1/11 FCs, News, Gossip

First the sacred, then the profane.

Foreclosure activity definitely hit a slowdown at month’s end, most likely from the temporary halt on BofA filings, since rescinded.  NODs totaled 574 in January, steady with 576 in December and 576 in November.  NOSs continued their drop to 567 from 689 in December and 715 in November.  TDs were up to 290 from 262 in December and 225 in November.  Not a huge surprise given the high number of NOSs in the past few months.

NRES has been very acting in the last quarter, and I’ll work on an update on what they are buying and selling if there is any interest from you readers.  NRES isn’t the only party buying on the court house steps – close to 10% of the 290 TDs went to private parties.  This is way above the traditional 2-4%.

A couple notable commercial NODs this week:

–  8790 Red Rock, a strip retail center, received a NOD on their $2.780,000 Loan.

–  2050 Market Street is the Roadway Inn.  It received a NOD on their $3,536,000 loan.  Hotels are really being hit hard.

OK, what you really want to hear about is the Fitz, right?  The Dude at Downtown Makeover is reporting that a Notice of Hearing for a special use permit has been posted on the building.  The notice gives some enticing clues about what Nando has up his sleeve. The next regularly scheduled Planning Hearing was set for 2 March, so this 11 February hearing is a special session.  The application for the Wall was filed on January 12, and it took Reno Planning a full 2 weeks to identify that a SUP would be required, which is pretty embarrassing for a high profile project. 

OK NW folks, have you been following the TCA Properties application for the SW corner of I-80 and Robb?  It is one of the first major projects to go through the court mandated 2 step land use / zoning process.  The applicant wants to strip the top of the hill on what was once proposed to be the Flying-J truckstop and fill in the ravine to the west to create land for a 305,000  SF shopping center (Target?).  The Staff Report on the project is really interesting, and the hearing is Wednesday evening.  The proposal is against just about everything in the regional and planning codes and Reno has come out with the strongest negative recommendation I’ve ever seen.  But the public comment cards are almost universally in favor of the project, as long as it isn’t a truck stop.  This is an interesting one.

That’s it for now.  Are you seeing anything else interesting out there?


About Mike McGonagle

An architect, business owner, and compulsive public records hacker, Mike reads the tea leaves of the local real estate market from a unique perspective.. A former Chicagoan, Mike earned his MArch from Harvard University. Mike can be reached at mike@macassociates.com or 775-345-7435. His continued musings can be found on the REreno.com blog.
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37 Responses to 1/11 FCs, News, Gossip

  1. Avatar Stewart says:

    What is the status of the Fitzgerald parking garage lease? The rent has not been paid since sometime in 2009, and the city has authorized legal action to collect the past due rent and terminate the lease? Can the Fitz open without the parking garage?

  2. Avatar Kenny says:

    I feel this is an example of the City leaving code too vague so that it can be interpreted as needed/wanted. The drainageway was disturbed when I-80 was constructed, this should be a non-issue in this decision. You do not return to natural, you can mediate what was done but its still a disturbed feature.

  3. Avatar Comeback Kid says:

    Isn’t considering a climbing wall a little ridiculous without a plan for the building itself? It seems a little backwards to me to be applying for a climbing wall on a building that is empty and doesn’t have a direction. But leave it to Fernando to have us buy into the extreme.

  4. Avatar geopower says:

    The SUP needs to be in place before you move forward with the ground work. Presumably there is a plan in place for the rest, it just hasn’t been made public yet because it doesn’t require a SUP.

  5. Avatar geopower says:

    If you read the staff report on the proposed development, you’ll see the city code is in fact quite specific, not vague, in it’s limitations on development on steep slopes and existing drainages. Other than the fill and culverts for I-80 and other roads crossing it, that drainage extends unfilled through the Northgate golf course. The city code allows filling of drainages only when absolutely necessary, and making another 20 acres of strip mall doesn’t meet that threshold for the city staff reviewing the proposal. These restrictions on development were in place when the land was purchased by the current owners, so this isn’t some after-the-fact taking of rights from a landowner.

  6. Avatar bob_c says:

    I’m always full of ideas and observations.

    If you go to the assessors sales chart and sort by price for washoe county one can see the median to date is 150K, but if you eliminate condos (i had to estimate here–too
    time consuming) — i hit the 165K median–same as last month.

  7. Avatar GreenNV says:

    Bob C, I ran a similar test this morning. I sorted by SFR only, built any year but 2010, and 2D Sales Verification only. I got a $150,000 median. If it holds up, the median is getting blown back into the 1990s. I sometimes run into problems when I hack formulas into the Assessor’s Excel spreadsheet, but last month I exactly matched the $165,000 median Guy later reported.

  8. Avatar Raymond says:

    “… the median is getting blown back into the 1990s”.
    Yes. This should not be news to anybody who has been paying attention. There are numerous neighborhoods all over Reno/Sparks where prices are now back to 1997. Some pretty darn nice neighborhoods too.

