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Governor’s top economic official ‘understood the risk’ with Faraday

Updated July 17, 2017 - 9:43 pm

While Faraday Future walked away from its deal with Nevada, it’s not all bad, the director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development said Monday.

“We looked (at Faraday’s financial documents) thoroughly and understood the risk,” Steve Hill said. “That’s why we structured the deal the way we did.”

The state approved a $335 million incentive package in December 2015 for the manufacturer of autonomous vehicles, including $215 million in tax breaks. Incentives were held in a trust fund and would not have kicked in until there was a $1 billion investment in the project.

“I think we made the right decisions at the time,” Hill said. “Obviously we wouldn’t have done it if we had known what the outcome was going to be.”

Although he said he is disappointed that the opportunity might no longer be available for Nevadans, Hill said “we did create a path that took us a few more steps toward being able to get that infrastructure.”

Infrastructure and training

Faraday helped to fund engineering and planning for sewer and water infrastructure.

“It is still an important initiative to get the infrastructure at Apex installed,” Hill said. “We need to look at a different way to get there.”

While Faraday Future is halting its plans for immediate construction in North Las Vegas, Hill said the company would still like to pursue its original plans a few years out, according to conversations he’s had with the company.

It would be great to find another qualified project that would serve as an anchor tenant for the site, he said. North Las Vegas officials have said they have other projects in the pipeline for Apex Industrial Park.

Faraday Future also helped to spark a manufacturing-focused training program at the College of Southern Nevada, currently mainly open to students from Southeast Career and Technical Academy.

Faraday Future was “one of the prime movers” of that program, said Frank Woodbeck, vice chancellor for workforce development with the Nevada System of Higher Education.

“There are at least 10 or 12 other companies that are in demand of those same type of skills, so we’re able to take advantage of that,” Woodbeck said. Those companies include:

— Ocean Spray, which produces and packs up to 20 million cases of Ocean Spray juices each year out of Henderson.

— Clearwater Paper, a paper product manufacturer in North Las Vegas.

— Unilever, which produces ice cream in Henderson.

— TH Foods, which produces snack food products in Henderson.

— Ethel M Chocolates, which produces about 8 million pieces of chocolate per year in Henderson.

— VSR Industries, which manufactures locks for the gaming industry in Henderson.

Contact Nicole Raz at nraz@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512. Follow @JournalistNikki on Twitter.

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