Downtown Damonte will feature retail, restaurants, entertainment and residential in a projected five-year buildout.
When Di Loreto started the process to purchase the land in 1987, Damonte Ranch looked nothing like it does today. It was mostly cattle pastureland, alfalfa, and natural wetlands. Interstate 580, which flanks the western edge of Downtown Damonte Ranch, had not been built.
Today, Damonte Ranch is a bustling residential and retail corridor that’s still being extensively developed despite containing more than 13,000 single and multifamily residential units. Downtown Damonte Ranch will be a new 73-acre mixed-use retail, office and residential. It will likely include 244,000 square feet of retail space and 150,000 square feet of Class A office space as well as a sprawling technology campus and world-class companion animal dog training facility.
“You have to have a vision,” Di Loreto said with a hearty laugh from his expansive office that overlooks what will eventually be Downtown Damonte Ranch. “We entered into a very unique transaction with the Damonte family that enabled this process to take place. It certainly was not a sprint but a long marathon to take it from where it was.
“Very seldom in this business do you get to save your best stuff for last,” Di Loreto added. “Usually, economics is the driver, so you have to sell your best stuff early to keep advancing your infrastructure. We were able to sell land and use that to support our infrastructure costs as we moved through the ranch. My partners and I made a conscious decision to hold on to this part (the land for Downtown Damonte) and move through the residential part of it.”
Nevada Tri Partners was a blend of three companies: BDM Development, Di Loreto South Truckee Meadows and Steamboat Creek Development. Key parts of Downtown Damonte Ranch, however, will be developed in a joint effort between the Di Loreto Companies and the Duffield Family Foundation.
Dave Duffield, billionaire founder of PeopleSoft and Workday, founded Ridgeline, a cloud computing platform for investment management, in 2017 at Incline Village. The new Ridgeline Technology Campus at Downtown Damonte could take up to 20 acres of land and include approximately 300,000 square feet under roof. The campus likely will employ between 1,500 and 2,000 people, Di Loreto said.
“It will be second-to-none,” he said. “It will be at the level of what you would experience in the heart of Silicon Valley.”
The Liberty Dogs campus, meanwhile, will be one of the largest components of the development and is fully funded by the Duffield Family Foundation. Grading is underway for Liberty Dogs, which will be a companion-dog training center for veterans that includes a housing component and breeding/whelping center.
“It will set a high-water mark for the rest of the world for this type of service provided to veterans,” Di Loreto said. “They will be able to live on campus, train with animals, and function in a social environment.”
Di Loreto said Liberty Dogs and the Ridgeline Technology Campus should be open by the first quarter of 2025, although he hopes to advance that timeline. The remainder of Downtown Damonte will be a cluster of retail, restaurants, entertainment and residential in a free and open environment with a projected five-year buildout.
“Downtown Damonte needs to happen at the same time because there is a synergy that has to be maintained,” he said. “But we are committed, funding is not an issue, and we are attracting the best contractors, subcontractors and suppliers in the community to help us.”
Like many other new retail concepts in Reno-Sparks, Downtown Damonte won’t boast big national retailers but rather local businesses. Di Loreto said the inspiration for Downtown Damonte came in part from taking trips all over the country, visiting retail concepts, and watching what businesses were most heavily patronized.
Like many urban projects, Downtown Damonte will be a pedestrian friendly environment, I added.
“My approach is to look for the best answer and then see if the economics will work,” Di Loreto said. “I don’t start with economics. We try to really focus on what we like and what we think the community will like.”
At age 75, Di Loreto said he has no plans on stepping back from work. He points to John Ascuaga, founder of the former Nugget hotel-casino in Sparks, whom he would routinely pass on Franktown Road in Washoe Valley while Ascuaga was hauling cattle.
“He would be down behind the steering wheel in his cattle truck, and you could hardly even see him,” Di Loreto said with a grin. “We would wave at each other. He just kept going and had a wonderful life, and that’s what I plan on doing.”