This Saturday, the Boise State Broncos travel to Reno to face the University of Nevada Wolf Pack. This game has great significance in my family as my daughter Ella is in her second year in the Boise State CM program and I am an alum of UNR. While these cities house universities that are rivals on the gridiron, they are actually very similar. They both have similar climates (high desert) and have been attracting a lot of people who left relatively expensive coastal metro areas who were able to work remotely during COVID. As such, both cities have been experiencing a lot of growth in the built environment which means...tower cranes! So which city is winning the battle for who has more tower cranes? Let's start with Reno.
First up is a multi-family development downtown next to the Reno Aces ballpark at East 2nd Street and Evans Avenue. Multi-family has been a hot market nationwide and Reno is no exception. If you detect a trend as you read further, trust your instincts.
The project above is multi-family on podium parking and with the intended market being university students. This project is close to UNR (intersection of Enterprise and Valley Roads) and the general contractor is Plenium Builders. Student housing is also a hot market (check out my Austin post).
I'm cheating with this one, but it's my post so....
This tower crane was just recently pulled, hence the presence of the mobile cranes. This project was also aimed at students and is directly adjacent to the university (Virginia Street between West 14th and 15th Streets) and is being built by Clayco.
So, as of this writing, Reno has two tower cranes on the skyline. If I had ventured to write this a few weeks ago, we would have had three. This is a strong showing for a relatively small metro market. So what's up Boise? Show us what you got.
As soon as you land in Boise, you are greeted by a tower crane at the airport. Looks like this is a parking garage expansion. While airports are not a traditional construction subcategory that gets a lot of attention, there is also a ton of work in that part of the economy.
Boise's downtown has seen a lot of building over the past few years (likely even before that, but my observations started three years ago when we visited Boise State and Ella fell in love with a rival to my alma mater. I may someday get over this). The general contractor on this project is Okland. I am not sure what this project will be other than I will make a relatively risk-free bet that it is multi-family or a hotel, both of which are popular products to build in Boise. Speaking of popular in Boise...
Hello student housing. There has been a ton of student-centric multi-family built near Boise State and this project at West Royal Blvd and Morrison Drive is the latest installment. This project is being constructed by Brinkmann Constructors. If you have not yet had your fill of student housing, then I offer just keep scrolling.
Here is another Brinkmann student housing project, this one at West Boise Avenue and West Beacon Street. It is close to Ella's apartment and I enjoy the regular updates from her. Apparently the love of tower cranes is hereditary.
So the final tally is Boise 4, Reno 2. This seems fitting given Boise State is, according to the latest info at ESPN, favored by 21 points and has an 84.5% chance of winning. Football aside, both cities are growing rapidly, with the growth accelerated by people being afforded the opportunity to work remotely. Reno has a history of being boom-and-bust and Boise's breakneck growth seeming to defy economic gravity, so we will see if the growth continues as the market cools.
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