Friday, Jan. 22, 2010 | 6 a.m.
The opening of the Galleria Interchange on the I-515 in late 2009 is expected to spur economic development in Henderson.
Initially, the new $66 million interchange has made it easier for shoppers to access the Galleria Mall beyond using Sunset and Russell roads, said Bob Cooper, the city’s manager of economic development.
But more importantly in the future is the potential to develop land, including that owned by the city on both sides of the freeway because there is a better access, Cooper said.
“The biggest impact economically is opening those two pieces of properties on the north side of the Galleria,” he said. “That is going to spur development almost immediately.”
A 120-acre privately held site north of the mall had been mentioned at one time as a possible entertainment district, casino, hospital, housing or even a water park.
The property is owned by a family based in India, said Las Vegas developer Rohit Joshi who is working with the family. The economic slump has delayed any development and determination of what is built but the interchange has already created a success story not only for the mall but those properties, Joshi said.
“This is the gateway to the whole community, and will open things up in that area all the way to Lake Las Vegas,” Joshi said.
On the east side of the freeway, the interchange opens access to a 150-acre city-owned property, Cooper said. The city plans to use half of the site for a science center, performing arts center and multiple museums and use the remaining half open for a mixed-use development, Cooper said.
That may mean office, retail and residential uses for the site and a potential partnership between the city and a developer, Cooper said. Such a project would be several years away, he said.
The city is open to different options, including a lease, to generate revenue because it doesn’t sell property any longer, Cooper said.
The new freeway access ultimately opens a back-door corridor to Lake Las Vegas, Cooper said.
“Lake Las Vegas always wanted a second entrance besides Lake Mead Drive,” Cooper said. “The Galleria Interchange would be the road to take. It opens quite of bit of property for development.”
Freeway interchanges can be an important economic development tool, Cooper said. Henderson is also seeking another interchange along I-15 south of St. Rose Parkway that would further open access to Bureau of Land Management Property and the Henderson Executive Airport, Cooper said.
“That whole area is bigger than Green Valley so it opens up a whole lot of opportunities,” Cooper said.