It’s almost inevitable that sooner or later one of the three I-15 interchanges serving Mesquite will see the construction of a major Travel Center, aka truck stop.
We’ve already been through the messy consideration of a Travel Center (TC) at Exit 122 several years ago. Pilot Flying J corporate headquarters wanted to purchase the old Mesquite Star property, tear it down and build a modern TC with a convenience store and several restaurants. The public roared their disapproval because of the potential traffic problems.
Before the Mesquite City Council had a chance to decide on a zoning variance for the corner, Pilot Flying J abandoned their plans and the owners of Eureka Casino and Resort purchased the property instead.
Around the same time, the idea of a new I-15 interchange at mile marker 118 was sold to public by the City, Regional Transportation Commission, and Nevada Dept. of Transportation as the best place for a TC. There aren’t any residential areas nearby and the new exit would open up a direct route for trucks into the Mesquite Technology and Commerce Center.
Most importantly, Exit 118 was sold to the public as the best method for getting truck traffic off the Exit 120 roundabouts. If you’ve ever been nearly sideswiped by a semi-truck in the roundabouts you wholeheartedly agree with that idea.
If you thought Exit 122 was a bad location for a TC, how about one at Exit 120?
According the Mesquite city officials, a zoning variance request for property located on the southwest corner of Exit 120 will be on the City Council agenda on Nov. 10. Pilot Flying J corporate headquarters wants to build a TC on the vacant lot south of the interstate with 122 truck parking spaces, a c-store and restaurants.
According to Mesquite Local News sources, the corporate guys don’t want to build a TC at Exit 118 because it’s too far from town. They say their new business model focuses more on auto traffic and local residents, thus Exit 120 is a better location for them. Besides, the roundabouts can handle the truck traffic.
So what does that issue have to do with the Exit 118 land sale issue the City Council will entertain at its Oct. 13 meeting? A lot.
Two Letters of Intent (LOI) to purchase 104 acres of city-owned land located at Exit 118 have been submitted to the city. One LOI was submitted for just 5.71 acres of city land.
One LOI from 333 Eagles Landing, LLC for all 104 acres includes extensive plans for a TC with c-store and restaurants. The company intends to build within three years and employ at least 40 people with an $11 average hourly wage. They intend to use a franchise model from Pilot Flying J for their TC.
However, if the corporate guys get the zoning variance they want for Exit 120, the franchise guys will be forced to scale back their Exit 118 plans or abandon them altogether. 333 Eagles Landing managing partner told the MLN that Mesquite isn’t big enough to support two major TCs so close together.
The decision City Council makes next Tuesday on the Exit 118 land sale should be made in consideration of the upcoming zoning variance request they will entertain Nov. 10. The councilors need to make a choice between the corporate guys and the franchise guys. They need to decide going into both issues whether we’ll have a TC at Exit 118 or Exit 120.
One decision can have a direct impact on the other.
But regardless of their decision about Exit 118, they need to say no to a Travel Center at Exit 120.
It’s just a stupid place to put one.