600 Demolished Housing Units and a Development Controversy in Downtown Reno

A developer with a pattern of tearing down affordable housing units in Reno is attracting negative public attention in Reno, Nevada.

January 17, 2022, 11:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Downtown Reno

Prayitno / Downtown Reno

Anjeanette Damon reports for ProPublica on a development controversy in Downtown Reno caused by the demolition of 600 housing units by developer Jeff Jacobs of Jacobs Entertainment. Jacobs has promised to contribute land for "850 'affordable and workforce housing units' built above public parking garages that would ostensibly provide parking for his nearby planned entertainment venues," according to Damon. "Jacobs wouldn’t build the housing; rather, he would contribute land for a project to be built and operated by the Reno Housing Authority."

A recent town hall gave locals a chance to criticize the "demolish first, plan second" approach to the project and others by Jacobs Entertainment. "At the town hall, audience members grilled Jacobs’ representatives on the housing demolition and the lack of significant development so far on the land he has assembled. They also tried unsuccessfully to pin the developers down on their affordable housing proposal," reports Damon.

The town hall also took place against the backdrop of a previous investigation into the destruction of affordable housing resources by Jacobs Entertainment. Damon summarizes the context for this controversy thusly:

Monday’s town hall followed a ProPublica investigation that found the city has failed to require that Jacobs replace the affordable housing he razed despite a critical shortage. The investigation also found the public has repeatedly been cut out of the decision-making process. Since 2016, Jacobs has bought more than 100 parcels in downtown Reno, clearing much of the land and leaving most of the lots vacant as he pitches ever-changing ideas for the area.

A lot more detail about growing public awareness of the controversy is included in the source article.

Thursday, January 13, 2022 in ProPublica

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