Deal lets North Las Vegas regain role as industrial park’s sole water distributor

Seven months after losing control, North Las Vegas is once again the exclusive water dealer for the Apex Industrial Park, under a deal unanimously approved Thursday by the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Now, efforts are underway to make the agreement with the city permanent by reversing a state bill that named the water authority as the industrial park’s sole water provider.

The water authority also agreed Thursday to complete a $70 million infrastructure project that will someday deliver water to Apex, and hand over maintenance and operating duties to the North Las Vegas Utilities Department.

“We think this is a good way to go,” North Las Vegas City Councilwoman Anita Wood, who also sits on the water authority board, said just before the panel’s vote.

Retaining the ability to distribute water will help streamline efforts to grant permits and utility hook-ups to new businesses moving into Apex, city officials said.

“One of the first things I did as Mayor was work to streamline the City’s permitting and business processes, and the (agreement) ensures we can keep our competitive edge as we attract the world’s most exciting companies to our community,” Mayor John Lee said in a prepared statement.

At the start of last year, North Las Vegas city officials announced that Hyperloop Technologies was developing a test track for a high-speed transit system at Apex, a 2,000-acre industrial complex on the city’s northern edge.

Shortly afterward, Faraday Future released plans to build a $1 billion factory to manufacture electric cars at the sprawling Apex site, signaling a potential boon for a city still recovering from a budget crisis just four years ago.

North Las Vegas was the sole water dealer for Apex, until the state Legislature approved a bill that took away that right during a special session held in December and named the water authority as the complex’s exclusive provider.

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development, which supported the bill, declined to comment.

The measure requires the Legislature to review the arrangement in 2021, but the water authority and North Las Vegas city officials want an immediate resolution.

The water authority is still officially in charge of the water distribution rights at Apex. Under the deal struck Thursday, the authority reverts to its previous role as wholesaler while allowing North Las Vegas to serve as the sole distributor, city officials said.

The arrangement lets the city sell water at retail rates to Faraday Future, Hyperloop and other businesses within the Apex complex.

Water authority Chairwoman Mary Beth Scow said the state Legislature ultimately will have to approve the arrangement.

Designs for the water infrastructure project are expected to be completed by early 2017, water authority spokesman Scott Huntley said.

However, it’s unknown when the $70 million water infrastructure project, funded by state bonds that will be repaid by Faraday Future, Hyperloop and other businesses operating at Apex, will be built, Huntley said. At the same time, Faraday has not signaled when it plans to open the factory.

Robin Prop Holdco, a company related to Faraday, agreed in May to place $6.6 million into an escrow account to reimburse the authority for water infrastructure design plans at Apex. On Thursday, the water authority board agreed to accept a $50,000 deposit from Hyperloop Technologies, along with a $500,000 bond to deliver water.

Contact Art Marroquin at amarroquin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Find @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.

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