SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) - The large shopping centers on Oddie Boulevard in Sparks have become run down over the years as major retailers such as K-Mart have moved out and many buildings remain vacant. But if you look closely at the building that used to house Lowe's, you may notice a small sign of what could be the start of a big transformation.
"Renown acquired it and they are going to be moving a bunch of what I call back office operations here," says Armando Ornelas, Assistant Community Services Director for the City of Sparks.
A Renown spokesperson says Renown Health purchased the building to house several support services located in more than a dozen locations throughout the area. Long-term, the location will house the Contact Center, Warehouse, Population Health Management Organization, Information Technology and Revenue Cycle. Renown estimates that could mean up to 500 employees could be working out of the building.
"When that occurs, that will add a number of people who will want to go out to lunch, coffee... and will help bring some additional life back to this district," says Ornelas.
That's not all. More housing is being built, such as new apartments near completion by the Grocery Outlet. In addition, a developer is interested putting in housing in the lot where Shopko used to be.
The Regional Transportation Commission is also moving forward with plans to make Oddie Boulevard more pedestrian- and bike-friendly.
"We know that this area is getting revitalized right now and we're hoping to contribute to that area with some of our projects as well," says Lauren Ball, Public Information Officer for the Regional Transportation Commission. She says the project is in the design phase and construction will likely start in 2020.
Dan Kirin, who lives in the area, says after so many big stores moved out over the years, it's nice to see new investment.
"Feels really good," says Kirin. "Just hope more development comes down."
The Oddie corridor has been designated as a redevelopment area in the City of Sparks.
"I think you're seeing some private investment and then you're going to see some public investment and the synergy from those two things is really going to be transformative for this corridor over a period of years," says Ornelas.