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Reno approves subsidies for two large affordable housing complexes

Rendering of Copper Mesa apartments (Courtesy: Inland Group)
Rendering of Copper Mesa apartments (Courtesy: Inland Group)
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Two large affordable apartment complexes are expected to break ground soon after the Reno City Council approved fee reductions during their meeting Wednesday.

Council members gave the final green light to the Copper Mesa apartments in the North Valleys and the Pinyon Apartments project near Moana Lane and Neil Road.

Together, the two projects will bring nearly 550 low-income units to the Reno market. Tenants will only be able to qualify if they earn less than 60% of the area median income.

Copper Mesa

Copper Mesa is a 290-unit complex approved for a vacant lot on the northwest corner of Red Rock and Silver Lake roads. Developer Inland Construction expects to break ground in September, open up the first units in summer 2023 and finish the project by the end of 2023.

The city was able to discount the sewer and building impact fees by 85% because it is an affordable complex and within 1 mile of an employment center. Council members unanimously approved reducing the project fees by $1.5 million.

"It's a great need gap that's being filled in our community for the folks that can't afford market-rate rent," said Monica Cochran, housing manager in Reno's housing and neighborhood development department.

Cochran said that tenants will be protected from sharp rent increases even if there is a sharp increase in the area median income. Developers told council members Wednesday that the rent can only be raised by a maximum of 5% each year. The project must remain affordable for a period of 30 years.

The area median income for a two-income household of four is roughly $50,000. Rents for one-bedroom apartments will start at $994, developers said.

The project is not located on an existing bus line. An RTC spokeswoman said there are no immediate plans to expand fixed-route transit to that area, but the neighborhood is served by RTC's FlexRIDE on-demand service.

Pinyon Apartments

Developer Lincoln Avenue Capital plans to build 252 affordable housing units on a parcel at the southwest corner of Neil Road and Moana Lane.

Similar to Copper Mesa, units will only be available to tenants earning 60% or less of the area's median income. Council members unanimously approved reducing the project fees by nearly $1.4 million Wednesday.

Though most units will be one-bedroom, the project also includes two-bedroom and some three-bedroom units, according to a developer presentation.

In addition to the discount for being located near an employment center, the developers earned an extra 10% fee discount because the project is located within 1/4 mile of a bus route.

Developers expect to start building no later than the first quarter of 2023.

With these two projects, the city has now approved fee reductions for over 1,000 affordable housing units since the program was launched in 2020.

WATCH the meeting here:

Email reporter Ben Margiott at Follow @BenMargiott on Twitter and Ben Margiott KRNV on Facebook.

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