Southern Nevada's boom-to-bust construction market is slowly reinventing itself with private-public-partnership projects, now set to include a proposed $1.5-billion mixed-use health-care village to be sited on 151 acres outside of Las Vegas near U.S. Highway 95 and Galleria Drive.

Image courtesy Union Village
Union Village will include four hospitals and 1,000 homes for senior living, plus medical office space, restaurants, shopping, hotels and a movie theater.

With Clark County construction employment down from 110,000 in 2006 to just 36,200 jobs generated in July, according to state figures, project backers are leveraging multiple public and private funding resources and tapping into political and financial reserves that are still available in today's chilly credit climate.

Dubbed Union Village, the project has five main principals: David Baker, Gary Holland, David Michael, Sean Harrigan and Craig Johnson. The strategy for the project entails purchasing specially entitled public land from the city of Henderson and having participating contractors such as PENTA Building Group and Southland Industries as project co-investors. Some partners are providing professional services in exchange for an equity share; others are contributing money.

"We’ve never taken this type of equity position in a project before," says Ted Lynch, chief executive officer of Southland Industries' Dulles, Va. office. "But, we felt good about the project and believed in it enough to put some money into it to move forward."

The complex, first announced in 2011, will be made up of 1,000 homes for senior living, plus four hospitals, medical office space, restaurants, shopping, hotels and a movie theater. Plans eventually call for five village areas and up to 4.3 million sq. ft. of buildings with a minimum of 15% of the land left open for parks and trails. HKS Inc. is the master-plan architect.

Project principal David Baker calls Union Village the nation's first integrated live-work-play medical complex. He predicts it will create 17,000 jobs, draw 30,000 daily visitors and generate $10 billion in tax revenue within its first 25 years of operation.

The Henderson City Council is set to vote on the proposal on Sept. 18. A successful vote will enable project principals to close escrow on the $11.6-million land sale and prepare for site construction, according to Baker. The development's first phase is expected to take four to five years to finish, with final build-out within eight years.