  9. Avatar Carlo says:

    A lot of condo projects have been blown back to the 1980s, some (Smithridge) back to the 1970s.
    If you don’t take the condos out of the metric, pretty soon the combined median is going to be back to where it was 20 years ago.

  10. Avatar bob_c says:

    Green NV—
    I didn’t use 2D…i assumed the median was calculated by all recorded sales.
    What did you come up with using all SFR sales?
    The asessor segregates the SFR, but the web site then forces you to find the median by hand from that point. Too tedious and error prone.
    I’m pretty confident on the 165K as there were 70-80 non-SFR transactions
    of which the overwhelming majority were a drag to the total median.
    Can you easily calculate a median using all SFR sales? Would like to see your number.

  11. Avatar bob_c says:

    Why doesn’t Bernanke earmark a little piece of that QE2 to reno real estate?

  12. Avatar bob_c says:

    just did it accurately

    161,700 is the median SFR to date—-subject to the posting of the balance of the sales

  13. Avatar bob_c says:

    the assessors webpage isnt formatted to fit my screen. i picked up 8 more high end sales…165,000 is the median.

  14. Avatar GreenNV says:

    BC, just ran it again including 2F (foreclosures). Median stayed at $150K. With some modified constraints I came up with $151,000.

    Again, I sometimes have problems manipulating the Assessor’s data. What Guy tracks off the MLS data base doesn’t exactly track to what we can glean from the Assessor. But I was dead on last month a week before Guy posted his data and can prove it to the sceptics with my emails to Guy.

    Assuming I’m in the ballpark, what factors would to ascribe to a 10% M/M decline in the median? And is the value of your house affected by any of this?

  15. Avatar bob_c says:

    if there is a decline i think its partially seasonal…..how do i put this delicately;
    the higher strata homeowners don’t list during the holidays and parlay that into waiting for spring. thus the inventory is subdued. also, i think the age of a 3000sf home is over….that additional 1000sf you really don’t need just adds to your overhead.
    the last 1000sf of any mcmansion is selling for <100/sf —-hoa's , taxes and heating
    are all big factors now. moderate sized homes…..in great shape……energy efficient command the top dollar per sf
    i think caughlin ranch is rolling over because it really is getting older and becoming a glorified tract…………lakeridge has a vibrant golf course and really has enough homes to satisfy those who want to live close in or go to juniper hills and live in a custom.

    i don't think we are crashing right now—-adjusting still—–there is a lot of undesirable real estate in the reno-sparks area that i wouldn't own at any price
    and people bubbled that stuff up too

  16. Avatar bob_c says:

    just did it manually—only 224 SFR listed
    number 112 170.4K
    number 113 173.9K

    median 172.15K surprise!!!!!

    sorry for tying up the board guy!!!!!!

  17. Avatar Sully says:

    bob_c; “there is a lot of undesirable real estate in the reno-sparks area that i wouldn’t own at any price and people bubbled that stuff up too”

    Of course, a rising tide lifts all boats. Perhaps one of the reasons the boom/bust cycle seems to last so long on the bust side. People get used to the rising, but fail to see the decline for what it is. This is evident in some of the high end areas now.

  18. Avatar Move to Reno? says:

    McMansions will come back in style again once the economy is running on all 8 cylinders. Hoa fees are all the same regardless of size of house unless one has to pay for security. Energy costs are a factor but McMansions are usually super insulated. The new 18 seer AC units help reduce costs but if one has money to burn energy costs are not that big deal. Some people like to live in big houses. Now is a good time to buy one since the price in sq ft is very reasonable as compared to replacement value. The demand for 3000+ sq ft houses which are fairly new is still there.

  19. Avatar Salter says:

    “McMansions will come back in style again once the economy is running on all 8 cylinders.”
    For Nevada, that will be about 2035. Maybe.

  20. Avatar Move to Reno? says:

    I agree that it will be some time before a ton of McMansions get built in Nevada again. Maybe never. However, the inventory of existing ones are slowly being absorbed by the market at below replacement cost.

    I think that the Nevada economy will be doing a hell of a lot better in 5 years if all the deadwood is cut out of the State and local budgets and public employee unions are eliminated or at least neutered. Nevada has always been dependent on outside tourist dollars so a national economic recovery should be felt in Nevada in a big way.

  21. Avatar Free Falling says:

    Thanks for the post on the I-80/Robb project Mike. It took forever to open the attachment which may explain the absence of comment on this one. Living in the NW I am supportive of more commercial on this side of town and not opposed to some commercial on this site. However, the proposal to basically nuke two natural drainages and view corridors on the gateway into Reno is disappointing at best.

    While I am sure that a Target here would do very well, I would be much happier with a smaller development that respects the natural topography of the site.

    I am surprised that this proposal has not been the subject of more dialogue. What was the outcome of last night’s hearing?

