Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016 | 2 a.m.
Sell, sell, sell.
Whether it’s Mayor John Lee pushing the virtues of North Las Vegas or the assembled audience of real estate professionals Wednesday morning at City Hall, that’s the ultimate goal.
Lee welcomed 150 real-\ estate industry professionals from throughout Southern Nevada to an hourlong presentation and half-day bus tour through North Las Vegas. The event rose from Lee’s continuing attempt to battle the city’s rough-and-tumble reputation, this time by persuading real estate agents to show their clients a part of the valley they otherwise might skip.
“Let’s not kid ourselves: North Las Vegas has had a perception problem for many years,” said Gina Gavin, the city’s economic and business development director.
Lee pitched the city’s plan for business development, including oft-discussed Apex Industrial Park and main tenant Faraday Future, to the crowd as a driver of new jobs and new residents looking for homes in new developments throughout the city. The mayor jumped in front of questions about the financial future of Faraday, which last month halted most work at Apex until early 2017.
“Don’t worry about Apex,” Lee said. “We’re building cars out at Apex. It’s going to happen. You will sell a lot of houses to people who work out here.”
Faraday and its thousands of promised jobs — half of which are committed to locals — were on the mind of some in the group before Lee mentioned them.
“I’ll be really curious to see what happens at Apex,” said Susan Rasmussen, a real estate agent who works in the southwest valley but lives in North Las Vegas.
Real estate associate Jeny Milosevic stepped off one of three tour buses at the first stop, a mid-priced DR Horton community near the intersection of Tropical Parkway and Walnut Road, and browsed the homes. Based in an office on St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, Milosevic enjoyed the chance to visit a part of the valley she did not know well before Wednesday.
“Usually the stereotype is that North Las Vegas is not a safe area, but from what I’m seeing, it is a safe area,” Milosevic said.
That reputation came as no surprise to Gregory D. Smith, a real estate agent who grew up nearby and attended Matt Kelly Elementary School. Smith now serves as chair of the parks and recreation board in North Las Vegas and looks forward to new homes and businesses providing optimism for his clients looking for homes in the community.
“They would (previously) just say, 'Oh no, I don’t want to go to North Las Vegas,'” Smith said. “You didn’t have a good argument against the negativity.”
The tour buses made four stops at new-home communities throughout North Las Vegas, and the group received additional information about business development and new projects planned for North Las Vegas. Lee discussed plans for the tours in an interview months ago as a way of influencing people he refers to as “opinion leaders” in the valley.
“It gives them a sense of being in the know,” Lee said. “It’s not just rumor or conjecture.”
The city picked up only the tab for breakfast, with Finance of America covering the cost of the buses and featured homebuilders paying for lunch.