By Rebekah Morris for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
Later this summer the City of Phoenix is going to issue a request for development proposals for a vacant parcel on 17th Ave & Camelback Road. Zoned C-2 with a TOD1 overlay, the parcel is Walkable Urban Code-eligible. The selected developer has significant leeway to build something very urban and dense.
The parcel is less than 1/4mile from the nearest light rail station, and is close to a 23rd Avenue retail redevelopment by De Rito Partners, and just a bit further up the street is the ever-active Grand Canyon University. The property features great access and visibility, with plenty of capacity in the existing infrastructure.
Transit-Oriented Development, Fit with the Neighborhood
The City encourages interested developers to propose a project that both fits with the neighborhood and brings the best value to the City. The parcel is within the Solano Plan, within the Reinvent PHX planning document published in 2015.
“We want developers to have ‘big thinking in a small space,’” according to Jay Fetherston, Transit Oriented Development Program Manager for the City of Phoenix. While he wouldn’t call the overall parcel small, he conceded the subject property isn’t large by Phoenix rule of thumb. “It’s a quarter of a city block by Portland, Ore. standards; it’s not small,” he went on to say.
The project should encourage connectivity. Whatever the parcel is to be used for, it should activate the street level, be pedestrian-friendly and provide opportunity for the community for either housing, employment or retail. Transit-oriented development typically includes not only access to mass transit, such as light rail and bus service, but also inclusion of pedestrian and bike spaces.
Part of the right of way acquisition for the initial light rail system, the parcel is no longer needed for city uses. Due to this very specific source of original funding, the proceeds from the eventual development agreement will go back into the capital fund.
New Policy in Place for this Summer RFP
The development RFP process is starting at the City of Phoenix Subcommittee in mid-June, going to full Council on June 28th. If approved at both stages, the public RFP will hit the street directly after, and will be open for at least 45 days. The City has the task of choosing the most appropriate development from the submitted proposals.
The development procurement process has changed slightly in recent months; a new solicitation transparency policy is in place. This policy restricts communication about this project with any city staff or elected officials from the moment the RFP ‘hits the street’ or becomes active on the city’s website, through Council award. All communications related to the parcel and development RFP must go through the designated procurement official.
To be alerted of this and all City Development RFP’s, sign up to receive notifications here (link at bottom of page).