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Mapping the Future: Clark County Economic Development Initiatives

Clark County is a world-class gateway to the Mountain West, built upon prosperous and diverse communities and businesses.

The Boring Company's underground tunnel in Las Vegas (Photo from LVCVA)

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On March 24th, we attended Asian Chamber of Commerce's luncheon featuring Shani Coleman, Director of Community & Economic Development at Clark County. Below are the highlights from the luncheon and other articles we published previously to provide an overview for our audience.

  • Gateway to the Mountain West
  • Accelerate Economic Diversification
  • Support Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs
  • Transportation

Gateway to the Mountain West

Vision: Clark County is a world-class gateway to the Mountain West, built upon prosperous and diverse communities and businesses.

Southern Nevada is surrounding by California, Utah, Arizona, and Oregon. We are in the middle of nowhere, but we are also in the center the everywhere. Southern Nevada is just hours away from the Southern California markets and within two-day delivery of nearly every state west of the Mississippi River. Many businesses in those surrounding states are setting up their regional headquarter or manufacturing warehouse here in Southern Nevada.

Earlier this month, the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) approved incentives for three companies to expand to Southern Nevada and to add over 225 jobs in the region over the next five years. These three companies will set up their warehouse facility in either North Las Vegas or Henderson.

Record Demand for Southern Nevada Industrial Space

Our great geographic location as the gateway to the Mountain West is one of the reasons why Southern Nevada industrial real estate prices have been going up. Hugh demand for industrial space, but not enough supply. We can talk about some of the other reasons including lack of private developable land, institutional capital, ecommerce, and cap rate compression in a future article.

According to Colliers Las Vegas 2021 Q4 Industrial Report, Southern Nevada’s industrial market had record demand in 2021. Last year’s net absorption had a record demand of 11.6 million square feet, higher than the previous record of 7.8 million square feet in 2017. And 2021 Q4’s vacancy was 2.3%, the lowest industrial vacancy rate in Southern Nevada history.

Accelerate Economic Diversification

We learned our lesson in 2008 and 2020 that we must diversify our economy. A diversified economy is better and healthier for our city in the long term.

Clark County Target Industries:

  • General & Advanced Manufacturing
  • Business & Financial Services
  • Creative Industries
  • Clean Technologies
  • Transportation & Logistics Technologies
  • Information & Communication Technologies
  • Healthcare Services
An Analysis Report of Clark County's Communities and Economy Prepared by SRI International (Available online)

Advanced Manufacturing Park

Clark County is proposing to build an advanced manufacturing dedicated area in Sloan, south of Southern Highlands. Manufacturing sector has been one of the fastest growing sectors in Southern Nevada economy. From 2011 to 2021, manufacturing jobs in Nevada increased by 51.7%, way passed the national average of 3.7%. Clark County manufacturing jobs increased by 28% from 2011 to 2021.

Nevada Governor's Office of Economic Development Manufacturing Sector Q1 2022 Report:

Statewide Statistics
Source: Nevada Governor's Office of Economic Development Manufacturing Sector Report

Clean Technologies

Governor Sisolak announced at the State of the State press conference last month that the state is implementing a plan to ensure that 50% of Nevada’s energy comes from clean energy by 2030, with net-zero greenhouse gasses by 2050.

McCarthy Building Companies is building a 1,387-acre Arrow Canyon Solar Project 20 miles northeast of Las Vegas. This 274-megawatt DC (MW) solar project includes a 91 MW-5hr battery storage project and is expected to complete in December 2022. Once completed, Arrow Canyon will generate enough clean energy to meet the consumption of up to 76,000 average Nevada homes. This is equivalent to avoiding more than 632,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.

Technology and Innovation

Clark County is planning to develop a Technology and Innovation Zone to foster the technology industry to diversify our economy, create high paying jobs, and advance local entrepreneurship and workforce development.

The City of Las Vegas is also focusing on technology and startups. Startup Accelerators, gener8tor, launched a new program recently in partnership with the City of Las Vegas and Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Exterior of the westside of the building (Photo Credit: UNLV)

UNLV broke ground on its Advanced Engineering Building this month. The building is three-story, 52,000 square-foot. It will host labs for research areas including biomedical engineering, big data and cyber security, artificial intelligence, water resources and more.

