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Plise’s $2B Megaproject to Yield New Homes

Mon January 07, 2008 - West Edition
Rebecca Ragain

As one of the leading commercial real estate development and construction firms in Southern Nevada, Las Vegas-based Plise Development and Construction LLC is no stranger to large-scale developments.

Plise has developed and built more than 2 million sq. ft. (185,800 sq m) in the Las Vegas Valley. The Rainbow Sunset Pavilion, for instance, covers 25 acres (10 ha) located between Summerlin and Green Valley. This commercial center consists of three high-rise office towers with accessory retail, for a total of nearly 600,000 sq. ft. (55,700 sq m).

But even that massive project pales in comparison to Plise's latest, which broke ground in late September.

City Crossing, located near the Henderson Executive Airport in the southern part of the Las Vegas Valley, is a new neighborhood being built to appeal to those living the "upscale urban lifestyle," according to Plise's publicity materials.

The $2 billion project is the biggest Plise has undertaken to date. More than 40 buildings will be built on 126 developable acres to accommodate 1 million sq. ft. of Class A office space, 400,000 sq. ft. of retail, and 150,000 sq. ft. of "dining and entertainment" options. Luxury residences, 2,500 of them, will bring the total to 6 million sq. ft. (500,000 sq m)

According to Jon Field, Plise vice president of legal affairs, the project is broken down into five planning areas.

Phase 1, 30 acres (12 ha) on the northernmost tip of the project site, is expected to go vertical in the second quarter of 2008 and be completed 18 months afterward. Construction of Phase 2 is planned to begin in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Phases 1 and 2 include mixed-use buildings such as a 160-room boutique hotel, a movie theater and a fitness center. The final phases consist primarily of residential development, which will not be constructed for several years or until the housing market improves.

Plise is acting as both developer and general contractor. The company's construction arm employs about 120 people and contracts with sub-trade companies Talon Electric LLC and Northwest Landscape Construction Inc.

Currently, crews are making off-site improvements such as installation of wet and dry utilities, as well as progressing with on-site grading.

The earthwork needed is typical of projects in the valley: clearing surface rocks, removing and replacing the top 6 in. (15 cm) of soil, modifying contours to assure proper storm drainage and constructing pads for the future buildings.

The area does not require much change in level; the natural slope of 35 ft. (10 m) from south to north is adequate to accommodate drainage requirements. Grading is necessary mainly in order to shape the roadways, to construct the building pads and to contour green spaces, such as the 5-acre park that will serve as a transition zone between City Crossing's free-standing residential and mixed-use areas.

These green spaces will benefit from the eventual re-application of topsoil from around the project site, which is being stock-piled for this use. Although the topsoil contains humus and minerals needed by plants, the desert earth is not as rich as some soils and will be treated with fertilizer and other amendments prior to landscaping.

The heavy equipment being used for the earthwork — two bulldozers, four scrapers, one compactor, one water pull, one water truck, two motorgraders, a track hoe, a hoe ram and a front end loader — is assigned to a Plise-affiliated entity called Chapparal Contracting Inc.

The equipment is predominately Caterpillar. Ninety percent of the machines were leased or purchased from Cashman Equipment Company, which is headquartered in North Las Vegas.

Chapparal also owns and operates the rock crushing facility being used during the construction of City Crossing. It took three months to assemble the facility on-site and adjust it to deliver usable products; it is capable of crushing 3,000 tons (2,721 t) of raw materials per day.

The generator-powered crushing facility is composed of a loader feeding a screen. Rocks that are too large to pass through the screen are sent to a jaw crusher and broken down into a usable size or crushed into gravel base.

A cone crusher directs smaller particles through a triple-deck screen, where they are separated by size.

Currently, some of the crushed rock is being exported to nearby project sites. Later on, the products of the rock crusher will be used almost exclusively for the City Crossing project.

"It's quite a facility out there right now," said Field. "Equipment and trucks are rolling in and out all day."

As construction progresses, Field acknowledged that the challenges typical to working in Nevada — namely labor availability and unforeseen subsurface conditions — could "present themselves and affect the timetable."

But at this early stage, no unusual complications have been uncovered. Plise expects City Crossing to be completed in 2015. CEG

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