Reno's Historic Neighborhoods Rebounding One House At A Time

RENO, NV - There's a lot of Reno's history in the streets of its oldest neighborhoods.

Stroll down any one of them in what's now called the Midtown District or west of Wells Avenue and it's not hard to imagine a smaller, more intimate city, one where neighbors sat on front porches in the evening and walked to nearby parks and the downtown.

All too often these days they reflect a more recent history, one of foreclosure and neglect.

An old bungalow on the 600 block of Lander Street is a good example. The paint is peeling off the siding. Inside the hardwood floors are splintered and rough. Wiring strung by its last tenant would raise the blood pressure of a building inspector.

It may look hopeless to you and me, but Gary Raydon sees a lot of potential.

"I can tell that it once was great and we hope to make it great again," he says. "It's seen its share of abuse and neglect, but it's got great bones."

Gary and brothers Eric and Brian are in the business of buying old neglected homes like this, resurrecting and renting or leasing them. The house on Lander is the latest of 21 properties they've acquired.

Most are now homes to young professionals or empty nesters, people drawn to these neighborhoods by their easy access to the restaurants and attractions of the downtown and the chance to enjoy Reno's emerging lifestyle.

Their business model is paying off for their firm Marmot Companies, but they say it's also giving new life to a neighborhood, even helping save the city's core.

"Reno has got terrific potential to become a really fantastic college and mountain town,' says Eric Raydon.
"It basically already is, but care needs to be paid, attention needs to be paid to the downtown core and the midtown."

And house by house, it is making a difference. A short distance away on Roberts Street in the West of Wells neighborhood is one of their success stories, an old farm house, beginning to lean on its foundation when they bought it, now renovated, home to four families, a good fit on this residential street.

They plan the same sort of make over on Lander Street, beginning with a new electrical system, a modernized kitchen, but keeping and restoring details like this china cabinet.

"We really look for diamonds in the very rough, but houses like this have a lot of character. It's got a lot of charm. It was great once and it fits the neighborhood and that's an important part of it."

Gary Raydon says the Lander house will be ready to rent in about five weeks, no longer an eyesore, but an asset to one of Reno's historic neighborhoods.

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