A chunk of land needed for West 2nd District, the 17-acre downtown Reno redevelopment project announced earlier this year, is now up for sale by the original owner.
The owner, Dr. John Iliescu, recently listed a 2.7-acre plot and an adjacent 1.1-acre plot of empty land along the train tracks on Ralston Street for more than $4.2 million. The Don J Clark Group, the developers behind West 2nd District, said in April that the larger property was in their control and they had plans to use it for a parking garage and an apartment building. Now, those plans appear to be in question following the property listing by Iliescu.
"We want to be helpful and cooperative," Iliescu said in an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal. "We think the project is good. But you’ll have to take it up with him. Sorry, that’s all I’ve got to say.”
Iliescu owns 35 parcels in Reno, according to Washoe County Assessor records. Many of those parcels are either undeveloped, a parking lot or have a vacant building on them, including several empty gift shops in downtown Reno. Some of them contain active businesses.
Colin Robertson of the Don J Clark Group said the Iliescu listing doesn't set the project back.
“It's something we’re working through with him and the whole project, and it’s part of the process,” Robertson said. "It’s a complex project and we're working through it."
The property in question
West 2nd District is a planned development of affordable housing, apartments, condominiums, hotels and retail west of the current downtown core. The total project, phased in over 10 years, would eventually cost about $1.2 billion in land purchase and development.
In April, the Don J Clark Group asked the city of Reno for a $100 million tax subsidy to help redevelop the neighborhood and build the project. The Reno City Council delayed decisions on that question.
Don J Clark Group owns 235 Ralston St., the Townhouse Motor Lodge and a parcel of three buildings on First Street, according to Washoe County Assessor records. These total 1.8 acres out of the 17 listed for development.
“Approximately 90 percent of the land is owned or controlled," Robertson said. By controlled, Robertson said they have contracts, or options, to buy land at a particular price.
Robertson said he's now working on a housing affordability and relocation plan for the weekly motels in the district's footprints. One of those is the 7/11 Motor Lodge, which was also listed for sale online last week. The group also is planning to buy the Castaway Inn next to the planned condominium, 235 Ralston, Robertson said.
"We're continuing to keep all the moving parts moving," he said.