There were high hopes once, that former casinos would make popular downtown condos. So-called experts were touting $500,000 studios with $600 monthly association fees as a "good investment". Those days are long gone. But something's finally happening at places like the Montage. As sales manager Samantha Reveley reported to us, they recently reached a big milestone: "We're actually 58% sold right now...216 units."
After 5 long years, the Montage is finally over half sold. Yes, they had to get aggressive on price. Reveley told us, "A 1-bedroom unit back then would be priced at $300,000. Now, a one bedroom unit is about $120,000."
The result is there's a little more life in downtown Reno. High-rise condos that stood mostly empty are seeing a bit of a boom lately. The lower prices are starting to create a new market of buyers, who were priced out before. Samantha walked us through unit #703...now priced for about half of what it was. As she showed us, "All the living rooms have a big great room style..." With no corners cut on the view..."Every condo in the building has a balcony, from the smallest studio to the largest 2-bedroom."
It still may not be a bargain...monthly HOA fees average $500 per month for a 2-bedroom. But Montage residents like Tim Bonasera believe the convenience outweighs the cost. We caught up with him in the lobby. He told us, "The biggest decision you have to make when you wake up in the morning is where do you want to have breakfast. There are probably 20 restaurants within 4 blocks."
It all just needs more people to buy into it. There's more at stake here than just this one condo project. Downtown's recovery depended on a full Montage, for a restaurant on the ground floor, a food store downtown, and a drugstore just across the street…a chain reaction that's still waiting to happen.