By Eric Jay Toll for The Arizona Builder’s Exchange
This year, market anticipation general plan amendments and zone changes are coming before the Casa Grande planning commission. That’s a shift from what the city was seeing before the recession with reactive rezones for residential use. Two 80 acre greenfield residential parcels – one near I-10 the other near I-8 are shedding their speculative classifications in anticipation of demand for office and industrial zones.
“We’re getting inquiries for business use,” says Arizona Land Advisors Pinal County Specialist Kirk McCarville, the listing agent for the two properties. The larger, an 81.4 acre parcel at Jimmie Kerr Rd. and I-10 was supposed to be a residential community. The greenfield development never came out of the ground. “We have brokers interested in warehousing or manufacturing on this site,” he says. Located at a freeway interchange with rail access, and an outlet mall across the street, he adds, “the site never really made sense for residential development.”
“They are anticipatory land use changes,” explains applicant representative, EPS Group Inc. planner Janet Guthrie. “There isn’t a specific project, but market pressure makes industrial and office development more desirable for both of the locations.”
The other parcel, 80 acres at the intersection of Peters and Burris roads, is on the city’s new 36-inch wastewater collection main running out the industrial corridor to I-8. “I’ve been asked about 10 to 15 acres for an aerospace manufacturer on this parcel,” reports McCarville. With the underlying residential zoning, the conversion is not feasible. “I recommended the owners take advantage of the infrastructure and switch zoning to industrial,” he says. “The site works for both manufacturing or big box warehousing. We think the city will want to see those uses on these parcels”
“(On the Jimmie Kerr parcel) we’ve tied the zoning to the general plan amendment,” says Guthrie. “We’re going for a Planned Area Development (PAD), putting office commercial on one side to buffer an adjoining paper subdivision from the industrial. The offices will run 300 feet deep from the road. Someday, that subdivision may come out of the ground.”
“Right now,” says McCarville, “we’re not seeing greenfield development in Pinal County. Homebuilders want finished lots. They don’t want to build infrastructure right now.”