Tag Archives: Merit Partners

The Loop 303 interchange is under construction. Photo courtesy of ADOT.

Headed for a boom, the West Valley is ready to go

Clumps of curved freeway fragments balancing on massive pillars of concrete resemble a giant modern art sculpture greeting Interstate 10 travelers through the far West Valley of the Phoenix Metro.

Later this year, those “art” segments will gel into a multi-level interchange linking the I-10 and the Loop 303, and launch the area’s burgeoning commercial development into warp speed.

Kevin Czerwinski, Merit Partners

Kevin Czerwinski, Merit Partners

The new interchange “will be a game changer,” said Kevin Czerwinski, president of Merit Partners, broker for the 1,600-acre, master-planned business park PV303, which straddles the confluence of those roadways and stretches north along the Loop 303 to Camelback Road.

For nearly a decade, the West Valley, loosely defined as everything west of Interstate 17, has been quietly emerging as the metro area’s hotbed for commercial development. It has been fueled by dwindling East Valley land availability and affordability and better transportation access. After completion of the Loop 101, developers quickly gobbled up land along the freeway for homes, shops and businesses. Then they continued the westward expansion.

Now the Loop 303 is offering another close-in frontier and shovel-ready options for new and growing businesses to expand or set down roots in the metro area. The nearly completed semi-circle of highway linking the I-10 and the I-17 will provide a high-speed route to northern states, bypassing metro area traffic congestion — a boon to companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods, which recently completed a 720,000 SF distribution center in PV303 to service its Western U.S. stores, Czerwinski said. And to other retailers such as Macy’s, TJ Maxx/Marshall’s and Target, e-commerce giants such as Amazon, and high-end manufacturers such as Sub-Zero and Cookson Doors that ferry lots of merchandise intra- and inter-state.

It’s more than just big-box industrial sites popping up in the West Valley.

John Graham, Sunbelt Holdings

John Graham, Sunbelt Holdings

Acres of farm land or empty desert hide the fact that in the offices of forward-thinking developers and savvy city economic strategists, there are detailed plans for office, light industrial and retail centers, medical complexes and regional malls to be built on that un-shoveled land.

“The West Valley’s day is coming,” said John W. Graham, president of PV303 developer Sunbelt Holdings.

Sunbelt was a big player in the East Valley boom of the 1990s and early 2000s, developing residential communities from McDowell Mountain Ranch in Scottsdale to Power Ranch in Gilbert and mixed-use complexes such as Hayden Ferry Lakeside in Tempe. Graham says the same scenario is playing out west of Phoenix now. Land Advisors CEO Greg Vogel compares Goodyear today to Gilbert of a decade ago.

First came the houses
As available and affordable East Valley land dried up, a spate of residential building in well-designed West Valley communities such as Vistancia, Estrella and Verrado have attracted home buyers at all price points, Vogel said.

Greg Vogel, Land Advisors

Greg Vogel, Land Advisors

A whopping 35 to 40 percent of Phoenix metro area residents now live in the West Valley, Vogel said. And all those people need places to shop, bank, and find medical care.

“Residential drives everything,” he said.

Now supermarket-anchored shopping centers and big-box power centers are springing up, two regional malls are on the drawing board, and spec office buildings are breaking ground — despite Valleywide office vacancy rates topping 22 percent. The completion of the Loop 303 interchange will accelerate that trend as it eases drive time for those who work in Phoenix but live in the far West Valley — or want to, Vogel said.

Goodyear, which is in the enviable location at the foot of the new interchange, has been proactive pitching its bounty. That includes PV303 and Goodyear AirPark, a 267-acre, shovel-ready business park at Litchfield Road and Highway 85, said Sheri Wakefield-Saenz, the city’s development services director. And Wakefield-Saenz expects Westcor’s long-planned 1.1 MSF Estrella Falls regional mall to start ringing up sales — and sales tax — in 2016.

