Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cadence: The clean up Lake Mead Boulevard needs

Is this what can clean up the Lake Mead corridor? Landwell is clearing up the vacant parcel between Lake Mead Blvd and Tuscany. The 15,000 home master planned community could bring in the needed consumers to jump start some economic growth. As a homeowner in Tuscany, I have been waiting for this news. We need more growth and shopping here.
With hands tied by the real estate slump gripping the Las Vegas Valley, LandWell Co. has announced it will develop its 2,200-acre Henderson site. LandWell expects to sell 42 acres of the former industrial site east of Boulder Highway to Boyd Gaming Corp. to build a casino for an eventual master-planned community.
LandWell had planned to sell the property to Centex until the homebuilder dropped its option to purchase the site in January 2007 because of the slowdown in the housing industry.
As master developer of the giant community, which it is informally calling "Cadence," LandWell will assume the same role that Howard Hughes Corp. served in Summerlin, selling parcels to homebuilders and other parties, said Mark Paris, president and chief executive of LandWell.
"The real estate (market) is not in the best condition, and we are moving forward on the property as the developer," Paris said about the decision not to sell site. "That said, if someone wanted to purchase the property, we would sell it. But at this point we plan to develop it."
LandWell may build the first retail center and office building on the site, he said, and is leasing retail space. LandWell is forging ahead with plans to develop the master-planned community's first village that will have 250,000 square feet of retail and 1,000 residential units, Paris said. Construction could start by the end of 2009 for retail and housing elements and those would be occupied sometime in 2010, he added.
The company has been in discussions with Boyd Gaming for some time and expects to reach a deal on selling a 42-acre gaming site on the east side of Boulder Highway between Water Street and Warm Springs Road.
If a deal is reached, Boyd would build the master-planned community's resort and close and demolish Jokers Wild, transferring the current 20-acre casino site to LandWell.
LandWell would use the Jokers Wild site for mixed-use development, including office and retail.
There is no timetable for the development, but it's likely several years away from building a casino to wait for enough homes to be constructed to justify one, Paris said. The resort could have anywhere from 600 to 1,200 rooms, he added.
LandWell is in the midst of spending tens of millions of dollars to clean up part of the site, which was contaminated decades ago in 40’s by industrial waste from a nearby weapons plant. LandWell already has spent $60 million on site cleanup and expects to spend another $70 million in the next 18 to 24 months to remediate the property.
The contamination dates to World War II with the construction of the $130 million Basic Magnesium Plant, which produced magnesium for military aircraft and ammunition. That waste was channeled to evaporation ponds on a portion of the undeveloped 2,200 acres.
A landfill has been excavated and work on its lining will begin soon. When completed, dirt from the contaminated property will be stored in the landfill. Moving dirt into the landfill is expected to begin in the fall.
"I think in the next couple of years the market will become healthy again," Paris said. "That was not necessarily by plan, but the timing seems to work for us."
"This is going to be a middle-class to uppermiddle-class area with some entry-level housing," Paris said. "We don't envision any gated neighborhoods or custom homes. It is bread-and-butter Americana." The 2,200 acres are permitted to have as many as 15,000 housing units, which would include single-family homes, condos and apartments, Paris said. Homes are likely to have starting prices below $200,000.
With all the new homes in this development, this will grow the area into what it should be. A destination. Shopping, Lake Las Vegas, Lake Mead National Park and a thriving community. There is no reason that this corridor shouldn’t look like W. Charelston in Summerlin. Lake Mead leads to some of the most expensive real estate in town. We should have a lot of pride in this stretch of road.

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