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Reno Redux By Bruce Specter

Reno is very much alive and well and, by many accounts, ahead of the national curve in economic development and revitalization, primarily at the hands of the private sector. As indicated in a plethora of articles, Detroit continues to be the poster child of community turnaround. I submit that Reno has its own compelling story to tell, much yet to be written. 3 organizations come to mind that have put their money and their efforts where their commitments are; Advanced Refining Concepts, Marmot Companies and TICO, Inc. Advanced Refining Concepts is doing more than just redefining clean fuels with their GDiesel product. They are setting a new bar for private/public sector cooperation. Nothing speaks to that more than their new corporate headquarters, located on the floor above the Reno City Council offices downtown. Advanced Refining Concepts’ managing partner Peter Gunnerman puts it this way: “We have built a unique space in which our region’s economic development heroes can have direct access to private business experience from my employees, City government expertise and access on the floors below us and not-for-profit expertise from the RTO executives all within one amazing space overlooking Reno, with the hopes of enhancing the sell to perspective companies thinking about moving into our region.”

Advanced Refining Concepts’ new Corporate Headquarters in downtown Reno is one floor above Reno’s City Council Offices

Marmot Companies has nearly single-handedly created Midtown, a section of Reno that has its own vibe. The company is an early adopter with substantial stake in the revitalization of this part of the urban scene just south of downtown. This, in turn, has attracted additional players to the area as viable businesses provide services and unseating many of the less attractive operations. This, in turn, is creating a sustainable living environment geared toward the tech/solopreneur crowd. When ask whether this target segment was by design, Marmot Properties managing partner Eric Raydon stated, “Yes, absolutely. Our target demographic from the beginning has been the creative and knowledge workers that are the future of the mega urban (Bay Area + Sac + RenoTahoe) economy. This base is fantastic, but demanding, and requires us to constantly up our game in both design and management.”

A before and after of Marmot project 265 Thoma in Reno, just one example of the many projects that continue to transform the Midtown section of Reno

TICO, Inc, is headed by husband and wife team Alex and Marion Hose, are an economic force who have put their money where their beliefs are: Reno is a sound investment. They continue to build an envious commercial real estate portfolio of downtown buildings that were once blighted into addresses many leading companies in the area are now proud to call their corporate homes. The continued economic revitalization has continues to be driven by the private sector, with the helpful hand of its public counterparts. The biggest role those public sector partners can play is to make sure ill thought out legislation is kept at bay.

275 Hill Street: A Reinvented Classic. The vision of TICO turned this rundown building into a south of downtown hotspot.

Another major advantage that should not be overlooked is the approachability of our civic leaders. “Unlike larger metropolitan areas, anyone can get involved in the community process. I can walk into the city council offices and if Mayor Cashell is around, he’ll talk to me. That small town feel really does make this the Biggest Little City’, espouses Marion Hose. With the continued public/private sector efforts in creating a unified economic development effort, Reno has every opportunity to emerge as the benchmark for a city that is truly a community. Ask where he sees Reno in 5 years, Raydon remarked, “All of our research and experience, both before we launched and in the nearly 5 years since, has convinced us, beyond doubt, that Reno is the next Denver -- the geographic, demographic, business, and low overburden advantages that this region offers are

incredibly powerful and undeniable. However, we must be utterly relentless in our pursuit of growth and improvement here so we can compete on a global scale.�

Bruce Specter is a mortgage banker and real estate investor residing in Reno, NV. His real passion is economic development, especially in the Reno/Tahoe area, his home for the past decade. He can be reached at (775) 338-6915 or email at

Reno redux  

Private sector economic development by example. Companies that are putting their money and efforts where their passions are.

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