It may not feel like it, but office workers won’t be holed up in their spare bedrooms forever.
And when work-at-home requirements loosen, the Reno-Sparks area may pick up a growing number of companies that want to move offices out of the crowded Bay Area.
The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada in mid-April launched a marketing initiative that focuses on the cost advantages available to Bay Area companies that move offices to the Reno area.
The pitch takes on greater urgency because companies are likely to need even more space when workers begin returning to the office as the COVID-19 pandemic winds down, says Mike Kazmierski, the president and CEO of EDAWN.
“Companies will look to social-distance their work stations and expand their conference rooms to accommodate the needed social distancing,” Kazmierski says.
At the same time, the economic slowdown will pressure companies to reduce their costs, and some also may be looking to get out of crowded cities in which employees commute on crowded transit systems.
Hence, the appeal of Reno and Sparks.
Office space in northern Nevada, EDAWN says, runs about half of Bay Area costs, wage-and-benefit costs are lower and recruitment is easier in Reno, where employees can afford to live and take advantage of the region’s amenities.
A flurry of office construction is creating space for relocating companies. Kazmierski notes that projects include 150,000 square feet of space at SkyPointe Reno near the Meadowood Mall, about 100,000 square feet at Park Lane, about 100,000 square feet on Court Street in downtown Reno and about 10,000 square feet at Rancharrah.
Along with cost advantages that can be tapped by relocating office companies, EDAWN’s marketing initiative highlights the region’s fast Internet connections to the Bay Area, the research strengths of the University of Nevada, Reno and the “Nevada Sandbox” regulatory program that encourages development of new products by financial-technology firms.
While EDAWN has contracted with two marketing specialists who are identifying Bay Area companies that might want to move, Kazmierski says the pandemic has created some challenges for EDAWN’s ability to follow up on those leads.
“The pandemic limits our business travel to the Bay Area and conferences while preventing companies from physically checking us out with a visit,” he says. “We expect that to change soon.”