THE SOUTHWEST REGION
There is something about the region that seems to attract such behemoth facilities, which may be nothing more than plenty of land on which to build them. From a business cost perspective, Nevada has been benefiting handsomely in recent years from neighboring California's economic woes and higher tax and workers' comp costs. But California remains a major market, so distribution operations looking to serve the Golden State are investing heavily in Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico distribution centers.
In October, Wal-Mart began construction on a 1-million-sq.-ft. (93,000-sq.-m.) distribution center on a 160-acre (65-hectare) parcel at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial (TRI) Center on Interstate 80 in Sparks. Distribution centers typically aren't major employers, but the Wal-Mart project will employ about 500 when it opens in 2006, and as many as 700 or more at full production.
Twelve hundred trucks will use the center daily, which necessitated construction of a two-mile (3.2-km.) extension to the USA Parkway. The center will create about a $50-million economic impact for Storey County.
The Wal-Mart distribution center, though large, will be brought down to size when looked at in the context of TRI, which occupies part of the 104,000 acres (42,120 hectares, or more than half of Storey County) formerly known as the Asamera Ranch, and now known as Tahoe-Reno Center. The Wal-Mart site is part of a 5,000-acre (464-hectare) first phase that already is home to Duraflex, Golden Gate Petroleum, APL Logistics and several other companies.
Developer Lance Gilman, of L. Lance Gilman Commercial Real Estate Services, says TRI will be the largest industrial center in the world, with a work force of about 200,000 when built out, generating an enormous economic impact on northern Nevada.
"We are the only northern Nevada industrial center where companies can purchase properties from five to 1,000 acres [two to 405 hectares] or more with mega-sized utilities and infrastructure in place," he says.
Among the assets at TRI are seven miles (2.8 km.) of rail service from BNSF and Union Pacific, a state-of-the-art fiber communications network, ample electrical power from four generating plants, a new sewer treatment plant and a large supply of water from an aquifer directly below the center. "We are totally self-sufficient here," Gilman notes.
The entire TRI property is zoned "I-2 Heavy Industrial," which allows for most industrial uses without the need for further discretionary permits.
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