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Developer Seeks Approval for 33-Acre ‘Gateway Park’ Mixed-Use Project

Gateway Park

Rendering courtesy of City of Mesa

By Luci Scott for Arizona Builder’s Exchange

A developer is asking for zoning for a 33-acre mixed-use project now so the parcel will be primed for development once progress is under way toward the new terminal at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

The project, Gateway Park, has been described as a future “front door” to the airport; it straddles Ray Road west of the northwest and southwest corners of Ray and Hawes roads. In the future, Hawes will be a major entry to the airport.  Plans call for a hotel, offices, retail and restaurants.

The owner is Cleveland-based Park Corporation, and the holding company is Mesa Airport Growth Properties LLC, of which one of the managers is Kelly C. Park of Scottsdale.

Dibble Engineering is the civil engineer for the project. An architect and GC will be engaged when specific phases commence.

The zoning case will be introduced at Mesa City Council on Jan. 12 and heard on Jan. 26.

‘Good first impression’

“In the future we expect Hawes to become a major entry into the Airport and a connector from the new terminal to the Loop 202,” said John D. Wesley, Mesa’s planning director. “Therefore, we see this as an opportunity to require high-end development that will provide a good first impression to people who arrive in Mesa at the airport.”

Morgan T. Neville, an executive in acquisition and asset management for Park Corporation, said the site is an “extremely important location both for us as an investment and for the city and the airport.”

He said it would be the last private development opportunity before travelers enter the airport grounds.

“There are all kinds of exciting promotional and airport-service-related opportunities for the property,” he said. “When the opportunity presents itself, we plan on pursuing a quality project. That’s a little ways down the road.”

Zoning expansion requested

In 2010, the property owner received zoning and development approval for about 16 acres (eight north of Ray and eight south), but no development has occurred. The owner has since bought property immediately west of that original site, and is asking Mesa to expand the original approval for 16 acres to now include the entire almost 33-acre property.

The holding company is Mesa Airport Growth Properties LLC, for which the managers are Kelly C. Park of Scottsdale, Dan K. Park of Moon Township, Pa., and Raymond P. Park of Cleveland, Ohio, according to the Arizona Corporation Commission.

About a half-mile north of the parcel is the interchange of the Loop 202 freeway and Hawes Road. Access to State Road 24 Gateway Freeway is available by way of the Ellsworth Road interchange.

Mesa’s Wesley said that city planners would like to see Gateway Park to be urban rather than suburban in nature, with buildings closer to the street.

This project won’t be the largest in the area; the city has approved the 230-acre Gateway Airpark 202 to the north and east of this parcel, a project envisioned as a major employment center with an estimated 3.3MSF of development.

‘Vibrant mixed-use front door’

“While in comparison, this (Gateway Park) is not a big project, if developed to its full potential allowed through the zoning, it could be relatively intense because the guidelines allow multi-story buildings and contemplate the need for a parking structure,” Wesley said.

The design on the north side of Ray would emphasize central access corridor for a pedestrian-oriented environment. This would include an internal “main street” style corridor. The south side of Ray would include a central plaza or open space that fosters a pedestrian-friendly environment. The south parcel is envisioned as being supportive of the airport because of its close proximity to the airport’s entrance.

“When developed, Gateway Park will be a vibrant mixed-use front door to the airport property,” the documents said that were filed with planning department in Mesa.