News - March 7, 2022 - by Ray Hagar
With one eye on logistics & location and the other focused on the future, Reno developer Par Tolles has purchased a 140-acre parcel in the small Southern Nevada border town of Jean -- including a shuttered hotel-casino -- and plans to turn it into a $1.9 million warehouse and distribution center.
"We think we've got a tiger by the tail," Tolles said on Nevada Newsmakers recently.
The land is 34 miles from the Las Vegas Strip and 13 miles from the border with California, Tolles said. It has built-in infrastructure from the old Gold Strike hotel-casino and the potential to become an ideal spot for shipping, receiving, manufacturing and storing products and cargo of all kinds.
"Being close to California is a good thing," Tolles told host Sam Shad. "It has water, a water treatment plant, it has a large tank just east on a hill that can serve high-pressure sprinkler systems and it's got trains, planes and automobiles."
"We've got the Jean airport right there," Tolles said. "We've got the rail line, which could be a factor for us down the road. And I-15, it runs right by it."
The location will allow shipments from California to the Las Vegas area to be warehoused at the proposed facility so businesses and truckers can avoid lengthy and expensive trips into metropolitan Las Vegas. It also sits about five miles from the proposed Ivanpah commercial airport.
"Our thesis has been, if you take product from Long Beach (a major California commercial port) and you take it to North Las Vegas, where most of the industrial product is, you will pass an 11-hour cab ride and you will have to spend the night," Tolles said, referring to the truckers' rule of driving a maximum of 11 hours in a 24-hour stretch, followed by 10 hours rest.
"You can't go and drop your product and head back to California," Tolles said. "We've timed it out and if you go to Jean, what we're going to build, you can drop your product, turn around and go back to California and not have to spend the night. So we think there is a real logistical benefit to be closer to California and not have to wade through the traffic on I-15 to get to North Las Vegas."
The park will be good for the environment, Tolles said.
"It is going to be less congestion, less traffic (on I-15) and from the environmental standpoint, less gas and it is going to serve the population very well," he said.
The proposed park's assets that are already available remind Tolles of the logistical and infrastructure advantages of Tahoe-Reno Industrial Park, which has transformed the economy of the Reno-Sparks area in the past 20 years.
"It was the absolute key to their success," Tolles said of TRI's ready-made infrastructure that was established before parcels were sold.
Referring to his infrastructure in Jean, he added:
"We are one step ahead, we have everything we need there," Tolles said. "We just have to plug it in and drag it to the right places. Our speed to market is going to increase, compared to some of our competitors."
Tolles sees online sales skyrocket in the future, which will also be an advantage to his industrial park.
"In pre-pandemic (times), 13 percent of all retail sales were online,' he said. "That is going to move to 30 percent, I'd say, in the next five years.
"We have just slammed the accelerator down on the need for storage space," he added. "Industrial has really become the new retail. Bricks-and-mortar is going to be less and less 'en vogue,' than ordering online and getting the products delivered to your door step."
E-commerce sales in 2021 accounted for 13.2 percent of total U.S. sales and 13.6 percent in 2020, according the U.S. government data.
"In Japan, their online sales are at 80 percent and we're today at 17 percent," Tolles said. "I don't think we're going to go to 80 percent -- it would be something in between -- but it does translate into a really, really strong demand for industrial space."
Tolles Development Company hired Cory Hunt as executive vice president two years ago and he has been instrumental in the Jean project, Tolles said.
Hunt was director of research and analysis at Applied Analysis, an economic policy consulting firm favored by Nevada government entities, before joining Tolles. Hunt also served as former Gov. Brian Sandoval's deputy director and northern regional director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development, where his knowledge of tax credits, tax incentives and Opportunity Zones was an asset to the state.
"He's one of the better strategic minds that I know and he was able to sniff out this opportunity and is quarterbacking for us," Tolles said.
Now is also an optimal time for investments into commercial real estate, Tolles added.
"There is so much dry powder for real estate right now," he said. "I think there is $284 billion in dry powder in institutions, pension funds waiting to be invested in United States real estate and all of these allocations are moving up now."
Tolles hopes to have the first buildings ready by the end of 2023.