Sheri Wakefield-Saenz, Goodyear

Sheri Wakefield-Saenz, Goodyear

Wakefield-Saenz predicts that even more executive offices, high-end retail and high-quality manufacturing businesses will clamor for space in Goodyear during the next decade because of the in-place infrastructure and the educated workforce already living there.

Farther north in Surprise, the story is similar. In 2008, Sands Chevrolet built the first dealership in Prasada, a 4-square-mile, mixed-use development straddling the Loop 303. Now car buyers can shop at eight different dealerships at 303 AutoShow. And more are coming, said Jeff Mihelich, Surprise’s assistant city manager in charge of the Community and Economic Development Department. Neighborhood shopping centers are in the ground or on the drawing board as well, and another regional mall is pegged to land in Prasada, although no date has been announced.

Jeff Mihelich, Surprise

Jeff Mihelich, Surprise

But Mihelich doesn’t want to just provide shops and services and ease the daily commute for Surprise residents. He wants to lure more quality office and industrial employers so that residents can live, work and play in their hometown. Five years ago, Surprise reorganized its economic development department and goals to focus on becoming a major employment base, “concentrating on head-of-household jobs — people who will buy homes, go to restaurants,” he said. Major strategies included streamlining approval processes, persuading developers to pre-plan projects and build infrastructure before target tenants showed up, encouraging spec building, and aggressively marketing all those attributes, Mihelich said. That positions Surprise to take advantage of pent-up business expansion plans as the recent recession wanes, he said.

“When companies are expanding, they often have contracts in hand,” he said. Having property ready to build on can mean the difference between landing or losing a major employer, he said.

Optimistm Abounds
That optimism and pre-planning is not just happening in Goodyear and Surprise. Thanks to a wealth of available and affordable land, developers are eyeing West Valley cities from Avondale and Buckeye to Peoria and Glendale as future business hubs.

Justin Miller, Alter Group

Justin Miller, Alter Group

The Alter Group teamed up with property owner John F. Long to take advantage of the area’s growing popularity among home builders and buyers by developing three major business parks to attract employers. Algodon Center is a 1,000-acre mixed-use campus in Avondale and west Phoenix, Aldea Centre is a 150-acre business park at 99th Avenue and Bethany Home Road, and the 229-acre Copperwing Business Park is adjacent to Glendale Airport. All three have infrastructure and zoning in place and the flexibility to accommodate Class-A, back-office and light manufacturing operations, said Justin Miller, Alter Group vice president.

“The West Valley is a big component of our future,” Miller said. “It’s an area that Corporate America can use and expand because of the abundance of land.”

He’s not concerned about high office vacancies in the metro area. The easy commute for all those road-weary West Valley residents and shovel-ready land are compelling draws for big and small employers as they ramp up their businesses, he said. Valley dwellers who haven’t ventured west of the I-17 for years might be surprised to see the explosive growth.

“If people have not been to the West Valley in a while, they should come and take a look at us,” Mihelich said. “It’s truly a robust market. People outside of Arizona are noticing.”

Construction Project News - July August 2012

Construction: Project News July/August 2012

BRYCON BUILDING ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY FOR HOPI TRIBE

Brycon Construction is the general contractor and Jarratt Architecture is the architect for the $3.5M, 12,000 SF Hopi Assisted Living Facility in the Upper Village of Moenkopi, southeast of Tuba City. The facility is a 16-bed, masonry and wood new ground up. Brycon, working with the Hopi Assisted Living Facility Task Team, was able to increase the expected fl oor plan area by 3,000 SF and include an on-demand/solar hot-water system. Estimated completion is 4Q 2012.

