Lance Gilman talks Tesla and SWITCH at Nevada Business Connections breakfast
Huge is a word L. Lance Gilman borrows from others to turn his TRIC (Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center) up a notch in his listeners’ minds, then heaps on more.
At least that’s the way it seemed Wednesday as he spoke to 55 people at a Carson City breakfast meeting of Nevada Business Connections, yet the CEO of TRIC also threw around a few facts, figures and hints of future prospects to back his contention TRIC is the biggest thing to hit Northern Nevada either in generations or ever.
“The word ‘huge’ is worth getting our arms around,” said Gilman, a long time real estate man. “Our market is now Northern Nevada, not T.R.I.(C.).” He likened the impact to throwing a stone into a lake, causing a ripple effect. “Those waves are going to go out and they’re going to affect everybody in the market. We’re barely started.”
Gilman said the Tesla Motors/Panasonic partnership to make batteries is a major footprint that went from initial interest at TRIC in 100 acres to the current 3,000, adding the large gigafactory expected eventually to employ 6,500 will initiate a battery line beginning next year.
“How high is up?” he asked rhetorically regarding Tesla. “I have no idea.” At the same time, he said he doubts Tesla will have the largest impact.
“I believe that SWITCH is going to be more active in our Northern Nevada community than Tesla,” he said. SWITCH, a co-location company that’s “storing the secrets of the world,” he said, could make a $15 billion investment or more in this region. Yet he implied while avoiding specifics only the surface has been scratched on TRIC prospects even though 170 firms already are locating in the center east of Reno.
In other words, the implication was, even bigger game could come. Among the reasons things are just “barely started” is existing players and more coming economic spinoffs who are going to multiply.
“It’s not instant money for Storey County,” Gilman said, “but I’ll tell you what is instant money — payroll.”
He said Tesla/Panasonic and SWITCH, the two biggest up to now, together mean 12,000 jobs and $500 million in payroll annually. Along with hinting of bigger game, he added business everywhere is watching.
“Northern Nevada is on the radar screen of the world,” he said, citing articles in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune magazine, as well as publications in Europe or elsewhere.
He said the scale of opportunity at the industrial park along Interstate 80 goes back to that word huge others have thrown around. “It’s 100,000 acres of Nevada desert,” he said.
Gilman, who says he’s no longer so much in real estate as he’s a tour guide, noted the industrial park actually is 104,000 acres, has no “Not In My Back Yard” problems because there are no nearby residential subdivisions, and added there are 30,000 buildable acres with but a third gone.
“We’ve sold right at 10,000 acres,” he said.
Despite that, it doesn’t mean he’s resting on his laurels. While contemplating future moves, he also is alert to any possible down side speed bumps.
“I’m starting to get worried we’re going to have to buy another ranch,” he half joked. Yet he added the changes and results won’t happen Monday, taking five or 10 years to roll out and requiring diligence.
“We’re going to have great challenges, Gilman said. “I’m going to tell you right now, we only have it to lose.”