Faraday deal sparks interest from other companies

After finalizing a $1 billion deal with electric carmaker Faraday Future in December, large companies from California, the Midwest and Europe have shown increased interest in North Las Vegas’ Apex Industrial park, city officials said.

Ryann Juden, North Las Vegas assistant city manager, said the city has been receiving a dozen calls a week since the start of the new year.

Juden declined to give names but said one company had more than 2,000 employees and another had more than 500.

“They’re not small,” said Juden, of the companies that have come calling, “Pretty big opportunities.”

Gregory Blackburn, director of the city’s community development and compliance department, “There was a spike after Faraday confirmed.”

Some of the companies that call don’t disclose who they are, said Blackburn, but they call to confirm whether the city’s reputation for quick permit processing is as advertised.

Companies are regularly impressed by the city’s lean industrial zoning that allows companies to go straight to the design stage, Blackburn said. “They’re surprised how soon they’re able to start construction,” said Blackburn.

For more than a month, Blackburn said that surveyors for Faraday Future have been at the site of the 3 million-square-foot factory and that the company has been conducting soil testing since late last year.

The company is on schedule to get necessary permits from public works which would allow it to start excavating the site as early as Feb. 1.

The company has set a goal of building cars by 2017 and plans to hire 4,500 employees.

“Faraday is very aggressive and moving forward,” said Juden.

After Tesla chose the Reno area to build its $5 billion battery plant in 2014, there was a similar rush to the industrial park there from companies both nationally and internationally.

“Nevada has always been really hospitable to new development,” said Neil Opfer, associate professor of construction management with the College of Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Opfer, who has lived in the Valley since 1989, agreed that companies that have done work in other states such as California are often surprised by how quickly they can begin construction in Nevada.

“Over in California, everything takes a year and a day,” said Opfer.

Opfer speculated that associated companies involved with the Faraday Future project might consider moving out to Apex as well in order to cut transportation and other costs.

Some concerns for companies looking to follow Faraday Future to Apex could be availability of power, water and an educated talent pool, Opfer said.

Part of the Faraday Future package involves infrastructure development of the 18,000-acre industrial park.

Opfer said companies might also ask themselves, “Can I get enough good people here in Southern Nevada to staff my operation?”

Karen Danielsen, assistant professor with the school of Environmental and Public Affairs at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said the momentum has the potential to further diversify Southern Nevada’s economy. In the short-term, Danielsen said companies should have no problem attracting outsiders to the valley for technical jobs, if needed. Long-term, Danielsen said strong workforce development at Southern Nevada colleges and high schools could provide more local talent.

Danielsen said the large international reach of McCarran International Airport could also be attractive for company executives who need to be able to travel back and forth.

Contact Alexander S. Corey at acorey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0270. Find him on Twitter: @acoreynews

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