LAS VEGAS-The owners of a 365-acre chunk of the sprawling Apex Industrial Park looking back down into the Las Vegas Valley are gearing up for development – 19 years after the 21,000-acre area was set aside for development. The City of North Las Vegas earlier this year annexed 12,000 acres of the park and will now supply it with municipal water. Mason Harvey, the local broker and investor leading the group that owns the 365-acre property tells that a county sewer connection also is in the works along with Foreign TradeZone status, setting the stage for some 6 million sf of industrial and R&D/office development on its piece of the park, which it has named City View Business Park.

The bulk of Apex sits along Interstate 15 just outside the Las Vegas Valley, several miles past the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the Manheim Auto Auction on the way to Salt Lake City. The chunk Harvey’s group owns, previously known as North Hills, sits just inside the Las Vegas Valley, several miles closer than much of the rest of the acreage, and touches both the Interstate and the main Union Pacific Railroad line. Harvey tells he hopes to develop both multi-story office/R&D product with views of the Valley and rail-served big-box industrial.

“We can and will develop this; we own it free and clear and we have all the approvals for water and sewer so it’s just a matter of going through the process,” says Harvey, a commercial broker with Prudential Americana. “We could develop it on our own but what we’d prefer to do is bring in a joint venture partner; we’re talking with national and regional companies and will make a decision [soon].”

Michael Majewski, economic development director for the City of North Las Vegas tells that its annexation of the land and its eventual development is key for North Las Vegas and the region as a whole, and now that the water problem is being solved, it could develop fairly quickly after 19 years of lying largely fallow. He also confirms that Harvey’s group is indeed at the front of the line for city water.

“In the go-go years of housing that have now passed, we had a conversion of industrial-zoned land to residential; this will open up a vast amount of heavy industrial land, allowing us to still attract industrial jobs and capital to the Las Vegas Valley,” Majewski says. “The time frame for the [extension of city water to the entire annexed area] is 18- to 24 months, and Harvey’s is the first piece of property the line will pass so he will be the first to be able to tie on.”

Harvey says his ownership group is covering the cost of extending the city waterline to its property, and then the city will set up a special improvement district to pay for the extension of the line to the rest of the Apex land it annexed. The utilities would run under a road that would cross federal land. The City is working to gain the approvals for the right of way.

Furthering the development advantage is the joint effort by Harvey’s group and the City to obtain Foreign Trade Zone status for Harvey’s property. Such a designation would allow those within the zone to import raw goods directly to the property and then add value without paying duties. After that, the product may be exported back out of the US without paying any duties at all or may enter US commerce at a reduced duty rate. It could also help casino companies, which could avoid paying duties on warehoused slot machines until they are actually sent to a casino.

“We have had very detailed conversations with the licensee of the Foreign Trade Zone as well as the management company and will be working with Harvey to make application,” Majewski says. “All parties are very excited about moving forward with it; nothing is done until it’s done but it appears to be a case of when, not if.”

Harvey says the current conceptual plan calls for 5 million sf but the rail design is being revised to allow for an additional 1 million sf of development. As for the type of development, Harvey anticipates developing three-story office/R&D building on the land adjacent to Interstate 15 with the best Valley views and, beyond that, heavier industrial uses.

Site work is still a few months out, Harvey says, but once it begins completion of the first buildings could happen inside 18 months. That means the first building would be delivered no sooner than early 2010.

Also gearing up for development at Apex is Kapex LLC, which two years ago paid $69 million for a 3,250-acre chunk of Apex located several miles beyond City View Business Park. Plans call for a 30 million-sf of big-box warehouse and distribution buildings to be built over the next 10 years.

Kapex acquired its land from Kerr-McGee, which acquired the property in 1989 and shuttered its operations there in 2001. The face of the group is Adam Titus, who represents the ownership of more than 6,000 acres within the park.

Titus tells that one of the ownership groups he’s involved with, which is developing Mountain View Industrial Park four miles beyond City View, has broken ground for its first building, a 474,000-sf cross-dock warehouse. Completion is slated for mid-2009.

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