BRIGNALL GC FOR INDIAN CULTURAL CENTER; RENOVATING 2 ARTS BUILDINGS

Brignall Construction has been selected as general contractor and SmithGroupJJR will provide design services for the 44,000 SF Yavapai-Prescott Indian Cultural Center to be built on the Yavapai- Prescott Indian Reservation. The new cultural center will be located on a 3.5-acre site on the reservation. The building will contain spaces for a museum and cultural education center. Brignall also is renovating Arizona Opera and Ballet Arizona buildings for the City of Phoenix. The opera project, 1636 N. Central Ave., will be completed in two phases. Phase I is the construction of an 8,700 SF rehearsal hall and 3,200 SF storage facility and all site work and improvements. Phase II will completely gut the existing 16,800 SF building to allow for new offices, fi tting rooms, coaching rooms, the costume department and storage. Motley Design Group is the architect. The other project, 2835 E. Washington St., is the renovation of a 52,800 SF warehouse to include a black box theater, three rehearsal studios, the administration department and storage warehouse. Architect is Durkin + Durkin Architects.

D.L. WITHERS, ORCUTT | WINSLOW TEAM UP FOR 2 NEW PHOENIX SCHOOLS

D.L. Withers is general contractor and Orcutt | Winslow is architect for the new M.C. Cash K-8 Elementary School. Th e 105,000 SF campus is being built adjacent to the existing M.C. Cash Elementary School, which will replace the old campus. Once the new campus is open, the old structures will be demolished to make way for new recreation and sports fi elds. Both firms also combined eff orts on the 80,000 SF Painted Rock Academy, Greenway Rd. and Black Canyon Freeway. Th e academy is the second school in the Reid Traditional Schools family. It will have the capacity to serve more than 700 K-8 students. Th e structure will include more than 30 classrooms, a library and a cafeteria. The school is scheduled to open Aug. 13.

DPR CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS INCLUDE NEW OPERATING ROOMS AND CLEAN LAB

DPR Construction was awarded the $3.7M, 7,383 SF Phase 1 GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) Lab at Caris Life Sciences in Phoenix. Th e fast-track TI project includes a 1,200 SF mezzanine. Lord Aeck Sarent | Van Boerum & Frank Associates is the architect; GF Group is the engineer. In addition, DPR is building two operating rooms — one hybrid and one CVOR — at University Medical Center in Tucson. Shepley Bulfinch and Richardson and Abbott are architects for the $6.5M, 22,600 SF project. Phoenix project subs: UMEC, Wilson Electric, Able Steel, KTI Tile, Ganado Painting and Star Roofing. Tucson project subs: J.B. Steel, RBG Construction, Sun Mechanical and Stark Electric.

REHABILITATION MEDICINE BUILDING RISING AT VA CAMPUS

A $9.5M, 36,000 SF Rehabilitation Medicine Building is currently under construction at the Veterans Affairs campus, 650 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix. General contractor for the building, developed by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, is RCDS Contractors Inc. The architect is Westlake Reed Leskosky. Th e 2-story building will off er a new rehabilitation area to house physical therapy, prosthetics and orthotics departments. Expected completion date of 2Q 2013.

ADOLFSON & PETERSON FAST-TRACKS 4 CHARTER SCHOOLS

Adolfson & Peterson Construction and Schoolhouse Development, LLC completed work on four charter schools in Metro Phoenix that open this upcoming school year – Paideia Academy of South Phoenix, The Odyssey Institute for Advanced and International Studies in Buckeye, and two American Leadership Academy campuses (Mesa and Queen Creek). The four campuses were fast-tracked and completed at the end of June. Details:

  • Paideia Academy: New 47,800 SF preschool, K-6 charter school and family services center to accommodate 850 students at 7777 S. 15th Terrace;
  • The Odyssey Institute for Advanced and International Studies: New 34,900 SF college-preparatory charter school with a 29,000 SF gymnasium;
  • American Leadership Academy Queen Creek Campus (K-6 and 7-12): New 31,350 SF K-6 and 38,500 SF 7-12 charter schools with a 29,000 SF gymnasium;
  • American Leadership Academy Mesa Campus (K-6): New 31,350 SF K-6 charter school.

