Why are people moving to the ‘new’ northern Nevada?
Years ago, the prevailing attitude of our community was a “no growth” path. It seemed as if every new person that moved into the area wanted to be the last person that moved here. What a difference a decade or two makes. Looking at the past, we have learned that without controlled and sustainable growth, a community can fade away.
Since those days, everyone involved with economic development in the region has done an outstanding job. In 2014, the EPIC Report’s five-year projections showed remarkable employment and population growth, despite some skepticism. In August, EDAWN reported that we are on track to meet the projected 52,000-plus new jobs and 47,000-plus new residents by 2020.
Beyond the 6,500-plus job announcement that Tesla/Panasonic is slowly but steadily gearing up to fill, EDAWN continues to be successful in drawing new and retaining expanding companies in our region. According to EDAWN’s new and expanding company reports, in 2014, EDAWN brought in 21 new and 11 expanding companies to our area amounting to more than 4,200 jobs in five years. In 2015, EDAWN relocated 28 new and five expanded companies with an additional 3,000 new jobs forecasted in a five year period. With 55 percent of companies in the manufacturing industry and 18 percent in distribution, the workforce demand is increasing in applied manufacturing, engineering and logistics.
Reno was named an Economic Hot Spot by RCLCO, a real estate advisory firm. In 2013, the Reno MSA was ranked 97. By 2015, it moved up to rank 4. Companies and individuals are moving to our area for many reasons, including our top 10 ranking for having the best business tax climate and business incentives in the country. When one compares California to Nevada state taxes across the board, it’s not surprising that the majority of new job projections from 24 of the 49 companies EDAWN assisted in relocation over the past two years originated in California. We at Dickson Realty have also had the opportunity to work with new and expanding businesses in our area, and we are also finding that approximately 60 percent of individual relocations and the majority of prospective corporate relocation originates from California.
We stay busy “selling our region” to new and expanding companies seeking to move or hire talent from outside our area. We are finding that many people seek to rent first before they buy. Individuals and families want to get to know our neighborhoods and communities before they plant their roots. They are also looking for a variety of information that will help them make a decision about where to live.
The most frequently asked questions that families seek are about schools. They want to know about public, private and charter schools. They are impressed with our signature academies and schools like the Davidson Academy, TMCC High School, Bishop Manogue and Sage Ridge. Companies love that we live in a growing University town, where they can access talent from our Tier 1 University and other higher education institutions. They are impressed with the wide bipartisan support our community has recently shown to support the capital needs of our K-12 school infrastructure. They appreciate the special attention provided to our community colleges, and the emerging specialized skills our students are gaining to match the workforce demand in growing industries.
Regardless of age or family status, corporations and individuals are incredibly curious about our community’s culture. A recent company we toured from California asked us for a wide range of information including details about Burning Man, local sports teams, proximity to skiing and snowboarding, the latest art exhibitions at the Nevada Museum of Art, and the locations of farmers markets and hiking trails. A popular conversation revolves around food, and it’s an easy topic to cover with a new restaurant or food event popping up every month.
The most surprising conversation revolves around the growth of our arts culture. A frequent stop on our corporate area tour includes the Nevada Museum of Art where people see the strength of our arts community. We are emerging in a variety of arenas. There is growing support for artists to harness their talent, and for individuals in our community to embrace the arts in museums, galleries and other creative spaces. Artown is a huge draw for people, and others deeply appreciate the talent we see throughout our streets, in neighborhoods such as Midtown or within our performing arts venues.
As we continue our work to attract companies and talent to our region, we need to remember what matters most. To companies, it might first be the business climate and tax incentives, but they won’t move unless many of their talent will follow. A company makes the decision to move to our region because it’s the whole package. We can offer a variety of educational options from K-12 to higher education. Our lifestyle options range from urban to suburban, and for some, even the mountains. People can access a variety of cuisine in our restaurants and through annual events, with growing support for local food growers and farmers markets. The arts culture is what typically wraps up the beautiful picture of our “new” northern Nevada. It’s something we see that will continue to enhance our image as people ReThink Reno.
Nancy Fennell is president of Dickson Realty and Kylie Rowe is vice president of relocation and agent services at Dickson Realty.