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Slow start, Reno Tahoe Tech Center region develops quickly

John Seelmeyer

The first building in the Reno-Tahoe Tech Center along Highway 395 at the south edge of Reno wasn’t exactly forlorn, but it didn’t have many neighbors for a couple of years after it was built.

These days, that’s not a problem as the 70- acre Reno-Tahoe Tech Center fills quickly.

The original Tech Center building is fully leased, and work is about to begin on a sister building.

The first building in Northern Nevada Corporate Center, an office campus just south of the Tech Center buildings, is nearly full and plans are under way to build another 45,000- square-foot office building in the center this year.

Sierra Vista, a complex of garden offices along Double R Boulevard,will see completion of another nine buildings this year and the market appears to want more.

And work is scheduled to begin this year on an 85-room Hampton Inn and Suites, a project developed by South Lake Tahoe’s Laxmi Hotels LLC.

Both the market and the city finally caught up with the development, says Brett Seabert, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Tanamera Commercial Development, which put the development together.

The first building in the Reno-Tahoe Tech Center was designed with high-end amenities for technology companies.

But it came on line just as the technology boom crested in the Bay Area, and Tanamera suddenly found itself competing with cut-rate space for technology companies throughout San Jose and neighboring cities.

The Bay Area market has started to firm, Seabert says, and Tanamera is talking with several software companies that want to move operations to northern Nevada.

One of those companies, San Jose-based BEA Systems, leased the last remaining space in the original Tech Center building.

The company, which develops infrastructure software for large enterprises, occupies space left vacant by the closure of Redundant Networks last year.

Other tenants in the building include Twelve Horses North America, the homebuilding company Lennnar Corp.

and Morrison University.

Just down the street, Centex Homes and Miller Heiman are cornerstone tenants in the first building in Northern Nevada Corporate Center.

G.C.Wallace Companies, an engineering, surveying and planning firm based in Sacramento, has leased another 3,200 square feet.

A second building will begin to rise this year.

Tim Ruffin of Colliers International, who handles leasing of the buildings, says there’s strong interest in the building, which is constructed as a speculative project.

Helping to drive development of office space in the area, both Ruffin and Seabert say, is the construction of executive housing at Arrowcreek, Saddlehorn and other nearby neighborhoods.

Executives, Seabert says, typically like to work close to home and they have the decision- making authority to decide where offices will be located.

Ruffin says leasing of buildings at Northern Nevada Corporate Center and the Reno-Tahoe Tech Center also has been boosted by the projects’ visibility from Highway 395 as well as the ease of access from the freeway.

The south end of the Tech Center property, which is near Double R Boulevard and Damonte Ranch, is earmarked for mixed-use commercial development.

Seabert says the commercial areas probably will be developed only as retail spaces begin to fill along Damonte west of Highway 395 and demand for space moves to the eastern side of the highway.