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Latest News in Buckeye, AZ

Buckeye nixed 6,000 homes — but that's not necessarily good news for water

Opinion: Policy changes may have cut off a ton of homebuilding, but that doesn't mean the land will remain vacant — or use less groundwater.Tartesso, a giant development taking shape in Buckeye, has nixed more than 6,000 housing units from its plans.Its developers recently got the city’s green light to...

Opinion: Policy changes may have cut off a ton of homebuilding, but that doesn't mean the land will remain vacant — or use less groundwater.

Tartesso, a giant development taking shape in Buckeye, has nixed more than 6,000 housing units from its plans.

Its developers recently got the city’s green light to convert 1,280 acres from future residential to commercial uses.

As The Arizona Republic’s Alexandra Hardle reports, that could pave the way for “anything from offices to health care facilities to restaurants.”

It also could include light industrial uses, though heavy manufacturing would be forbidden.

Water rules are set up for housing

That might sound like great news.

Fewer people, less water use, right?

Not necessarily.

Arizona’s Assured Water Supply Program was created decades ago to ensure that new users have secured enough water for the long haul, before they build.

But it operates on the premise that housing — particularly that in subdivisions — is the primary driver of growth.

That’s changing.

With housing paused, growth is changing

Yes, metro Phoenix still has major pent-up demand for housing.

But it also is now a top market nationwide for industrial development, particularly now that TSMC is building a giant semiconductor plant in north Phoenix.

Companies that require big swaths of undeveloped land are being funneled to the outskirts, where there is still room to build.

Yet unlike metro Phoenix’s other more built-out cities, areas like Buckeye have not earned an assured water supply designation — meaning they have not proven that they have enough water to support existing and future users for the long haul.

Meanwhile, it’s gotten a lot harder to plan a subdivision in these undesignated areas, after a groundwater model earlier this year found unmet demand and the state said that they could no longer build on those non-renewable supplies.

Other uses could still build on groundwater

It’s no wonder that developers were eager to nix some of Tartesso’s future housing space and pursue other uses instead.

They need to make money. Plus, there’s a market for other uses.

And make no mistake: If Tartesso manages to trade 6,000 homes for jobs and services, elected leaders would be loudly touting that investment, not questioning its water use.

But there is a tradeoff here.

Had those homes materialized under the old rules, they would have been required to prove they had enough water for the long haul.

They also would have likely joined a district that replenishes the groundwater they use, albeit not necessarily from where it’s pumped.

Because, again, those homes would have been built in subdivisions, and subdivisions are what drive the provisions in the Assured Water Supply Program.

It's time to level the playing field

If other uses take their place outside a subdivision in undesignated areas like Buckeye, they could still potentially build on groundwater, without having to prove the strength of their supplies or ever having to replenish what they withdraw.

And that could come back to bite us. Hard.

Growth may be changing but the rules have not, squeezing one part of the industry while others continue unchecked.

No policy change will completely halt construction, even if some readers wish it would. To paraphrase “Jurassic Park,” growth will find a way.

But it’s in our best interest to ensure all uses — be it a for-sale home in a subdivision or a data center on a single lot — prove they have enough water to sustain their presence over time.

Tartesso is just the latest case in point.

Reach Allhands at joanna.allhands@arizonarepublic.com. On X, formerly Twitter: @joannaallhands.

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Harkins BackLot, Target among retailers announced for Buckeye shopping center

Harkins BackLot, Target, Marshalls, Ross, HomeGoods and Safeway are the first businesses to announce plans to be part of Verrado Marketplace, an open-air shopping center coming to Buckeye.Vestar, the Phoenix-based developer of Desert Ridge Marketplace and Tempe Marketplace, is planning to break ground on Verrado Marketplace in the summer of 2024, said Jeff Axtell, executive vice president of development for Vestar. The shopping center will be north of Interstate 10 and east of Verrado Way.The long-awaited shoppin...

Harkins BackLot, Target, Marshalls, Ross, HomeGoods and Safeway are the first businesses to announce plans to be part of Verrado Marketplace, an open-air shopping center coming to Buckeye.

Vestar, the Phoenix-based developer of Desert Ridge Marketplace and Tempe Marketplace, is planning to break ground on Verrado Marketplace in the summer of 2024, said Jeff Axtell, executive vice president of development for Vestar. The shopping center will be north of Interstate 10 and east of Verrado Way.

The long-awaited shopping center will be organized into different "districts." The entertainment portion will be anchored by Harkins BackLot, which includes a movie theater and other attractions, like restaurants, bowling, an arcade and party spaces that can be rented, Axtell said.

Outside the BackLot will be an outdoor amenity area with a splash pad, shaded green space, patios and room for outdoor events like concerts, said David Larcher, president and CEO of Vestar.

