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North Las Vegas rents out space at new City Hall

Two nonprofits formed to help distressed Nevada homeowners have picked out a new home of their own and will soon move into empty floors at North Las Vegas’ City Hall.

The Nevada Affordable Housing Assistance Corporation plans to take over more than 6,000 square feet of long-vacant third-floor office space as part of a three-year lease agreement signed last week.

The state agency — formed to oversee the administration of $150 million in recession-era bailout funds — will shell out a little more than $416,500 over the life of the deal, one that will see nearly two dozen nonprofit employees start work at City Hall on July 1.

A separate one-year, $35,000 deal to be finalized later this week will see Home Means Nevada — another state housing affiliate backed by a $57 million federal mortgage settlement — move four workers into 1,600 square feet of sixth-floor office space.

Both deals took months to hammer out, thanks in part to some haggling over the city’s asking price.

NAHAC spokesman Tony Cammiso said it was well worth the wait.

Cammiso said his nonprofit’s recently signed agreement offers the group just about everything it asked for — a central location, in-house security and plenty of room to stretch its legs.

In fact, Cammiso couldn’t think of anything he didn’t like about the new digs.

“We’re really excited to be going over there,” Cammiso said Wednesday. “Some of our staff is out there today so we don’t miss a beat when everyone else comes over on Monday.

“(North Las Vegas) is the hardest hit housing market in the area so it’s the place to be. … For us it makes sense to be at ground zero and obviously North Las Vegas could use the tenants.”

Nevada Business and Industry Deputy Director Ash Mirchandani sits on the board of directors for both housing nonprofits. He agreed City Hall was a perfect location to house the groups’ homeowner advocacy efforts.

City Hall’s biggest selling point, he added, might have been the building itself.

“Obviously it was a good fit in terms of location,” Mirchandani said. “Secondly, it’s just a beautiful building. I think it’s good for NAHAC employees to work in an environment like that.”

Lease agreements signed this week count as a hard-earned victory for city officials, who spent the better part of a year working up a recently rejected bid to house the Southern Nevada Health District.

The moves also take a big chunk out of City Hall’s unused office space — filling empty cubicles that have weighed heavy on city leaders since officials unveiled their shimmering new $130 million headquarters in 2011.

Seven of City Hall’s nine floors now will house a full-time tenant, according to officials.

For Mayor John Lee, that means there’s two more left to fill.

“I’ll get it done,” the first-term mayor said Wednesday. “We are now talking with four other organizations that are looking at their (current) leases.

“If we do this properly, that’s another $1 million per year in revenue.”

Lee cited ongoing negotiations in declining further comment on potential future City Hall tenants.

He and four other City Council members are expected to approve the new lease arrangements on July 2.

City staffers report they are still working on attracting tenants to North Las Vegas’ 48-year-old former city hall on Civic Center Drive.

Meanwhile, law enforcement officers already are moving out of the city’s decades-old police headquarters across the street.

North Vista Hospital, which acquired the James B. Slagle Public Safety Building for $1.9 million in February, plans to raze the old cop shop early next year.

Contact James DeHaven at jdehaven@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3839. Find him on Twitter: @JamesDeHaven.

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