Construction begins on the first large-scale industrial development since the recession

Eli Segall

Developers are planning to build a 2 million-square-foot industrial complex in Henderson known as “South15 Airport Center.” Above, a sign advertises the land to prospective tenants, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012.

FedEx Corp. started construction this week on a Henderson distribution center, the first piece of what eventually could be a large industrial hub.

The Memphis, Tenn.-based shipping giant broke ground Tuesday on a FedEx Ground center near the M Resort and Henderson Executive Airport.

The facility is expected to be 300,000 square feet and to open in January.

The building is one of 14 totaling almost 2 million square feet that developers have slated for the 170-acre South15 Airport Center. If all goes as planned, South15 will be the first large-scale industrial development in the valley in years and will employ roughly 2,900 people.

The company likes the site because of its proximity to major highways, customers' distribution centers and a "strong local community workforce for recruiting employees," FedEx Ground spokeswoman Allison Houser said.

Panattoni Development Co. partner Doug Roberts, former home builder Terry Manley and M.J. Dean Construction founder Mike Dean are developing the project.

The city of Henderson owned about 150 acres of the site, but the City Council voted in February to sell the land to Dean and Manley for $13.6 million. As of October, the developers owned 10 acres of adjacent land and were in escrow for another 10. All of the land was expected to be part of the project.

Previous efforts to develop the outer edges of southwest Henderson flopped during the recession.

The South15 site sits near City Crossing, a proposed 126-acre mixed-use project that never advanced beyond site work. City Crossing went bankrupt in 2008, and its developer, Bill Plise, filed for personal bankruptcy last year. He listed about $500 million in liabilities and only $4,738 in assets.

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