By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
The City of Litchfield Park Planning & Zoning Commission recently heard information on a 313-unit residential mixed-use project with 13KSF of commercial space at the NWC of Litchfield Road and Wigwam Boulevard.
As reported by AZBEX in January, 2015, the city approved plans to expand the Wigwam Resort. The general plan amendment approved at the time split portions of the property owned by JDM Partners into three parcels – A, B and C – for redevelopment. Parcel B of the expansion area, now known as Cornerstone at the Park, comprises roughly 15 acres and is zoned for mixed-use. The proposed development will dedicate 13 acres to multifamily residential and 1.85 to commercial.
The original approval required 75KSF of commercial development either before or at the same time as the residential component. JDM has found this condition impossible to meet and is asking for it to be changed.
The area in question also includes a portion of Village of Litchfield Greens Planned Development, which was a master plan for approximately 347 acres approved in 1991 and renamed The Village at Litchfield Park in 2001. The proposal says the commercial development anticipated 27 years ago has not materialized, and the portion of the property under consideration remains vacant.
The application is seeking to amend the previously approved Planned Development for the Village at Litchfield Park and change the zoning from Neighborhood Commercial to High Density Multifamily and Community Commercial.
The project narrative attached to the proposal states, “Since GPA 14‐02 (the general plan amendment for the property) was approved, the owner of the property, Wigwam Town Parcels, LLC, an affiliate of JDM Partners, received virtually no inquiries or interest in developing the commercial component on the property, but received significant interest in developing multifamily residential. The vision for the property under GPA 14‐02 was for an integrated residential and retail development. However, a detriment to the marketability and development potential of the property is the requirement that a minimum of 75KSF of commercial development be constructed before, or simultaneously with, any residential development on the Property.”
In seeking the current approval, the owners state the proposed commercial portion of the intended project, “fulfills the intent of GPA 14‐02 by proposing an area ideal for small, local retail shops, rather than single, large anchor tenants. JDM has been coordinating closely with Scott Phillips of Destination Litchfield Park on a comprehensive development plan for the City Center area between the Wigwam Resort and Cornerstone. JDM believes the focus on a global plan for the Town Center has already yielded a productive consensus that the discussion of commercial development should focus on building the right kind of commercial, not just commercial for the sake of commercial.”
According to the project narrative attached to the submittal, “The multifamily will consist of two- and three-story buildings consisting of four luxury apartment types: Studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom units.” The submittal says the luxury residential component will assist in the development of the commercial space.
JDM has brought on national multifamily, hospitality and mixed-use developer DeBartolo Development as a partner to bring the mixed-use plan to fruition. Under the proposed plan, DeBartolo will develop and operate the multifamily portion and JDM will develop and operate the commercial area. The submittal states “JDM will retain an ownership interest in both projects through development.”
The overall site design is intended to encourage internal connections between the two components via internal walkability and pedestrian and golf cart access to Village Parkway and the planned City Center by using a golf cart underpass across Litchfield road for access to the resort and immediate area.
In justifying the request, the proposal says, “…the requested rezoning would replace the uncertainty of when the property would be developed with any uses, much less 75KSF of commercial before residential, with the certainty of first‐class multifamily development on the majority of the property by a nationally recognized luxury multifamily developer with an appropriate amount of supporting commercial.”