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Developer buys 350 acres in North Las Vegas

A warehouse developer has purchased a huge tract of land in North Las Vegas and plans to build a 4.5 million-square-foot industrial park.

VanTrust Real Estate acquired about 350 acres at the southern edge of Apex Industrial Park and noted in a news release it was one of the largest land deals by a private developer in Southern Nevada in recent years.

The $44.75 million sale, by a group managed by Southern Nevada land investor and broker Mason Harvey, closed March 31, property records indicate.

VanTrust expects to start infrastructure work this fall and to finish the first phase of the complex, comprising around 1.5 million square feet, in 2023, said Keith Earnest, executive vice president of national accounts.

“We feel it’s a really great time to have a project of this magnitude,” he said.

Developers have been on a warehouse-building spree in Southern Nevada for years, in many cases filling them with e-commerce firms. North Las Vegas has been an especially popular spot for large distribution centers, as big chunks of land have been available at relatively low prices there, and officials have expanded the city’s infrastructure.

Apex itself has plodded along for decades with little development amid a dearth of utilities, although water service is on the way. Earnest pointed to the new water line along his firm’s land and said its project there, while not in the heart of Apex, will be its first in the remote industrial park.

VanTrust is already a big warehouse developer in North Las Vegas, having put up facilities occupied by such companies as e-commerce giant Amazon, baby products maker The Honest Co., makeup retailer Sephora and sports apparel site Fanatics.

Overall, VanTrust built around 5.5 million square feet of industrial space in North Las Vegas in recent years and has sold it all, Earnest confirmed.

Last May, for instance, the company sold an 855,000-square-foot Amazon warehouse for $110 million to a Los Angeles investment firm.

Earnest said that the industrial real estate sector initially slowed when the coronavirus pandemic sparked sweeping business closures and other chaos last year, but that the market regained its footing. It’s been helped by a surge in online shopping, as people have stayed home over fears of the virus and bought even more online than they did before the outbreak, fueling demand for distribution space.

Harvey said his group acquired the recently sold land in 2004 as a speculative investment, noting the economy was in “high gear” at the time as easy money fueled Southern Nevada’s real estate boom.

But, as Harvey noted, the economy eventually crashed, North Las Vegas declared a fiscal emergency, and utilities didn’t arrive at Apex.

When city officials announced in 2018 that a groundbreaking ceremony was held for a 12-mile surface water pipeline to Apex, the news release declared: “Decades-old problem solved: Water coming to North Las Vegas’ Apex Industrial Park.”

“It has a lot going for it now that we have water,” Harvey said of the land he sold.

The first phase of the water pipeline is expected to come online by the end of the month, and the second phase is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2022, North Las Vegas spokesman Patrick Walker said Wednesday.

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

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