It’s no secret that Gilbert has agricultural roots dating back to the early 1920s, and that over the past decade the town has emerged as a robust economic driver offering an abundance of entertainment, employment, and housing options. While historic sights are not superfluous, the town does have history.
The potato barn, located at 3545 E. Williams Field Rd., is a barn that was built in 1966 to store potatoes bound for the adjacent railroad. In 2002, it was transitioned into an iconic local home furnishings showroom, The Potato Barn, before being purchased in 2013 by Generations Church, Inc. which never occupied the building. Today, the Smith’s, a third-generation Arizona family, are developing adaptive-reuse plans to restore and refurbish the potato barn into The Higley Barns.
In addition to the existing potato barn, The Higley Barns will be comprised of two additional buildings complementing the existing architecture and totaling 24,000 square feet. The 14,000-square-foot space will be home to the Valley’s eleventh Central Arizona Supply location, a wholesale plumbing and HVAC distributor. The second, 10,000-square-foot building will be built speculatively. Bricks West is the architect for the two additional buildings, which will break ground in late 2018. A general contractor has not yet been selected.
“Joining the original barn with two additional buildings will collectively create a community gathering space full of restaurants, shops, home products and family-friendly events,” said Jeremey Smith, owner of Central Arizona Supply. “We envision the Higley Barns as the go-to spot for folks to relax and enjoy time with friends, family, and out-of-towners. It will uphold the entrepreneurial spirit of our namesake by becoming a mercantile for goods, services, history, art, music and the culinary celebration of our beloved potato.”
Chris McClurg and Matt Frederick of Lee & Associates Arizona are representing the Smith family, the owners of the potato barn and surrounding land, in potential sales and leases. The family purchased the potato barn building and excess land in January 2015.
“We are delighted for this adaptive reuse project,” said Dan Henderson, Director of Gilbert’s Office of Economic Development. “This project seeks to repurpose a building with history in Gilbert transforming it into a gathering space for the community. We appreciate the long-term view of the Smith family as they deliver a successful product and create a sense of place within the community.”