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Developers Eye Rural Southern Nevada Town for Apartments

LAS VEGAS (AP) — With its boarded-up trailer homes and a sliding population, Indian Springs doesn’t seem like an ideal spot for new real estate projects.

But southern Nevada developers say they want to build a 304-unit apartment complex on the edge of the unincorporated community about 50 miles northwest of the Las Vegas Strip, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

If built, the complex could house some of the workers at nearby Creech Air Force Base, a center for U.S. military drone operations that employs about 3,500 people. Hundreds more people work at one of three state prison facilities within 10 miles of the town, though most of them commute in from Las Vegas and Pahrump.

The site is one of many rural Nevada parcels snapped up during the real estate boom years, but left to languish after the market went bust. Other subdivisions planned for Indian Hills now sit largely empty.

But as the southern Nevada market recovers, Las Vegas broker and investor Mason Harvey told the newspaper the time is ripe to build on the site his group first bought in 2006. If built, the complex would offer Wi-Fi and workout facilities for rents of about $1 per square foot or less, Harvey said.

He’s seeking additional partners and any groundbreaking would be at least year away, but there have been other signs of life in sleepy Indian Springs.

County records show a project in the works that would include a tavern, 30 hotel rooms and a banquet facility helmed by developer Andrew Fonfa, who also developed the new Lucky Dragon casino in Las Vegas.

Fonfa referred comment on the project to partner Todd Marshall, who could not be reached by the Review-Journal. The two men previously had a casino in Indian Springs that was sold to the government for $11.5 million and torn down two years ago to create an anti-terrorist security buffer at the Air Force base.

Locals said the area could use a shot in the arm.

“We’re depressed out here, honey,” said Andree Benton, who’s lived there since the 1970s. The condition of homes in the area has declined, she said, adding that she can’t afford to replace the roof of her home or repaint it. Water bills have been too high to keep the lawn irrigated, she said.

“I hate to sound so negative,” she said, “but I hate what’s happened to our little town.”

The town of about 1,000 people has a school, a library and a post office and a few businesses that include a gas station and a restaurant-bar. The volunteer fire department makes up most of local medical care. Most supermarkets, doctors and other amenities are 30 minutes away in northwest Las Vegas.

Ray Prine opened Fay’s Country Store last year with his wife, its namesake. He said he knows several people who can’t work because they can’t afford a car, and he’s ready for a new project to bring life back to the community.

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