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The 18,000-acre Apex Industrial Park at the far north end of the Las Vegas Valley could be a catalyst for diversifying Southern Nevada’s economy.
So says a report by a group of real estate professionals brought together by Urban Land Institute Nevada, the local chapter of an international organization that studies urban planning and development issues.
The study calls Apex “the largest industrial and manufacturing location available and accessible to California and the Southwest markets.”
It cites access to transportation and Southern Nevada’s relatively low tax burden as strengths of the North Las Vegas industrial park. Areas of concern include a workforce lacking in appropriate training, a challenged educational system, and a shortage of nearby housing.
The study was commissioned by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, a public-private agency that promotes economic development in Southern Nevada.
Jonas Peterson, the CEO of the LVGEA, told KNPR's State of Nevada there are dozens of companies at Apex now and more are interested.
"You really don't just have industrial land. You really have a hub for innovation manufacturing, large industrial companies, transportation, mobility the list goes on," Peterson said.
Robert Lang with the Brookings Mountain West was part of the study. He said the study found many strong advantages to Apex.
He said it is largest piece of land designated for industrial development with in the whole valley. It is close enough to but still far enough away from neighborhoods to provide both safety for residents but convenience for potential workers.
Lang also said the report about Apex took a comprehensive look at what the land could be used for, whether it needed a name change and developed a master plan for the area.
Despite all the great things about the site, he acknowledges there is much left to do at Apex, which is currently land - not real estate.
"It’s still kind of raw land," he said, "It's not carved into parcels. It's not planed over... It's on the way to becoming real estate but it's still land."
While both Lang and Peterson believe Apex has potential, the company setting up shop in Apex that has received the most attention has announced it has scaled back some of its plans, raising questions about its viability.
Nevada lawmakers gave Faraday Future a package of tax incentives to set up here. The company has not unlocked those incentives because it hasn't met the benchmarks set by the state.
Peterson believes Faraday is moving forward and will be a boost the economy. He also believes the deal to bring the company here offered a low risk and high reward effort.
"Faraday in and of itself has potential to be successful, but the big win is opening up Apex to additional users," he said.
But not everyone is supportive of the deal to bring Faraday Future here. Nevada Policy Research Institutes' Michael Schaus believes the types of deals given to Faraday - and Tesla up north - amounts to picking winners and losers in the economy.
He believes lowering the tax rate across the board in Nevada will help everyone therefore boosting the economy "organically."
"We are for broader tax breaks," Schaus said, "We're still competitive, especially compared to say California, which has taxes like crazy, but it could certainly be better."
Lang pointed out that Nevada already has a welcoming tax environment and the state has to be part of the incentives game or lose out to other states.
"We're not alone in doing this," Lang said, "Other states do this and it's kind of if you don't do it it's unilateral disarmament."
Download a copy of the report here.
Jonas Peterson, CEO, Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance; Robert Lang, Brookings Mountain West; Michael Schaus, Nevada Policy Research Institute