Las Vegas Sun

November 23, 2014

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Southern Nevada Health District nears deal to buy building for new headquarters

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Christopher DeVargas

Southern Nevada Health District leader Dr. Joseph Iser at the SNHD offices Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013.

The Southern Nevada Health District is close to a deal to buy a building for its permanent headquarters that could save the financially challenged public agency $2.5 million annually.

Chief Health Officer Joseph Iser presented four options for a new headquarters to the district’s board Monday. The board wanted to buy rather than rent, Iser said.

The district is in negotiations to purchase a building within a block of its current location at 330 N. Valley View Blvd. Iser wouldn’t disclose the exact address of the new building, citing ongoing negotiations with the seller.

After the sale closes, the building will need renovations. Iser hopes to move in within 12 months. Purchasing and renovating the space is expected to cost less than $15 million, Iser said.

The move would save the district $2.5 million in annual rent it currently pays for two buildings. It would also allow the district to consolidate most of its 515 employees at a single location, improve efficiency and provide a convenient one-stop shop for customers, Iser said.

“The lease that we’re in now is unsustainable financially,” Iser said. “It’s one of the reasons why we’ve been in deficit spending for the last couple of years.”

The agency is facing a $4.6 million budget deficit for the fiscal year that starts in July. It recently announced it will eliminate 50 to 60 positions to cut costs.

The health district has been headquartered in a rented office building on Valley View Boulevard since its old location on Shadow Lane near Charleston Boulevard was shut down in April 2012 due to structural concerns.

The health agency had trouble finding a permanent home. Clark County challenged the district’s ability to own property in a lawsuit. That lawsuit was settled in March.

The district had considered leasing three vacant floors at North Las Vegas City Hall. The struggling city would have benefited from the extra rent. It has been unable to fill its recently built City Hall due to staff cuts and has been seeking government-related tenants.

But Iser said the district wanted to own its building.

“The lease would have been about $7.5 million (over seven years) with another $1 million in moving costs,” Iser said. “If we took that money and put it into our own building, we’re sinking money into our own renovations and into owning it. In the long run, it’s more financially advantageous for us.”

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