When U.S. Congress passed the Apex Project Act back in 1989, they could have never imagined that the 6,000 acre site would lie dormant for decades. However, they also could have never possibly imagined what businesses would eventually call it home: an all-electric car plant, a distribution center for the biggest retailer in the world, a test bed for the possible transit systems of the future, and many more.
All of these developments materialized over the past few years not by serendipity, but through the sweat and toil of individuals like Mayor John Lee and his staff.
“Apex has been put on the map,” says Assistant Mayor Ryann Juden, “and so people are really looking at it.” He refers to this rush of inquiries as the “Faraday effect” since Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer Faraday Future was one of the first marquee tenants to express interest.
As municipal sewer and water lines carve through the Mojave Desert and give shape to the Apex facilities to come, $193 billion in total economic impact could be unearthed beneath the sands.
A Long and Winding Road to Success
When looking at the Apex Industrial Park’s timeline stretching back to 1989, one could rightly observe that progress has been slow. But, the Apex described at that time is a wholly different beast than the Apex that is rising from the Mojave now.
After the Apex Project Act passed in 1989, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) reserved a total of 21,000 acres of land for Clark County to buy. By 1999, the BLM had handed over most of the lands to Clark County, but the local government lacked the funds or the project resources to develop it.
Most of the land was parceled up and sold, and the remaining 6,000 acres was annexed by the city of North Las Vegas. When John Jay Lee won his electoral bid in 2013, he eyed the undeveloped Apex Industrial Park (AIP) land as a prime opportunity to lift the ailing fortunes of North Las Vegas.
A few special assemblies voted on tax packages for tenants and made AIP a tax increment district, allowing NLV to use sales tax and payroll taxes to fund water line construction.
Businesses Begin to Move in to Mayor John Lee’s “Breadbasket for the State”
By December 2015, AIP had found its first tenant. Hyperloop Technologies — a venture backed by Elon Musk and set on creating magnetic-propulsion-driven light rail — announced that it would conduct a Propulsion Open Air Test at Apex. Just a handful of days later, Faraday Future announced that it would erect a $1 billion production facility to manufacture their bleeding-edge electric vehicles.
Others followed, including Fortune 500 companies like Amazon.com, which plans on opening a massive distribution warehouse.
In total, the Park lands could create as many as 116,000 jobs within the next few decades. Half of these jobs would be direct employment furnished by Apex businesses. The other half will be made up of indirect businesses, such as suppliers and contractors for Apex tenants, and induced businesses, such as an improved service sector as tenants with high-wage jobs move into the area.
Overall, Apex has had an incredible journey, but it has far to go yet until it hits its eponymous heights.