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The Pennington Estate

Tahoe Reno Industrial Center developer buys Reno’s Pennington mansion

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Real estate magnate Don Roger Norman closed on Reno’s Pennington mansion Friday afternoon, officially gaining ownership of the 19,500-square-foot property.

The San Diego-based industrial and commercial real estate developer was represented by Chase International as well as Lance Gilman, his partner in the development of the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center.

“A couple months ago I mentioned to Lance that I was considering moving to Nevada, as we have considerable investments here, and I wanted to be close to TRI because of all the action out there right now,” Norman said. “Lance told me ‘I know just the right property for you.'”

The identity of the Pennington mansion’s buyer has been the subject of much speculation in the community, with Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk thought by some to be the person looking into the property. Ultimately, the buyer proved to be someone from California — just not the entrepreneur some folks were expecting.

For Gilman, however, having Norman and wife Liza’s move to the area is a positive sign of things to come.

“The Truckee Meadows is no longer home to just struggling gambling towns,” Gilman said. “High level executives and highly skilled, cutting-edge factory and data storage managers are coming in every day now looking for a home.”

The sale puts the latest bookend on the Reno property. The mansion was built in 2005 by hotel casino designer William Pennington, who opened Circus Circus Reno in 1978 with partner William Bennett and also designed Las Vegas properties such as the Excalibur Hotel Casino, Luxor and Mandalay Bay.

In addition to the Reno mansion, Pennington also owned several properties in Las Vegas, Hawaii and other places worldwide. Those properties have since been liquidated by his estate following Pennington’s death in 2011, Gilman said.

Although a Tesla executive ultimately was not the buyer, interest in the Pennington mansion can be still be attributed to the “Tesla effect,” which has sparked an interest in executive properties in the area, Gilman said.

“I’ve got nine other escrows with companies … and all those fellows are looking for executive housing,” Gilman said prior the sale’s close. “We’ve got so much coming at us with companies like Tesla and Switch.”

The increase in activity has prompted Gilman to start a second real estate endeavor focusing on high-end residential properties. Gilman, who is co-director of the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, specializes in commercial properties.

The Pennington mansion sits on a sprawling 20-acre estate in Reno’s Manzanita Lane neighborhood. In addition to its four bedrooms and eight bathrooms, the property also includes a private helipad, pool deck, gym and in-house theater.

The buyer was represented by Gilman.

 

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