Storey economic health will rise from the desert

Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center's sage-covered hills are sliced by lonely dirt roads that snake their way around rugged mountains just south of the Truckee River. But where the untrained eye sees Nevada desert, consultant Scott Craigie sees economic potential on the grandest of scales: Fourteen thousand acres of industrial park interspersed among about 35,000 acres of the Asamera Ranch property in northeast Storey County.

The center has the potential to generate in excess of $100 billion into the local economy in the next 15 to 18 years according to owner Lance Gilman. Able to accommodate light and heavy manufacturing, it's a project that could change the economic face of Northern Nevada.

"It will be the largest industrial park in North America," Craigie said, noting it may also be the largest in the world. There's no way to be certain. But there's no mistaking his enthusiasm.

"If you made a wish list, this property answers all the issues," Craigie said. Two transcontinental gas pipelines run through the property. Abundant power is readily available from the Tracy Power Plant adjacent to the site, with connections to the Valmy Plant as well as lines from California and the Northwest. The rail line that skirts the Truckee River, serving the Union Pacific and Santa Fe as well as Burlington Northern, offers this fledgling industrial park the shortest connection between the Midwestern markets surrounding Chicago and shipping ports on the West Coast.

The center has had a series of owners, but there had been no major development or activity until about two years ago when Roger Norman, his son Roger William Norman, and Lance Gilman bought the property from Gulf Oil Company. The three developed South Meadows Parkway in Reno, and are presently investing millions in seed money to develop infrastructure for the first two phases of TRI in the form of rail spurs, roads, and utilities.

"The property is red-hot right now." Craigie said, noting he expects to close deals with Silicon Valley companies in the next couple of months.

"Land, housing and services are very competitive here," Gilman said, noting the project is situated close to Silicon Valley, at preferred operating rates.

Just under 3 million square feet are presently under construction.

According to Craigie, three power companies are in the process of purchasing land for six, 60-megawatt power plants, and Royal Sierra Plastics is building three manufacturing plants that will use 5 megawatts of power per plant daily. The city of Fallon doesn't use even 10 megawatts.

"Our area has also been identified as a key e-commerce site," Gilman said, noting businesses like Barnes and Noble are showing interest, in part because shipping is convenient to 85-90 percent of the major markets in the Western United States.

According to Craigie, the park is also the largest federally approved free-trade zone in the United States. This status allows companies to store and/or import products for resale or assembly without import duties, so companies can package and assemble products in this country prior to their being taxed with an import fee. The goods are taxed when sold.

"It's a blue-ribbon project as far a economic development is concerned,"

Craigie said, noting the park, comparable in size to the Reno-Sparks area, will significantly impact the the industrial and economic diversity of the whole region, in addition to making Storey County the economically healthiest county in Nevada per capita, even with the projected increase in population.


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