While pondering how to create the ideal living room, Reno developer Par Tolles did what many folks would do: he asked his friends and family.
The founder of Tolles Development Company says he wants to create the Biggest Little City's "living room" for his next venture, a $40-million mixed-use retail, dining and office project on prime Reno real estate at Rancharrah.
That would be the same Rancharrah that once served as the personal estate of the late casino magnate Bill Harrah. Given the property's history and location, Tolles says there was no shortage of interest from national developers on that piece of Rancharrah property.
"I often describe Rancharrah as the last large parcel of influence in Reno," Tolles said. "(Reno Land Inc.) could've made more money but they were committed to making this local friendly and have it done by builders who know what locals need and want."
With the deal on nearly 13 acres of Rancharrah land officially closing recently, the ball is now firmly in Tolles' court to deliver an attraction that would bring locals to The Village.
Focus on accessibility is the driving force for the living room concept that Tolles envisions for The Village, which will start construction this year and is eyeing a completion date of late 2019 or early 2020. For inspiration, Tolles is drawing from a variety of sources, including Reno's own Midtown as well as successful centers outside of the area. "We're creating a lot of what we and our friends and our wives would like to see and we're building a place where we want to be at," Tolles said.
Capturing that Midtown vibe has become a common mantra among developers for all sorts of projects ever since a group of small business owners transformed that neighborhood from an area that residents either shunned or were apathetic to - into a popular destination for dining, shopping or hanging out.
Interest from potential merchants and businesses has been strong, with Tolles saying they have amassed a large waiting list of companies looking to enter The Village. The letters of intent that Tolles has received would fill up 80 percent of the project if all of them were accepted, he said. Tolles says the company has already said no to some national "big box" players who wanted to have a space in the center. Although The Village will have regional businesses, Tolles is consciously trying to keep them to a minimum.