Photo by Krystal Ramirez

How the Southwest’s Going From Bust to Boom

IKEA is a harbinger of growth for this region of the Valley.

With all the anticipation surrounding the IKEA opening in the southwest part of the Valley, you might think that’s the only thing going on in that area. As it turns out, the southwest is in the middle of a mini boom of sorts, and there’s a whole lot more happening there than Swedish meatballs.

“We are seeing a lot of growth in that area,” says Nancy Amundsen, director of comprehensive planning for Clark County. “We are getting more applications overall in the southwest, an increase in commercial and residential.”

While many know the large-scale master-planned communities of Mountain’s Edge, Rhodes Ranch and Southern Highlands, this surge in building is for residential neighborhoods, Amundsen says.

Part of this trend in residential and commercial development in the southwest is a sign of the continued recovery from the recession. However, it is also linked to the simple fact that the southwest Valley has the most available undeveloped land.

“There’s not a lot of land in the eastside and northwest,” Amundsen says. “The growth relates to areas where there’s land available.”

Last month, SalesTraq reported that home prices in some of the ZIP codes in the southwest had appreciated higher than any other part of the Valley. For instance, Mountain’s Edge’s 89178 and 89179 had appreciated by 6.8 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively. The 89141 ZIP code of Southern Highlands had appreciated by 8.9 percent since 2015, and was ranked as the 10th-best value in the Valley.

“IKEA stores exist for the permanent residents of the area, not the tourists. We want to be there for people to be able to furnish their homes.” – Joseph Roth

Projected growth is one reason why Dignity Health picked an undeveloped corner of Blue Diamond Road and Decatur Boulevard for one of four new small hospitals the organization is building. The St. Rose-branded campus will cost $24 million to $28 million to construct and employ 100.

And then, of course, there’s that IKEA on 26 acres on Durango Drive and Interstate 215. The 351,000-square-foot store, which will have 300 employees, is the company’s 42nd in the U.S. and is scheduled to open May 18. It will claim the title as the largest retail store in the state, formerly held by a Walmart Supercenter on Tropicana Avenue.

IKEA spokesman Joseph Roth says the company was eyeing Las Vegas for some time, waiting for the Valley to reach the target population of 2 million.

As for why the retail company with a cult following selected the southwest Valley, Roth says the company sought easy beltway access and land for expansion.

“We looked at where the population was and where it was trending,” he says. “We knew we wanted to be off the 215. We were looking for good access from that highway, as well as support from surface streets.”

In addition, Roth says the company had no interest in building a store on or near the Strip. Likewise, the southwest location also left the retailer the option to build additional stores in the Valley without overtapping one specific area.

“IKEA stores exist for the permanent residents of the area, not the tourists,” Roth says. “We want to be there for people to be able to furnish their homes.”

Roth says that the company estimates there were more than 101,000 Valley residents driving to the closest IKEAs—in Arizona, Utah and California. He declined to speculate on the possibility of similar traffic coming to the Las Vegas store from outside of town or even the state, but did say that “IKEA stores are known for having a regional draw.”

Las Vegas was one of the hardest-hit metropolitan areas in the country during the recession and housing market crash, so perhaps growth in the southwest is a cause for cautious optimism in a city known for its comebacks.