Client:  City of Reno (NV)

Gruen Gruen + Associates (GG+A) provided the market and economic foundation to a multi-disciplinary consulting team led by planners and urban designers of Freedman Tung & Bottomley commissioned by the City of Reno to prepare a master plan for the ReTrac corridor that runs through Downtown Reno. GG+A conducted research and analysis and prepared forecasts of the potential demand for office, retail, and residential space in Downtown Reno and the ReTrac corridor in order to provide both market and policy inputs for the preparation of the master plan.

For the office space analysis, GG+A conducted interviews to gain information and perspective to define the relevant market area and to identify the origins and types of potential office space users, the competing locations these users consider and the advantages and disadvantages of the Downtown as an office location. GG+A studied office space supply conditions and forecast the demand for office space based on an analysis of historical employment trends by economic sector, forecasting employment growth by economic sector, converting the forecast of employment growth into building space demand, and estimating the share of forecast demand the Downtown could potentially serve. GG+A also considered the demand for office space needed to replace obsolete facilities. GG+A identified a strategy for enhancing Downtown’s competitive position and identified an office space product option opportunity not currently available in the Downtown.

For the retail space analysis, GG+A conducted in interviews with a variety of businesses, developers, brokers, economic development professionals and analysts with the University of Nevada, Reno. GG+A analyzed taxable sales trends, reviewed supply data, assessed the competitive position of the Downtown’s retail base, estimated retail expenditure potential from household, employment and visitor markets and converted the purchasing power estimates into estimates of the demand for retail space based on research-based sales per square foot thresholds. GG+A identified a strategy to improve the Downtown’s retail base and recommended specific commercial use and customer market targets.

For the residential market analysis, GG+A conducted property inspections, and interviews with developers and marketing agents of residential developments and reviewed Assessor records to identify the primary geographic markets from which Downtown housing attracts households, the types of households attracted, the advantages and disadvantages and image of the Downtown as a hosing location, and characteristics of new and proposed Downtown housing developments. GG+A estimated the scale of demand based on estimates of the size of the households with characteristics associated with households which have selected Downtown as a housing location and estimates of annual rates of turnover of such households and the growth or formation of new households. GG+A recommended a strategy for encouraging market-rate housing development as well as the provision of affordable housing for artists.

GG+A participated in City staff workshops and stakeholder meetings and provided real estate economic analysis to assess the feasibility of varying development alternatives and to help program the master plan.

A full PDF copy of the final ReTRAC Corridor study and plan can be found here.