Southwest Henderson, an area long dominated by swaths of sparsely developed desert, is poised for a major transformation in the coming years, spurred by the likely construction of the Raiders’ practice facility and headquarters there.
The city is moving forward with plans to sell 55 acres near the Henderson Executive Airport to the NFL team for $6.05 million — half its appraised value. While the steep discount has attracted its share of critics, supporters think the deal will reap dividends for the region in the long run, enticing other developers to quickly set up shop nearby and facilitating the growth of a new, vibrant neighborhood at the valley’s southern entrance.
Henderson officials, who have for many years wanted to get the city’s western reaches more developed, are excited about the changes the Raiders could bring.
“When you have the opportunity to attract a corporate facility, but also a training facility, for an NFL franchise, where there are only 32 teams in the nation that have this opportunity, it adds a lot of credibility to future development and prospective development that would be looking at our community going forward,” said Barbra Coffee, the city’s director of economic development and tourism. “It almost provides that catalyst impact to those developments just because of it being here.”
At the site on Executive Airport Drive south of St. Rose Parkway, the Raiders have envisioned building their training center and corporate offices on about 25 acres in the project’s first phase, according to Coffee. Plans for the remaining 30 acres haven’t been released publicly yet, but they could feature a mix of “complementary uses,” including commercial and hospitality, Coffee said.
The team intends to have the first phase finished by spring 2020, in time to coincide with the planned opening of its $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed stadium on Russell Road the same year.
Henderson City Council members voted unanimously in early January to move forward with the Raiders deal, and they’ll consider it for final approval Feb. 6. State law allows the city to sell land without first offering it to other developers if officials find it’s in the public’s best interest.
The practice facility and headquarters are expected to bring 250 new jobs — excluding football players — and the team is planning to spend $75 million on phase one of the complex, according to Coffee.
The first phase also is expected to generate $13.8 million in property and personal property tax revenue over 30 years. It also could result in new government revenue of $22.5 million annually, according to city officials.
Should everything continue to move forward smoothly, city officials and area investors think the team’s home base in Henderson could be a boon to both the neighborhood and the city overall.
“It’s nice to have a company like the Raiders go in there: They’ve got quite a few employees, and I think they’re going to make it a tourist destination for their fan base,” said Scott Gragson, executive vice president of the Las Vegas land division with Colliers International. “People will come to the field, the hospitality, they’ll come watch the practices. They might have to pay a fee to watch the practices, but I think it could be a really good enhancement to the area.”
Gragson already has shown a personal interest in southwest Henderson. Working with other real estate investors, Gragson said he bought about 400 acres there. One of his properties adjoins the Raiders site, and most of it is within 2.5 miles, he said.
The area, with its prime open land and close proximity to Interstate 15, has seen grand plans come and go before, but Gragson thinks this time is different.
“Obviously, 10 to 12 years ago, there was a big boom, and then the downturn hit, and nobody wanted to be there,” he said. “Now, it’s back to where it was, and we think that area should develop. … One of our main feeders is California, so anytime you can be in and out of California quickly, people will live here.”
Gragson said it was too soon to say how home values in the area would be affected by the Raiders’ presence, if at all.
Regardless, officials hoped players and Raiders employees, at least, would take advantage of the attractive Henderson living options within easy driving distance of the practice facility and offices. Coffee pointed to neighborhoods like Seven Hills, Anthem, MacDonald Ranch, Ascaya and Lake Las Vegas as potentially good fits for players and team executives. And even beyond those places, there’s a wide range of living opportunities within a 30-minute drive, Gragson noted.
There may in coming years be an even closer living option, if plans in motion for a huge new mixed-use development come to fruition. Sauvage Real Estate in December received a key zoning approval from the Henderson City Council to advance a 103-acre plan known as Henderson West. The vision calls for 2,920 residential units, 480,000 square feet of retail, 190,000 square feet of office space and a 250-room hotel.
It’s a long-term plan, with some aspects moving on a “10 years-plus” timeline, according to developer Alan Sauvage. But he’s planning a mix of living situations that could be attractive to team affiliates, including townhomes and luxury high-rises. Sauvage said his firm was in talks with “master developers of a global scale” to help bring the concept to life.
Sauvage’s site is just down St. Rose Parkway from the property where the Raiders want to settle, so he thinks Henderson West will be a good option for players once it’s built.
“We think we’re maybe the best choice for players in the valley, along with Inspirada and Seven Hills,” Sauvage said. “I think it’s because of the proximity to the practice facility, but also proximity to Henderson Executive Airport.”
The airport is an underrated aspect of the area, in Sauvage’s view. As McCarran International Airport gets busier, he expects more private traffic to shift to Henderson, making the city’s western limits even more attractive. That should be appealing to the Raiders, too, he thinks.
Sauvage sees his St. Rose Parkway land becoming something akin to Summerlin, but with a greater emphasis on walkability. His plans have been in progress for about two years, but now that the Raiders are coming to town, he’s noticed a significantly increased interest in the area from other developers.
“We’re very excited to have them next door,” Sauvage said of the Raiders.
And for city officials, the Raiders’ prospect of bringing jobs that could lure even more jobs to the neighborhood falls in line with their land-use goals for the western area. Coffee estimated 70 to 80 percent of Henderson’s residents currently leave city limits for work during the week and come back at night, and she wants to bring that percentage down.
“It’s important that, citywide, we impact our ... jobs-to-resident ratio, or jobs-to-housing ratio, and that ratio right now in Henderson is, I would say, out of balance,” Coffee said. “It needs to be higher. It needs to be where we have more people who can work close to where they live.”
And she’s not alone in believing that an NFL franchise setting up its corporate home base inside city limits could help accomplish exactly that goal.