While development may have slowed in neighboring states, Nevada continues to set its own pace with some of the biggest and most ambitious commercial developments in the region. From Reno to Las Vegas, retail, office and industrial developers are demonstrating that if they build it, tenants and clients will come.
Nowhere is this more apparent than the Las Vegas Strip, which is booming with two major expansions and one new proposed project. Collectively, these projects will offer visitors more upscale retail choices than ever before and generate retail sales estimated in the billions of dollars annually. Phase I of Fashion Show Mall’s expansion is expected to open Nov. 1 and includes the addition of Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s Home – both making their debut in Nevada. According to project developer The Rouse Company, when final expansions are complete, the Fashion Show will be one of the largest shopping centers in the nation. By 2006, it will generate sales of $1 billion, including $500 million generated from the anchor stores alone, said Rita Brandin, vice president and senior development director for The Rouse Company. In addition, merchants in the expanded center expect to employ an estimated 6,000 people in retail and support positions. When the Phase II expansion is complete in October 2003, it will effectively double the size of the Fashion Show to more than 1.9 million square feet, including 513,000 square feet of small store space and eight upscale anchor stores: Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Dillard’s, Robinsons-May, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s Home and Lord & Taylor. The expansion also includes a new 11,288-square-foot food court and a 10,000-square-foot banquet facility.
Located on the center of the Strip, The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace will expand yet again starting in late 2002 or early 2003. The 200,000-square-foot, three-level expansion will extend from the existing structure to Las Vegas Boulevard, adding upscale specialty tenants and fine dining along the way. “The expansion will enhance what we already have in place and increase our presence on Las Vegas Boulevard,” said Maureen Crampton, marketing director at The Forum Shops. “We’re taking retail right out to the sidewalk, which is a dynamic we haven’t had before. We’ll also be bringing some new names to the United States that are already recognized internationally, including one company headquartered in Italy that has been waiting for The Forum Shops’ expansion so it can establish a presence here.” While Crampton wouldn’t divulge the name of the Italian company, she did say that Robert Cavalli, Chopard, Dolce & Gabbana, MAC Cosmetics and Tod’s have already signed leases. The expansion is scheduled for completion in mid-2004.
Farther down Las Vegas Boulevard, Mandalay Resort Group is hoping to capitalize on a portion of the Strip that has largely been ignored by retail developers by building a “retail bridge” from Mandalay Bay to the Luxor. The bridge, which will mirror the Mandalay Bay theme, will span 100,000 square feet and include 35 to 40 retail spaces. “With all the retail farther north on Las Vegas Boulevard, we believe this end of the Strip is under-retailed,” said John Marz, vice president of corporate marketing for Mandalay Resort Group, developer of the proposed bridge. “It will be a draw for guests from the Monte Carlo all the way south to Mandalay Bay.”
While demand for retail space continues to increase in Clark County, the need for high-tech office space is on the rise in Reno, Henderson and Las Vegas. Nowhere is that more apparent than in northwest Las Vegas, where Thomas & Mack Development Corp. has enjoyed early success with the Las Vegas Tech Center II, located at Smoke Ranch Road and Buffalo Drive. The first phase of the project includes the completed 90,000-square-foot Nevada Title Company headquarters, which is nearly 85 percent leased, and two flex buildings totaling 100,000 square feet. Upon completion, the 71-acre campus-like center is expected to include 22 buildings ranging from single-story flex to three-story multi-tenant office product. “We have completed all infrastructure construction for the project, have sold or put into escrow 92 acres of the Las Vegas Tech Center land and have or are constructing 175,000 square feet of office space,” said Tim Snow, president of Thomas & Mack Development Corp. “The Las Vegas Tech Center II opportunity affords the office user a choice between space to lease, land to purchase, or a build-to-suit building to own. With the first 18 months of development under our belt, we are shaping the Las Vegas Tech Center II into a McCarran Center-like mixed-use office park to serve the northwestern part of Las Vegas.”
In Reno, the South Meadows Business Park has become an attractive site for businesses seeking to relocate to Northern Nevada, giving weight to the area’s growing reputation as a new technology hub. The 70-acre Reno Tahoe Tech Center is only one component of the business park. According to developer Lance Gilman, South Meadows includes commercial, industrial, residential and retail all in one master-planned community. “I’d venture to say it is the most dramatic planned community in Northern Nevada,” he said. “All the standards are in place, from traffic controls to pre-approved land uses, which means no special use permits are required. South Meadows is already attracting a wonderful mix of companies like Cisco Systems and IGT.”
Gilman is seeing similar success with the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, which his company, Lance Gilman Realty, is also developing. Located within the 102,000-acre Tahoe-Reno Center just eight miles east of Reno, Gilman says the center is the largest industrial park in the continental United States and is being developed specifically for large land-use companies (from 20 acres to more than 1,000 acres). “From a standpoint of manufacturing and distribution in the United States, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better location than Reno,” said Gilman. “It’s a key distribution point in the western United States and the location of choice for distribution in the region. All the elements are in place for success.”
In the industrial center, those elements include transportation needs that are met by in-park rail served by Union Pacific and BNSF, close proximity to the Reno-Tahoe International Airport and Interstate 80, and a system of individual water/sewer, gas and power that includes two on-site power generation plants, a $12 million sewage treatment plant and a 100-acre lake complete with its own dam.
GES Exposition Services, producer of trade shows such as COMDEX and the Consumer Electronics Show, broke ground in April on a new headquarters building. Spanning 850,000 square feet on a 54-acre site, the project is described as the largest build-to-suit facility under construction in the western United States. The project is the result of a partnership between Thomas & Mack Development Group and Los Angeles-based Majestic Realty Corp. “GES is proud to play a significant role in the economic future of Las Vegas,” said Paul Dykstra, president and CEO of GES. “The magnitude of this new facility reaffirms our confidence in the local leadership as well as the growth of the trade show and convention industry.” Located off Interstate 215 near Las Vegas Boulevard South, the new flagship facility will consolidate approximately 600 employees and several facilities. An estimated 65,000 square feet will be dedicated to office space, with the remainder targeted for industrial and production operations. Completion is set for the end of 2002.
In Henderson, Plise Development & Construction is hoping its Sage Mountain Commerce Center will also become an attractive distribution site for national businesses planning to relocate to the West. The 135-acre mixed-use project, adjacent to Henderson Executive Airport, will include 1.7 million square feet of big-box distribution area, 475,000 square feet of light industrial space, 163,000 square feet of Class A office space and 118,000 square feet of flex space.
“We’re anticipating breaking ground during the fourth quarter of this year,” said William Plise, president of Plise Development & Construction. “Big-box facilities will be made available late in the second quarter or early in the third quarter of 2003.”