After two years in the making, hundreds of Mesquite residents, business people and public officials gathered Tuesday, Oct. 16, to welcome the newest business to the city when Eagles Landing travel center opened at the I-15 Exit 118 interchange.
Mark Yardley, owner and founder of 333 Eagles Landing LLC, said at the grand opening festivities that “I am so touched and honored to be a part of this. About six years ago, Rick Anderson brought me up here. Right about where I’m standing now was a big hole that we wouldn’t have been able to see out from. To think of all the hard work and now seeing this happen, I am so thankful.”
The travel center and truck stop opening comes about two years after the new interchange was completed on the west side of Mesquite. The interstate exit opened up a new access point to the Mesquite Technology Commerce Center in which Eagles Landing is located.
The center has a large convenience store, liquor store, and two new restaurants. The long-anticipated Wendy’s fast food restaurant will open within a month. There is also a tire repair shop co-located on the property. There are 16 gas pumps for autos and five pumps for RVs in the front of the building. Eight diesel lanes for tractor trailer trucks are located in the back of the area along with 77 parking spaces for trucks.
Slade Smith, a principal partner of the group that put the project together. said, “Today’s opening takes a thousand tons of bricks off my shoulders.”
Smith said the biggest challenge of the project was getting things done on the timeline he and others had set. “The city has been great. They’ve come in whenever we needed them. They told us what we needed to get done and we got it done.”
He cited the example of difficulties with finishing last minute tasks including getting the Southern Nevada Health District to complete its initial health inspections in time to open. “With Councilman Brian Wursten’s help we got it done in time to open.”
“This is really going to bring a lot to our city,” Mesquite Mayor Al Litman said. “It’s just outstanding.” Litman also praised the city council, city staff and Mesquite Regional Business Inc. for helping bring the project to fruition.
“Of all the projects I’ve seen in Mesquite, this is the most impressive one. It shows faith in our city and brings a lot to our city,” Litman said.
The project was a test of the city’s newly-developed economic development incentive program when it was first proposed in mid-2015. The city, which owned the 105-acre parcel, sold it to the Eagles Landing group with several major requirements attached to the purchase.
The original purchase price of the acreage was $1.610 million, which was the appraised price. However, the purchase agreement reduced that to $644,000 provided the owners hire at least 40 full-time employees, spend at least $2 million on capital improvements and open within three years.
The purchase was finalized in September 2016, which started the clock ticking on one of the incentives. With the opening two years later, that goal was met a year early.
Smith said the facility currently has 30 full-time employees and with the opening of Wendy’s and the tire shop, that number will reach 60.
The group spent about $10 million on improvements to the site and the construction of the travel plaza. After moving millions of cubic yards of dirt to fill in huge holes and level the terrain, the formal groundbreaking took place in January of this year.
Only about 20 acres of the original 105 were actually used for the travel center. Smith did not indicate any plans for future uses of the remaining acreage.