KINGMAN, Ariz. — The prolonged housing slump has prompted a change in the development strategy of a Las Vegas couple working to establish a master-planned community in northwest Arizona.
Leonard and Susan Mardian are developing the Ranch at White Hills off U.S. Highway 93 about 30 miles south of Hoover Dam.
Mardian agent Kathy Tackett Hicks said the project team has shifted focus away from residential to economic development, including solar energy production.
“There is no market, so we flipped several months ago on to economic development, job creation and new industry,” Hicks said. “We’re going to come in from behind in developing manufacturing and job creation and, hopefully, the housing market will pick back up.”
Part of the industrial initiative targets 7,800 acres for renewable energy development. The goal is to harness the wind and the sun to generate power for the future community.
“I think the Mardian project is the largest sustainable development project in the state,” Hicks said. “This is absolutely a pioneering issue — something the county has not seen at all, certainly not to this scale.”
The Mohave County Planning and Zoning Commission voted Wednesday to recommend approvals allowing placement of panels over a Mardian-owned section that Hicks said is ideal for solar power generation.
She said up to 90 megawatts of power can be generated on each section of land that is designated for solar development.
Hicks said discussions are under way with solar industry vendors but that no timetable has been established for initial panel placement and generation. She said solar power can be patched into nearby infrastructure, enabling distribution on the established grid.
“We can get power to and from the Vegas, Southern California and Phoenix markets, which is huge,” Hicks said.
In addition to industrial and commercial development, the Mardians’ long-term build-out plans for the Ranch at White Hills also envision as many as 25,000 residential units over 25,167 acres.