Truckee’s Clear Capital moving some operations, jobs to Reno (updated)
EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story reported an incorrect number of current employees who work in the Truckee office. The correct number is 222, although that could change in the coming months based on fluctuating industry demand, Marshall said. Regardless, Clear Capital will still move about 125 employees into its new Reno office.
TRUCKEE, Calif. — One of the largest employers in the Truckee-Tahoe region will move a portion of its operations to Reno this spring.
Clear Capital, a nationwide provider of real estate valuations and analytics for the mortgage and lending industries, will relocate about 125 employees from offices in the Pioneer Center in Truckee to a downtown Reno office in March 2015.
The exact location of the Reno office is not being disclosed at this time.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Kevin Marshall, president of Clear Capital, on Monday. “… (I’m) super excited for our Reno-based staff that they are going to spend less time on the road and more time with their families. The bittersweet part is that we do love Truckee. We love the whole Tahoe/Truckee scene. We love bringing clients up here.”
Currently, about 40 percent of the company’s Truckee-based staff commute from Reno, Marshall wrote in a letter to community leaders last Thursday announcing the move.
The decision was made in order to remain healthy and competitive in the industry, he said Monday.
“For a number of years we were able to be competitive … and be able to pay more to be in Truckee,” Marshall said. “But as we grow and we diversify into different products, we realize that Truckee doesn’t have the options for a financial-type corporation like ours that our competitors have, so often we find ourselves at a disadvantage because our cost structure is more than our competitors.”
In order to stay healthy, Clear Capital needs the ability to rapidly expand or contract its workforce and facility, Marshall said.
“With facilities, if you can’t contract them, you’re stuck with a higher level of overhead and lower revenue because you have less work, and so it makes our ability to be healthy amid an industry that’s going through the ups and downs more difficult,” Marshall said.
FUTURE IN TRUCKEE?
The remainder of Clear Capital’s staff — about 97 employees currently — will continue to work out of its 47,958-square-foot campus at 10875 Pioneer Trail in Truckee until the company’s lease expires in August 2016.
Meanwhile, Clear Capital will continue to look for available space in Truckee to house a portion of its staff, Marshall said.
“If we can afford the logistics of keeping two functional offices, that will be ideal for us,” he said. “That’s a big if, and that’s what we’re trying to solve.”
The company has looked at local properties over the past several years. In 2012, it approached Truckee Tahoe Airport District with an interest in leasing land to build a campus and parking lot.
“It became very, very complicated, not due to anyone’s fault,” Marshall said Monday. “It’s just there’s a lot of details that needed to be ironed out, and the clock was ticking on our lease here in Pioneer Commerce Center.”
Some of those details included working with various agencies to annex the property into town of Truckee limits, mitigate traffic impacts and meet design guidelines.
“They are an important local employer,” Kevin Smith, general manager of the airport district, said Monday. “… We’re hopeful that we can work with them on something, if they are still interested in keeping part of them(selves) in the community, whether it’s here — at the airport — or somewhere else.”
The town of Truckee understands the reason for the move.
“The town would love the entire Clear Capital operation to stay in Truckee,” Town Manager Tony Lashbrook said. “However, in recent years, we have understood Clear Capital’s challenge of attracting sufficient employees and the challenges and cost of leasing or building office space at 6,000 feet in elevation.
“While we are not surprised to see some of the operation move off the hill, we are committed to assisting Clear Capital in maintaining a presence here.”
If a spot can’t be found or it doesn’t prove to be cost-effective, Clear Capital could expand its new Reno space to house all its Truckee employees, Marshall said.
“We’re looking for those win-win opportunities where we can be in a healthy relationship,” Marshall said. “We love relationships where it’s good for us and good for our counter-party, and sometimes getting to those win-wins takes a little longer than what we’d all prefer.”
Since its inception in 2001, Clear Capital has operated out of Truckee and estimates contributing $150 million to the Truckee-Tahoe economy.
“Clear Capital has contributed greatly to the economic diversification of Truckee and has grown to be one of the largest employers in the region,” Lashbrook said. “Our local economy is in a positive growth trend. … Revenues are growing and we are seeing business investment in the downtown and other parts of Truckee. Clear Capital has helped to set the stage for other like-minded entrepreneurs to build their start up and continue this positive economic growth.”
Clear Capital also has an office in Roseville, Calif., that houses 101 employees currently. Marshall said he does not anticipate impacts to that office.