Southern Nevada preparing to greet new businesses

Southern Nevada’s economy is welcoming some new businesses.

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development said Thursday that it has approved funding or tax incentives for six companies weighing moves to the Las Vegas Valley.

The biggest chunk of change — as much as $1.2 million — would go to SolarCity, a California-based company that provides renewable energy to homeowners, businesses and government agencies. The funding would help SolarCity open a location here.

The money would come from Nevada’s $10 million Catalyst Fund, designed to help finance businesses that want to expand or relocate to the state through local economic development agencies, such as the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, formerly the Nevada Development Authority.

SolarCity said it’s still scouting locations, but once it chooses a site it expects to create hundreds of jobs here. The Las Vegas operation would house sales, asset management and customer care operations. SolarCity is already building more than 100 solar projects at Shea Homes communities in Southern Nevada.

As with other sun-powered businesses, the region’s cloudless days were a key draw.

“With its solar resource, Nevada has the opportunity to be a national leader in distributed renewable power generation,” said Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity.

Rive added that the solar industry could eventually create thousands of jobs in the state.

The food industry also won big in the latest round of incentives.

Nicholas & Co. of Salt Lake City will receive as much as $625,000 in Catalyst Fund money to locate a large food distribution facility here to ship meats, vegetables, coffees, hot chocolates and teas across the Intermountain West. Like SolarCity, the company is still pinning down a location. Officials didn’t return a call before press time seeking comment.

The office of economic development also announced state tax incentives, such as abatements, for several companies.

California Republic Bank will receive tax breaks on its $1.02 million investment in opening operations here. The bank said it will create 76 jobs with an average hourly wage of $19.90. It currently operates four full-service branches in Southern California, as well as an auto-finance division that purchases contracts from auto dealers in California, Arizona and Texas. The bank had total assets of $591.8 million as of Dec. 31. Executives didn’t return a call seeking comment by press time.

American Roll Form, an Ohio-based sheet-metal fabricator, will receive tax incentives for its $251,685 investment in a North Las Vegas plant that will create 23 jobs at an average hourly wage of $21.47. The company said it’s opening the facility, which will begin production in mid-April, because there are few other custom metal fabricators in the Southwest, the country’s fastest-growing region. The move will also save “dramatically” on shipping costs compared to competitors in the Midwest and on the East Coast. Officials said they expect “rapid growth” in the next half a decade.

Other deals included tax incentives for Chelten House Products, which is spending $16.7 million to build an 86,000-square-foot facility in North Las Vegas, where it will initially employ 41 people averaging $28.68 an hour.

TH Foods, an Illinois-based snack manufacturer and distributor with a plant in Henderson, got tax incentives on $16.5 million in investments. It is creating 24 jobs averaging $13.26 an hour.

“These approvals are a great start to what the rest of the year has to come,” said Tom Skancke, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance. “The entire economic development community worked together on the catalyst fund applications before the (Governor’s Office of Economic Development) board, something that has not been done before. Working together as a region shows that you can get a lot done when we all work as a single unit. Our competition is the world, not each community.”

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at or 702-380-4512. Follow @J_Robison1 on Twitter.

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