Bulldozers and construction equipment have become unfamiliar sights for Centennial Hills residents.
Once one of the fastest-growing parts of the fastest-growing city in America, many in the northwest haven’t heard a dirt mover or water truck in years.
That could change next year, when Olympia Companies LLC looks to break ground on a master-planned community near the intersection of Kyle Canyon Road and U.S. Highway 95, the first large-scale development set to come online in the Las Vegas Valley since 2007.
Olympia will look to pour some $200 million into its new 9,000-home development, the Las Vegas-based company’s first since wrapping up construction on southwest Las Vegas’ 2,300-acre Southern Highlands development.
Spread across 1,700 acres zoned for residential, commercial and gaming uses, blueprints for the as-yet unnamed development could leave room for everything from parks and schools to strip malls and a casino.
But details of the plan remain sketchy, according to Senior Vice President of Development Marc Bolduc.
Bolduc said a preliminary company budget includes “several hundred million” dollars for infrastructure and public spaces but couldn’t say whether the plan would pick up on 75 acres of parks, walking paths and horse trails outlined by earlier prospective developers at KAG Property LLC.
Olympia plans to unfold phases of the development over several years of construction.
Bolduc predicts an ever-shrinking supply of homes throughout the Las Vegas Valley will soon translate into plenty of demand for those new homes, at least as long as cash investors continue to squeeze out locals looking to snap up recent short sales and foreclosures.
Bottom line, he said, it’s a good time to build.
“We’ve seen sales pick up in the Southern Highlands, and we’ve seen a high demand for new homes, so we think the market’s ready,” Bolduc said. “There has been a lot of interest in (the project). Builders have been calling since we made the announcement a few weeks ago.
“It’s a beautiful area up there (in Centennial Hills), so we’re excited about it.”
So is Ward 6 Councilman Steve Ross, who welcomed the development as a bellwether of better economic times to come.
Ross predicts Olympia’s latest master plan will mean thousands of jobs.
“It’s exciting because it’s a sure sign of movement in the economy,” he said. “It’s a step in the right direction.
“I told (Olympia CEO) Garry Goett that he did a great job on Southern Highlands, but I expect him to do a better job here.”
Ross said the development company will have to provide school sites set aside in the parcel’s original development blueprint and may look to pick up on earlier plans to relieve traffic through a major road that extends all the way to the 215 Beltway.
Concerns remain over how the developer will help protect existing schools, roads and homeowners from flashfloods worsened by recent erosion runoff at Mount Charleston.
“If one retention basin is good, is two better?” longtime Centennial Hills resident Rick Rychtarik asked Ross at a town hall meeting Sept. 5. “I’d like to know how that all pieces together now that they’re going to put 9,000 new homes over there.”
Ross promised project developers at Olympia and city planners will take every precaution — from underground pipelines to multichannel drainage pumps — to hedge against the kind of flashflood-induced debri flows that recently sent fist-sized chunks of hardened ash from the Carpenter 1 fire down the southernmost edge of the planned development along Grand Teton Drive.
Rychtarik said he wasn’t completely happy with Ross’ answer but let the issue drop.
After all, if the “Grand Teton River” ever rises again, at least he and the three-term councilman will be in the same boat.
“No, I’m not sure the city has all its bases covered,” Rychtarik said. “But he’s my neighbor, so I’m not going to give him too hard a time about it.”
Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter James DeHaven at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3839.