Henderson approves first steps toward discounted land sale to Raiders
The Raiders might be planning a move and playing under the banner of Las Vegas, but their team headquarters will have a different, less well-known address — Henderson.
The Henderson City Council voted 5-0 on Tuesday to approve a resolution leading to the sale of 55 acres of land near the Henderson Municipal Airport to the football team, ahead of the planned move to Las Vegas in 2020. The currently vacant plot of land is set to be sold to the team for $6.05 million, half of the appraised $12.1 million price.
The sale to LVR Real Property LLC, a Nevada-based business owned by the Raiders, still needs to be finalized — likely during a February meeting of the council.
But that procedural hurdle didn’t stem any enthusiasm from business representatives, representatives from the football team or even city officials, who touted the deal’s “return on investment” and potential to spur development in nearly 600 surrounding unused acres in west Henderson.
Assistant City Manager Greg Blackburn said that the city estimated selling the land to the team would result in a tax windfall — including $13.8 million in property tax over three decades, and higher consolidated tax and room tax revenues from the number of jobs created. The resolution approved by the city council stated that the headquarters would create 250 full-time jobs and spend $75 million on construction costs outside the cost of purchasing the land.
“It’s hard to put a dollar value in what this does for us in the future,” he said. “It’s a blank canvas out there, to speak percentage wise. This will help accelerate the development — the sooner the development, the higher the return on investment in our community.”
Don Webb, a stadium consultant hired by the Raiders, told the council that the team planned to finish construction of the team headquarters and practice facility in the spring of 2020, ahead of the scheduled finishing of the team’s stadium near the Las Vegas Strip.
“We’re fully committed to this if you are fully committed to it,” Webb told the council. “We won’t be looking at Plan B. We’ll be looking at making sure Plan A is accomplished.”
Henderson’s sale of the land at a discount comes from a 13-year-old provision in Nevada law that allows municipalities and local governments to sell land at a reduced rate “for the purposes of redevelopment or economic development” and if the governing body selling the land adopts a resolution stating the sale is in the public interest.
The 55-acre property had previously been designated as a business park, with city officials in September 2016 approving an “exclusive negotiation agreement” with Marnell Properties, a Las Vegas based real estate company.
Greg Wells, Marnell’s president of real estate, said in an interview the firm worked with the city over the last year to develop a master plan and feasibility study for the site, but shifted gears last year once the NFL owners voted to approve the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas in March 2017.
“It was pretty clear that we could have gone out there and thrown up a bunch of warehouse and big box (stores), but the city had a bigger vision,” he said.
Wells said that the city saw the team headquarters and practice field as a potential “marquee development” for the site, and shifted gears to help the city design its pitch to the team over the last year. He said the site was well equipped for water, sewage and electric hookups.
The city acquired the land in 2014, after city officials and a residential developer swapped several land parcels including area near the airport. The land was initially included as part of a planned residential development that was rejected over fears of constructing homes so close to the airport.
Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said the county had only used the state law provision once, in order to sell more than 4,000 acres of land near Laughlin to a Chinese-owned company for development of a large solar energy plant. The county sold the land for a price of $4.5 million, below two appraisals of the land that set the price at $29.6 million and $38.6 million.
The project fizzled out in 2013 after the company failed to secure a power purchase agreement, leading the county to auction off the land in 2015.
In response to an inquiry by The Nevada Independent, Henderson city officials identified several land sales made through the NRS 263 process over the last five years, including a sale of 32 acres of city-owned land to Turano Baking Company for $6 million, a discount between $320,000 and $1 million based on two appraisals.
It’s unclear just how often municipalities use the provision to sell land at a bargain price — Paul Anderson, a top executive with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, said the office doesn’t track that information.
The city of Las Vegas used the law to lease a city-owned office space to education specialist Acelero Learning at 20 percent of the current market rate in July 2017. The city of West Wendover told state officials in a 2009 report on tax abatements that the city had sold about 7 acres of land through the state law, which helped lead to the development of a 30-acre industrial park.
Disclosure: Laborers of North America Local No. 872 ($75,000) and Steve Sisolak ($1,000) have donated to The Nevada Independent. You can view a full list of donors here.