Waterfront Living: Designing possible new district in Sparks

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SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) -- Among all the housing being developed in Northern Nevada, there is one that has a unique selling point: a crystal clear view of Sparks Marina, just steps away. The developer is transforming what had been a parking structure-- that many had called an eyesore-- into a luxury apartment complex, right on the water.

"They designed it so that the apartments are actually wrapped around the parking structure," says Shannon Diehl, spokesperson for the Waterfront at the Marina Apartments.

The apartments have been under construction for several months and when they are complete, there will be 209 units. But the developer says this isn't just about providing more housing. It's about providing a lifestyle.

"We have the lifestyle, of course of the water, but the marina itself is bringing in dining and new shopping, so there will be new retailers coming in for people to visit as well," says Diehl, who adds, "We're so close to Legends. You can walk to Legends, the outlets, movies, the nightlife."

Sparks City Councilman Ron Smith, recently elected Mayor, says this is the kind of neighborhood millennials and young professionals are asking for.

"This is what younger people want," says Smith. "Where they don't necessarily have to have a drivers license, they got all the shopping, they got all the restaurants."

"Now I'm thinking maybe I should have moved over here instead of Northwest Reno," says Sarah Cosgrove, who just moved to Reno from the Bay Area last year. She has been taking paddleboarding classes at Sparks Marina and has been noticing all the improvements.

"Yeah, that would be great to walk out of your apartment, get a cup of coffee and take a little stroll around the marina," says Cosgrove.

Even longtime residents say it's good to see the area being used for more.

"This attraction of the marina is really something," says Bobby Walden, who has lived in the area for years.

"One of the reasons I like walking around here is because I like to see the improvements," says Frank Behnke, who lives in Sparks.

And the housing options nearby are growing. Just two blocks away at Marina Gateway Drive and East Lincoln Way, more apartments are being built. Across the street from that, construction will begin on the Azure apartments, which will bring in more than 300 new one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom apartments.

"I think you can call it a district, but you've got to grow into that. You're just not automatically a district," says Smith. "So with the apartments we're building, the restaurants that are going in on the marina, the hotels that we just built, it's going to be a district sooner than later. "

The developer of the Waterfront at the Marina Apartments is not yet ready to announce the name of the first restaurant that will be going in at the waterfront, but says it should be revealed soon. As for the Waterfront apartments, the first phase of the project is expected to be move-in ready for tenants sometime this fall.