Zone your acres, West Valley. The cranes are coming.

About one year ago, appliance manufacturer Sub Zero bought an 11.5-acre land parcel at Palm Valley 303 (PV 303)​, the master-planned business park which sits at the confluence of Interstate 10 and Loop 303 in Goodyear, Ariz., from Sunbelt Holdings. It was the second tenant to enter the park, the first being Dicks Sporting Goods’ western United States distribution center. This is just the beginning for the park plans. At build out, PV303 will offer 1,600 acres with 20MSF of office, retail and industrial space in the West Valley. The lifeblood of the development — Loop 303 — cuts right through parts of the massive development. And like that stretch of black freeway, optimism is spreading.

“Just look at what Loop 101 did to stimulate growth and development in Glendale and Peoria,” says Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott. “Now, it’s our turn. Surprise is well positioned to attract major employers and white-collar jobs for our educated work force. This is what every growing city needs and vies for in order to become a balanced, sustainable community.”

More than 90 percent of Surprise’s residents work outside of the city limits. Wolcott says the Loop 303 will attract industries to bring “head-of-household” jobs for these residents, effectively keeping them from commuting outside of Surprise on a daily basis.

Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott 2014 - high rez
Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott

About 10 miles of Loop 303 runs through Surprise. It’s the city’s first time being integrated into Phoenix Metro’s regional freeway system and Wolcott says Surprise is planning for thousands of acres of commercial development along the corridor.

“The freeway is already paying dividends for our city with the development of the 303 AutoShow at Prasada,” says Wolcott. The auto mall features six dealerships, two of which opened in 2014.

“Collectively, this commercial development, which employs approximately 400 people with well-paying jobs, represents more than $50 million of capital investment in our city. We hope to announce two more new car dealerships as well as other commercial developments in the area very soon.”

Not all cities along the Loop 303 will see as large of a boost from its development. However, even Glendale has joined the grouping of cities getting in on the development opportunities.

Glendale, which did get see benefits from Loop 101, notably rejected opportunities to annex land along the Loop 303 corridor until about 14 months ago when it began to do an about-face on its annexation process, which hadn’t been looked at since 2005.

Jon Froke
Jon Froke

“We were really in the middle of the recession and Glendale’s financial picture didn’t look good,” says Jon Froke, planning director for Glendale. “We were concerned with having rooftops in the Loop 303 area and having to provide services to those houses. We were telling developers we weren’t interested in annexation.”

Now that the city is “back on solid financial footing,” and annexing hundreds of acres near the Loop 303. In January, 147 acres were annexed and zoned by city council. This land includes Saber Business Park. Froke brought a 180-acre parcel comprised of Zanjero Pass — which includes plans for 491 homes and 8 acres of commercial — in front of council.

“The 303 will be our last opportunity,” says Froke of Glendale’s growth potential.

According to an economic study the city commissioned Applied Economics to conduct on Saber Business Park prior to taking it to council, the net fiscal impact will be $20.7M annually when the area is built out.

Scott Whyte
Scott Whyte

“We’re looking for other opportunities around the 303,” says Froke. “We’re open for business.”

Scott Whyte, Director of Economic Development Services Dept. for Peoria, says the Loop 303 corridor in northern Peoria is a significant planned employment corridor under the City’s Economic Development Implementation Strategy (EDIS), though rooftops are leading commercial.

“We envision several nodes of employment centers being developed along the Loop 303 over time,” Whyte says. “Currently, the vast majority of new development in this area is residential as the commercial market is still emerging and new commercial development will need for the demand for such to grow before that type of construction and corresponding employment centers materialize. We are working on several public/private partnerships currently for the pre-development work needed to make this area attractive to new employment generating uses when those development opportunities arise.”

Shovel-ready sites off Loop 303 in Peoria include Vistancia Commercial Core, a 500 acre, fully entitled, commercially zoned land with infrastructure in place for corporate campus opportunities in northern Peoria. Whyte says this site is planned for higher education, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, corporate or division headquarters, advanced business services, research and development, biosciences, as well as technology and innovation companies.

“We have several investment zones and mega-sites ready for end-user development,” Whyte adds. “The plan is to welcome more speculative and end-user driven building. The Rovey Industrial Park on 75th Avenue and Olive is an example of a 328-acre shovel-ready site where development is primed and ready for targeted end users.”