"The Oddie District" will tackle one of the big real estate questions facing our country: What to do with all the empty big-box stores?
Creative flex-tech offices, maker spaces, small shops, food and beverage offerings and work-live studios for artists and entrepreneurs will buzz after a $30 million redevelopment of the 200,000 sq ft. building at 2450 Oddie Blvd., the biggest vacant big-box building in metro Reno/Sparks.
Through a model being pioneered by real estate developer Foothill Partners and national startup ecosystem developer Innovation Collective, two proven concepts are coming together. These concepts will bring vibrant, creative and community-minded energy to a long-empty big-box space, reinvigorating an aging neighborhood in the heart of Sparks.
The flex-tech portion of the project will also provide an option for living spaces for tenants who are interested in the work-live aspects of The Oddie District.
Big-box buildings typically are not zoned for residential use but the flexible workspaces can be leased as living quarters, allowing tenants to have beds or even install a kitchenette so they can live on site.
You can have a cool space that you can lease for a year, five years. It's like a business studio. Creating a space for the future, not just the past.
The Generator, a nonprofit maker space collection of celebrated artists and engineers from Burning Man and the greater Reno/Sparks community, is the largest tenant in The Oddie District, using 40,000 square feet of the building.
Artwork created at The Generator will be displayed in an Art Park being developed in what once served as the garden center of the home improvement store.
Another 60,000 square feet of flex-tech space at The Oddie District will become home to technology, research, engineering, software and design companies.
An 8,000-square-foot brewery/distillery will open onto covered, open-air seating area, and an events stage to be carved from the front of the building.
Another 10,000 square feet of space will be available for food and beverage uses, and 9,000 square feet will provide homes for small shops and service businesses. Work-live studios will provide workspaces and homes for artists and entrepreneurs.
This plan will be a new use for this empty big-box retail building.
Located right next to the dividing line between Reno and Sparks, the stretch of Oddie Boulevard where the former Lowe's building is located used to be a bustling commercial spot that featured several retail stores such as Kmart and Montgomery Ward.
As newer commercial centers popped up elsewhere and online shopping started to eat into the traditional dominance of brick-and-mortar operations - the location gradually fell on hard times.
The Great Recession further hastened the area's demise, with Lowe's ultimately selling the property in the summer of 2015.