told me no one will hire me because I don't have use of my hands at a certain percentage. So I sat at home and thought, ‘what am I going to do?'”
Rather than sinking into an abyss of daytime television — “soap operas aren't my thing,” she said — Loveless laid out the puzzle pieces of her past work experience. Along with carving out a long career as a mortgage underwriter, Loveless had also spent time as a loan officer and mortgage manager.
In short, she knew the housing industry like the back of her hand.
She noticed the demand for housing of all types was growing quickly as Reno-Sparks' economy boomed.
Specifically, she noticed a lack of short-term rental options for people coming to Northern Nevada for myriad reasons — from construction workers brought in for a few months to build to executives overseeing big projects to people relocating to the region for immediate work.
The latter group, Loveless could relate to. In 1998, she uprooted from Northern California and planted in Reno for an underwriting job.
Put up in a hotel for the first two months, Loveless recalled quickly growing tired of eating at restaurants three times a day and being cooped in a room that felt nothing like a cozy home.
“After a while, you just want to cook a meal,” Loveless said. “So that's kind of how of this evolved, through my own experience. I realized there was still a real need for a home environment, not just a short-term stay with a room and a hot-plate.”
And so, in 2017, four years after carpal tunnel halted her underwriting career, Loveless launched a short-term housing business: PKL Homes.
Starting out as a small company with one AirBnB, PKL Homes is now a short-term apartment rental agency that offers units of all shapes and sizes and for a wide range of rates in Reno-Sparks.
It's a Monday afternoon inside Park Tower in downtown Reno, a condominium community a stone's throw from Wingfield Park. There, on the 17th floor, PKL Homes' newest short-term rental — a penthouse unit dubbed “Ascension” — is nearly move-in ready.
With a view of the Truckee River below and the snow-capped mountains in the distance, the furnished 2,200-square-foot unit includes two master bedrooms, an expansive living room and dining room, and a chef's kitchen with a double fridge and double oven. Not to mention, the entire space smells like a spa.
Yeves Perez, Loveless' son and housing coordinator for PKL Homes, said the company strives to give its clients a living experience that's second to none — whether they're an executive staying in the downtown penthouse ($500 per night) a student in a furnished dorm-style apartment ($600 a month per student) and everyone in-between.
“We want to give them the PKL ‘wow' experience — we want to wow them from beginning to end,” Perez said. “As long as they got to come home to a safe place and cook a meal — they can go grocery shopping and stack up as much food as they want — then that had an effect on their lives, and that's why we do this.”
A demographic that is especially lacking in short-term housing solutions in Reno-Sparks is the construction workforce, Perez said. After all, development in Northern Nevada isn't showing signs of slowing across the commercial, residential and industrial sectors.
Though manpower has woefully lacked since the great recession, the number of construction jobs in the region is on the uptick. In fact, in October 2019, statewide year-over-year construction employment spiked nearly 12 percent, with 105,000 construction workers employed, according to previous reports.
Needless to say, not all of those people coming in to support big projects are from Northern Nevada.
“Those workers need to be housed somewhere,” Loveless said matter-of-factly. “So, we've done blocks of apartments for one company because they have that many workers coming in to support a particular project.”
Added Perez: “With the amount of growth that Reno is seeing and the amount of construction projects that are approved and on the books, it's really dangerous to do so much growth without responsible housing available.”
To further help meet the workforce housing demand, PKL Homes recently added its first single-family home to its portfolio, Perez said. Perched in the Vista Ridge neighborhood in Sparks, the 2,301-square-foot home has four bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and a two-car garage. Moreover, attached to the garage is a tandem workshop and storage space for tools.
Starting Feb. 1, the home is available at a rate of $325 per night.
“It's perfect for construction companies and workforce housing,” said Perez, noting that PKL Homes will continue acquiring more single-family homes in the near future.
In addition, PKL Homes is doubling down on technology this year.
In doing so, the company is rolling out tablets in each unit that allow people to check-in and, if needed, extend their stay. It will also serve as a digital concierge, offering restaurant recommendations and the ability to purchase entertainment tickets.
The penthouses will give executives the options to order a personal chef, car, dry-cleaning, groceries and more through the tablet.
What's more, PKL Homes is going to start a pilot in one of its units that will allow tenants to pay with cryptocurrency, said Perez, adding that it should start early this year.
“The market is telling me that crypto is going to be a big part of this community,” said Perez, citing the tech startup Blockchains LLC, which owns 67,000 acres east of Sparks and is planning to build a smart city built on blockchain technology. “There are a lot of people relocating from the Bay Area with the crypto startups that are here and they're going to bring their higher-paying salaries with them.
“We're just making sure that we stay ahead and we keep moving forward into the next year … and the next year.”
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