Rio Bonita Mixed-Use Coming to Avondale

Credit: City of Avondale

By Tasha Anderson for Arizona Builder’s Exchange

A new mixed-use development planned for North Avondale is expected to shake things up by adding a multifamily and commercial element to an area comprised of mostly “homogenous, traditional single-family residences.”

Avondale-Mirage Owner, LLC submitted a proposal to the City of Avondale to build the Rio Bonita Mixed-Use Development— a 219-unit townhome and 4-lot commercial PAD at the NWC of Indian School and El Mirage roads.

The 25.5-acre site was approved and designated as Local Commercial in 2000 as part of the “Ryland at Indian School & El Mirage Roads General Plan and PADD Rezoning.” Since then the property has been vacant with no real interest for commercial development due to the large parcel size and the “feasibility of developing the entire site with commercial uses” the proposal states. Development around the lot over the last 15 years has primarily been single-family residential.

The proposal boasts the townhome development will bring something “not found anywhere” in Avondale — that it “will provide a unique housing product that will be marketed to professionals, empty nesters and young families that desire a ‘lock and leave’ lifestyle accompanied by high-quality amenities to serve their recreational needs.”

The townhome development will have a density of 11.98 dwelling units per acre. Each unit will face each other to focus the residents’ eyes on communal areas and open spaces to “foster connections and relationships among neighbors.”

The commercial district has 4 pads suited for restaurant, small retail shops, offices or other commercial uses. There will be four access points consisting of two driveways from Indian School Road and two others to the north and west of the district. The proposal states the configuration of the commercial district is “the ideal shape for attracting the type of neighborhood commercial users to the Property.”

The mixed-use development will be “(complementary) to the surrounding neighborhoods,” and will be “supported by current market conditions,” according to the proposal. Just north of the property lies the Rio Crossing subdivision. To the south, across Indian School Road is the Indian School Crossing commercial office development, Teach n’ Fun Preschool, Lighthouse Sports Bar and Manny’s Mexican Food. To the east across El Mirage Road is a vacant property and Arizona Self Storage. The Wigwam South subdivision is to the west.

To make the project work, the developer requested an amendment to the General Plan Map for the site from Local Commercial to a mixture of about 5.91 gross acres of Local Commercial and approximately 19.59 gross acres of Medium/High Density Residential that will allow for 4-12 units per acre. There is also a concurrent request to rezone the property from PAD-Commercial to PAD with a mixture of Commercial and Residential uses to also allow for building up to 219 units. According to the proposal, the amendment and concurrent PAD will “create a framework for a marketable parcel for future homebuilders and commercial developers.”

“The Rio Bonita PAD provides an excellent opportunity to bring an infill development that will provide a unique Townhome community,” the proposal states.

Both requests were approved at the city’s December 20th Planning Commission meeting and again at the January 22nd City Council meeting.


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