By Connor Dziawura for Peoria Times
Paramount, Sony and NBCUniversal are just a few of the entertainment companies that could be coming to the West Valley, if all goes according to plan for a local group.
Ruben Arizpe, CEO and founder of East Scottsdale Consulting Inc. recently told Peoria Times he and his business partners are looking to develop a 130-acre film and TV studio campus called Diamond Sky Studio Complex at Loop 303 and Lone Mountain Road, near Peoria’s Vistancia community.
In addition to 24 stages, Arizpe said the plans incorporate a “city walk,” which would serve as a sort of entertainment and retail district comparable to Universal CityWalk.
While there’s much to be anticipated, there’s a catch: the project is not yet set in stone with the city or state, and further negotiations are needed.
Bringing Hollywood to the Desert
According to East Scottsdale Consulting Inc.’s website, it is “laying the groundwork to bring Hollywood to the desert.”
Initial plans called for 16 stages, but Arizpe felt it had to be upped to 24. And Sony Pictures would be involved in the design of the studios, he added.
Diamond Sky Studio Complex’s companion “city walk” area, as described by Arizpe, would have shops, bars, restaurants and theaters.
Additionally, to accommodate children, plans call for an area he called “Gamer’s Row.” It would feature a virtual reality/arcade area on the first level, as well as space for fast-food eateries on the second level.
Other features of the “city walk,” Arizpe said, would be a small water park, a Ferris wheel and a hotel/office building. Arizpe said plans also call for a Bourbon Street-like area with restaurants and bars.
Where the entertainment and shopping district meets the production campus, he said, would be four stages to host game and talk shows.
Before the proposed campus can move forward, Arizpe and his partners are looking to get the city of Peoria and Gov. Doug Ducey officially on board.
He said talks with Peoria officials have been ongoing for about a year and a half, but nothing formal has been agreed upon.
When contacted by Peoria Times, city officials provided the following statement:
“Mr. Arizpe has shared his plans with the city and it is our understanding that he is trying to pull together his project team and secure financing. While the city is always interested in projects that create high-quality jobs or bring in new industry, this project is in the very early stages and the city has not entered into any formal agreements.”
Arizpe, however, said partners in the realms of funding, construction and development are already secure, though investors are still being sought. But he admitted proof that the project is legitimate and feasible is something Peoria officials have yet to see.
As of print, Arizpe said he and his partners are on the brink of reconnecting with Peoria officials to get plans moving forward. That includes the acquisition of land for the development.
If all goes according to plan, construction on the campus, Arizpe explained, would be divided into three phases, starting with six stages that could be filled as they’re built. Modeled after Universal Picture’s designs, he explained, the stages would have offices.
In full, however, the 24-stage-plus- “city walk” campus would take 18 months to construct. As soon as all involved parties come to an agreement, Arizpe said, he and his partners would be ready to commence construction in as little as a month.
Arizpe estimated the project’s cost is $200M. The first two phases would cost $50M each, while the final phase would cost $100M.
And while Arizpe is hoping everything works accordingly with Peoria, should discussions falter he is considering other areas in Goodyear, Phoenix or Glendale, across from State Farm Stadium.
Read more at Peoria Times.