Ground broken at Agritopia for Epicenter mixed-use development

Johnston family, Joe Johnston, William Johnston, Epicenter, Agritopia,
The Johnston family turns dirt as their 20-year-old vision of Epicenter reached groundbreaking Jan. 9. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Johnston family turns dirt as their 20-year-old vision of Epicenter reached groundbreaking Jan. 9. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Cranes were set to the height of Epicenter at completion, 60 feet, 6 inches. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Steve Chucri, the Maricopa County supervisor and president and CEO of the Arizona Restaurants Association, quipped to the crowd, "Continue to dine out. Grocery stores are far overrated." The ground-floor retail of Epicenter will include restaurants in the mix. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Mayor Jenn Daniels noted that she is the fourth mayor of Gilbert to have served while the vision for Epicenter grew into reality. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
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The land at Agriopia once was farmed by Joe Johnston's family when he was a child. Epicenter is the final piece for the project that has been more than 20 years in development. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Tom Bakewell (center), the president of development for StreetLight Residential, said it was easy to partner with Joe Johnston (right) on Epicenter after first meeting with him. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Johnston & Co. CEO William Johnston saw his father Joe's vision for Epicenter get across the finish line to the Jan. 9 groundbreaking. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Members of the StreetLightsResidential team join Johnston & Co. in breaking ground for Epicenter at the Agritopia development. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Vendors who have signed leases for Epicenter took part in the groundbreaking. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Town of Gilbert officials participate in the groundbreaking for Epicenter. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
Epicenter, the 21.8-acre vertical mixed-use development that is meant to give an urban core to the Agritopia development, had its groundbreaking ceremony Jan. 9, initiating a construction period expected to be completed in fall 2021.

Epicenter will have ground-floor retail with apartments above. Gilbert’s Johnston & Co. partnered with StreetLight Residential of Dallas on the development, with LRK of Memphis serving as the architect.


Agritopia is the Johnston & Co. “village life” development meant to celebrate Gilbert and founder Joe Johnston’s agricultural roots. Agritopia is built on Joe Johnston’s childhood family farm.

The Johnston family, representatives from StreetLight Residential, vendors who have signed leases for Epicenter, town officials and Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri, who also is the president and CEO of the Arizona Restaurant Association, attended the groundbreaking.

Epicenter’s current retailers include Matt’s Big Breakfast, Gadzooks, Peixoto Coffee, Bunky Boutique, Wylde Salon, Hooligan’s Barbershop, Vintage Home and The Fit Collective workout community, which includes Funk Fit and Cycle Ave.
By Tom Blodgett

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


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