The grocery district will be anchored by Safeway and will have more of a focus on neighborhood services, Axtell said. The department store district will include a Target, HomeGoods, Ross and Marshalls. That portion will front I-10 and will be the dominant part of the shopping center, Axtell said.

Unmet demand for retail in Buckeye

Buckeye is underserved when it comes to retail and restaurants, Axtell said. Queen Creek, which has a similar population size, has about five times as much retail space, he said.

"Retailers see demand that is not being fulfilled here," he said.

Larcher said Verrado is the ideal site for new retail and restaurants, which West Valley residents have long sought.

The Bautista:This upscale development is coming to one of Tucson’s oldest neighborhoods

"It is an art to find the right mix," Larcher said of deciding which companies will take space in the development.

In total, Verrado Marketplace will be about 500,000 square feet of new buildings. About 80% of that space is either leased or in negotiations to be leased, Axtell said.

Verrado Marketplace will also have the "Sip and Stroll" program, which allows patrons to consume alcoholic beverages purchased at a participating restaurant or bar while they wander in the common areas of the marketplace. The feature is already in place at Tempe Marketplace and Desert Ridge Marketplace.

First large-scale shopping center in over a decade

"There hasn't been an integrated, complete destination shopping center like this built in the last 15 years," Larcher said. "We really haven't seen anticipation like this in a long time. It's been very, very strong."

Axtell said the retailers have also been excited about the new site and the opportunity to be closer to a large portion of the community that had been underserved by retail.

"The momentum on the retailer side has been tremendous," he said. "When they see leading retailers commit to the site, it generates a real buzz in the industry."

The center is expected to open in late 2025 and will all open in one phase, Larcher said.

How Verrado became a California oasis in the middle of the desert

Buckeye is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. Its population boomed from about 50,000 in 2010 to just over 105,000 and could grow even more to 310,000 by 2040. And once all 27 of Buckeye's master planned communities are built, the population would be near 800,000.One of them, Verrado, has become particularly hot for new developments. A new Costco opened at the southwest corner of Verrado Way and Interstate 10. And on the northwest corner, Vestar will soon open up Verrado Marketplace, a proposed mixed-use ...

Buckeye is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. Its population boomed from about 50,000 in 2010 to just over 105,000 and could grow even more to 310,000 by 2040. And once all 27 of Buckeye's master planned communities are built, the population would be near 800,000.

One of them, Verrado, has become particularly hot for new developments. A new Costco opened at the southwest corner of Verrado Way and Interstate 10. And on the northwest corner, Vestar will soon open up Verrado Marketplace, a proposed mixed-use retail, dining and entertainment center.

The downtown area of Verrado is reminiscent of Southern California, aligned with palm trees, trendy restaurants, coffee shops and fancy-looking houses. And California is the number one comparison Verrado gets, said Dan Kelly, Chief Operating Officer of Verrado developer DMB Associates.

Moooove:Cows are getting onto Sun Valley Parkway in Buckeye. Here's why

It all began in 1998. At the time, Buckeye had a population of only about 4,000 people. There wasn't much development in the West Valley at the time, but Kelly said the East Valley was nearing a point where it couldn't go any further.

Verrado is located right up against the White Tank mountains, and Kelly said the community was planned out with careful attention to detail. Some lots are intentionally left undeveloped to make the area seem more open and relaxed. The lots are also built by a variety of builders, which ensures that the homes don't all look the same, and also allows different economic levels within a single neighborhood.

Kelly said DMB had in mind people who care about architecture. Much of the development in Verrado is highly detailed, especially on Main Street, Kelly said. While that part was developed in 2004, it was no longer sustainable after the Great Recession. DMB instead scaled back the detail on areas that aren't as visible, such as the back of houses. All of the details come from early 1900s architectural pattern books, which give the builders guidelines.

The west Valley was the perfect location because, while there is vacant land in cities like Scottsdale and Chandler, it wasn't continuous and large enough for a master-planned community. And while all development is a matter of risk, the development of Verrado was a calculated risk, Kelly said, although the recession in the late 2000's meant that development in the west Valley took longer than was initially expected. Homebuilding and development picked up pace once again in 2016 and 2017.

Over the next few years, Kelly said the intersection at Verrado Way and Interstate 10 will be a particularly hot area for development. That's where the Costco recently opened, and both Banner Health and Abrazo Community Health Network announced plans to develop hospitals at the intersection. It's also where the anticipated Verrado Marketplace, developed by DMB Associates and Vestar, is expected to open in late 2025 or early 2026.

All of the details with landscaping and architecture, as well as community life, are what Verrado its own unique vibe and a hot spot for new development. While all of the details like tree-lined streets might be more expensive, DMB Associates believes in the long run, Kelly said.

