Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017 | 2 a.m.
The UNLV Harry Reid Research & Technology Park in the southwest valley appears ready to begin construction on a new building.
Representatives of the Gardner Co., a Utah-based developer that signed onto the project northeast of Sunset Road and Durango Drive last year, said work should begin before the end of the year.
“We are planning on breaking ground and will have all the permits and everything in hand in the next 60 days,” said Dan Stewart, vice president of development for Gardner. “We’re looking to break ground in November or December.”
The $20 million building will be four stories and 120,000 square feet.
Plans for the 122-acre site call for a master-planned business, research and technology community featuring office and retail space. At buildout, the park will feature 10-15 buildings with up to 1.5 million square feet in office space.
Gardner said plans for the third building have been submitted to Clark County for review.
There are two buildings on the site now, with Illinois-based pharmaceutical company Catamaran in one building and charter school American Preparatory Academy in the other.
Although Stewart said it was difficult to secure tenants without a new structure built, he said that he has a pair of entities ready to go for two floors of the third building.
“We’re looking to do some sports research,” said Stewart, who declined to confirm specific tenants. “Incubator space, dry labs, getting into that whole autonomous world, biomed and everything else a true research park would have.”
UNLV President Len Jessup doubled down on the possibility of sports medicine research at the park in his annual State of the University address last week.
“In an interdisciplinary effort — from the medical school, nursing, physical therapy, athletic training, nutrition and community health sciences, and some non-health sciences … (we) are talking about joining forces for sports medicine,” Jessup said. “That’s the perfect thing for us to be doing, and faculty is starting to look at what that will look like.”
With the Vegas Golden Knights kicking off their inaugural NHL season next month and the pending arrival of the NFL’s Raiders in Las Vegas in 2020, Jessup said the situation is ripe to add sports research in the valley.
“It’s just a perfect time for this university to be doing that program,” he said. “It’s really exciting.”
Collaborating with UNLV’s School of Medicine has been discussed as well.
Initial work on the site, which was acquired by UNLV in 2005, began in 2015, with two buildings. One was a 100,000-square-foot facility for Catamaran, an Illinois-based pharmacy management company.
“The biggest problem was the recession,” Stewart said. “The whole office market valleywide was decimated during the recession.”
Gardner signed on after the UNLV Research Foundation decided to seek a developer that had experience working with similar projects. Gardner helped build facilities for the University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute, Adobe, Thumbtack and SolarCity, among others.
Gardner and the UNLV Research Foundation are promoting incentives such as sales and use-tax abatements to draw out-of-state tenants to the site. Good freeway and airport access as well as nearby retail, dining and shopping options are among the amenities being advertised to potential tenants.
UNLV’s partnership with Switch, which houses the school’s Intel Cherry Creek Supercomputer, is another key amenity.
“It’s a huge draw because of its speed,” Stewart said. “It’s easily one of the top five computers in the world. We believe that’s a huge draw for the type of high-tech companies we’re trying to entice to come.”