Las Vegas Sun

October 20, 2019

Currently: 73° — Complete forecast

Howard Hughes Corporation, ANC interested in sale of BLM land parcels

The two largest land developers in Southern Nevada will vie for Bureau of Land Management property as it's auctioned.

At stake: what could be the new Summerlin or Green Valley of the 21st century.

The Howard Hughes Corp., a subsidiary of the Maryland-based Rouse Co. and the builder of Summerlin, is the largest player. The other is American Nevada Corp., developer of Green Valley and Green Valley Ranch.

Both say they're ready to compete for the land as the BLM makes it available to the public.

Thousands of acres will be turned over to private parties as part of the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act of 1998. Acreage is located on the valley's outer edges with the largest section north of North Las Vegas.

"We've got our eye on it," Dan Van Epp, president of the Howard Hughes Corp. and a senior vice president of Rouse, said of the northern acreage. "We'll always take an interest in additional property as it becomes available if it is of strategic interest to the company."

American Nevada is mostly keeping its plans quiet, but is letting competitors know that it, too, plans to be in on the disposal of the BLM land.

Brian Greenspun, head of the company, said American Nevada is staying active in its efforts to acquire BLM land as it becomes available. The federal government, he said, is still formulating how it will dispose of property -- in large sections or small lots.

Politicians with differing philosophies have been weighing in on the issue. In the meantime, American Nevada is attempting to stay positioned to participate with whatever procedure occurs.

"There are a number of differing ideas, none of which seems to gel," Greenspun said. "It seems to change before our very eyes frequently, but at the end of the day, the federal government seems determined to get out of the land business. Only the strong survive, so we're hanging in there."

"There are a number of opportunities for residential, office and retail in some of the new lands," added John Kilduff, a former Howard Hughes executive who now heads American Nevada's real estate interests. "When the BLM land is available, we're going to be right in the thick of it."

Experts say Hughes, American Nevada and Del Webb Corp. of Phoenix, developer of the area's Sun City and Anthem properties, are best positioned to make bids for BLM land.

Those companies also are best positioned to increase their existing fortunes thanks to the benefit of the Beltway freeway system under construction. American Nevada's Green Valley Ranch is the beneficiary today; next year, Summerlin will be on the growth track.

Hughes should get the same accessibility spinoff as Green Valley Ranch when the Beltway progresses west.

The Western Beltway, soon to open from Interstate 15 to Decatur and Rainbow boulevards, will curl north just west of Hualapai Way. The route of the freeway is through the heart of Summerlin's second phase and to the front door of the massive development's third phase. The pavement is expected to intersect with Summerlin Parkway and press north to Cheyenne Avenue late next year.

In the meantime Summerlin, the state's biggest master-planned community -- nearly three times larger than Green Valley -- continues to grow with a mix of residential villages, a town center, a regional mall, a new resort hotel, a cluster of offices and retail centers throughout the development.

Planners are in midstride on developing the 7,000-acre second phase, frequently referred to by locals as "Summerlin South," the area south of Charleston Boulevard. The 8,000-acre third phase, completely west of the planned Beltway and due west of the original Summerlin, is under way with homes being built in the phase's first village, The Vistas.

W. Stewart Gibbons, executive vice president of Summerlin, said the entire development is expected to be built out by 2015, 25 years after construction began in 1990.

When completed, Summerlin will have about 57,500 homes in 30 villages housing 160,000 people. Currently, there are 19,000 homes in 12 villages with a population of 45,000.

"People really don't realize what a difference the Beltway is going to make," Gibbons said. "It will improve access to the airport and to the south end of the Strip."

Two other transportation corridors also will provide access to some of the commercial areas dotting Summerlin's residential areas. The commercial highlight will be Summerlin Centre, the town center component of the development.

Bordered roughly to the west by the Red Rock Country Club, the south by Sahara Avenue, the east by Hualapai Way and the north by Charleston Boulevard, Summerlin Centre will incorporate art, recreation and cultural centers, the Summerlin Centre mall, a corridor of office buildings along Charleston and a 1,000-room hotel with a 100,000-square-foot casino. A multiple-story residential component also is planned.

Gibbons said at the core of the 764-acre center will be a public gathering place -- probably a park or community center. A 100-acre site south of Charleston and east of the Beltway is planned for a resort hotel and casino.

A second resort and casino site, the same size as the Summerlin Centre project, also is planned on the southern end of the development where Town Center Drive meets the Beltway near Flamingo Road. Hughes has not signed operational deals for either resort.

South of the Summerlin Centre resort site and east of the Beltway is the planned location of the 1.1 million-square-foot regional mall, which would have five anchor stores and a collection of support retail along the periphery. The company has received commitments for anchors from Robinsons-May, Lord & Taylor, Dillard's and Sears. The fifth anchor is still undetermined. Construction is expected to start in 2002 with completion in 2003 or 2004.

An office corridor is planned along Charleston, including a four-building Howard Hughes Plaza that is home to the new Howard Hughes Corp. headquarters at 10000 W. Charleston Blvd.

Summerlin Centre also could become home to a branch campus of UNLV. The university and Hughes have begun discussions and nothing is final, but if a westside campus were to become a reality, it most likely would be placed in the town center area.

Van Epp said discussions with UNLV are ongoing and the company has nothing new to report.

Summerlin also is home to two major employment centers, giving residents the opportunity to live close to where they work. The Crossing Business Center, a 115-acre office and industrial complex, is home to Kloehn Co., Household Credit Services, Bank of America, Humana Health Insurance of Nevada and Williams-Sonoma.

Canyons Center at Summerlin has four multitenant buildings totaling more than 200,000 square feet of office space and is home to TRW and the executive offices of Seven Circle Resorts.

Like the Greenspun Corp., Howard Hughes has diversified geographically around the city. Other company holdings:

Van Epp said Rouse has big plans for Las Vegas. The company has decided that the city should be the headquarters for all Rouse properties west of the Mississippi River. He said because the company's management structure is so flat, only about six executives have relocated to Las Vegas and only a few more will set up here to manage mostly retail properties in Phoenix, Seattle and Portland, Ore.

Van Epp said Rouse is looking to develop more high-growth residential areas in the West and manage them from Las Vegas.

"We want to continue to be a force in the overall community," Van Epp said. "We want to take part in and help guide the growth in the school system and the university system and we want to be a vital part of the arts.

"Our goal is to be sure that this community grows in a livability way the same way we grow architecturally."