1.2 million-square-foot Southern Industrial Center completed in Buckeye

JLL announced today that Parklane Development Group and Miramar Industrial Partners have completed Southern Industrial Center, an award-winning, 1.2 million-square-foot, speculative Class A industrial project located at the southeast corner of Southern Avenue and Apache Road in Buckeye, Arizona.LEARN MORE: LPC breaks ground on massive $515 million Luke Field in West Valley...

JLL announced today that Parklane Development Group and Miramar Industrial Partners have completed Southern Industrial Center, an award-winning, 1.2 million-square-foot, speculative Class A industrial project located at the southeast corner of Southern Avenue and Apache Road in Buckeye, Arizona.

LEARN MORE: LPC breaks ground on massive $515 million Luke Field in West Valley

Marc Hertzberg, John Lydon and Kelly Royle from the Phoenix Office of JLL are the project’s exclusive leasing brokers. Graycor Construction Company served as the project’s design-build partner and Ware Malcomb is the project architect. Development partners include DWS and Westpine Partners (along with original co-developer, Contour). Bank OZK is the construction lender for the project.

“Southern Industrial Center is a reflection of our highly collaborative development, construction and leasing teams,” said Parklane Development Group Chief Executive Officer Ted Fentin. “This project aligns well with market and industry trends. It also sits within a strong labor market, with well-positioned access to regional and interstate highways. It will make the right tenant a very successful home.”

Totalling 1.2 million square feet in a single warehouse and logistics facility, Southern Industrial Center features 40-foot clear height, 202 sectional overhead dock doors, four drive-through dock doors, reinforced speed bays and parking for 914 autos and 250 trailers.

“Southern Industrial Center was designed uniquely for e-commerce, warehouse and logistics tenants seeking space in one of the fastest growing cities – and industrial markets – in the U.S.,” said Royle. “Now completed, it gives interested tenants a tremendous speed-to-occupancy advantage in a metro market that year-to-date has recorded 13 million square feet of leasing activity.”

Winner of the WESTMARC 2023 Best of the West award, Southern Industrial Center is located near the geographic center of Buckeye, which is consistently ranked by the U.S. Census Bureau as one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. The project offers direct accessibility to Arizona State Route 85 and Interstate 10, placing it within a day’s drive to Southern California’s ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

To reduce the overall carbon footprint, Graycor fabricated the project’s precast panels on site from locally sourced concrete suppliers, incorporated highly reflective TPO roof systems and installed desert landscaping with intelligent irrigation controls. Clerestory windows maximize interior natural light and reduce energy consumption, and shade canopies help to reduce heat gain in the interior environment.

In Phoenix, JLL is a market leader employing more than 527 of the region’s most recognized industry experts offering office, industrial, retail, healthcare and data center brokerage, tenant representation, facility and investment management, capital markets, multifamily investments and development services, and related services within the real estate leasing, investment and management process. In 2022, the Phoenix team completed almost 115 million square feet in lease and sale transactions, with a total transaction volume of more than $11.4 million, and directed $180 million in project management.

Community comes together to help Buckeye ‘Honey Man’ diagnosed with cancer

BUCKEYE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Every morning, Antonio Racova wakes up at 4 a.m. to start his day. He prepares bags of peanuts, oranges, honey, and much more. Then, he drives nearly 20 minutes to his usual spot right in front of the Tractor Supply in Buckeye.“Every day, I get up, prepare everything, go to sell, and come back at 4:00 in the afternoon,” Racova said. He’s known as the ‘Honey Man’ in the community. Rain or shine, Racova has been selling his honey on the corner of Miller and Lower Bucke...

BUCKEYE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Every morning, Antonio Racova wakes up at 4 a.m. to start his day. He prepares bags of peanuts, oranges, honey, and much more. Then, he drives nearly 20 minutes to his usual spot right in front of the Tractor Supply in Buckeye.

“Every day, I get up, prepare everything, go to sell, and come back at 4:00 in the afternoon,” Racova said. He’s known as the ‘Honey Man’ in the community. Rain or shine, Racova has been selling his honey on the corner of Miller and Lower Buckeye for 10 years. “I am very grateful to the locals because they are the ones who buy most things from me, and they know me a lot,” Racova said.

But recently, Racova hasn’t been on the corner as often. The change came after he was diagnosed with cancer.

“Now that I went to the doctor here, they detected cancer in my lung, and that’s why it’s been a little bit quiet,” he said. His cancer is now at stage four. He said while it has taken a toll on him and his family, as long as he’s around, he will continue to sell his honey. “Yes, I will continue working because work is my life. If I don’t go sell, I think I’m going to be worse off. I like having the distraction,” Racova said.

Racova said the best way the community can help is by coming and visiting him at the honey stand. His daughter is also helping deliver honey on days when Racova can’t sell. She has also set up a GoFundMe to help with medical costs.

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