Biggest Little Cityscape: Reno’s tech future evolves

Evolving beyond old stereotypes about loose slots, quick divorces, and rampant debauchery, Reno is aiming its sights on a more sustainable economic future, attracting a different kind of visitor.  The city is currently courting Apple, Inc. with high-reward tax breaks in hopes of adding the technology giant, along with other high rolling tech companies, as prospective tenants to the Biggest Little Cityscape.

According to a New York Times article published in the paper yesterday, “Apple will open an office downtown in a new building that may house other technology companies the city is wooing.”

Although there has been debate on the legitimacy of purportedly large tax breaks used to reel in the tech supernova, the Times quoted Reno city manager Andrew Clinger as saying that this is a first step in what is hoped to be a long line of potential corporate residents.

“Attracting an international icon to Reno puts us on the map,” said Clinger. Mr. Clinger also noted “that the new building would also help change downtown’s landscape by replacing ‘seedy motels’ that are there now.”

Along with ourselves and other local redevelopment groups, Dacole LLC couldn’t agree more.  Cofounder and president of Reno investment firm Dacole LLC, potential City Council Ward 1 candidate, and Friend of Marmot Bernie Carter is helping recreate what the downtown and newly evolving Midtown areas are all about.

“We’re attracting young professionals who want a vibrant downtown,” Carter said to the Reno News and Review in May, “no national chains, not even a Starbucks. We’re going to have small entrepreneurs to try and establish that sense of community that we think is so critical for attracting young professionals to our area.”

Apple might be just what this area needs to speed along such an evolution.

The Reno City Council Meeting on June 27, 2012 approved an agreement with Northern Nevada Urban Development & Management Company, LLC (NNUDMC) for the Tessera Tourism Improvement District.  This agreement would provide a tax incentive for hooking certain occupants, namely Apple, Inc., with future hopes of bringing in other attractive “tenants, people, businesses, and economic activity to the District.”

And these are no small apples.  According to the Reno City Council, Apple, Inc. will hire around 40 employees and up to 200 independent contractors, including people needed for the construction phase of their new office center, potentially impacting the community at large with positive economic run-off.

“Reno has been working to diversify its economic base,” Mayor Cashell said at the June 27th meeting. “This is a project in which we can all work together for the good of the whole. Apple will create jobs and brings millions of dollars to our community which will help everyone.”

Of course, Apple has more to gain than do-good job creation and a great office window view of the Sierras.  According to the Reno Gazette Journal, Apple can stand to gain a series of tax cuts amounting to $89 million over the next ten years, much of which will come from the local government, reducing the tech giant’s tax burden by nearly 80 percent.

But for many, the favorable outcome of an in surge of high-impact economic growth for the Reno area is well worth the exchange.

Rich Miller, editor of Data Center Knowledge, a New Jersey-based publication that tracks this industry, was positively quoted in the RGJ with his thoughts on what a Reno landscape might look like, post-Apple. “I think the hope is a data center project will mark a region as a favorable area for high technology development,” Miller said. “A big project for Apple or Google or Microsoft will lead to other projects following, so you get a cluster of data centers forming.”

Like attracts like, or at least that’s the hope.  With big players like Apple redefining what coming to the table in Reno looks like, it may be only a short time before our city becomes a popular destination for high-impact companies to bring much needed economic-drought relief.  And with it, new soil for community developers like us Marmots to continue replanting and beautifying our city center.   Your future’s looking great, Reno. Keep up the good work.

265 Thoma St.: Reconstruction underway

It’s been dubbed “The Cat Pee House”, and it’s getting closer to transforming into a beautiful duplex. It’s one of our proudest projects, if only because the before was such a great example of our favorite kind of RENOvation.

Check out REreno’s great post about the Cat Pee House, and don’t miss the wonderful photo essay on the before of 265 Thoma from Rick Chapman Photography.


Made in Reno

Brought to you by the 720 StartUp Closet, located in the Marmot-friendly Midtown District, Made in Reno is an app launching soon that brings together and promotes 100% local businesses–and Marmot Companies is on that list. We talked with Manny Becerra about the project.

“There is a lot of diverse and inspiring talent in the Truckee Meadows: creative individuals and community-centric groups that fuse passion with sustainability,” said Becerra, and we couldn’t agree more. Reno is seeing some amazing things happening lately, from the always wonderful Artown to new businesses popping up all over Midtown and surrounding areas. Great new apps like this one and Downtown Makeover’s and Apple’s coming-soon data center are making Reno a cutting-edge city, too, defying all 10-years-behind-the-times sentiment–but as we grow and progress, staying true to our roots is only going to be more important.

Made in Reno wants to make that easier for you. “The Made in Reno app is meant to act as a helpful, catalyzing tool for showcasing local, rad gems — individuals, startups, alternative schools and projects, restaurants, ideas, etc.,” says Becerra, “connecting both residents and visitors/tourists of the Reno-Tahoe (Truckee Meadows) region to further support one another, (re)build our community together, and drive more of the economy to our local people.”

Be on the lookout for this app, which is slated to release this summer. In the meantime, be sure to visit their site:

The Assemblage puts Marmot Companies in the news once again!

