Pandemic could accelerate Reno’s rise says longtime local developer

Published: Dec. 16, 2020 at 12:44 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - If there’s a city poised to bounce-back from the COVID-19 pandemic, one longtime local real estate developer says it could be the Biggest Little City.

“I hate to say, but COVID accelerated a lot of good things happening in Reno,” said Par Tolles, owner of Tolles Development Company in Reno.

Tolles, whose portfolio includes the Sticks development in Midtown and the new Village at Rancharrah in South Reno, says stricter lockdowns in California led to more people coming to Northern Nevada for “a sense of normalcy”. He adds many businesses have already established a hub in Reno, while commuting to bigger cities like San Jose and San Francisco.

“Where Reno was considered a satellite city for the Bay Area, it is now a satellite city for the Bay Area,” said Tolles. “We are a Zoom town.”

For at least the past decade, Reno’s rise as a home for technology, office and other business industries has been evident. Tolles says the pandemic has only sped up the process of others discovering what Northern Nevada has to offer.

“Our tax structure is really advantageous, our open air lifestyle is advantageous,” said Tolles, who moved to Reno from the Bay Area roughly 25 years ago. “I think you will see a number of very interesting companies who have thought about Reno in the past, actually make the move to Reno.”

Tolles understands COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on some business owners, though none of his tenants have had to fold operations. He says avoiding a second shutdown - and the hope of another stimulus - should allow most restaurant and retail businesses to survive.

Experiential retail will always be viable, Tolles says. But he does see the new avenues of shopping and conducting business brought to the forefront by COVID-19 causing a shift going forward.

“If you asked me one I’d really be worried about, it’d be malls,” said Tolles. “I think dense indoor shopping that can compete with online shopping are dinosaurs that will have to evolve into a more diversified product.”

And according to Tolles, Northern Nevada has proved to be one of the best places in the country to adjust and diversify operations.

“We’re this wonderful melting pot of gaming, university, small business, Reno-Tahoe,” said Tolles. “We have this wonderful art influence because of Burning Man. Recreation.”

“We’re really our own unique, special quilt of different interests.”

And as time goes on, Reno’s only catching the interest of more people looking for a new home for their families and businesses.

“I think people have experienced Reno, who haven’t in the past. They’ve realized what we really have to offer,” said Tolles. “Whether you like it or not, we’re going to get more populated, we’re going to have more Californians living here.”

“For everything we love and the reasons we live here, people are discovering. I think, 10 years from now, we’re going to be a more vibrant and interesting place.”

To learn more about Par Tolles and Tolles Development Company, click here.

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