The Tesla effect: Tahoe-Reno Industrial Park almost out of land after 74,000-acre sale

By Ray Hagar, Nevada Newsmakers

The Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, billed as a largest industrial park in North America, is nearly out of land.

About 74,000 acres of the park east of Sparks — or about 115 square miles — was recently sold for about $175 million, TRI partner-broker Lance Gilman said on Nevada Newsmakers.

Now, only about 250 acres of undeveloped land remains unsold at TRI. The industrial park has sold almost all of its 165-square miles of land in less than 20 years — an accelerated timeline when compared to original expectations.


“We thought this would take three generations to accomplish,” Gilman said about selling almost all the 165-square miles at TRI. “That was my vision at the time. I thought for sure, based on the rate of absorption in Northern Nevada, that we would, certainly, be looking at three generations. But it has been done in less than 20 years.”

Gilman and partner Roger Norman Sr., opened the industrial park in 1998 and it has become a major driver of the Northern Nevada economy.

Gilman credits Tesla’s selection of TRI in 2014 as the location of its $5 billion gigafactory as the spark that led to the rapid expansion and TRI’s emergence as a preferred location for technology giants in the U.S.

Veteran Nevadan Journalist Ray Hagar is known for fair and tough reporting and invigorating commentary.

Google and Switch also have large high tech operations at TRI, along with Tesla.

“I always smile when I go back and think about four years ago when Tesla arrived,” Gilman said. “We already had about 115 companies in there. Wal-Mart was there, Pet Smart was there. Amazon was there. Zulily was there. PPG was there and we had U.S. Ordinance building the .50 caliber machine guns. It was a tremendous park before we ever met Tesla.

“But when we met Tesla, that put us on an entirely different international platform,” Gilman said. “And when that platform started to grow, all of a sudden, here came Switch (and others)… and we just had these corporate groups come in here, following Tesla all of a sudden. And so we’ve entered the tech world.”

Yet with the latest round of land deals, “the technology that is coming into TRI now is of epic proportions,” Gilman said.

The latest deals were done in 15 separate transactions, Gilman said. The biggest buyer is Blockchains LLC, which is “at the forefront of one of the most revolutionary innovations since the advent of the Internet, block chain distributed ledger technology,” according to its web site.

“It is quite a spread of property,” Gilman said of the 165-square mile land deal. “From 15,000 feet (above ground view), I believe they envision a product that will showcase all of the capabilities of the block chain technology.

For comparison, the entire county area of Carson City — from the high desert to Lake Tahoe — is 157 miles.

Blockchains, too, will be a city within itself, Gilman said.

“So think in terms of a residential project that would be 4,000 housing units and apartments, along with the shopping .. a full cybernetic community based on the block chain theory and technology,” Gilman said.

“They pick up a huge amount of property along the freeway (Interstate 80) for what I would call freeway-visible retail and that would include everything from hotels, truck stops and restaurants,” Gilman said. “And again, all with the block chain technology foundation.”

The Blockchains plans mesh well with those of an “Emerald City” plan of Randy Aleman and the Encore Group at TRI, although it is not associated with Blockchains.

Gilman called the “Emerald City concept, “beyond beautiful.”

It includes a lake in the middle of a 500-acre town center that would double as a holding reservoir for treated water to be used by industrial park residents.

“Around this lake would be beautiful piers, jogging and bicycling and with the hotels and casinos,” Gilman said. “And I can tell you at least five of the major-flag hotels in the United States are already focused on their properties and building out. So Emerald City will shine in the middle of what is a really, truly, industrial center of mega proportions.”

Another part of the plan includes a nanotechnology campus that would do research and development for the U.S. military, Gilman said.It could be part of the Blockchains concept at TRI but is not yet.

Alternative forms of transportation to connect the vast industrial park could also become part of the Blockchains plan.

“They would also like to have a short rail line that could come out and deliver to a depot,” Gilman said. “That would then allow folks working out at TRI to disperse throughout the various companies.”

In all, plans are large and complex, Gilman said. Now that almost all of the available land has been sold, TRI is entering a bustling era.

“There are a lot of components,” he said. “You have a nanotech park in the south. You have a freeway and commercial stuff out in the Patrick area. You have the residential component out in the Painted Rock area. Then you have the downtown area. And they (Blockchains) have their own campus. Each one is a stand-alone (project) and it will be very, very busy.”

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