Source says Toyota is looking over sites in North Las Vegas

Toyota Motor Corp. is reportedly looking around North Las Vegas to select a site for a parts distribution hub and possibly a manufacturing plant, a source familiar with the search said.

Toyota has been working with North Las Vegas economic development officials to find land or existing industrial space around the Golden Triangle Industrial Park and Las Vegas Motor Speedway, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“It’s very hush-hush,” the source said.

Barbara McDaniel, spokeswoman for Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Kentucky, told the Review-Journal she’s not aware of anything planned for Las Vegas. A second source for Toyota Motor Sales in Los Angeles confirmed that nothing was in the works.

“I don’t know where that came from,” McDaniel said.

Toyota just opened a new $800 million manufacturing plant in Mississippi in November and has no plans for additional manufacturing facilities in North America, McDaniel said. The company has 10 vehicle plants in North America and a huge parts plant in Long Beach, Calif.

Las Vegas blogger Mike Henle wrote about Toyota researching a manufacturing site in North Las Vegas, quoting a local businessman who said he was paid $100,000 to survey the land.

Toyota and other Japanese automobile manufacturers were hammered by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and massive tsunami that struck Japan earlier this year, cutting off shipments of vehicles and parts supplies.

North Las Vegas could be a viable site for Toyota as land prices have dropped and the area is served by railroad spurs, Henle noted in his blog.

However, the city doesn’t know of any plans Toyota might have to construct a plant there, or whether company officials have been reviewing sites in the city, said Terri Sheridan, North Las Vegas’ economic development administrator.

Developers of large-scale projects sometimes approach the city under code names because they don’t want details of the project to get out prematurely, Sheridan said. But no one has approached the city in recent weeks for information about land at Losee and Craig roads or on Thomas and Mack land near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, she said.

Still, in the more distant past, “I have talked to people who are interested in those areas, sure. There’s no way I can tell you it’s” Toyota, she said.

Rick Myers, president of Thomas & Mack Co., said he’d heard of interest in 2 million square feet of industrial use, but the interested party never identified who they were.

Thomas & Mack, an industrial and office developer in Las Vegas, is building the Northern Beltway Industrial Center on about 100 acres in North Las Vegas. The first two buildings of 190,000 square feet and 235,000 square feet were constructed in 2007. Upon completion, the park will have six buildings totaling 2 million square feet.

Sheridan said the city would welcome the company in North Las Vegas. “We want to create jobs, to bring in additional industries no matter what they are.”

Review-Journal writer Lynnette Curtis contributed to this report.

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