The Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) have released a report into the potential future direction for the 18,000 acre APEX industrial park in North Las Vegas and Clark County. They were commissioned to do the work on behalf of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance and the City of North Las Vegas, with the view of transforming an industrial park into an innovation hub.

The area consists of a variety of stakeholders including APEX landowners, local business leaders, real estate professionals and utilities companies, and representatives and staff from the City of North Las Vegas. All of whom were involved in a visioning process for the development.

The TAP team identified the potential for APEX to support an array of companies that would create 20,000 extra jobs, and induce an additional 56,000 jobs in the region. However they identified a need for improved transport connections and improved water and energy services.

So what is the way forward?

A SWOT analysis was conducted on five key themes: land use; mobility; workforce; sustainability and finance. This raised a number of opportunities for the future direction of APEX.

The team identified the need for a thorough sustainability plan. In order to tackle the issue of power they suggested the construction of several solar plants that would service the park and surrounding area. There was also a strong desire to create a sustainability showcase of existing users and promote sustainability to create an “eco-hub”, taking advantage of the positive progress that has already been made. This provides environmental benefits but also helps to encourage responsible behaviour and it can be used to market the area to prospective businesses.

This style of sustainable environment has been seen to be attractive to many industries, particularly in the technology sector. There is therefore the prospect of encouraging higher end tech employment and higher education opportunities. There is the possibility of doing this in the form of a designated innovation district. This could see collaborative opportunities with local Universities, boost job growth, increase incomes and strengthen the economy.

The Future

TAP found that APEX is poised to become the premier facility to develop a next generation of Technology Testing and Manufacturing Hub. A way forward for APEX will involve a consolidated effort to foster a competitive advantage for next generation companies. APEX has the potential to become a place where a program of projects creates synergies across industry clusters, and a manufacturing ecosystem where people want to work and innovate.

APEX is of such a scale that it will have a large impact on the region’s economic development and sustainability. Its future management should cross-pollinate with industry leaders and local academic institutions to benefit all parties. Future management is crucial in ensuring APEX has the potential to be a sustainable hub that benefits both businesses and communities. Creating more jobs, diversifying the economy, developing the surrounding area and minimizing environmental impact.