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$327M project gets underway in Henderson

A California company that makes machines for manufacturers is developing a factory in Henderson.

Construction crews are grading land, installing underground utilities and doing other work for Haas Automation’s 2.5 million-square-foot plant south of Henderson Executive Airport, project manager Valerie Draeger told the Review-Journal on Tuesday.

The facility, which broke ground in the fall, is expected to start visibly taking shape in June or July, and Haas aims to finish in late 2022, she said.

“We’ve definitely been working on it for quite a while,” said Peter Zierhut, vice president of outside operations at Haas.

The project is one of many that have been planned or built in the past few years in the west Henderson area at the southern tip of the Las Vegas Valley, a fast-growing pocket that has been flooded with apartments, housing tracts, warehouses and other new real estate. The plant also would provide an influx of noncasino jobs, helping diversify Southern Nevada’s tourism-dependent economy.

Zierhut said the advantage of building the project in a region that’s light on manufacturing is that it gets plenty of attention, noting government officials have been willing to step in and “help us make this happen.”

The downside is that for the most part, the plant’s necessary workforce “does not exist right now,” said Zierhut, whose company has been working with Southern Nevada educational institutions to develop a pipeline of machinists and engineers.

Haas’ project has been in the works for more than two years. The Henderson City Council voted in February 2019 to sell 279 acres of city-owned land for nearly $27.4 million to Haas founder Gene Haas, and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development approved $10.5 million worth of tax breaks for the project in June 2019.

Haas filed plans to build 4.3 million square feet of commercial space along Via Inspirada near Volunteer Boulevard, including the $327 million manufacturing facility and buildings that would be occupied by other users.

Its footprint shrank last year after the city reacquired about 45 acres for more than $4.4 million, property records indicate. The city had an option to buy back land at market value, $2.25 per square foot, because of the property’s “importance … as a future premier business and employment center,” city records show.

Haas bought its land from the city at the same valuation, records show.

Henderson spokeswoman Kathleen Richards said in an email Tuesday that the reacquired parcel is adjacent to a future police station and training center. She also said that the city intends to sell the land to be developed for smaller-scale office or mixed-use projects that would “better fit the site and is more suitable as a transition” between the nearby Inspirada community and Haas’ big-box manufacturing.

Zierhut said Haas would like to see its suppliers set up shop in the buildings it plans to develop south of the factory.

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

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