By VERNON ROBISON
Moapa Valley Progress
Construction officially began last week on the first major development at the exit 118 interchange of Interstate 15 in Mesquite. On Wednesday, Jan. 24, a crowd gathered in the middle of a flat, sprawling patch of loose dirt for a groundbreaking ceremony of Eagle’s Landing, a new travel plaza set to open this fall.
The $10 million project will include a host of amenities. An 18,000 square foot building will include a Flying J convenience store and fuel station, a Wendy’s restaurant, a Pepperoni’s Pizza location, a Dunkin Donuts coffee shop, a liquor store, a deli counter and more. Also on site will be a tire service center.
“We are excited about all that this location will be offering to travellers along I-15 and in the local areas,” said Slade Smith of Eagle’s Landing.
The gateway into the plaza will feature an impressive Veteran’s Memorial. Under a huge American flag flying atop a 100 ft tall flag pole, a 15 foot tall bronze eagle will be placed on a pedestal with memorial plaques displayed at each side. Flags honoring the veterans of each war will also be displayed.
The plaza will have a full complement of rest stop services geared to truck drivers. These include eight dedicated diesel truck fueling lanes, CAT truck scales, showers, restrooms, a lounge, internet access, and 17 acres of parking space for truckers and other travellers.
The project is expected to bring approximately 80 new jobs to the community. While hiring has not yet begun, Eagle’s Landing has already been active and visible in laying a groundwork for developing that workforce, according to George Gault, chairman of Mesquite Works, a local workforce development organization.
“They have been to at least the last two quarterly Job Fairs that we have put on,” Gault said. “Even though they weren’t hiring yet it was important to them to just be there and build their brand.”
Gault, who also served as chairman of Mesquite Regional Business organization when Eagle’s Landing was considering building in Mesquite, expressed the importance of the project to the long-term development goals of the city. “This was the first economic development that the Mesquite City Council did after creating its economic development plan,” Gault said. “All of a sudden now we’ve got all of this acreage of usable property. And it will, no doubt, lead to more development in this area.”
Slade Smith confirmed that more services would be on the way at the site. The current project includes 17 acres, but there are a total of 25 acres available there, he said.
“We are in negotiations with a number of other companies that are interested in providing services that would complement a travel plaza here on this site,” Smith said.
Real estate professional, Trent Graves, who was also involved in bringing Eagle’s Landing to Mesquite, said that the development would likely grow even beyond those 25 acres to the surrounding area. “This will be a big deal for the city,” Graves said. “With this you will have something to be a catalyst out here to get things started. It will be a really good thing, not only for this corner, but I think everything in this industrial park complex will start to pick up.”
The ceremony on Wednesday was brief and without much fanfare. A small audience cheered as Eagle’s Landing representatives, city officials and local business owners turned over the ceremonial first shovel-fuls of dirt on the project. But it was definitely not the first dirt to move on the site.
Just over a year ago, the site was far from the level, construction-ready parcel that exists today. It was originally a deep gully surrounded by jagged hills.
“Someone asked me just the other day, ‘When are you guys starting on the truck stop.’,” said Rick Anderson, owner of NCC Construction, the company building the plaza. “I said, ‘Well, I don’t know we are already $2.2 million in; so as far as I’m concerned its definitely already started.’”
According to Anderson, it took six months of moving about one million cubic yards of dirt to fill in the low spots on the site and prepare it for construction.
“At the deepest part we had a 47 foot fill that we had to do,” Anderson said. “That is a five-story building of dirt.”