Avondale’s Aggressive Development Pace Rolls On

Fairway Commerce Center. Credit: Ware Malcomb/City of Avondale

By Roland Murphy for AZBEX

Developers have added two new proposals to Avondale’s rapidly growing list of private projects in development.

Since DATABEX launched in 2016, 50 private project requests of more than $5M have been submitted in the city that was once a sleepy farming and bedroom suburb. Of those, only three have been canceled and only three more are currently listed as on hold.

The new additions add an estimated $93M and 715KSF to a six-year project pool of almost $2B and more than 10.5MSF.

Fairway Commerce Center

LaPour Partners is requesting a general plan amendment and rezoning for a 26-acre property at the NEC of Fairway and Corporate drives between I-10 and Van Buren Street, immediately adjacent to the 722KSF Fairway 10 Industrial Speculative Development (aka Avondale 50 Industrial Park) delivered by Opus Group last August.

The current Avondale General Plan lists the vacant agricultural site as Urban Residential, but LaPour wants it changed to a Business Park use. The company also wants the zoning changed from Agricultural to Planned Area Development “to facilitate the development of a modern distribution, warehouse, and office facility with a focus on sophisticated design that goes above and beyond the typical, bland ‘industrial box’ typology,” according to the general plan amendment narrative.

Subject to eventual tenant uses, the core plan is to dedicate approximately 428KSF of the 450KSF building to warehouse uses, with the remaining 22KSF dedicated to office. The architectural character is intended to create a Class A office appearance with varied walls and landscape masses. Visible truck courts will be screened by the offices, located on the building’s corners.

LaPour claims in its narrative that the proposed project site is “uniquely suited for major distribution and e-commerce business park uses as it is buffered from existing residential development by a large powerline corridor and adjacent large-scale distribution and warehousing uses.”

LaPour has owned the site for more than a decade. According to the narratives, the project is intended to augment existing developments in the area, which has become a prime location with the opening of the Fairway Drive access point to I-10.

The Minor General Plan Amendment and rezoning requests were recommended for approval by the Avondale Planning Commission in its December 15th meeting. No date has been announced yet for the requests to go before the City Council.

The Residences at Agua Fria

The second recent submittal is a request by Sonoma Communities to develop a 266-unit Build-to-Rent community called The Residences at Agua Fria on 25.6 acres at the SEC of Buckeye and El Mirage roads.

The developer requested that one parcel of the nine-parcel site be annexed into the city. It also wants the property rezoned from Urban Residential to Planned Area Development with Multi-Family Residential uses and seeks a Minor General Plan Amendment to redesign a portion of the property from Medium-Density Residential to High-Density Residential.

The proposed unit mix will consist of 18 small one-bedroom, 92 large one-bedroom, 128 two-bedroom, 15 two-bedroom carriage spaces and 13 three-bedroom configurations. Unit sizes will range from 554 to 1,249 livable square-feet.

Planned amenities include recreational and scenic open spaces, a dog park, barbeque stations, a pool, fire pits and “indoor amenity spaces.”

Avondale City Council approved the annexation request in its December 13th meeting. The Planning Commission recommended the Minor General Plan Amendment and rezoning requests for approval at its December 15th meeting. The requests have not yet been scheduled for action by the City Council.

A Year of Accelerated Growth

As mentioned above, Avondale has seen 50 private development projects submitted since mid-2016. That total does not tell the whole story, however. Of the 50 projects entered in DATABEX, and not including master plans or projects put on hold, 25 have been added since January 1st, 2021.

While master plans and some other projects do not have cost or space estimates available, the 50 total projects still add up to nearly $1.9B in estimated construction value and 10.6MSF in built space. The 25 projects added in the last 12 months, however, make up nearly half the total volume for the city, with cost estimates totaling $906M and space estimated at 5.8MSF.

As the table on this page illustrates, Avondale is exploding as a residential center, with 10 of those 25 projects consisting of some form of Multifamily development. It also is undergoing consistently strong development in Industrial, with three new major submittals in the last year, along with steady increases in all the residential- and workforce-supporting sectors, including Healthcare, Education, Hospitality, and Self-Storage.

It is unusual to see any municipality double its list of pending projects in one year, but these are unusual times. With the increasing challenges in finding developable locations and delivering affordable projects, the entire Southwest Valley has been a focal point for new proposals. While 2022’s activity cannot be predicted this early into the year, Avondale’s stability, infrastructure, attractiveness and – most-of-all – momentum practically guarantee a continuation of diverse and appealing development and investment in both the near- and mid-term.

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