By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
Already one of Arizona’s leading casino and resort developments, Wild Horse Pass is looking to up its game even farther with a major new entertainment offering. Now, it just needs a developer.
Last month the Wild Horse Pass Development Authority issued an extensive, 251-page RFQ looking for a developer to create a distinct restaurant-entertainment district, an entertainment/concert venue attached to the existing casino or both. Companies can respond either as freestanding developers or as part of a development team they will oversee.
A non-mandatory tour including the casino, Phoenix Premium Outlets, Motorsports Park, Whirlwind Golf Club, Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort, Rawhide and other features was conducted June 8. A second tour may be scheduled and, if so, will be announced as an addendum.
The Wild Horse Pass complex is anchored by the hotel and casino on one end and the Phoenix Premium Outlets on the other. The authority has determined connecting the space between the two with a restaurant-entertainment district and indoor/outdoor entertainment venue to be a natural point of progress for the area.
Wild Horse Pass attracts 9-10 million visitors a year. However, “There are few opportunities in the area to eat, shop, stay and enjoy in a connected entertainment district,” the request states. “Instead of extending their stay in multiple venues, many will drive or potentially leave.” It goes on to say, “Entertainment districts are becoming the glue between major assets, enhancing the value of the entire area and lengthening the stay and increasing the spending of the visitor.”
An analysis of the area produced last year by Hunden Strategic Partners identifies several points of appeal, including:
- Access and visibility from I-10
- Growing population and improving demographics
- An improving hotel market
- The existing collection of features and attractions, and
- Land availability
HSP’s study, which was created with input from Gensler, recommends several components for the district, but the request encourages developers to create their own specific plans. The recommendations include:
- A Phase I with at least 68KSF of restaurant/bar and related entertainment space as well as roughly 24KSF of outdoor patio/bar area. Total estimated square footage for the district, including restaurant, retail and office space would ultimately total 144KSF.
- Creation of an indoor/outdoor entertainment venue for concerts, sporting and similar events. Indoor space is recommended at 3,000 seats with outdoor capacity as high as 6,000. Total area for the entertainment venue is estimated at 42KSF.
Beginning in year one, the first phase development cost projection for the entertainment area, restaurant, office, retail space and an Aloft Hotel total $87.2M
The recommendations also note that, separate from this request, the authority will develop and own new hotels adjacent to the district and is “open to creativity” in siting the properties to maximize their mutual performance.
Applicants are encouraged to take into account elements such as streetscaping, walkability, ambiance and interconnectedness in a distinct environment as part of their submittals.
Since the site is owned by the Gila River Indian Community and would operate under a land lease/development agreement, no property tax or land costs would apply.
After registering, interested developers can download the RFQ here.
Deadline for submittals is 5p.m. on July 25.
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