Clear Capital given OK to land at Truckee Tahoe Airport (w/ updates) | SierraSun.com

Clear Capital given OK to land at Truckee Tahoe Airport (w/ updates)

Margaret Moran
mmoran@sierrasun.com

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Truckee Tahoe Airport District is extending an offer to Clear Capital to maintain a local presence in Truckee.

In a 3-0 vote Wednesday evening, the airport board of directors approved a construction and lease agreement with the company for a 10,000-square-foot office building on airport property.

Vice President Lisa Wallace director and director Mary Hetherington were not present for the vote.

A major point of discussion was the rent rate, with the board voting to approve charging Clear Capital $1.27 per square foot a month, after motions for $1.25 and $1.30 ended in a tie among board members.

Wallace was present for those votes, but not the final vote because she had to leave due to a family emergency.

"Who's got a crystal ball, but I'm not sure that Clear Capital will sign it at $1.30, looking at how the negotiations have gone for the last months," said director Tom Van Berken, who made the motion for $1.25. "… I would feel bad if 130 jobs leave Truckee over $500 a month."

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Clear Capital requested the district consider a rate of $1.20, board president John Jones said.

"We weren't trying to get any special deal," Helge Hukari, general counsel and chief administrative officer for Clear Capital, told the board. "We were just trying to look at what makes sense for our business and the Truckee market."

DAMAGING THE MARKET?

Truckee resident Stefanie Olivieri raised concerns that if the rate is too low, it could undercut the larger market.

"I would say the minimum they should be entitled to is $1.35, and that's basically to keep the market rate of all the buildings in this community at some reasonable rate," she said. "I think when you have a public agency step into the market, and rent a building at a low rate, you're damaging the market."

Not included in the rental rate are common area maintenance charges, gas and electric fees, and possessory interest taxes, which airport officials estimate will cost Clear Capital an additional 46 cents per square foot a month.

"I want to keep Clear Capital in town," Jones said. "… Quite frankly, what I care about is that $1.25 is, from a political standpoint, a realistic number. This is a completely open building. There (are) four offices in this building. It's a very bare-bones facility."

The project is estimated to cost between $3 million and roughly $3.5 million, an expense that would be covered up front by airport district reserves. The final price tag is still being finalized.

The lease term for the building, which is proposed on the corner of Airport Road and Chandelle Way, is for 10 years commencing Aug. 1, 2016, with the option for Clear Capital to leave after seven.

In that scenario, Clear Capital would give the airport district 270 days notice it's leaving at the end of year seven, and pay a year's worth of rent.

"The reason for a seven-year term is, frankly, it's a lot longer than any other lease that we've signed up in Reno, Truckee or Roseville, so again we're trying to find what we feel is a good market approach here," Hukari explained.

BALL IN CLEAR CAPITAL'S COURT

Now, Clear Capital has to decide whether to accept the offer.

"At this point we're still working on a solution, but we haven't committed to anything," Kevin Marshall, president of Clear Capital, said Thursday morning, adding that the company is moving quickly on a decision.

"I hope that we can put something together, but we're kind of at the point where we've exercised all of our options," Jones said Wednesday. "I think we've done the appropriate due diligence. I think we've evaluated everything that we needed to evaluate. I hope that's acceptable to your team."

Late last year, Clear Capital announced it would relocate its main headquarters and about 125 employees from Truckee to a downtown Reno office in March 2015.

The remainder of Clear Capital's current staff will continue to work out of its campus at 10875 Pioneer Trail in Truckee until the company's lease expires in August 2016.

The proposed 10,000-square-foot building could support up to 130 jobs, according to the airport district.

"From an economic development standpoint we believe Clear Capital's is extremely important to the community," said John Manocchio, on behalf of the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce. "They provide diversification to our traditional employee base. The retention of these types of jobs in our area is critical both in terms of the number and the quality of these jobs cannot be underestimated."

Visit truckeetahoeairport.com to learn more about the project.