UnCommons: A Las Vegas Development Loaded with Possibilities

UnCommons, a 40-acre, mixed-use community opening in southwest Las Vegas this year, will be an attractive spot for residents and businesses that need high-speed bulk internet, video and business services. Broadband Communities thanks Savanah Stuart, marketing manager for Matter Real Estate Group; Jim Stuart, partner at Matter Real Estate Group; Kristine Hedlund, director of Beyond Borders and West New Build MDU at Cox Communications; and Guillermo Rivas, vice president of new business development at Cox Communications, for helping gather information for this profile.

In southwest Las Vegas, a new, 40-acre mixed-use development opening this year hopes to draw a vibrant, unique mix of residents. UnCommons is a stylish, urban campus that will comprise business, retail and residential spaces, including 500,000 square feet of modern office space, more than 830 residential units, an entertainment venue, hip restaurants and cafes, health and fitness studios, a multipurpose conference center, public art, and a food hall showcasing the best of the local food scene.

The property’s website boasts it will be a “thriving, walkable community devoted to honest dialogue, provocative ideas, and empathetic collaboration.” A focus on sustainability, diversity and inclusion, community connections, and health and safety are key features that the developer, Matter Real Estate Group, hopes will set the property apart from competitors.

UnCommons is located in an increasingly diverse, growing section of the Las Vegas market, between Summerlin, a large master-planned community with more than two dozen current commercial and residential villages, and Henderson, which is a few miles southeast of Las Vegas and near the Las Vegas Strip.

“In Las Vegas, there are two main suburbs: Summerlin in the Northwest and Henderson in the Southeast, and traditionally, office headquarters were located in one or the other based on where the CEO lived,” says Savanah Stuart, marketing manager for Matter Real Estate Group. “UnCommons is right at the intersection of both locations.”

Initially, Matter was supposed to start the buildout of UnCommons in April 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to put construction on hold. However, there was a silver lining to the COVID-19 shutdown. “We paused when COVID-19 hit and decided to reevaluate,” Stuart says. “During that time, we shifted the ethos behind UnCommons and hired an experienced design firm. We targeted social isolation and how we can bring back human interaction.”

Cox Communications is providing services to the property. “We have a 10G circuit going into each of the phases,” says Guillermo Rivas, vice president of new business development for Cox.

Sustainability, diversity and inclusion, community connections, and health and safety are key features of UnCommons, a mixed-use development near Las Vegas.
 
 

Focus on Wellness, Diversity, Sustainability

A key focus of the UnCommons design is on driving health and wellness and cultural diversity. During the pandemic, Matter transitioned its office space to be WELL certified. The WELL Building Standard is a performance-based system for measuring, licensing and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being through the air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

WELL is managed and administered by the International WELL Building Institute, a public benefit corporation whose mission is to improve human health and well-being through the built environment.

After undergoing the certification process, UnCommons will become the first property in Nevada to be WELL certified. “LEED and Green Globes are more focused on building sustainability, whereas WELL is more focused on human health and well-being inside the building,” Stuart says. “This includes everything from hospital-quality HVAC systems to a wide array of other property features.”

Seeing the civic unrest in 2020, Matter determined that promoting diversity and inclusion at UnCommons was vital to its mission. It hired a director of community and belonging, who serves as the community liaison between tenants and people visiting.

“The reason we named the project UnCommons is to recognize that everyone is different and that’s what makes us similar,” Stuart says. She adds, “we have many initiatives to make people feel comfortable and come on-site to be a part of the community.”

Property of the Month Highlights

~ UnCommons, Las Vegas, Nevada ~

  • Data and video bulk services
  • Managed Wi-Fi in common areas
  • Cox Business services for retail and business
  • 910,000 square feet of office space
  • 800 units of retail space
  • 800-plus onsite residential units

Commercial Business Momentum

The commercial side of the UnCommons property is attracting prominent business clients. DraftKings, a sports entertainment and gaming provider, announced that its new 90,000-square-foot technology hub would occupy almost an entire building at UnCommons this year.

It makes sense for DraftKings to establish a more significant foothold in Las Vegas. Since its first office opening in January 2020, the company’s Las Vegas presence has grown 400 percent. It signed a multiyear agreement as the primary sponsor of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Center for Gaming Innovation and opened the new DraftKings Gaming Innovation Studio at UNLV, providing local talent and technology access.

Cox Business provides voice and data services for retail and usinesses in the commercial portion of UnCommons. “Through 10G connections, commercial circuits are being deployed to the commercial portion of the property so the retail establishments and offices can have their selection of services from us and other providers,” Rivas says.

As Matter continues to build out the residential side, it has been promoting the diversity and inclusion concept to the property’s commercial clients, and has worked to make the on-site work experiences positive. The efforts appear to be working: CBRE, a commercial real estate services and investment firm, had the highest office attendance before the pandemic began.

Matter’s diversity and inclusion efforts have “been a great experience on the commercial side, which has informed what we hope the experience will be on the residential side,” Stuart says. “We’re taking all of the lessons learned to amplify and create a unique residential experience.”

The property boasts many places for people to gather.
 
 

Bulk Services Focus

Using a bulk services model, Cox Communications will provide UnCommons with broadband and video services. The service provider is providing two primary bulk services: data and video. It also will offer managed Wi-Fi in the common areas of the development.

