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$400M UnCommons project breaks ground after pandemic delay

Updated August 21, 2020 - 8:24 am

After the coronavirus pandemic delayed their plans, developers have broken ground on a $400 million mixed-use project in Las Vegas.

Matter Real Estate Group started construction last week on UnCommons, a 40-acre project in the southwest valley that calls for office space, apartments and food and beverage spots. Crews are doing site work and expect to start pouring foundations in early October, Matter partner Jim Stuart said.

The project’s first phase is slated to finish in early 2022.

Las Vegas’ tourism-dependent economy has been devastated by the coronavirus outbreak, and though construction never stopped in the valley, Matter shelved its previously planned April start after the public health crisis sparked sweeping business closures and other chaos.

Its team has redesigned elements of the project with new health and safety features, including “near hospital-quality” heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems; touchless access points; and interior finishes that will be “made with materials to limit the spread of bacteria,” according to a news release.

Among other things, the project’s designers are looking to increase the purification of the buildings’ air, said Darrel Fullbright, a principal with Gensler, UnCommons’ architecture firm.

Stuart, whose firm obtained a $150 million construction loan for UnCommons last year, noted his group was able to rework the project before they started building it.

“We were financed, which today would be nearly impossible to do, but importantly we had not put a shovel in the ground,” Stuart said.

Matter plans to build more than 500,000 square feet of office space at UnCommons, located at the southeast corner of Durango Drive and the 215 Beltway, near Ikea. But since the pandemic hit, there has been talk that perhaps companies don’t need as much office space as they used to, given that employers across the U.S. closed their buildings and told staff to work from home.

People have been working from their kitchens, family rooms and home offices, in many cases with their kids running around the house. As Stuart noted, workers can be more efficient at home than perhaps people thought.

But five months after much of the U.S. shut down virtually overnight over fears of the new coronavirus — and with no end in sight to the still-raging pandemic — he said the effects of being isolated and distracted are “taking a very heavy toll” on businesses, innovation and workers’ mental health.

Matter, founded in 2018, has launched several warehouse projects in the valley and announced plans for UnCommons early last year.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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