The Reno City Council on Wednesday will hear a development agreement proposal for Jacobs Entertainment, the Colorado-based company that has been buying multiple parcels west of downtown and along Fourth Street.
The 20-year agreement, which has few details of what is actually being proposed to be built in the Fourth Street corridor, highlights millions in financial incentives for the developer to build.
Jacobs Entertainment for years has been purchasing properties and demolishing a number of weekly motels. Most of the properties are now vacant lots, something homeless advocates said put people on the streets by reducing low-income housing.
Staff said: “Significant investments were made to remove blighted improvements, remodel the Sands Regency and Gold Dust West, complete a housing project known as Renova Flats, relocate the Nystrom Guest House, create an outdoor event venue, complete streetscape enhancements, and install public art. The Developer also processed numerous alley abandonments to prepare the property for large scale redevelopment projects.”
Staff also noted that plans to-date include 2,000-3,000 residential units, a 6,000-seat amphitheater and “as yet undefined commercial, retail, plaza, green space, convention and entertainment venues.”
Reno historian Alicia Barber said the lack of specifics was surprising.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” she wrote on Facebook. “It’s a Development Agreement without a development, just a vague description of ‘conceptual plans.’ What it does outline very specifically, however, are an array of benefits, branding elements, and financial incentives (not including the previously floated Tax Increment Financing) for the ‘Master Developer’–Jacobs Entertainment.”
Financial incentives, according to the city staff report, include:
- Pedestrian amenity credits worth $4.5 million.
- Sewer connection fee credits worth $1.6 million.
- A five-year payment schedule for fee deferrals.
- Residential construction tax funds spent within five years.
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor, and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011, where he completed a dissertation on social media, journalism and crisis communications. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.