Rancharrah is one of the most recognizable areas of Reno, purchased by Bill Harrah in 1957. The 141-acre ranch will have a very different look in the next few years.
City leaders, businessmen, and neighbors were on-hand at the ranch, officially making the development a reality.
“It’s a great day. It’s been a long time coming and we’re happy to have the turnout that we have today,” Chip Bowlby, Managing Partner of Reno Land Development Company said.
The mixed use community includes 611 residential units, from large houses to condominiums. The first houses will be built on the northwest side of the property, in a pasture that is used for cattle and horses. Building could happen this winter. 25 acres will be set aside for commercial, retail and office space. The first project is creating the streets and infrastructure for the community. The development will include open space, and the 30,000 square-foot mansion will be repurposed.
“We’re going to have the events lawn, we’ll have the fitness center, spa, tennis courts, pools, activity center, the tavern on the green. It’s going to be a special place for Reno,” Bowlby said.
The climate-controlled equestrian center is 52,000 square feet, and will also remain as a major part of the community. Neighbors say preserving the mansion and the arena are the most important aspects of the plan.
“To see that those two things were the things that were staying and that the population and citizens of Reno can come and enjoy it was a great part of it,” Britton Griffith-Douglass, Ward 2 Neighborhood Advisory Board Member said.
The plans were discussed at five neighborhood meetings. Neighbors who originally had a lot of concerns and questions say they are pleased with the detail and thought that went into the community.
“I was a little apprehensive,” Griffith-Douglass said. “What are they going to do with so much property? And then as we started to learn about what development was going to come, how they were going to maintain the history that we see, I got really excited.”
“The plan that they’ve unveiled, and having had a chance to walk the property, it’s beautiful,” Steven Silva, Ward 2 Neighborhood Advisory Board Member said. “It preserves the heritage and it preserves a lot of the open space.”
Silva says the open space component is critical for any kind of infill development, and that adding new homes is important for Reno’s population, as it continues to evolve.
“The reality is development is coming,” Silva said. “Development needs to come. Reno is moving forward into the new millennium, and this is a plan that has mixed use. It’s got commercial. It’s got residential.”
The mayor and city council members attended the groundbreaking ceremony. Mayor Hillary Schieve says the city puts a lot of thought into this kind of development, and says the preparation and detail that went into Rancharrah should make the transition go smoothly. “This was such an impressive process,” Schieve said. “These developers really kind of showed this council what the bar should be set at.”