In South Reno, a $50 million property with approved home sites goes up for sale

It’s a piece of the valley. A patch of the forest. And everything on the mountain in between. 

A 1,130-acre tract of land — one that stretches from Old U.S. 395, up the foothills and through bosky St. James’s Village to its western edge — has just entered the market for $50 million. Bryan Drakulich of Drakulich Commercial Partners has the listing.

The property, lying south of the Mount Rose Highway, ranks among the most expensive offerings in Reno in the past two decades, according to Reno Gazette Journal research. 

Interstate 580 splices the property. The western portion can accommodate about 220 homes on at least 1 acre, and that represents the balance of available development sites at St. James’s Village.

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The eastern half of the spread, below I-580, is open land (including a small green meadow with cattle decoratively grazing). This section has been approved for about 940 units, split between about 790 single-family homes and 150 townhomes, in a  community called Sierra Reflections that was first OK’d by Washoe County in 2006.

Developing the land, in whole or in part, isn’t a condition of sale, and a buyer could choose to leave the land untouched, Drakulich said.

When St. James’s Village broke ground in 1996, the property lay in the hinterlands, but in the ensuing 25 years, “the world has gotten much closer,” Drakulich said, especially services. 

With a more convenient location, the continuing need for housing in Reno, and an influx of affluent transplants during the pandemic, “we believe it’s prime time right now (to sell the property). We feel the timing is ideal.”

Town homes from $450K, custom homes from $1M-plus

A view from the eastern edge of the planned Sierra Reflections community, near Pagni Lane in far South Reno, west toward Mount Rose.

Potential and proposed development for the property falls within the upscale segment of the market, with accordingly pricey views of Mount Rose, Washoe Lake, and the sweep of Washoe Valley and beyond.

At St. James’s Village, when the cost of purchasing a lot that must be no smaller than 1 acre is included, the minimum total to build a new home lies north of $1 million

One recent morning, in an exclusive tour of the property with @RGJTaste, Drakulich extolled the architectural diversity of the village: fancified Tuscan standard, yes, but also storybook turrets and Asian Craftsman and modern compositions of glass and steel.

This diversity, he said, would help sales of the remaining parcels because of “the ability to build what you want to build, unlike some other communities.”

Down mountain at Sierra Reflections, approved townhomes might begin at about $450,000 (near the Reno home average), Drakulich said, with stand-alone residences beginning at about $525,000-$600,000. 

The remaining land that can be developed at St. James's Village, and open land to the east for which the Sierra Reflections community is planned, is for sale as one tract for $50 million.

The Sierra Reflections project, after its initial 2006 approval, received 5-year extensions thereafter. In April, the Washoe County Commission extended the deadline, until June 2022, for final maps to be filed for the project.

At least 80 percent of the water rights and access needed to build on both sections of the property are in place, Drakulich added, though that figure could change once development proceeds. 

In 2018, the property, in substantially similar form, was listed with another real estate firm for $79 million. A purchase never closed.

Interest from private equity, a hedge fund, investors up north

The tract of land in far South Reno for sale for $50 million has been approved for nearly 1,200 residential units.

A hotel and casino, with Tom Fazio-designed golf course, once was planned for the Sierra Reflections part of the property, Drakulich said. 

“That didn’t happen; that never will happen,” he said, noting the property later was rezoned residential.

Given that new homes in St. James’s Village will be so much pricier than homes in Sierra Reflections — and given the freeway already divides the property — it’s fair to ask why the property isn’t being sold as two tracts, not one.

“It certainly might attract two different types of developers,” Drakulich said, but “the owners want to sell (both sections) together. They are adamant.” (The owners, since at least the early 1990s, have been a family from Saudi Arabia.)

Drakulich Commercial Partners began showcasing the property for sale about two months ago. Since then, Drakulich said, he has received inquiries from a private equity firm in Florida, a hedge fund out of San Diego and investors from Canada.

“There’s been interest but no offers yet.”

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Johnathan L. Wright is the food and drink editor of RGJ Media, part of the USA Today Network. Join @RGJTaste on TwitterFacebook and Instagram