SPARKS, Nev. – “The Oddie District” will tackle one of the big real estate questions facing our country: What to do with all the empty big-box stores?
Creative flex-tech offices, maker spaces, small shops, food and beverage offerings and work-live studios for artists and entrepreneurs will buzz after a $30 million redevelopment of the 200,000 sq ft. building at 2450 Oddie Blvd., formerly a Lowe’s Home Improvement Center and the biggest vacant big-box building in metro Reno/Sparks.
Through a model being pioneered by real estate developer Foothill Partners and national startup ecosystem developer Innovation Collective, two proven concepts are coming together. These concepts will bring vibrant, creative and community-minded energy to a long-empty big-box space, reinvigorating an aging neighborhood in the heart of Sparks.
This project is built on a long held purpose that both Douglas Wiele, the President and Founding Partner of Foothill Partners, Inc. and Nick Smoot, the founder and CEO of Innovation Collective, share: creating places and spaces that encourage collaboration in an enjoyable workplace, building a stronger, more resource-rich economy.
The partnership formally unveiled its plans for their Work-Live-Make Innovation Hub© at an on-site press conference on Oct. 19.
The Generator, a nonprofit maker space collection of celebrated artists and engineers from Burning Man and the greater Reno/Sparks community, is the cornerstone and largest tenant in The Oddie District, in 40,000 square feet of the building. Artwork created at The Generator will be displayed in an Art Park being developed in what once served as the garden center of the home improvement store.
“We are thrilled about this project,” said Doug Wiele. “The Generator is a cultural icon of Reno/Sparks; to provide it a long-term home, to surround it with working environments for design, engineering and production companies and to build together a broad culture of innovation and creation will be great for Sparks and for the region. To pull all this together in the shell of a vacant big-box retail building makes it all the better.. Projects such as The Oddie District demonstrate the power of socially responsible investment strategies. We look forward to attracting the kinds of businesses that can help us build culture at The Oddie District.”
Innovation Collective, which also works with the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development to launch innovation communities across the state, will provide 12,500 square feet of collaborative office spaces next door to The Generator. Additionally, Innovation Collective will host its mentorship summits, innovator trainings, storytelling sessions, idea sharing sprints and growth groups that serve as an amenity to tenants of the district, many of them offered at no cost to the community.
Another 60,000 square feet of flex-tech space at The Oddie District will become home to technology, research, engineering, software and design companies. An 8,000-square-foot brewery/distillery will open onto covered, open-air seating area, and an events stage to be carved from the front of the building. Another 10,000 square feet of space will be available for food and beverage uses, and 9,000 square feet will provide homes for small shops and service businesses. Work-live studios will provide workspaces and homes for artists and entrepreneurs.
“For the last 8 years, we have been working in cities to ignite creative community and share the amazing innovations of those cities with big brands and venture capitalists”, said Smoot. “At full tilt, we will be running about 70 events per year in the Sparks area. Keep in mind that Innovation Collective isn’t your normal tech incubator or co-working space; we have created a model that sparks creativity, teaches tech skills and incubates high value companies. We’ve developed experiences to help creators and entrepreneurs as they explore their self-talk, money management, health, goal setting, community engagement and more. Authentic community and value creation are the goals.”
Foothill Partners specializes in creative, adaptive reuse of existing buildings. The company, headquartered in El Dorado Hills, Calif., is also spearheading Reno Public Market, the redevelopment of Midtown Reno’s Shoppers Square.
Foothill’s Director of Arts & Culture Nettie Oliverio added that Foothill Partners is passionate about a strong local arts community.
“We do well to align ourselves with arts and culture communities”, said Oliverio. “We are excited beyond measure to have this opportunity to work with the acclaimed artists and engineers of The Generator. Their work is known around the world, and our company is gratified to provide a platform for their creative success.”
The partners expect to complete its acquisition of the building, currently owned by Renown Health, late this year. The Generator will move into the project soon after the purchase.
“This marks a major step forward for The Generator,” said Jerry Snyder, president of The Generator’s board of directors. “The team at Foothill Partners reached out to us to make our new high-quality location at The Oddie District a reality. We are deeply grateful for the community spirit of Foothill Partners, and we look forward to working closely with our new neighbors as The Oddie District becomes a vital center for the arts, technology and all things creative.”
Construction inside the structure is scheduled to begin in February, with the first phases available for occupancy in September. Plans call for completion of The Oddie District by early 2022.
For more information about the Oddie District, visit OddieDistrict.com and leave your email address to receive updates about the project. To learn more about Foothill Partners, please visit www.foothillpartners.com, and to learn more about The Generator, head over to www.therenogenerator.com. For more information on Innovation Collective, please visit www.InnovationCollective.co.