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‘West Henderson is the place to be’: Real estate experts excited about area

As the saying goes, “Go west, young man.”

All the chatter at NAIOP Southern Nevada’s Henderson Commercial Real Estate panel on Thursday at The Orleans was centered on one area of the city — west. Panelist Neil Sansone, a principal of Sansone Companies — based out of Henderson — said the movement west feels like “manifest destiny” in a lot of ways.

He noted he was born and raised in the area, left his family’s company and has now returned to his roots with increased vigor for a fast-growing enclave.

“There is a lot of opportunity out there,” he continued, referring to the name shifts of the city including the downtown core. “I don’t know why they called it ‘Old Henderson’, it was always just Henderson, so I guess it’s now West Henderson because it’s the last part of Henderson to develop out.”

West Henderson is described by the city as running from Las Vegas Boulevard to the west, St. Rose Parkway to the north, the master-planned communities of Seven Hills and Anthem to the east, and the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area to the south.

NewMarket Commercial Real Estate Advisors broker Laurie Norkus, who is working on a shopping center development project that is part of the Henderson West Masterplan, on 379 Desert Palm Drive, said the area is an incredibly “hot” market right now, and everyone is asking about it.

“West Henderson is the place to be right now,” Norkus said. “The landlords (in West Henderson) keep asking for pricing and I will give them the average pricing for Vegas, and they’re basically doubling it and they’re running with it and people are paying it. So I’m kind of excited about it and hopefully it doesn’t skew our comps (comparable real estate in the area) too badly, but we’ll see what happens.”

According to the city of Henderson’s website, there are approximately 332,000 people living within city limits, and the projected population is expected to hit half a million by 2035 when development of unused land is taken into account. Henderson occupies the southern rim of the Las Vegas Valley stretching east of Boulder Highway to just east of Interstate 15.

According to Colliers and CBRE Group Inc.’s latest data for the Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise area, commercial real estate is on the rise in basically every category across the valley (except office space), led by warehouse/industrial builds, and followed by retail leasing.

‘Sweet spot’

According to market statistics, Sansone said one unique submarket on the rise — medical office space — could be a “sweet spot” right now as the demand for office space seems to have waned, given the macroeconomic trend of working from home that went into overdrive during the pandemic.

“Obviously, general investors’ sentiment towards office lenders, interest rates and everything in between makes it harder to get financing and refinancing and office. And with this still kind of uncertainty from work from home and people coming back to work or not and to what capacity, I think general office space has challenges.”

Another trend Sansone said he has noticed is an increased desire for one very specific type of commercial space in the new post-pandemic landscape.

“Experiential retail has been the name of the game, and people don’t want to go to your standard 1,200-square-foot Subway anymore and just sit and order a sandwich,” he said. “If they’re going to leave their house, they want to be loud.”

Experiential retail is a loose term that can describe anything from a movie theater or arcade to escape room or even a pop-up restaurant. According to analysts, this is another trend that was simmering before the pandemic and has now gone into overdrive as people seek out community and human interaction.

A 2020 report, “How We Shop: The Next Decade,” found that close to 60 percent of shoppers across the planet want more than half of the commercial retail space in their area to be focused on “experiences” over products by 2025. Sansone did note one booming trend in Henderson is spaces like nail salons and various forms of beautification spaces such as facials or laser treatment.

One of the biggest projects currently underway in West Henderson is the 150 bed, 37-bay emergency department West Henderson Hospital, which is scheduled to open late next year. The acute and emergency care hospital will become the seventh of its kind of the entire Las Vegas Valley and will be located at the southwest corner of Raiders Parkway and St. Rose Parkway, near the Raiders headquarters.

The city’s development boom can be traced back to 1995, when the city of Henderson Redevelopment Agency was created to revitalize the area and attract new investment, real estate and development. Henderson Mayor Michelle Romero said the whole idea with having one of the hottest markets in the valley is to make sure they do it right now, so they don’t have to go back and fix it later.

“There’s always a struggle,” she said about balancing the different types of real estate to let into the area. “We are trying very diligently to balance out what is the appropriate level of industrial and what is the appropriate level of residential space there. We do have a master plan for West Henderson, and it includes employment centers and residential areas, so it all depends on where the property is, and where it is going to fall.”

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