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Developer of $400M UnCommons project expects virus disruptions

Developers of a $400 million Las Vegas project have shelved the ceremonial groundbreaking because of the coronavirus but plan to start construction next month.

Matter Real Estate Group, developer of UnCommons, a southwest valley venture that calls for offices, apartments and food and beverage spots, postponed the April 2 event until further notice Friday.

The firm concluded it would be irresponsible “to put 500 people in an enclosed area and act like the world is OK right now,” Matter partner Jim Stuart told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The developers plan to start construction next month, he said, adding they would reschedule the groundbreaking celebration.

UnCommons, spanning about 40 acres at the southeast corner of Durango Drive and the 215 Beltway, is slated to include 500,000 square feet of office space, more than 90,000 square feet of retail space and 800 residential units.

Matter unveiled project plans early last year and obtained a $150 million construction loan months later.

Las Vegas’ construction market, after getting all but wiped out during the Great Recession, gained momentum over the past several years with new housing tracts, apartments, warehouses and other projects. But newly designed mixed-use projects with big blocks of different uses, such as UnCommons, were missing.

The new coronavirus, which causes a respiratory disease known as COVID-19, is known to have infected a fraction of the U.S. population. But it has spread fast around the globe the past few months, sparked widespread fear and hoarding, and led to rapid cancellations and other closures in Las Vegas and other U.S. cities the past few weeks in an effort to contain the spread.

Stuart said he doesn’t know yet whether the virus will affect the supply of construction materials for UnCommons. He said his firm fully anticipates “broad disruption” but isn’t sure where it would stem from.

He said the group is doing “a lot of contingency planning” for materials and labor but pointed to potential unknowns. What happens if Clark County employees have to work from home, he asked. Would there be delays in obtaining permits, and would inspectors be allowed to visit job sites?

“I think all of us now are in uncharted territory,” Stuart said.

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

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