“On the residential side, we’re providing broadband services,” Rivas says. “A wireless router will be deployed to enable Wi-Fi in the unit and provide Wi-Fi in the common areas.”

In addition, Cox will provide video services as part of the overall bulk service arrangement. “Matter decided it was important to have video,” Rivas says. “Residents will have high-speed internet connectivity, which enables them to access their favorite streaming applications and use traditional video services.”

Las Vegas is a major market for bulk for Cox Communications. Though he could not reveal specific numbers, Rivas says it has “seen a large increase in managed Wi-Fi bulk services.”

Rivas attributed the growth of bulk managed Wi-Fi services to COVID-19. “The pandemic, which drove more people to work from home, has driven the growth,” Rivas says. “In addition, the rise of IoT is a growth factor.”

Vital Statistics

Property Description: UnCommons is a first-of-its-kind mixed-use development in southwest Las Vegas. The $400 million, 40-acre project is designed to fulfill the modern workforce’s desire for a workplace that enhances their lives through rich amenities, open space and connectivity. The urban campus will comprise more than 500,000 square feet of modern office space with market-leading design and technology, more than 830 residential units, an entertainment venue, trendsetting restaurants and cafes, health and fitness studios, a multipurpose conference center, public art and a food hall showcasing the local food scene. The development, designed by the globally renowned architecture firm Gensler, will be the first in Nevada to be built by the standards for WELL certification, which means it achieves the highest third-party endorsement of a building’s performance and protection of employee health. UnCommons has achieved certification from Green Globes, a nationally recognized green building design rating assessment, guidance and certification program.

Demographics: Target renter profiles:

  • Affluent professionals who expect rich amenities and prioritize meaningful engagement and connection in their workplace and home.
  • Individuals with busy schedules seeking the integrated services, dining options and personal wellness features that a campus-lifestyle center can offer.
  • Stylish Las Vegas urbanites looking to transition from a dated, disconnected commute-based work/life formula to a walkable residence that thoughtfully melds home, work and play.

Greenfield or retrofit? Greenfield

Number of units: UnCommons is being built out in two phases. Matter Real Estate Group will build 352 units during the first phase and 454 units in the second.

Style (High-rise/mid-rise/garden): It will be a four-story, mixed-use commercial, retail and residential mid-rise development.

Time to deploy? Deployment will happen in two main phases:

  • Phase 1: First building will deploy in January 2023, second building in June 2023, third building January 2024
  • Phase 2: 2025

Date services will start being delivered: January 2023

Special property requirements: Matter required special attention to design, ensuring the experience of living and working on the property is easy, pleasant and focused on well-being.

Lessons Learned

What was the biggest challenge? This has been the singularly most complex and difficult environment for Matter to build in. It undertook a generational consideration of behaviors, life objectives and how to overcome social isolation. The developer was forced to make decisions with limited information and make significant assumptions about what it thought those signals mean to people and society.

What was the most significant success? It’s too early for Matter to declare any victory. Success is not project-specific specific to UnCommons. Matter says it has reconsidered what defines a life well lived and what it means to design a workplace as a destination versus an obligation. Matter is taking advice from of cultural anthropologists, neuroscientists, psychologists and health care professionals to consider humanity, mental health and wellness.

What should other owners consider before they get started on a similar deployment? It’s possible to impact many people in a mixed-use property such as UnCommons. However, it says it no longer makes sense to just put up an office building and a fast food restaurant and call it “mixed-use.” Mixed-use in its most proper form is a city building and community building. It touches on those same behaviors, needs, and quality that make an excellent urban environment.

Services

Services: Cox Communications offers symmetrical gigabit speeds to each unit. It also provides video services and common-area wireless throughout the development.

Do additional service providers operate separate broadband networks on the same property? Yes, Cox Communications and Cox Business Services both operate at UnCommons.

Is the point of contact for resident technical support the property manager, the service provider, or a third party? Cox Communications

Business

Which parts of the network are owned by the service provider, and which parts are owned by the property owner? The distribution plant is owned and maintained by Cox. Home wiring, including fiber, drops from the IDF to each unit. The distribution panel and in-unit outlets are owned by the property owner and, for the term of the agreement, are maintained by Cox.

Is there a marketing agreement with the property owner? Yes.

Does the agreement include an incentive such as a door fee or revenue share? No.

How do the service provider and owner work together to market the services? Cox will support the property with training and printed and digital marketing assets to promote the offerings and onboard residents.

Is there a bulk service agreement? Yes. The developer has a bulk agreement with Cox Communications for video and data. Residents can upgrade to additional packages, such as premium channels or higher speeds.

Is there any evidence the network helps attract residents, retain residents, and increase property values? The all-fiber network will provide flexibility to the property owner and to residents who see high-speed internet as a key utility. By installing an all-fiber network, Cox offers a future-proof network that allows it to support 10 Gbps service for each unit.

Technology

Broadband architecture: Cox Communications deployed fiber-to-the-unit and fiber-to-the-floor architecture. The cable MSO uses GPON-based equipment to deliver broadband fiber service.

Where are ONTs placed? GPON-based ONTs are placed in each unit’s structured wiring panel.

Vendors/products

  • Cox Communications (video and broadband services)
  • Cox Business (business services)

 

Sean Buckley is the editor-in-chief of Broadband Communities. You can contact him at sean@bbcmag.com.

Sean Buckley

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