Mega development planned for Pecos-Arizona corner - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Mega development planned for Pecos-Arizona corner

July 31st, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Mega development planned for Pecos-Arizona corner

By Ken Sain
Managing Editor

With the City of Chandler nearing buildout, meaning the amount of open space left to develop on is dwindling, the southwest corner of Arizona Avenue and Pecos Road stands out.

It comprises nearly 50 acres of open space close to the heart of downtown and sitting just off the Loop 202 freeway, making it perhaps the most desirable open space left to develop in Chandler.

And for years it has been empty land.

That could be changing soon. An application has been submitted to the city Development Services Department for a multi-use development that will include a hotel, office and retail space and multi-family housing.

Called the Downtown District, the project “is designed as a high-quality mixed-use development that will create vital employment, retail and housing opportunities at the gateway to Downtown Chandler,” wrote Brennan Ray of Burch & Cracchiolo.

This is only an application.

It has to go through staff review, neighborhood meetings, the Planning and Zoning Commission, and finally City Council before it can become reality. It is likely the plan will change as it goes through that process.

So why did the property sit undeveloped for so long with the city at 93% of buildout?

“My understanding is that there were several property owners who were interested in a corner,” said city Planning Manager David de la Torre. “It wasn’t just one property owner, it was several property owners.

“My understanding is that they couldn’t agree on which way to go, and so there was one … of those partners, [who] bought out the other ones, [it took] a long time to do that. So now that particular property owner is ready to move forward, he submitted plans.”

The first of two required neighborhood meetings on the property was scheduled for July 28 – after this newspaper’s deadline – at the Crown Plaza Chandler Hotel on San Marcos. The time and date for the second meeting has not been scheduled.

Two neighborhood meetings are required because the developer wants to build above the 45-foot height limit with one structure 120 feet tall.

“I would anticipate this being on an agenda by the end of the year,” said Lauren Schuman, the city’s senior planner.

The proposal includes a six-story parking garage, four stand-alone office buildings, eight buildings for retail, a five-story hotel, a restaurant, and about 800 multi-family housing units. There are also two mixed-use buildings.

“We don’t see very many mixed-use projects like this coming forward,” de la Torre said. “So this is a great opportunity for Chandler to get a really cool mixed-use development in place. And it’s kind of a delicate balance, too, because we don’t want it to compete with Downtown.

“But it’s big enough, where we can do a different type of development that’s not going to compete with those [businesses], and it’s going to become its own unique thing that’s going to attract people from a wide area.”

The District Downtown development is being planned by ABLA Studio. Neri Architects shared images of what the office and retail space would look like, showing a very modern design.

The hotel would be about 189,000 square feet and house around 180 rooms. A 4,000-square foot restaurant would be in front of the hotel, close to Arizona Avenue.

“We need the rooms,” said Micah Miranda, city economic development director. “However, not all hotels are created equally. What we really need is more meeting and conference space – about 10,000 square feet.”

Miranda said conversations are ongoing on how best to meet that need.

The office space would be split up into two, two-story buildings, and a six- and four-story L-shaped buildings across the plaza. The two, two-story buildings would be connected by a bridge over the walkway between them. There’s a total of 364,000 square feet of office space planned.

The 800 multi-family housing units would be in buildings three-stories tall. There are three swimming pools included in the plan for those residents.

The mixed-use buildings on the plan are near the hotel. Schumann said the developer’s plans for those buildings remain flexible so that it can better respond to the market.

Depending on what the need is, they could be a mix of retail, office or residential.

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