South Wells resurgence spreading
A partnership of investors is adding to the supply of multifamily units in Reno by turning an empty strip of land on South Wells into 10 duplex units and adding to an existing multifamily structure next door.
Floyd Rowley, who coordinated the investors, said he learned more than a year ago about the sale of the Dozen at the DeLuxe property by HabeRae Development. The property just south of the South Wells Avenue roundabout included the historic DeLuxe Laundry building containing apartments, a café and an art studio, plus a single family house next door on Colorado River Boulevard and a wide strip of land on the north side.
Rowley, senior vice president investments for the Johnson Group and a specialist in multifamily units, showed the property to three different investors who passed on it.
“After the third time, I said ‘I love this place. I’m going to buy it,’” he said in a recent interview with the NNBW.
Rowley said he loves the location of the property. Close to Midtown and the intersection of Plumb Lane and South Virginia, the property is part of the “Wells Avenue resurgence” to the north.
He gathered a group of investors, which included the first person he had shown the property to. He raised the final million dollars in the last week before a site plan was scheduled to be submitted to the city planning department.
During a one-day whirlwind, the sale closed, a site plan was filed with the city and Rowley’s first grandson was born, all on Sept. 24, 2015.
Then the project hit a snag after the unexpected death of architect Kelly Mier. A private contractor working for Allco Construction, it took a couple months to sort out ownership of the plans for the South Wells project.
Archidea Architecture’s Chuck Matetich was able to pick up the project around Christmas.
“He took the idea and ran with it,” Rowley said.
Allco Construction is currently working on the vacant strip to build three buildings with a total of 10 units. Two of the units will be handicap accessible.
“It was not economically practical to buy this property without planning to do something with the land,” he said.
The architectural design of the new units is “high end” with modern details that will complement the brick DeLuxe building.
Many of the new units will have a secure, private parking garage.
“It’s rare for apartments in Reno to have garages and rarer to be secure and open into the units,” he said.
In addition to the new buildings, new apartments will be added to the DeLuxe building by creating two units out of the former café and turning the art studio into a deluxe unit.
A basement under the former cafe at the southwest corner of the DeLuxe will be fitted for storage.
“At the end of the day, we’ll end up with 25 units,” he said.
Rowley said HabeRae had already refurbished the existing apartments and the neighboring house, which are partly occupied. Three Tesla employees recently moved into the DeLuxe apartments, he said.
Rowley expects to begin leasing on the new units in early November with occupation in late January.
“The knowledge I’ve accumulated, especially in the last 12 months (working on this project) is invaluable,” Rowley said.
“I point out many cases of where privately owned companies do just as bad a job as publicly owned companies,” says Reno resident and former teacher Robert (R.D.) Gardner.