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August 29, 2014

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Henderson may get boost for industrial sites

A bill in the U.S. Senate would allow city to prezone 500 acres

Efforts by Henderson to limit the use of 500 acres of federal land the city covets for business development could pan out with the passage of a Senate bill this week.

That legislation is part of a nationwide package of 160 public lands bills that would also free up government land throughout Nevada for private and public development.

In Henderson, the bill would allow the city to prezone two large parcels near the Henderson Executive Airport for industrial use before they are auctioned by the Bureau of Land Management.

“We are almost totally out of business park property,” said Bob Cooper, the city economic development director. “If you come along with a business that needs 20 acres, we can tell you right now we don’t have the land to accommodate you.”

The proposal has been discussed for about five years.

The city’s two major industrial parks, both along American Pacific Drive, are full, Cooper said.

Another industrial area, near Boulder Highway and Sunset Road, has only a few small lots.

The new land Henderson may get includes a 250-acre parcel west of the airport and a 250-acre parcel south of the airport.

If it is eventually sold, the BLM would still be the sales agent. However, the land could not be sold for residential or commercial development.

More than 90 percent of all Nevada land is managed by the federal government.

Cooper said demand remains for warehouse space in the Las Vegas Valley as retailers attempt to eliminate costs of shipping from California.

But he acknowledged the economic downturn has slashed the need for manufacturing space.

During the peak of development the land surrounding the airport was a hub for major development in the city.

The business park area would serve as a buffer between the small airport and the surrounding residential areas, both planned and existing.

Inspirada, a master planned community south of the airport, still plans to add 13,500 homes on 2,000 acres. But the recession has slowed home sales and construction.

City Crossing, a 126-acre mixed use project, was planned at the southwest corner of St. Rose Parkway and Executive Airport Drive. But the developer went bankrupt before that $2 billion project was close to finished.

On a positive note, farther south on St. Rose Parkway, the $700 million M Resort is scheduled to open in March. M Resort developer Anthony Marnell III has said a 1-million-square-foot shopping mall connected to the casino also is planned.

When the projects open they will aim to draw tourists off Interstate 15 as they head into Las Vegas from the west.

The Senate legislation also calls for the federal government to:

• Give the Nevada Cancer Institute 80 acres of BLM land to build a new facility for cancer research.

• Evaluate sites for commemorating the Cold War, including a Mount Charleston Plane Crash Memorial.

• Release land for the construction of a flood control project on the east side of the Las Vegas Valley, near residential neighborhoods, schools and businesses.

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