What’s Going on at Desert Ridge?

An artist’s rendering of City North. Credit: Crown Realty & Development

By Tasha Anderson for AZBEX

Desert Ridge is quickly becoming a key development area with plans for continued growth over the next few years.

A panel moderated by Christine Mackay, Community and Economic Development Director for City of Phoenix, and consisting of Rick Carpinelli, vice president of Acquisition Development for Crown Realty & Development; Rick Hearn, vice president of Leasing for Vestar; Rick Naimark, vice president of Program Development Planning for Arizona State University; and David Schwartz, Business Development and Site Planning Administrator for Mayo Clinic of Arizona, took the stage at Friday morning’s Valley Partnership meeting to discuss current and future development for the Desert Ridge area.

City North

City North will be developed on vacant land to the east of Desert Ridge Marketplace, surrounding the Highstreet property, and will be built like “a small city,” according to Carpinelli.

The announcement of City North came about in late January after Crown Realty & Development purchased 96.5 acres of land near Desert Ridge and acquired master developer rights to 5,700 acres.

The shovel-ready property is fully entitled for approximately 3,000 residential units, almost 3MSF of office space, 720 hotel units, and about 100KSF of retail. Phase one of the development will include a 160KSF office building, 250-unit multifamily property and a mixed-use portion including restaurants and a hotel.

While phase one is not expected to break ground until second quarter of 2020, Crown expects to begin the infrastructure portion – which includes a spine road called City North Drive going from 56th street curving up to Deer Valley Road, sidewalks and shaded pedestrian ways – of the project sooner.

“We’re ready to break ground on the infrastructure on this project,” stated Carpinelli. “We’re actually out there mobilizing as we speak and will officially be breaking ground over the next few weeks.” They expect the infrastructure portion to be complete by first quarter of 2020.

At full completion, Carpinelli predicts City North will have a daily population of about 15K-20K people.

ASU/Mayo Health Solutions Campus

Naimark announced that Arizona State University and Mayo Clinic broke ground Thursday on the new 150KSF Health Solutions Innovation Center next to the existing Mayo Clinic campus.

The project costs approximately $80M with $9M city investment for infrastructure and is only the first development ASU has planned to build around that area.

“We think we can build about 1.5MSF there and still stay in a reasonable height and density profile,” Naimark stated.

Mayo Clinic Expansion

Deemed, “Quite simply the largest capital facility project in Mayo Clinic’s history,” by Schwartz, Mayo Clinic is working on a $650M expansion.

The whole development will include expansion of the Proton Beam Facility, a new tower, additional infrastructure to the south and two large parking structures, one above ground and one below ground.

“This effectively doubles the size of our Phoenix campus, adding 1.4MSF, nearly 100 new beds, five new [Operating Rooms], it will double the size of our emergency department which is already a pretty significant part of our infrastructure there,” said Schwartz.

The first part of the expansion is expected to be complete by June 2020; the whole development will go through April 2024.

Other Development in the Area

The Desert Ridge Mall was not excluded as Hearn touched on $20M in renovations to the mall that Vestar has completed so far with plans to spend another $5M in the future on more upgrades.

“We’re attracting all generational labels,” Hearn said, talking about the vision for Desert Ridge Mall and creating a “sense of place” that everyone can enjoy.

“As you look at Desert Ridge, kind of the ultimate build-out of this commercial core area we talked about from Scottsdale Road over to the 51, also including Paradise Ridge, I think we’ll see between 80K-100K jobs come into that area over the next 20 years,” stated Mackay.

In order to attract more than just visitors to the Desert Ridge Area, D.R. Horton paid $80M back in late March for 122 acres north and east of the NEC of Tatum Boulevard and Bell Road. Plans for the land call for the development of 706 single-family homes ranging from 1,800-3,500 square feet.

According to an article posted in the Phoenix Business Journal on April 26, model homes are expected to be open in the second or third quarter of 2020.


  1. With all the homes being added you’re Desert Ridge Mall and the current construction of Sky Crossing homes there doesn’t seem to be sufficient infrastructure, especially retail.

  2. If any builder had common sense other than greed … most would build more homes less condos. It’s obvious the traffic can not handle what it has at this point during rush hours..,
    Schools? Open desert land…? No one cares
    that the wild life gets pushed to the center
    then dies off . There are to many condos and the water? Cheaply constructed buildings.
    I’m amazed at how cheaply thrown together these homes are… in my days from back east there’s be fire traps. So disappointed on the builders and what they call design. Pure greed

  3. Hate the thought of all the trails behind the marquis and 56th northern apartment complexes being torn up and the wildlife being pushed out. There goes the value of having trails to run on, hike, bike, use off road vehicles on, etc. How is desert ridge going to handle the traffic? The utilities? What a pathetic and cheap plan. Used to love desert ridge when I moved a few years ago because it was convenient but also have a lot of land providing some peace from city life. Now I can’t wait until my lease is up..

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