Keshmiri aims to place grocery store in downtown Reno
Jamy Keshmiri’s goal over the course of the next year is to bring a grocery store to downtown Reno — something that’s been lacking in the city core since Mayfair Market closed in the early 1990s to make room for the Silver Legacy Resort Casino.
Keshmiri is purchasing the roughly 85,000-square-foot Woolworth’s building at First and Virginia Streets from Latitude Capital Partners of Atherton, Calif. Latitude Capital Partners purchased the building at the peak of the real estate boom in 2006 and envisioned renovating the property built in 1965 into high-end retail and office space. But work was slow to start, and development stalled after some initial work on the ground floor and exterior façade in 2009.
Keshmiri, who didn’t disclose the purchase price of the seven-story building because the transaction still is in escrow, says downtown Reno has enough condominiums, office space, restaurants and bars. A grocer along the lines of Traders Joe’s in the 14,000-square-foot first floor would give residents of downtown and midtown an easily accessible source for fresh groceries and foodstuffs.
“Downtown needs a grocery store badly, and I would like to do something that,” says Keshmiri, who shares ownership in three strip clubs with his brother and owns the Ben’s Liquors in Reno, Sparks and Carson City and My Salon beauty studios. “That building has a lot of potential. It is little risky, but I want to start small and work my way around it.”
Keshmiri says possible concepts that make the most sense for the site are food retailers and perhaps a clothing store. He’s considering turning the basement level into 35 to 40 parking spaces, and he’s also contemplating uses for the second and third floors, which are 12,000-square-feet each.
He’s searching for a general contractor and engineer to begin work with the goal of having the space available to house a tenant within a year’s time.
The former Woolworth’s building has sat vacant since 1997. Commercial broker Frank Gallagher, a principal at Commercial Partners of Nevada, assisted with sale negotiations for Keshmiri’s real estate development firm, Battle Born Properties.
“It will be a nice project,” Keshmiri says. “It will take some time, but I think it could be a really great centerpiece for the future of downtown Reno as is moves from a gaming center to more residential urban living. If we could get a moderate- to high-end grocer, it would really put a stamp on downtown living. That is my immediate goal for the project.”
Despite ongoing difficulties, Northern Nevada’s office real estate market will endure, experts predict
IGT’s decision to list its 1.2 million sq. ft. campus for lease this month and the recent $3.8 million sale of Harley Davidson’s 3-story financial services building in Carson City are the latest examples of companies no longer needing larger-scale office properties to maintain productivity levels and meet customer needs.