Upscale apartment living in a gated community with high-speed Internet access, intimate courtyards, a private fitness center and lap pool are signs that Carson City is maturing, according to developer Bruce Langson.
"This is new in Carson, but projects of this scale, this quality, are the standard in most parts of California and even in Reno," Langson said.
Langson said the first apartment homes in his $17 million Parkway Manor project will be available by June 1, with all construction completed by September.
The 176-unit project is on a seven-acre triangle bounded by College Parkway, Hot Springs Road and Roop Street.
The project, with units renting from $798 for one bedroom to $1,245 for three bedrooms, are not for everyone, Langson acknowledged.
"I'm building them for people like me: folks who can own their own houses but choose not to deal with maintaining lawns or shoveling walks, who want to use their time to enjoy life," Langson said. "The first six people who came in to check out the project said they will be selling their houses when they move in here."
Langson already has his own unit picked out and his son, Ryan, will move into another.
Langson said he is serious about differentiating his product from other apartment complexes in Carson City.
The buildings stand three stories tall, but several have the corners reduced to two stories to lessen the massive appearance. Langson said the stairways are designed at a shallower angle than most, to be more inviting. Columns, bayed-rooms and other architectural details are featured to create visual interest.
"I understand that this is a fairly significant jump for Carson City," he said. Langson said he has been working on the project for more than a decade and the plans were approved in 1994. But he had difficulty convincing financiers that Carson was ready for a project of this nature.
"Sometimes you kind of have to wait for the community to grow up around you," he said. "When the money did come through, it was at a very advantageous rate."
Langson got his loan a couple years ago before interest rates began climbing. He said his prices, such as $870 for a two bedroom, two-bath unit, are more affordable as a result. A similar unit in a Carson City four-plex lists at about $750 a month.
Parkway Manor will feature four telephone lines and commercial-grade computer network wiring at all the telephone outlets, sound-insulation and anti-knock columns on all the plumbing so tenants don't hear the flushing in the next unit, 9-foot ceilings, 6-inch framing throughout and Corian counters, all premium features more common in executive homes than in rentals.
Langson pointed to fire sprinkler heads in the framed buildings.
"The building code does not require a fire sprinkler system for a project like this, but our tenants deserve one. Each unit will have an alarm system, which can be upgraded as an option with remote monitoring," he said. Another option will be security cameras whose views could be tuned in on a tenant's own television.
"We're putting in our own cable television system and bulk-purchasing the premium channel, like hotels do. We'll be able to provide premium cable packages for what others charge for basic cable," said Ryan Langson. "We're also going to be the Internet service provider for the tenants that want to subscribe for high-speed access through that network wiring."
Four ground-floor units in the project are being equipped with all the accouterments for disabled access, Ryan Langson said, and all the ground floor units have wide doorways, low thresholds and in-wall reinforcements for future installation of railings as needed.
A major investment for Langson Development will be the landscaping. Langson said the area between the eight buildings will be developed into several courtyards, each with its own theme, including gazebos and statuary. Walkways between the courtyards will pass through cabanas that will also shelter bench-type swings. Radiant heaters will be installed at the cabanas to extend the outdoor season, he said.
The landscaping will not be only for the benefit of tenants, Langson said. At the north and south end will be large floral display featuring flowering plants selected to provide a changing show of blooms throughout the seasons. Langson said he has hired a master gardener from the University of Nevada, Reno to design the showy displays, which will be outside the project's walls and intended for public view.
The project's designer is Houston architect Ed Watkins, who is proud of the design, according to Langson.
"This is what they're featuring in their lobby as their centerpiece design," he said, pointing to the artist's rendering of Parkway Manor.
A large stainless steel barbecue will anchor one courtyard, where more radiant heaters will encourage picnic-type dining much of the year, he said. Another courtyard will be a well-equipped children's play area.
The clubhouse at Parkway Manor's main entrance will hold the fitness center and hot tub, a rental office, a social area with large-screen television and a tenants' office work area with fax machines and computers with Internet access, he said.
Langson's father Don had purchased 200 acres near the Carson City Airport in the early 1960s, when his Langson Construction was building a small subdivision near the Governor's Mansion called Storybook Homes.
Langson Construction was active in California, Las Vegas and Texas. In the late 1960s, the elder Langson dedicated the land for college parkway to the city, knowing it eventually would boost the value of the family's investment there, Bruce Langson said.
Bruce Langson has been a general contractor since the early 1970s. Parkway Manor is his first major development of his own, he said.
"I've got another six acres on the north side of College Parkway that we'll develop into the same type of project, once this is filled up," he said. "But that's going to be a couple of years out. I think I'm going to take a little rest first."