(May 19) -- Anyone who travels along Interstate 215 on the west side of the valley knows how congested it can get at the Charleston exit. That congestion may get even worse with the development of a new mall scheduled to start construction next year.
The mall will be a welcome site for many of the thousands of people who call Summerlin home. It will be the only major type of mall on the west end of the valley. The mall will be located between Sahara and Charleston, just east of the I- 215.
So far, Macy's, Dillards and Robinsons-May have all committed to being anchor stores in the new mall.
However, another developer whose project has been opposed says the Summerlin mall will infringe on the Red Rock Conservation Area.
"With 24,000 acres, Summerlin is larger than the island of Manhattan," said Anthony Deering, Rouse Company which is developing the mall. Up until now residents of the fastest growing master-planned community in America have not had a mall of their own.
"Ultimately it will be 2 million square feet and have five to six anchor stores with 200 to 300 stores," adds Deering. But the mall is just one part of the larger Summerlin village which will be located between Sahara and Charleston just west of the I-215. It will include restaurants, a theater and a hotel and casino.
Summerlin Village will pave over 1300 acres of pristine desert land, and although this project has not been met with any opposition, another massive development here in the valley has. "The Summerlin area is actually closer to the Red Rock Conservation Area than our property is," said Dean Walker, Rhodes Homes.
Dean Walker works for Rhodes Homes which wants to build 5,400 homes on the James Hardie Gypsum Mine. But residents and both local and federal politicians have opposed the project because of its proximity to the Red Rock area.
Walker says he's surprised at the outcries the Rhodes project has garnered and the open arms that the Howard Hughes Summerlin Village has been met with. Anthony Deering from Rouse Company, Howard Hughes Corporation's parent company says the explanation is simple.
"We gave the BLM 1000 acres for public use in exchange for land that could not be used for public use because it was surrounded by development and this 1000 acres in the hands of the Bureau of Land Management guarantees that neither homes nor malls will ever make their way up this side of the mountain.
The Summerlin Center Mall is scheduled to be completed by early 2006.
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