Faraday Future electric car manufacturer announced on Thursday, Dec. 10 that it selected Apex Industrial Park in North Las Vegas as its site for a three million-square-foot plant with a direct employment of 4,500 people and indirect jobs estimated at 9,000.
Governor Brian Sandoval, Lt. Governor Mark Hutchison, NLV Mayor John Lee, and other political leaders lauded the project as a way to revitalize a moribund 20,000 acre industrial park just 60 miles or so down I-15 from Mesquite and bring economic diversity, a broadened tax base and new opportunities to a beleaguered North Las Vegas. If all goes well, they are right. And we hope the project is approved by the State Legislature and that it succeeds.
Now what Mesquite needs to do is jump on the bandwagon that’s quickly leaving the train station before it’s too late.
A Las Vegas Review Journal editorial “All about Apex” published Dec. 13, says “About one-third of the land is developable, but there’s no infrastructure in place to allow the immediate construction of manufacturing, warehousing or distribution centers, data processing and storage facilities or any other businesses that require a huge footprint.”
It’s a known fact that when a project as big as Faraday Future builds its core business, many smaller supply chain and support businesses also come to the area. And that’s where Mesquite comes in.
The Mesquite Technical and Commerce Center has about 800 acres of developable land ready to go with all of the necessary utility infrastructure already in place. Land is cheaper in Mesquite than anywhere else near Las Vegas or North Las Vegas. Taxes are cheaper up here than down there. And with the new, more efficient ingress/egress Exit 118 due to open next summer, smaller businesses based in Mesquite will have a direct beeline to the Apex Center less than an hour down the road.
The editorial goes on to discuss issues with water availability and possible shortages. As Virgin Valley Water District General Manager Kevin Brown publicly reported at the October Chamber of Commerce luncheon, we don’t have those problems.
No, we can’t support some of the larger businesses that Faraday Future will attract. But we certainly can support smaller distribution centers and warehouse/storage facilities that will be necessary.
In addition, state officials have already mentioned increases in economic development dollars and more importantly a few million more dollars towards workforce development.
When the Legislative special session starts Wednesday to approve the special incentive package necessary to seal the deal, we would like to see Mesquite get a piece of the pie. As the Las Vegas Review Journal reported, “Economic incentives are most powerful when they’re used as a tool to invest in Nevadans,” Nevada Senate Minority Leader Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas said.
You bet. And Mesquite has about 18,000 Nevadans that deserve some of those economic incentives.
As a former Nevada Assembly representative of NLV, Marilyn Kirkpatrick worked hard to help improve economic conditions in her district. Now as our representative on the Clark County Commission, we’d like to see her broaden those efforts on Mesquite’s behalf.
Assemblyman Chris Edwards (R-AD19) will be heading to Carson City this week to vote yes or no on the piece of legislation that will solidify the Faraday deal or kiss it goodbye. He told the Mesquite Local News last Friday that “what I’ve seen of the proposed deal so far, it has a lot of good return on investment. I’m optimistic on the benefits to the area but will look at the final details when we convene in Carson City.”
His cautionary approach is good. However, one of the final details we’d like to see in the law clearing the way for Faraday is a simple paragraph that assures Mesquite – by name – will be part of the action and a recipient of just some of the millions of dollars that will be spent on workforce development and economic incentives.
As Mesquite Regional Business Inc. President George Gault also told the MLN, “this is a great employment opportunity for people in Mesquite and the Moapa Valley. We can easily become part of the supply chain with our lower cost of business and the infrastructure that we already have in place.”
“We intend to market Mesquite and participate in any and all workforce development programs that we can,” Gault added.
Mesquite Mayor Al Litman also told the MLN that “Mesquite is excited to see such a significant project come to our region. While the State Legislature still needs to approve the incentives package, the City is hopeful for the growth the region will experience. With a projected 13,500 direct and indirect jobs to be generated, the City will work with Mesquite Regional Business to capture as much spillover as possible from this project.”
That’s a great start. But we encourage the city to go a few steps further and start barking at the door of the State and County like a rabid dog.
The State has ignored Mesquite for far too long when it came to investments in the area’s economic future. And the County has all but forgotten that yes, Mesquite is in Nevada and yes, we are part of Clark County.
We have the perfect vehicle already established with a good track record that our elected officials can use to funnel economic development dollars through – MRBI. We will soon have a new organization devoted to workforce development that can be in on the ground floor of training programs, especially those managed through the College of Southern Nevada.
We encourage all our elected officials from the State level to local office holders to work together quickly and ensure Mesquite has a seat on the bandwagon before it leaves the station – not after.