NCET Biz Tips: Public/private partnerships are revitalizing Reno’s core

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Austin Daly

Austin Daly

Washoe County needs more housing. Anyone who is renting or buying can feel the squeeze, with prices continually rising and pushing more and more of our community into being unable to afford a roof over their heads. These housing costs also eat away at people’s disposable incomes, making it harder for people to power our small businesses that make our region so great. While there can be squabbling all around on what type of housing should be preferred, the answer is clear that we just need MORE. Thankfully, we’re finally starting to see some movement in the right direction, thanks to the strength of our business, nonprofit, and philanthropic community here in Reno.

While Washoe County and Gov. Joe Lombardo are pushing Congress to release more land from the federal government for housing development, we’re also seeing public and private partners step in to help address affordability issues in the heart of Reno. Recently, the Reno Housing Authority announced a new land swap deal with Jacobs Entertainment, with Jacobs committing to build a brand new $20 million, 65-unit fully affordable housing building to transfer entirely to the Reno Housing Authority, in exchange for Jacobs acquiring the old Sarrazin Arms Apartments, the definition of a win-win for both sides with our community members getting access to more and greater quality affordable housing.

Eddy House, the main nonprofit that serves and helps homeless youth in our community, also recently partnered with Tolles to announce the groundbreaking of a new 36-unit transitional housing facility for those aged 18-24. This $14 million project was funded through the Nevada Housing Division and two local foundations, and with local developer Tolles providing the project planning and management pro-bono, showing that public and private partnerships are the key to advancing the right kind of housing and growth we want to see addressing the affordability crisis in Reno.

With these partnerships bringing more hope and life into the core of Reno, we’re also seeing more companies taking a bet on expanding into Downtown. Junkees was famously one of the stores that made Midtown Reno what it is today, and now owner Jessica Schneider has set her sights on growing her new Downtown spinoff location – Uncle Junkees, after moving her main location to Reno Public Market. Just this month, the Reno Aces owner announced their purchase of the Park Center Tower across from Greater Nevada Field, an area that has also seen tremendous growth in recent years. The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) has also moved their offices to Downtown Reno to help increase their visibility and further their economic development mission in the region.

It’s important for businesses to see Downtown as an area that is prime for growth, especially as we seek to expand housing in the core of the city. People deserve a place to live, as well as places to eat, shop, and have fun that are easily accessible without the need for their own car.

Our community hasn’t solved the affordability crisis yet, but we are making steps in the right direction. If we continue utilizing this framework for public and private partnerships, we can ensure community needs are met, while also taking advantage of the massive capital advantage that private companies have to get these beneficial projects across the finish line.

NCET is a member-supported nonprofit organization that produces educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology.

Austin Daly is a public affairs account coordinator at The Abbi Agency and serves as NCET’s vice president of Public Relations.


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