Downtown office owner grows with small tenants
For the moment, Vince Griffith’s business model is built around leasing small offices, mostly in downtown Reno, to small startups.
But Griffith figures that some of those small startups will grow into larger companies — and he wants his Reno Land & Cattle LLC to be growing right with them.
The company is nearing full occupancy of its first two downtown office projects, and it’s making headway on leasing a three-story building at Marsh and Lander streets that it’s renovating after a mid-2013 acquisition.
Few of the company’s tenants are household names. Yet.
Crazy Tooth, a developer of game content, is joined by the nonprofit Solace International and decision-making software company inqiri in 6,000 square feet owned by Reno Land & Cattle LLC at 80 1st St. in the Palladio Building.
The Reno Collective — a co-working environment favored by creative types who otherwise might be tying up tables in coffeehouses — has leased half the space owned by Reno Land & Cattle on the ground floor of the Arlington Towers Building at 1st and Arlington streets.
Other tenants in the fully leased property include a company known simply as “&,” Desert Diamonds Realty, Pinnoccio, Flawless Skin by Nicky, and Outsiders Salon.
The company’s newest acquisition, the 6,000-square-foot building at 405 Marsh St. that was home in the distant past to Chamber of Commerce and university offices, initially is home to Griffith’s Reno Engineering Corp. as well as Reno Commercial Properties, the brokerage owned by Chris Martin that works closely with Griffiths.
The building also includes a warren of small offices — some as small as 250 square feet — that Griffith is leasing to tiny firms with long hopes and short credit histories.
“I really identify with the startup who needs 250 square feet,” says Griffith. “I like the young entrepreneur — the company where you can see the fire in their eyes.”
But it’s not entirely a strategy built on emotion. He’s looking to build long-term relationships with growing companies that will need growing amounts of office space.
And like many of their entrepreneurial tenants, Griffith and his daughter, Britton Douglass-Griffith, are putting long hours into their work.
Griffith, an engineering graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, has pulled out carpets, sanded down floors, painted walls and spent many a Saturday getting his office spaces into shape. He estimates he’s handled 90 percent of the work himself.
“If you remove all the ugly stuff, it’s amazing what will happen,” he says.
All three spaces needed plenty of work. The Palladio space was nothing more than a shell when he bought it. The Arlington Towers space was run-down, with asbestos issues to boot. The building on Marsh Street, constructed in the 1970s, badly needed cosmetic updating.
“Some people run marathons,” Griffith says with a shrug. “I remodel buildings.”
He earned a strong foothold in business with the engineering and planning of two major projects – the Double Diamond/South Meadows Business Park in south Reno and the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center in Storey County.
As he ran back and forth between the two projects, where he was handling work such as design of roadways and utilities, Griffith began to see the attractions of a central downtown location for his engineering firm.
And once he moved Reno Engineering downtown, his interest in buying more properties grew.
“I’m not the only guy with a small company who likes this area,” Griffith says.
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