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Land Squeeze Pushes Industry Eastward (Subscriber Content)

By John Seelmeyer
Tesla Gigafactor under construction. Image: Bob Conrad / ThisisReno.com

There’s a simple reason that big industrial growth is headed to Fernley and other outlying communities: Reno and Sparks are about out of land to handle new warehouses and factories. In the past few weeks, the developers of the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center — Don Roger Norman and Lance Gilman — said they’ve bought 5,700 acres of land at Fernley for industrial projects.

That came on the heels of an announcement from California’s Mark IV Capital that it plans development of big distribution centers on a 4,300-acre project in Fernley dubbed Victory Logistics Center.

“There is limited amount of land for industrial development left in the North Valleys, Spanish Springs and the Truckee Meadows,” said Chris Fairchild, an expert in industrial real estate with Colliers International in Reno.

He says that only one property currently for sale in Reno could meet the needs of a big industrial company. Even the sprawling TRIC — billed as the world’s largest industrial park — has only a couple of large-sized properties on the market.

“Development will have to push out of the basin given the current master plans and infrastructure,” Fairchild said.

Along with Fernley and Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, some of that industrial growth could be headed to Carson City, the Minden-Gardnerville area and Dayton, Fairchild says.

In a just-completed analysis of the market for industrial properties in Reno and Sparks, Colliers International found that manufacturers and logistics companies soaked up more than 1.5 million square feet of industrial space this spring.

Construction of more than 1.86 million square feet of industrial space — roughly equivalent to as much space as two Meadowood Malls — was completed in the region during the second quarter of 2019.

On June 1, the vacancy rate in industrial space in the region stood at 5.6 percent.

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