VERDI, Nev. — Bud Mosconi’s roots run deep in Verdi — the 73-year-old has lived there his entire life, and his grandfather first came to the small hamlet just west of Reno back in 1903.
The quiet life is all Mosconi and his many relatives who also live in Verdi have ever known, despite nearby development of an interstate freeway (I-80), a hotel-casino (Boomtown) and large outdoor retailer (Cabela’s) over the years.
The most recent spate of development in Verdi, however, has Mosconi and other longtime residents concerned about the future of their tranquil community.
Two large housing projects will bring hundreds of new homes to Verdi over the next few years. Reno Land Development Company, the developer transforming Rancharrah and the vacant lot that once housed Park Lane Mall, will erect 273 single-family homes at its Meridian 120 north project near Boomtown-Garson Road. And national homebuilder D.R. Horton will build 324 homes at West Meadows Estates off Highway 40.
“As housing prices get more expensive, there is economic pressure to try to find land that is less expensive to offset those costs.”Bill ThomasAssistant city manager, city of Reno
That’s nearly 600 new homes, and Reno Land Development also plans to add another 78 lots at Meridian 120 south on the other side of Interstate 80. That project initially was denied by the Reno City Planning Commission, but it’s on appeal and goes before the city council in February.
Less-expensive land on which to build
Industrial developers are keen on Verdi as well. Dermody Properties’ LogistiCenter at I-80 will add more than 800,000 square feet of new Class A industrial space on formerly vacant land just north of Cabela’s. Two buildings totaling more than 405,000 square feet already have been completed.
With a white-hot regional housing economy, it was only a matter of time before development crept to Verdi — and veteran Northern Nevada homebuilders have long had Verdi in their sights.
Rob Fitzgerald, manager of Northern Nevada Homes and master planner for West Meadows Estates, purchased the nearly 200-acre tract of land for West Meadows Estates back in 2010. However, Fitzgerald sold the project to D.R. Horton in 2016 — he says that after adding a slew of amenities such as public trails, parking lots, parks and a water main, the project simply became too large of an up-front investment for a regional homebuilder.
“It was a heavy lift,” Fitzgerald said. “With all the amenities, it turned into a pretty expensive endeavor. It took someone with their kind of strength (D.R. Horton) to make it happen.”
D.R. Horton is the nation’s largest homebuilder with more than $12.1 billion in housing revenue in 2016 and $14 billion in 2017.
Bill Thomas, assistant city manager for the city of Reno, says that Verdi has pretty much sat in isolation through the last homebuilding cycles. But with land for development within the city core basically non-existent, new development will continue to push outward from the city to places where land is generally at a lower price per acre.
“The farther you get out from the core of the city, the less expensive land is,” Thomas said. “And as housing prices get more expensive, there is economic pressure to try to find land that is less expensive to offset those costs.”
As a rule for the Truckee Meadows, land to the south and west is more expensive than land to the north and east — that’s why the North Valleys and Spanish Springs areas have exploded in growth.
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