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The old becomes new again: Homes built on top of shops

Pat Patera

A big box office building set out in a field – seen it all before.Make that two floors of commercial space topped by apartment suites, set it on a swank new golf course, decorate the exterior in contemporary Mediteranean style – and it is a new concept in Carson City.

An old idea living over the shop is new again at 3480 GS Richards Way in the northwest corner of town.

Built by owner-contractor Richard Wipfli and inspired by his travels in Europe, the mixed commercial-residential concept is part of a grander plan.

“Back East and in Europe people enjoy friendly neighborhoods, where they both live and work,”Wipfli says.”People tell me they love living in Carson City but want something prestigious, yet without the big yard.

I thought, how about putting some beautiful apartments on a third floor?”

The living space tops two stories of commercial space for physicians and businesses totaling 11,000 square feet.

Leasing agent is Jennifer Walsh of Grubb & Ellis.

The two luxury suites, 3,400 square feet each, feature views of Silver Oaks Golf Course and the Sierra Nevada crest.

A full basement provides the residents with 7,000 square feet of storage.

Target move-in date is late summer.

Wipfli and his wife Brenda will be nextdoor neighbors to Rob and Pam Bauter, longtime friends and partners in the building.

Bauter says the concept is perfect for her because when away on travels, lawn care and home security are not concerns.

Carson City architect John Copoulos drew up the plans for the concept sketches provided by Wipfli, whose interest in liveable communities goes back 15 years.

The former Carson City Planning Commission chairman worked eight years in the city planning department and served 11 years with the historic commission.

Wipfli says people love being able to walk to coffee bars and evening entertainment.His long-term vision has been to make Carson City more pedestrian friendly.

Zoning plays a part in that vision.

The property at GS Richards Way is part of a Planned Unit Development, zoned general commercial with acceptable uses with special permission.Wipfli’s special use plan was approved.

“The Carson City planning department is visionary and willing to listen to ideas,” says Wipfli.