By: Ken Chapa, Economic Development Officer
City of Henderson Office of Economic Development &Tourism
On February 6, 2018 the Henderson City Council voted to approve the sale of 55 acres of city-owned land near the Henderson Executive Airport to the (soon to be) Las Vegas Raiders for their corporate headquarters and practice facility.
Although the team was expected to locate the project somewhere in Southern Nevada, the process was still highly competitive with multiple sites throughout the valley under consideration.
The facility is expected to produce at least 250 jobs and up to $75 million in capital investment over the coming years. Jobs will include sales, marketing, administrative, financial, and other support functions.
In short, this is a huge win not only for the city, but also for the emerging West Henderson market.
West Henderson has long been regarded as one of the next frontiers for substantial investment in the valley. The area’s geographical position and its proximity to I-15 make it the closest location in the valley to Southern California’s population of more than 20 million people.
The area also features the Henderson Executive Airport, two highly regarded master planned communities (Inspirada and Anthem) and a friendly business environment supported by existing companies such as Levi’s and FedEx. Upcoming projects such as Turano Bakery, Sauvage’s “The Block” mixed-use development, a new Costco, and continued investments by developers such as Panattoni, Korte, and LaPour will continue to add value and shape the future of West Henderson.
I know what you are all thinking right now: “Yeah that’s great Ken, but what about the very attractive incentive the city gave to the Raiders?”
I’ve been practicing economic development for more than 15 years and there are few other topics that generate as much discussion as the incentivizing of a corporate entity by a state and/or local government.
The decision to offer a public incentive, in this case a reduced land price, is a serious choice that deserves careful consideration. But the opportunity to lure an NFL franchise, one of only 32 in the country, is rare and unique, offering the City of Henderson a chance to advance development in an area that was designated to create a viable and quality employment center as it builds out.
The City of Henderson was able to offer the Raiders a discounted rate on city-owned land because of Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 268.063 – “Sale, lease or disposal of real property for redevelopment or economic development…”
Based on the guidelines outlined in the statute, municipalities have a pathway to offer their city-owned land for purchase at a discounted fee.
The city goes through a rigorous process of identifying the return on investment of projects seeking this benefit. Not only tax dollars are considered, but also how the project could attract increased investment in the community and its role in expediting the area’s strategic vision.
Second, cities must be very careful when exercising this ability as some may claim that it artificially impacts the natural flow of commerce by directly competing with the private sector.
Public entities try to avoid situations where their actions can be perceived as picking winners and losers. The Raiders deal however, was very distinct and offered an opportunity for the City of Henderson to recruit a once-in-a-lifetime project with proven effectiveness demonstrated in 31 other communities with NFL franchises throughout the United States. This, along with a stringent due diligence process, gave the city all the significant information needed to feel comfortable invoking such a selectively used local incentive.
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