By Rebekah Morris for AZBEX
Last week the City of Maricopa hosted their quarterly Commercial Real Estate update with representatives from two key developments available to answer questions from residents and interested parties alike. Nearly 90 people registered for the event, a record high according to Economic Development Director Denyse Airheart.
Starting with the long and sustained influx of new residents, Airheart described the need for commercial development to stop the leakage of income for the city. Of note to commercial developers is that the amount of dollars going to nearby suburbs of Chandler, Casa Grande and the like is growing from $250M/year in 2012 to more than $368.8M in 2018. A recently completed housing needs assessment for the City of Maricopa identified zero multifamily stock, and a housing vacancy that continues to decline. New single-family homes are being built with just shy of 1,000 permits being issued in 2018.
Public Investment Leads Private Dollars
The City leads the way with several public infrastructure investments – from the SR 347 overpass (a project led by ADOT, expected to be complete Fall 2019) to the future library, Fire and Medical Administration Building, and County Admin building. The future public library will ease crowding and provide a new community gathering spot; Airheart described it as a place that will house less books and more technology. That project has already made its way through the public procurement process for design services, with Hidell and Associates being the successful Architect. The procurement for construction services has not yet been issued.
The City is also planning a new facility to provide space for Fire and Medical Administration. Planned for the Estrella Gin Business Park, the project will be designed by Perlman Architects and built by Willmeng Construction. Groundbreaking is estimated at Summer of 2019 and completion in Spring 2020.
Last, the County is planning a new facility nearby the Maricopa City Hall. Estimated at $9M, the project’s design is led by Swan Architects. Preliminary schedule information shows the project is slated to break ground in late Spring 2019, but as of publication, no procurement for construction services was yet issued.
Estrella Gin Business Park
While not included in the presentation, Airheart did disclose that the agreement with the selected developer of the 40-acre business park located behind the Amtrak station on Garvey and Roosevelt Ave. has been terminated. This is the second time a development agreement has fallen through on the property. The City is going to try a new tactic: build a 10KSF-12KSF spec building as the first step, then take the parcel again to the market and attract a private investor.
The spec building will go through the public procurement process for design and construction services, and the city will also send out an RFQ to select at least two brokerage firms to market the property when that first building is developed.
The District Copper Sky
The District at Copper Sky was described in detail at the City’s outlook event. Pegged at nearly $100M in capital investment, the five-phase project builds off the existing City-owned Multigenerational Aquatic center.
Adjacent to Copper Sky park at the intersection of Martin Luther King Blvd & John Wayne Parkway (SR 347), the 18-acre parcel will include hospitality (80-unit La Quinta Inn), twin mixed-use developments each comprised of 16KSF retail/commercial, 300+ units of multifamily, and parking, and a 170+ unit senior living with assisted and memory care units within that total. The four vertical components will all focus on the fifth piece of the puzzle: a 2-acre linear park, which is designed to host festivals and encourage community engagement and pedestrian activity.
Trent Rustan, Broker with Commercial Properties Investments, noted that the development might break ground by the end of 2019, but middle of 2020 is more likely to commence construction. Shea Connelly is the developer and handles design and construction services in-house.
Retail development surrounding the Walmart in town was highlighted by brokers from De Rito Partners. While the anchor tenant of Walmart is in place, surrounding development has struggled a bit; the Walgreens has been developed but sits vacant, and a 100-unit multifamily development known as the Vista Village has gone through rezoning but sat dormant since October 2018. The team is hopeful but realistic that construction costs are preventing new tenants from signing agreements on new space at this location. There is a charter school planned at this location as well, A+ Charter Schools plans to move into a temporary space for the 2019-2020 school year with a new building complete for the 2020-2021 school year.
Future Growth Potential
The City of Maricopa will continue to attract residents with low housing prices and a small town feel close enough to the Southeast Valley suburbs for individuals to commute in to work each weekday. Population projections have the city’s population swelling to more than 100K persons by 2030, just about double the current count. To handle that level of growth, the City is investing while attracting private development as well.