Epicenter at Agritopia in Gilbert broke ground Thursday to celebrate the milestone years in the making. Representatives from the Town of Gilbert, Johnston & Co., the development firm for the project that focuses on agriculture, manufacturing, food and communities, Streetlights Residential, the development partner which specializes in new urbanist apartment homes and mixed-use developments and future vendors of the property were in attendance.

Epicenter will have 320 units of elevated apartment living with amenities that will appeal to a broad spectrum of residents. The bottom floor of the apartments will feature various retailers including health and wellness brands, top eateries and locally owned artisan shops. The community will include one, two and three-bedroom living options and more than 49,000 feet of retail space in a health-focused, walkable environment.

The project is the capstone to complete Agritopia and pays tribute to the property’s agarian past and present, as Agritopia includes an 11.3-acre organic farm.

“This project is on it’s fourth mayor, so I’m proud to be the mayor that was here when we broke ground because I know the Johnston family spares no vision and no expense to bring the highest quality projects to our community,” said Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels.

“The Town of Gilbert is working very hard to be right there with the speed of business and the speed of technology, and we’re seeing great success in those areas,” said Mayor Daniels. “And we’re so proud of the collaborative work that we do alongside visionaries like Joe and William Johnston and their entire family. This corner will be such an incredible part of our community long into the future, for the next 100 years and beyond and the legacy will continue.”

Joe Johnston, president and CEO of Johnston and Co., the development firm for Epicenter, said that Johnston and Co. has been working on Agritopia for the past 20 years.

“Agritopia focuses on village life, which is the idea that we’re trying to make it so that people of all ages and all stages can live together, get to know each other and we’ve done that by trying to break down barriers between people through design, such as low fences and walkable streets and front porches so people are more likely to meet one another.

“Also, we’ve tried to push various uses together so you don’t have to get into your car to go anywhere, so for example, you can walk to the Farm Grill, you can walk to a brewery or winery and restaurants,” Johnston said.

“Epicenter has always been in the plans, and that started years ago, and in the past 10 years we’ve been working on this embodiment of it where it’s vertical mixed-use, and we’re trying to take village life to the next level, so the apartment units come in various sizes for singles through large families and trying to break barriers by having a lot of community spaces and connectivity within the Epicenter property and as it connects back into Agritopia.

“We see the residents that will be living here starting at the end of 2021 as residents of Agritopia, they have closer access to other uses, as the entire bottom floor is commercial, so there’s all sorts of opportunities to meet up or dine, and that area is designed to be the best of Arizona operators in areas of food, health, lifestyle stores and personal services and the common theme is anchored by people who are passionate about what they do, they know their craft and they’re committed to quality and we believe that that will bring even more people to Gilbert a tourist destination,” Johnston said.