Clark County orders study of its leased property

Clark County commissioners decided Tuesday to hire a consultant to look into the financial benefits of getting rid of county-owned land that currently is leased out to businesses.

This roughly 1,100 acres of land, which the county obtained through the federal Bureau of Land Management, is owned by the county’s Department of Aviation and leased to businesses and shopping centers.

After the consultant’s study, the county could end up getting out of the leasing business. It will be at least several months before the county gets a report back.

Under the consulting agreement, the Las Vegas firm JABarrett Co. will get paid up to $175,000 for the work.

The county received the land in 1999 through the federal Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act.

The consultant is needed because of the financial complexity of the leases, involving more than paying a flat rate to lease property.

Most of the leases are participatory leases, said Jerome Stueve, the county director of real property management. That means the county and the lessee are in a partnership that factors in financial details such as business revenues, in some cases allowing the lessee to recoup initial costs before the two start sharing in net revenue.

The federal act requires the county to sell the land for fair market value. With the leases attached to it, a study is necessary before the county can make that determination.

The report will look at 13 lease and lease-option agreements. The agreements involve companies including Sunset Business Park, Beltway Business Park and Majestic Runways Partners. For the most part, lease areas are south and west of McCarran International Airport.

The lease revenues vary from about $4 million a year to $7 million a year. Because of the federal law that provided the county the land, the money doesn’t all go to Clark County. Eighty-five percent goes to the account for the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act, 5 percent goes to the state, and 10 percent goes to the county’s Department of Aviation.

Libby White, land acquisition program manager for the BLM, said in an interview that the county has told the federal agency of its plans. The agency, while not making the county’s decision, will do its own assessment of the properties, she said, adding that it’s still in the early stages.

Contact reporter Ben Botkin at or 702-405-9781. Follow him on Twitter @BenBotkin1.