The recent City Council agenda item where an entity called “M&K” requested abandonment of the alley in preparation for a full block redevelopment project on the block bounded by Center, Lake, 6th and 7th streets prompted me to do some research into ownership concentration in that general region of downtown.
That research, combined with added input from some outside sources, results in the following ownership summary.
The listed owners of the various parcels on the “M&K project” block share a common mailing address, 605 Lake St. Most parcels are owned under the name of Quantum Investments (other names also exist) so I will call the owner of the parcels on this block, as well as scattered parcels on adjacent blocks with that same mailing address “Quantum Investments”. Quantum properties are shaded blue.
A second major property owner in the general area is Cherry Palm Ltd. A couple years ago, this entity bought the old Speakeasy hotel casino and has converted it into the Reno Regency apartments. In addition to multiple parcels on the block that houses the hotel casino, the purchase also included parking lots to the north and west on adjacent blocks. Cherry Palm parcels are shaded green.
A third major property owner, and a very active buyer in recent years is an entity that has purchased using two names at the same mailing address, Spanish Springs Investments and, more recently, Northern Nevada Urban Development Co LLC. I’ll call this group “NNUD” and its parcels are shaded pink.
A fourth major property owner, according to a fairly well sourced rumor is the Besso family who apparently owns not only the Reno Vulcanizing building but also the entire block with its numerous aging motels. This block is shaded red.
Finally, , Harrahs owns several vacant parcels shaded yellow on the block north of the new events center.
As you can see, property ownership in the area bounded by I80 to the north, 5th street to the south, Virginia to the west and extending to Evans on the east (and a bit beyond) is becoming very concentrated. In fact, since 2004, there have been nearly $22,000,0000 in property acquisitions in this small area.
Now, here are some juicy RUMORS.
It is RUMORED that the Besso family (red) and NNUD (pink) MAY be related and that the Besso family may be participating in the recent property purchases by NNUD.
It is also RUMORED that some sort of “consortium” may be “considering” a multi-block project that could include a new hotel casino and possibly upscale retail and/or residential.
Whether or not these rumors are true, it appears to me that this largely underutilized area of downtown is ripe for substantial redevelopment over the next several years. Over the past three years or so, many parcels have changed hands in the area and two or three entities have acquired the vast majority. When investors start spending $2 million to buy a now defunct Dairy Queen and its adjacent parking parcel and spend a similar amount on an old wedding chapel and adjacent parcel – as has happened in recent months - something is up.
Perhaps the recent decision to have the “M&K project” go before the council will mark the beginning of a substantial rebirth in a largely blighted area in which some well heeled investors have been quietly concentrating ownership for many years.