A big thanks to KTVN for this great coverage of The Assemblage!

KTVN Channel 2 – Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video –

From their site:

More renovations are on the way for Reno’s Midtown area.

This, after local investors, Marmot Companies, purchased a collection of 21 residential properties. It’s three brothers who own the company, and they are trying to clean the neighborhood up and make it safer for residents.

They are well on their way, after investing another $2 million into those 21 properties. They plan on restoring all of their newly-purchased properties.

“It’s a full blown, rehabilitation, revitalization effort,” says Eric Raydon with Marmot Companies.

All 21 properties are located just south of the Discovery Museum on South Center Street. That means that community is going to start looking very different in the coming months.

“We started in individual properties, and we’ve moved onto blocks,” Raydon said. “Now, we’re doing entire neighborhoods.” 

The Raydon brothers tell us Midtown is the perfect place to continue restoring homes. It’s within walking distance to downtown Reno, and close to shops and restaurants.

Eric Raydon says the ultimate goal is for Reno to follow in Denver’s footsteps. The Mile High City was once filled with old, rundown neighborhoods. Then, investors came in, and cleaned everything up, giving the city a whole new look.

“We believe that the foundation is here, for Reno to become truly great, to become the next Denver,” says Raydon.

Neighbors say they like the sound of that.

“It’s always nice to look out your window and see nice properties rather than, you know, sort of grim and gray ones,” says Joshua Holton. “So, I think it’s a great idea for them to invest in the area.”

Other Midtown residents agree – the area needs some visual improvements.

“Make it more appealing to the eye,” says Sam Osheroff. “Kind of like by California Avenue, and how it is over there.”

And, making things more appealing to the eye is certainly part of the plan.

“Improving the streetscape, starting with the medians,” says Raydon. “Start to repair the sidewalks.”

What was once just a rather small project for the Raydon brothers is now reshaping Midtown’s entire look and feel.

“What’s next for us is we’re going to keep buying,” says Raydon. “We’re going to keep investing in Reno. Right in the heart of Midtown, right in the heart of downtown, we’re going to keep going.”

With the addition of the 21 homes, the Raydon brothers now own a total of 60 units in 35 properties.

Apple to open data center in Reno

In 2010, plans were announced for a large technology park just outside of Reno. The project, developed by the Unique Infrastructure Group is known simply as the Reno Technology Park, boasts 2,200 acres of space for technology-focused companies–a full 1,000 of those acres are intended to house data centers. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Reno Technology Park is the emphasis the developers have put on clean energy generation, an emphasis that has garnered the attention of technology giant Apple Computers.

Read more

Midtown Farmer's Market

Midtown gets fresh

If you’ve been wandering around Midtown on a Wednesday night recently, you probably noticed the wonderful sight of a brand new farmer’s market. This market only just cropped up on May 23rd of this year, and things are growing quickly. After sprouting on the corner of Thoma St. and Center St., the Midtown Farmer’s Market was transplanted and is now putting down roots just a block over, on a Thoma St. and Virginia St.

Head on over to their website and give them a big LIKE on Facebook to get the latest news about the market and learn more about what fruits, veggies, and other tastiness you can get your hands on. From their site:

Midtown Farmer’s Market is located in the Midtown District at Thoma and Center in Reno. We sell everything from organic and local produce, to honey, eggs, coffee, and olive oil, and jewelry, oils, and other handmade treats and arts and crafts. We are excited to start working within the Midtown District!

We’re, of course, very excited to have another farmer’s market in the area, particularly one so close to so many of our Marmot burrows. With the Great Basin Community Food Co-op just up the street in Reno’s burgeoning SoDo district, this area is rapidly becoming a tribute to exactly the kind of community development we like to see: locally oriented, bikeable/walkable, and all-around healthy.


The greenest buildings

A relatively famous mantra of the green building movement was coined by architect Carl Elefante: “The greenest building is the one already standing.” It’s a lovely sentiment, but when you think about old structures with shoddy wiring, old windows, coal chutes, and the like, it’s a bit hard to believe. A new study shows that it’s not only true, in some circumstances it’s shocking.

Read more

The upshift: Urban redevelopment and the American dream

Once driven by expansion, cities across America are looking inward. Renovation, redevelopment, and urban infill development are breathing life back into urban neighborhoods that were all but forgotten during the race to live out in sprawling suburban areas.

The move inward

A Census data analysis in a recent USA Today article found that “population growth in fringe counties nearly stopped in the 12 months that ended July 1, 2011.”

Read more

Northern Nevada Business Weekly Covers Marmot Companies

We’d like to thank the Northern Nevada Business Weekly for their generous support of our efforts to RENOvate key parts of downtown Reno:

Gentrification of Midtown draws capital and uses elbow grease
John Seelmeyer, 3/5/2012

The smell of cat urine is so overpowering that it will stick to the shoes of brothers Eric and Gary Raydon even after they leave the beaten-down house a couple of blocks west of Wells near downtown Reno.

But in a few months, the house will be renovated from top to bottom, new landscaping will be in place, and a freshly painted white picket fence will greet some of the growing number of renters looking for homes in Reno’s Midtown neighborhood.

Read more