Lawsuit won’t stop stores |

Lawsuit won’t stop stores

by Christy Chalmers

Spokeswomen for the Target and Home Depot stores being built in the Indian Hills area say a lawsuit claiming Douglas County should have required the stores to pay prevailing wages to the construction workers won’t affect their plans.

The lawsuit, filed by acting Nevada Labor Commissioner Gail Maxwell, names the stores, private developer DGD Development Limited Partnership and JS Devco and Douglas County, the county commission and the county redevelopment agency as defendants.

The store sites are in the county’s redevelopment area, and the redevelopment agency has agreed to spend up to $3.5 million on road, sewer and other improvements to accommodate the stores. State law says developers who benefit from such improvements must pay prevailing wages and meet the same requirements the county would if it was building the projects.

The Douglas County entities are accused of excluding language detailing those requirements from the agreements made with Target and Home Depot, and of trying to circumvent state law by issuing separate agreements for the redevelopment work and the retail sites. The state is seeking a court order to either stop the project or bring the agreements into compliance with the law.

Douglas County’s community development department issued building permits for the Home Depot store Monday. Company spokeswoman Amy Friend said Friday the company hadn’t been served with the state complaint, filed July 9 in Douglas District Court.

“That won’t stop construction of the store,” she said. “Our plan is to move forward with this site.”

The store is to include more than 118,000 square feet of sales space, along with a 4,000 square-foot nursery and 3,000 square feet of offices. It will occupy 11 acres and has a spring 2000 completion date.

Asked if Home Depot will pay prevailing wages, Friend said, “That’s something our general contractor would handle. Those workers are not Home Depot employees.

“We pay the prevailing wage to our associates (store employees) or better,” she added.

The Target store, which sits across Jacks Valley Road from the Home Depot site, has been under construction for a few months. The store will include 124,000 square feet on nine acres. Two other building pads will also occupy the site.

Target spokeswoman Kristin Knach said the company had been served with the lawsuit, but it shouldn’t affect the store’s planned Oct. 10 opening date.

“To our knowledge, we’re still on schedule with the construction. We’re expecting to open in October,” she said Friday.

Knach said she had no information on whether the Target contractors are paying prevailing wages, adding she could not comment on it because of the pending suit.

Prevailing wages for general laborers in Douglas County start at $22.47 per hour for a nonunion worker and $18.05 for union members, who have pensions deducted from their earnings.

Prevailing wages are set by a yearly survey of pay rates for various trades.