SimonCRE, a national commercial real estate development and acquisition firm, recently announced it closed on the purchase of the land for the upcoming development of Elm Street at Surprise City Center. The development brings more than 70,000 square feet of mixed-use commercial space to the growing civic center in the heart of Surprise’s downtown area.

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“We are really excited about the opportunity that Surprise City Center brings and the businesses that we can bring to the growing downtown area. We see the vision the city has for this area, and there is a lot of potential for an amazing and walkable streetscape,” says Joshua Simon, founder and CEO of SimonCRE.

The center, which sits at Bullard and Bell, will provide a range of new retail, restaurant, and entertainment options, as well as two stories of office space, as the developer begins construction on the first phase of the major development for the city. Just minutes from the City of Surprise’s municipal complex, Ottawa University, and the Surprise Stadium, it will offer a range of high-profile restaurant and retail options for local residents. With close proximity to these major traffic drivers, the center is poised to benefit year-round, with spring training games, Ottawa University events and classes and local city government bringing a wide range of potential customers to the area.

Pre-leasing activity

The developer shared that the pre-leasing activity for this center has been monumental, and they currently have signed leases for Mission BBQ, Better Buzz Coffee Roasters, Osteria Mia, Cafe Zupas and Lush Nails. Additionally, the developer has multiple pads within the center that are currently at lease. The developer also shared that this phase is just the beginning of their involvement in the major downtown area. The Elm Street at Surprise City Center development is slated to be ±10 Acres of mixed-use commercial space that will provide a range of retail and entertainment options for the residents of Surprise.

“To develop an emerging downtown takes patience, perseverance, and choosing the right partners. Our partnership with SimonCRE moves us all closer to the ultimate vision by introducing the next phase of our walkable ‘main street’ retail. This will tie into the mix of uses already in place to the east, and into higher density retail, entertainment, and residential uses and a city park and event space to the west approaching Bullard. Combined with the strong partnerships with the city of Surprise and the growing partnership with Ottawa University, the vision of creating a dynamic, dense, thriving downtown for residents of today and future residents is proceeding,” says Scott Phillips of Carefree Partners.

Downtown development

The developer indicated their excitement at being part of the joint venture with Carefree Partners and the City of Surprise to develop the city’s growing downtown district, which occupies 640 acres of land. The ultimate vision for the area has been in the works for years and is planned as a mixed-use destination that would provide the City of Surprise with a walkable downtown on par with Downtown Phoenix in terms of size.

“We are delighted to venture with SimonCRE on this retail opportunity of our Elm Street at Surprise City Center entertainment corridor. This is the second of 8 blocks of mixed-use retail, residential and employment. We have had a great partnership with the City of Surprise and are eager to experience the results with SimonCRE,” says Rick West of Carefree Partners.

With Arizona’s West Valley being the fastest-growing industrial market in the country, a record number of businesses and residents are moving to the area. BNSF Railway Co. recently received approval from the city for their planned rail complex and logistics center to be built northwest of the city near Wittman. The 4,000-acre intermodal and industrial hub is the beginning of what the company hopes will grow to a 30 million-plus square foot industrial development that would bring more than 11,500 construction jobs to the area. Further north, the TSMC plant continues to progress in its development, with an average of 12,000 construction workers on site daily. Once completed, the semiconductor production facility is expected to bring thousands of jobs to the state.

Surprise growth

At the same time that industrial job sites have been moving to the West Valley, Americans have been relocating to the region, and Surprise has certainly benefited from the influx. In the last ten years, the Surprise population has increased by 4.3%, and this number is expected to grow by another 1.2% in the next five years. This represents more than 12,000 additional residents joining the community of Surprise by 2028. As the community continues to grow, new and existing residents will be in need of a range of retail and dining options, and this new development aims to satisfy those needs.

“We are thrilled and honored to collaborate with SimonCRE on this project. We are excited with the tenants we’ve signed up and for the future ones to come,” West says.

More information about Elm Street at Surprise City Center can be found at