MCCARTHY AWARDED CONTRACT FOR PHASE III OF CHANDLER WATER PROJECT

The Southwest Region of McCarthy Building Companies was awarded a contract for preconstruction and construction services for the Phase III Airport Water Reclamation Facility Expansion project, 905 E. Queen Creek Rd., in Chandler. Th e project is a 7 MGD expansion that will allow the Airport Water Reclamation Facility to treat up to 22 MGD on a maximum month basis. In 4Q 2009, McCarthy completed construction of the Phase II Chandler Airport Water Reclamation Facility Expansion project. It expanded the facility’s liquid processing from 10 MGD to 15 MGD. Th e anticipated construction schedule of Phase III is June 2012 to June 2014.

SUMMIT BUILDERS NAMED GC FOR MARRIOTT PROPERTY IN TEMPE

Summit Builders is general contractor for the $28M, 173-room Residence Inn by Marriott to be built at 125 E. Fifth St. in Tempe. The developer is Finvarb Group and the architect is LawKingdom Architects of Kansas City, Mo. The hotel in Downtown Tempe will feature guest suites with fully-equipped kitchens. It will offer state-of-the-art amenities, including an outdoor rooftop pool and fire pit with panoramic views of downtown, 3,500 SF of meeting space and 5,700 SF of ground-level retail. Expected completion is 1Q 2014.

MERIT PARTNERS DEVELOPING 260,000 SF WAREHOUSE IN TOLLESON

Merit Partners of Scottsdale broke ground on a 260,000 SF build-to-suit industrial warehouse in Tolleson. Colliers International represented MiTek Industries Inc. in negotiating a 10-year lease agreement for the warehouse at 7890 W. Lincoln St. Nitti Graycor is general contractor and Ware Malcomb is the architect.

Construction: P&Z

CITY OF GOODYEAR

The City of Goodyear has been processing a 2012 revision to its Engineering Design Standards & Policy Manual and its Engineering Standard Details. A draft revision of these standards was completed in 2010 but was never taken through for City Council approval. The current 2012 version is an updated version of the 2010 draft.

The Engineering Department has posted the 2012 version in the City’s “draft documents” web page for the development community to view and to provide comments. In order to keep the process at a manageable size, the document has been broken into groups that will be up for review at different times throughout the year. Review time allotted for each group is 20 business days. Visit: ci.goodyear.az.us/index.aspx?NID=36

CITY OF TEMPE

In accordance with Arizona Revised Statutes, the City of Tempe gave notice of proposed adoptions of, or changes to, city taxes or fees. Th e City adopted its final property tax levy for fiscal year 2012-13 on June 28. Information can be found by contacting the City of Tempe Finance and Technology Department at (480) 350-8350.

CITY OF AVONDALE

Avondale’s new Alarm Ordinance took eff ect on May 1. Residents and businesses are required to register their burglar alarms online with Public Safety Corporation’s CryWolf at crywolf.us/avondaleaz. The new program is aimed at cutting down on false alarm activations in the City along with the amount of time police officers spend responding to false alarms. Under this program residents will not be fined for the first two false alarms that occur within the same year.

CITY OF MARICOPA

The City of Maricopa has joined more than 20,000 communities nationwide that are allowed to purchase federally-backed flood insurance. Th is availability follows the community’s adoption and enforcement of ordinances to reduce flood losses and acceptance by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Property owners wishing to take advantage of this program should be aware that there is a 30-day waiting period before the flood insurance coverage goes into effect.

Lenders must require borrowers whose properties are in a designated flood hazard area to purchase flood insurance as a condition of receiving a federally backed mortgage loan in accordance with the Federal Disaster Protection Act of 1973.

The P&Z column is compiled by Dave Coble and George Cannataro with Coe & Van Loo Consultants, cvlc.com.

AZRE Magazine July/August 2012