A New York-based developer plans to build one of the largest, most amenity-filled private student housing projects in Reno by 2020.
“It’ll be something that nobody in Reno is providing. It’s just going to be unbelievable," said Christopher Kritzman, vice president of development for Park7 Group.
University of Nevada, Reno students filled dormitories to 125 percent capacity in the 2017-18 school year, according to university officials. Overcapacity dorms highlight the need for student housing, both public and private. While the university prepares to open more dorms, private developers have seized the opportunity to build along Virginia Street.
"We know that Nevada is growing quickly and has a limited supply of new, high-quality, class A, off-campus student housing," Kritzman said.
Park7 Group's plan for Park Place Reno is to take on the population of students and parents who want that housing option.
The 3.5-acre project requires the demolition of the University Inn motel, Wolf Stop gas station (with famous "ARM" and "LEG" gas prices), two apartments on Sierra Street and the Subway sandwich shop across from Fleischmann Planetarium on North Virginia Street.
The land acquisitions, which also included a dirt lot, cost more than $20 million, according to Washoe County Assessor records.
"Land prices were expensive but justifiable," Kritzman said.
The plan includes a long five-story building with 762 beds inside 267 units ranging from studios to five shared units with a common area. For comparison, UNR is currently building Great Basin Hall near the other dorms on Virginia Street, and it will include 430 beds. Park Place Reno's rooms would include 50-inch TVs, high-speed internet, fully furnished walk-in closets, granite counters and hardwood floors.
The Subway that Park7 Group bought would be reopened on the ground floor. Kritzman said they originally wanted more retail but decided to replace that space with a lobby, sales office and more units.
On the roof, a two-story clubhouse would give students a gym, outdoor sport courts, a pool, hot tubs, tanning deck and lawn. Inside, developers plan to build a golf simulator, study lounge and computer lab.
“It’ll be an exciting place to live, work on your studies and play,” he said.
Renderings of the elevated fifth floor amenity deck planned for Park7 Group's Park Place Reno student housing project. The area labeled clubroom and fitness would be two stories. There’s also a cornhole area, a yoga/crossfit lawn, two spas, a half court basketball and full volleyball court, a grilling area, seating and lush landscape as well as a fire pit area. (Photo: Provided by Park7 Group)
One of the benefits of Park Place, Kritzman said, is the location. Its proximity to food and campus means students wouldn't need a car, although the project still has a parking garage.
Though rents are not set yet, Kritzman said they should be competitive with other housing nearby, which he said would price some of the units under $800 a month. Kritzman said prices are subject to the specific city's market.
“(Reno is) an affluent market," he said. "You have a lot of affluent students who can afford and want this type of product.”
University housing rates, for comparison, range from $5,580 to $8,910 per school year and include some meal plans.
Park7 Group does all of its own development, construction, property management and retains ownership of the buildings. That allows them to stay in control of the process and control opening dates and deflect delays to protect tenants.
“We don’t want to miss that delivery date," Kritzman said. "Because it puts everyone in a bind, especially the tenants. So we like to deliver early in the summer so we can buff and polish it and make sure it’s move-in ready.”
He said they hope to open in May or June 2020. They pick early summer so that students moving out of previous housing can move straight into Park Place during the summer instead of putting their belongings into storage for a few weeks and having to move twice.
If they think they're going to miss the open date, they'll push back the entire project by one or two full semesters so students aren't in limbo, Kritzman said. He doesn't want people to question the craftsmanship or run into problems because they couldn't complete a project on time.
“We’ve never missed a deadline," he said.
Mike Higdon is the city life reporter at the RGJ and can be found on Instagram @MillennialMike, on Facebook at Mike Higdon, Reno Life and on Twitter @MikeHigdon.
Tucker Abts, The Puz Team