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Odors gone, homebuilders embrace North Las Vegas pig farm land

With the squealing pigs gone, builders are putting up houses on North Las Vegas land once owned by a longtime swine farmer.

Pulte Homes, Beazer Homes and Century Communities are developing subdivisions at Sedona Ranch, a roughly 160-acre community at Ann Road and North Fifth Street. Model homes have been finished or are under construction, and several “spec” houses, or those without buyers lined up, are being built as well.

A fourth builder, Lennar Corp., also has bought land at Sedona Ranch and plans to break ground next spring.

The work comes as Southern Nevada’s homebuilding market heats up with rapid sales and record prices, and almost two years after Bob Combs sold his R.C. Farms site and adjacent land to investors who drew up plans for residential and commercial development.

Combs fed casino leftovers to pigs there for years and saw it as God’s work to recycle the food. But with pungent fumes in the air, plenty of people couldn’t wait for him to push the swine out of the neighborhood that sprang up around his once-isolated business.

Cleanup efforts are ongoing at the shuttered farm. When a Review-Journal reporter drove by recently, the stench was gone.

“There really isn’t much of a smell anymore,” said Ladera Ventures founder James Pickett, who teamed with Olympia Cos. partner Guy Inzalaco to buy Combs’ property.

Decades of ‘garbage and manure’

The pig operations were concentrated on property still owned by Pickett’s group, and the four homebuilders acquired tracts of land to the east and west of it.

Pickett said his group is cleaning a site with a decades-long history of “garbage and manure” and has ripped out feeding troughs, sheds and barns. He said the cost of the work is a “moving target” and that piles of dirt, manure and trash still need to be dealt with, but he hopes to finish in the next six to 12 months.

Inzalaco and Pickett bought more than 150 acres of mostly vacant land from Combs for more than $20 million in November 2016 and drew plans for 710 houses, 384 multifamily units and 22 acres of commercial development, according to Clark County and North Las Vegas city records.

They sold about 60 acres to Pulte, Beazer and Century for nearly $12.9 million last November, and 39 acres to Lennar for about $10.2 million in June, property records show.

A retail project could be on the way. Remington Nevada founder David DelZotto confirmed in a statement that he is in discussions to buy land at Sedona Ranch and hopes to develop a retail center, but added that no further details were available.

‘I haven’t smelled anything’

Builders sell fewer houses in North Las Vegas than in other parts of the valley, but buyers can find lower prices there. Builders’ median sales price in North Las Vegas this year through September was $305,701, compared with $368,509 in all of Southern Nevada, according to Home Builders Research.

Pulte plans to build roughly 120 houses at Sedona Ranch and will hold its grand opening Saturday. This is its first project in North Las Vegas in some time and lets the builder “branch out into a more affordable” submarket, said Bridjette Shelfo, a vice president of sales with parent PulteGroup.

She said Pulte’s sales team has been working leads, and the farm’s pungent past has not come up as a concern from prospective buyers.

Las Vegas home construction 2018

“I haven’t smelled anything while I’ve been there,” Shelfo said.

Century’s Nevada division president, Robb Beville, said his company plans to build 146 houses and that he, too, isn’t worried about a possible pig-related stigma.

“If I was on the actual farmland, for sure I’d have a concern, but I would never buy it,” he said.

Beazer’s Las Vegas division president, Steven Cervino, said his company plans to build 94 houses and will also hold its grand opening Saturday. He said Beazer liked the project because it’s harder to find large parcels of land in the valley and, with multiple builders at Sedona Ranch, there could be more buyers walking around.

Lennar, meanwhile, plans to open model homes in early 2020, Las Vegas division president Joy Broddle said.

She also isn’t worried about the community’s history, saying in part that Lennar has built hundreds of homes in and around the area.

“This is prime real estate in North Las Vegas,” she said.

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

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