  22. Avatar lurker says:

    If you talked with my wife, you’d realize that there is still plenty of demand for 3000sqft houses. Always will be, at the right price…..

  23. Avatar Gadfly says:

    Just for fun, I looked to see how many 3,000+ sqft SFRs were listed in Reno/Sparks at or below $300,000 ($100/sq ft). 41 properties are listed. I suspect all 41 would be properties that some “wouldn’t own at any price,” but these are 3,000+ sq ft SFRs that may actually sell.

    Furthermore, six of the 3,000 sq ft properties come it at under $200,000 (less than $66.67/sq ft). Two are in Sun Valley, one is in Cold Springs, one is in Palomino Valley (and takes quasi-rustic to a new and disturbing level), and two are in Reno proper, although one of those is really a triplex (and is wonderfully eccentric and eclectic; see MRS #100009465), and neither property is in an area anyone is likely to consider desirable. But, while I am sure no one on here would be personally interested in any of these six, at that price point, I have no doubt they will sell.

  24. Avatar nevadaisdead says:

    There will always be Posers who will want a big house. Even if they don’t need it, they still need to fill an emotional deficit in their makeup. Posers will always mortgage their souls to try to appear better than others . . . at least in their own minds. That will keep the McMansions in business, even in a hellhole like Reno.

  25. Avatar lurker says:

    well, at least you referred to me with a capital “P”. Fact is, when you have 4+ people in the family, anything less than 2000sqft is a bit of a squeeze. If you can afford it, especially in this market, why wouldn’t you spring for a bit more elbow room?

  26. Avatar GreenNV says:

    FF, missed the planning hearing but am pretty sure the application was turned down. this was a purely spec project. Now if they had come in with Target, Best Buy, Crate & Barrel and Nordstrom’s Rack with signed letters of intent, maybe the city would have had reason to consider the trade offs. Sorry the file on the Staff Report was so huge – I only get what is on the Reno site.

    I am humored by the people looking at installing solar panels on their 4 car garages to save the planet (and a few bucks). You can do a perfectly livable 3/2 in 1200 SF.

  27. Avatar Grand Wazoo says:

    Anytime you want to see what can truly be well done in a small space simply walk through IKEA. They’ve got all these model spaces with the square footage prominently displayed. The 377 sq/ft model is my all-time favorite – genius!

  28. Avatar bob_c says:

    Can you rent one for a romantic weekend?

  29. Avatar RRB Fan says:

    Re: What was the outcome of last night’s hearing?

    Per the planner who prepared the staff report: “The Planning Commission approved all of the requests by a 4-2 vote.”

    Very disappointing … to say the least. As a homeowner in the development due south of the proposed project, I have been tracking this project since the initial zoning request, That was appealed to the City Council and it upheld the Planning Commissions decision. Do any of you think it’s worth appealing the decision to the City Council? And if so, any advice on how to achieve a different outcome this time?

  30. Avatar GreenNV says:

    WOW, this is a very disappointing response on the TCA project. Given the scathing staff report, I expected the requests to be rejected, then appealed to the City Council where the economic impact of the project could be factored in. I have mixed feelings – the proposed project violates just about every local and regional planning goals. I could make a case to sacrifice the drainage ways if some extraordinary project was proposed, but not for a spec strip mall.

    I’m sure this will be appealed. And if upheld, expect legal action. The grass roots organization that stopped the truck stop is still very active and has been following the TCA project. Get on their mailing list at http://notruckstop.com.

  31. Avatar bob_c says:


    Reno’s economy stinks, so the environment and all other ideals go out the window.
    No surprise to me they approve any substantial economic activity. Probably would approve filling in half of Lake Tahoe if Intel would relocate here.

  32. Avatar GreenNV says:

    I’m not surprized about the project getting approved, but shocked it happened at the planning level and not at the council level. The staff report (sorry about the download speed, for some reason it is a huge file) is really worth a read. It details the specific findings that must be made to allow the variances, and how NONE of those findings can be made. The financial impacts shouldn’t have entered in the the equation at this level of review, and no financial analysis was presented by the developer in the staff report.

    I just found the video of the meeting at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38mTZuiItx0 I plan to make some popcorn and see what really went down!

  33. Avatar geopower says:

    Thanks for the link. TCA item starts at 45 min.

  34. Avatar geopower says:

    The Fitz is now “CommRow” and has a Facebook page with drawings of what the front facade would look like with the climbing wall:

  35. Avatar GreenNV says:

    Special Special Use Permit hearing for the Wall is Friday the 11th at 6 PM. I think it will be broadcast on Charter 213. The Staff Report just got posted, and it’s a lovefest. http://reno.gov/Agendas/pc/2011/0211/LDC11-00046%20%28Downtown%20Reno%20Climbing%20Wall%29.pdf Little issues like being half a million dollars behind in rent payments on the garage won’t be allowed to be discussed – only issues germane to the SUP.

  36. Pingback: New role for the old Fitz | RRB Home

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