By Adrienne St. Clair for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
Virtua Encanto Townhomes, LLC has submitted a project proposal to the City of Avondale to build Encanto Townhomes at Palm Lane — a 116-unit townhome development at the SWC of Avondale and Encanto boulevards.
The 8.5-acre (6.9 net acres) site once housed a farm house and accessory building but has been vacant since 2008. The city’s General Plan 2030 sets the site for commercial and office uses, but the project proposal states that because of the site’s location, shape and size, there has been no interest in the property for office space. Instead, the proposal claims, the site is better suited for residential development. What’s more, the developer plans to use the site for a new kind of residential development in the city.
The proposal boasts the development will be the “first of its kind” in Avondale — that it “will provide a new variety of housing that will be perfect for those looking for a ‘lock and leave’ lifestyle, including young professionals, millennials and empty nesters.”
The townhomes will be for sale, rather than for rent, and are planned to be single-family attached, meaning each unit will have its own lot — 20 feet wide by 54 feet deep — but two units will share a common wall. Each unit will have a two-car garage that will be accessed from a rear alleyway, which will allow the front of the units to face open space. Each block of townhomes will consist of four-to-eight units.
The new townhome development will be “(complementary) to the surrounding neighborhoods,” which currently include a mix of vacant and residential properties, and will be “supported by current market conditions,” according to the proposal. Just north of the property lies a vacant lot that is potentially the future site of a new high school in the Tolleson Union High School District, and further north are a few single-family home developments. To the south are single family residential homes “within a Maricopa County island” and also some farm land. Across Avondale Boulevard to the east is the medium density single family residential community Donatela I. The Palm Gardens subdivision is to the west.
In order to make the project work, the developer is requesting to amend Avondale’s General Plan Map for the site from Office/Professional to High Density Residential that will allow for 12-30 units per acre. According to the proposal, the amendment will support the office and commercial employment uses to the south while being “more suitable for the immediate surrounding area.” There is also a concurrent request to rezone the property from Agricultural to Planned Area Development to also allow for building up to 18 townhomes per acre. The PAD is an essential part of the development plan.
“The Encanto Townhome PAD will bring the opportunity for the City of Avondale to allow a unique Townhome product,” the proposal states.
The request was approved in October by the city’s planning commission, subject to a few minor conditions.