The New Sports Hub in America

In addition to the 65,000-seat NFL Allegiant Stadium, the 20,000-seat NHL T-Mobile Arena, and the 10,000-seat minor league baseball Las Vegas Ballpark, Southern Nevada just got another arena.

Last month, the new Dollar Loan Center, a 6,000-seat sports and entertainment arena, opened in Henderson. It is the home of the Henderson Silver Knights, the AHL affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights, and the Vegas Knight Hawks of the Indoor Football League. The arena is also home to the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame, a non-profit organization that is committed to the support and enhancement of Southern Nevada youth through programs and scholarships.

The new sports industry is something Clark County did not have five years ago. The Allegiant Stadium really opened up opportunities for Las Vegas to showcase our city as the place to be for professional sports events and tournaments. Twenty years ago, NFL banned Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority (LVCVA)'s ad during the 2003 Super Bowl, because NFL did not want "Sin City" to be affiliated with professional sports. Twenty years later, Las Vegas is going to host the 2024 Super Bowl!

Last summer, Clark County released a new master plan for the Allegiant Stadium District. The County is planning to redevelopment the surrounding industrial area to a mixed-use district with entertainment, retail, hospitality, and sports. This is a long term master plan and will require supports from both the public and private sectors.

Support Small Businesses

In the last two years, the Clark County Economic Development department provided business support outreach to 3,012 businesses and supported 1,185 applicants with direct grands, average $10,424 per applicant ($12,352,546). The County is planning to host a small business job fair later this year for small businesses with 50 or less employees. The County is planning to provide each business that hires a candidate at the job fair with funds to cover new hire expenses.

Small Business Opportunity Program (SBOP)

According to Clark County's Community & Economic Development's website, "The Clark County Small Business Opportunity Program (SBOP) is designed to help small business owners increase their capacity to compete for government contracts. Small businesses that enroll in SBOP receive instruction, mentoring, coaching and relationship-building training."

This program is free and you can join the waiting list online. You can also sign up for SBOP's newsletter online and check out their previous newsletters here.  

The Future of Mobility

The Boring Company

The Boring Company's Loop is an all-electric, zero-emissions, underground public transportation system in which passengers are transported directly to their final destination with no stops along the way.

The LVCC Loop is located at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) and is designed for 4,400 passengers per hour (with 3 large stations). We tried it during CES week!

The second Loop, Vegas Loop, is a 29-mile tunnel network connecting 51 stations (targeting 57,000 passengers per hour) throughout the Strip, Downtown Fremont Street, UNLV, and the Harry Reid Airport. On October 20, 2021, the Clark County Commissioners unanimously approved this plan.

Credit: Clark County Planning Commission and The Boring Company (Available online)

Maryland Parkway Corridor Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Plan

The TOD Plan was completed and accepted by the Board of County Commissioners in August 2021.  The Plan is intended to complement the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line planned for the Maryland Parkway Corridor.

Credit: Clark County Website

Brightline West

Brightline West is a 260-miles high speed rail that connects Las Vegas to Los Angeles suburb. According to a recent article by Forbes, the Brightline West project is on track to break ground in 2023 and place in service in 2026. The Federal Infrastructure Projects Permitting Dashboard shows the 49-mile Cajon Pass section of the project is currently under viewed by the Transportation Department's Federal Railroad Administration. The review is scheduled to complete by November 2022. This segment of the railway, starting in Rancho Cucamonga, will connect to a previously approved 216-mile portion from California’s Victor Valley to Las Vegas.

This is a massive infrastructure transportation project with many agencies and stakeholders involved. We will continue our reporting as more information of the project being released.

A Second Airport

The Harry Reid Airport is a urban airport located next to the Las Vegas Strip and UNLV. It has both geographical and airspace limitations and cannot be expanded any further. Clark County identified a site for a supplemental commercial airport in 2000. The site is 30 miles south of Las Vegas in Ivanpah Valley, between the cities of Primm and Jean. The planning will continue through 2024. This is a long term, 17,000 acres master plan development.

Other Topics For Future Discussion

This article only highlights some of the topics within the big scope of economic development in Clark County. We still haven't covered other important topics such as affordable housing, workforce development, Redevelopment Agency, land bills, UNLV's new master plan, commercial real estate outlook, and more. We also need to talk about our cities' economic development outlook in City of North Las Vegas, City of Henderson, and City of Las Vegas.We will cover the other topics in future articles.

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