Vacancies common in tech offices
Is the high technology industry going
to be the boon for northern Nevada that
the area has been counting on?
“High tech has been somewhat overplayed,”
said Perry Di Loreto, managing
member, Nevada Tri partners, developers
of Damonte Ranch, a commercial, residential
and recreational development
going up on 1,962 acres in Truckee
Damonte Ranch is one of several office
developments in the area designed to
attract and house high technology companies.
They were heavily promoted as meccas
for the world’s leading industry.
Quoted in nearly every marketing
brochure was the Forbes/Milken Institute
study raking Reno 22nd in the top 25
cities in which to do business.
But that was when high tech was on a
roll, not only in Silicon Valley but in
The number of high-tech businesses in
Nevada nearly doubled in six years, from
763 companies in 1995 to 1,468 in 2000,
according to the American Electronics
Association. At the same time, venture
capital investments in the state soared,
from less than $1 million in 1995 to $39.2
million in 2001, according to the AEA.
High tech exports also jumped.Nevada
was the fourth fastest growing state in
growth of high tech exports between 1997
and 2001. Exports rose 154 percent, from
$191 million in 1997 to $486 million last
year, according to the AEA.
But those 2001 exports represented a
30 percent drop from 2000, when exports
reached an all-time high of $697 million.
Since then things have gone downhill.
The Reno-Tahoe Tech Center, developed
by Tanamera Commercial
Development, opened with much fanfare
in April 2001. The 70-acre office park, with
the misfortune of having “tech” in its name,
so far is the home to only to Redundant
Systems. A second tenant, Twelve Horses
North America, a web-based marketing firm,
is preparing to move in.
One of the more publicized high tech
letdowns has been iGo Corp., the wireless
accessories supplier that was bought out by
Mobility Electronics Inc. earlier this
month. The company once employed 248
people locally and leased space in the
South Meadows Business Park, an office
park developed by L. Lance Gilman
Commercial Real Estate Services.
Earlier this year the company moved to
smaller quarters and reduced its workforce
to about 100. And its future presence here,
as a subsidiary of Scottsdale, Ariz.,
Mobility, is uncertain.
Much bigger companies than iGo were
starting to flock to the area. But much of the
office space once leased by those industry
bigwigs is now vacant.
“Cisco people love the area,” said Michael
Schnabel, principal, CB Richard Ellis, the
commercial real estate developer in Reno,
referring to Cisco Systems Inc., the San Jose,
Calif., networking company, once one of the
fastest growing companies in the world.
Cisco leased lots of office space in South
Meadows, Reno, said Schnabel, and is now
trying to unload the bulk of it. “We have
15,000 square feet of Cisco space to rid of,”
he said. “You wouldn’t believe how much
space Cisco is getting rid of nationwide.”
That’s led to what Colliers
International calls the Plug and Play
office. The concept has been imported
from the San Francisco Bay Area, the market
hardest hit by the high tech and dotcom
bust, said Libby Frantz, office leasing
specialist at Colliers in Reno.
A Plug and Play office is created when
one tenant, who has already furnished, wired
and otherwise prepared a space for occupancy,
decides to sublease it instead. Colliers, for
example, has one such office now available in
Park West Center in South Meadows – a
26,512-square-foot space left vacant but
ready-for-occupancy by ShareGate Inc., a
Reno-based DSL provider.
That’s the good news in all this, according
to Damonte Ranch’s Di Loreto. He
says that an office designed to please a
high tech company should, in this day and
age, satisfy any type of business.
“A good high tech office park is simply
a good office park,” said Di Loreto. “It just
means it has been provisioned for fiber and
high speed networking. Whoever moves
in there can take advantage of the
“All this high tech talk,” he said, ” has
been overused and worn out.”
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