Prominent retail developments progress despite pandemic

Gilbert developments map
(Sources: Johnston & Co., AGRE, Remington Nevada, Barclay Group, SB2-VB, Evergreen Devco/Community Impact Newspaper)

(Sources: Johnston & Co., AGRE, Remington Nevada, Barclay Group, SB2-VB, Evergreen Devco/Community Impact Newspaper)

Gilbert officials anticipate the town reaching build-out in about 2030, and the coronavirus pandemic is not slowing that timetable.

Multiple developments, involving hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail and restaurants, are going vertical or nearing completion throughout town, including Epicenter, Gilbert Warner, City Gate and two Cooley Station developments.

Developers said they have faced some challenges this spring and summer, but town officials said construction has not fallen off significantly in town. Development services revenue—or revenue generated from business licenses, fees and permits related to construction and development—have been increasing since April. While they are still down from the same months last year, total revenue at $6.94 million exceeded the budget projection of $6.6 million for fiscal year 2019-20, according to town documents.

Gilbert has 678,878 square feet of office space, industrial, flex space or retail space under construction to add to the 27.9 million square feet already existing in town, according to the Gilbert Office of Economic Development.

“The development activity in Gilbert remains strong, and we are hopeful that this trend will continue,” Development Services Director Kyle Mieras said. “Commercial activity continues as well in both the retail and office/industrial areas.”

Epicenter and Air Guitar

Epicenter, Gilbert’s first vertical mixed-use development with retail, restaurants and multifamily housing, located at Ray Road west of Higley Road in the Agritopia community, broke ground in January and has not slowed down.

Development partner William Johnston from Johnston & Co. noted COVID-19 has not been helpful to leasing. However, construction is generally on schedule, said Greg Nadeau, development vice president for developer StreetLights Residential.

“Job site safety is paramount, and we have implemented a number of COVID[-19]-specific protocols to keep construction moving forward as safely as possible,” he said. “Our team and subcontractors have adapted.”

Next door, Air Guitar is not part of Epicenter, but development of the corner market from restaurateurs Craig and Kris DeMarco and Elissa and Eric Seitz from Bro Retail Group is running on a parallel track.

Craig DeMarco said he anticipates construction starting in the next few weeks with completion in spring or summer. The developers are searching for store-level leadership positions, DeMarco said.

Gilbert Warner and City Gate

Gilbert Warner, a 95,000-square- foot shopping center with a Planet Fitness gym as its anchor, is in a visible spot near the town’s center at Gilbert and Warner roads and comes from developer Remington Nevada.

Partner Stan Wasserkrug said the developer anticipates being at full completion by mid- to late September, just after press time.

Once Remington Nevada turns the buildings over to tenants, they will begin making improvements, and the clock will be ticking on their openings, Wasserkrug said. COVID-19 had an effect, Wasserkrug said, but it was more of a tenant than construction issue.

“For the most part they were able to move forward,” he said. “It slowed up my construction a little bit.”

On a similar timetable is the 165,000-square-foot City Gate, located at Higley and Baseline roads to serve the growing northeast area of town. Anchor tenant Fry’s Marketplace opened Sept. 2, and Jim Gardner, Barclay Group executive vice president, said construction is nearly done with suites being turned over to tenants to open soon.

Fry’s, coming under the grocer’s marketplace brand, has additional retail and amenities beyond what is found in most of its grocery stores.

Gardner said he believes the neighborhood will benefit from an upscale mix of restaurants, fitness and service retail that will open there.

Cooley Station developments

When Verde at Cooley Station—a 23-acre mixed-use development with restaurants, retail, office, and health care spaces and apartments—broke ground at Williams Field and Recker roads in November, the plan already called for a public space. The Green would allow visitors to shop or eat while watching a performance in the amphitheater. The restaurants around The Green were to have patio space opening to it rather than a parking lot.

COVID-19 restrictions played well into developer SB2-VB’s hand, principal Norm Brody said.

“The green space allowed us to plan seating areas throughout the development at physical distances that are now recognized appropriate due to COVID-19,” he said. “Further, the site plan for the development accommodates post-COVID[-19] initiatives such as curbside pickup and walkup windows at restaurants.”

The performance venue can also accommodate outdoor fitness and wellness classes, and Brody said several prospective tenants have shown interest in utilizing the space.

Directly across Recker is The Post at Cooley Station, a 172,000-square-foot shopping center from development company Evergreen Devco that is anchored by another Fry’s Marketplace.

•When ground was broken last fall, officials noted that the town had worked for 20 years to get development in the area, including a grocer. That included work among Fry’s, the town, Evergreen Devco and the Cooley family that farmed the land for decades.
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.


MOST RECENT

Gov. Doug Ducey announced in a series of tweets March 5 that occupancy limits on businesses in Arizona will expire while preserving the distancing and mask mitigation. (Community Impact staff)
Gov. Ducey issues executive order that ends occupancy limits on businesses across the state

Gov. Doug Ducey announced in a series of tweets March 5 that occupancy limits on businesses in Arizona will expire while preserving the distancing and mask mitigation.

The opening date for Cafe Rio Mexican Grill on Power Road has yet to have been announced. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
2 restaurants open or coming to Gilbert; many in Chandler receive first doses and more top area news

Read the most popular news from the past week from the Chandler and Gilbert area.

Photo from inside a movie theater
Alamo Drafthouse files for bankruptcy, closes theaters in downtown Austin and New Braunfels

Most theaters will remain open under an asset purchase agreement to the company's senior lending partners.

Jason Martin
Gilbert Public Schools considers closing Houston Elementary, moving Neely Traditional Academy

The Gilbert Public Schools governing board studied the effects of school changes for the fall that would close one school and move another into its campus.

Marcie Taylor
End-of-year celebrations getting face-lift in Gilbert Public Schools

Desert Ridge and Mesquite high schools, which have held their graduations at Arizona State University’s Wells Fargo Arena in previous years, will have to bring their ceremonies back to their campus stadiums, said Marcie Taylor, secondary education executive director.

Gilbert Public Schools district office
Finances good for now, but Gilbert Public Schools could see $10.22M reduction for next year

Gilbert Public Schools officials presented the governing board March 2 with a healthier revised budget for this fiscal year, but a projection for next year shows a large cut could be looming.

People age 55 and up will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine appointments beginning at noon March 2. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Arizonans 55 and older will be eligible for vaccine appointments beginning March 2

People age 55 and up will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine appointments beginning at noon March 2.

Cafe Rio Mexican Grill
One restaurant now open, one coming in Gilbert

Here are two restaurants open or coming to Gilbert.

See a breakdown of COVID-19 cases, vaccinations and more local data. (Community Impact staff)
COVID-19: Gilbert cases up 62 in two days March 2

See a breakdown of COVID-19 cases, vaccinations and more local data.

Here are the coronavirus hospitalization data updates to know across Arizona. (Community Impact staff)
ADHS: Less than 1,100 people hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms March 3

Take a look at the hospitalization data across Arizona.

COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
COVID-19 vaccination appointments available beginning March 1 at Chandler-Gilbert Community College

COVID-19 vaccination appointments will be available beginning at 9 a.m. March 1 at Chandler-Gilbert Community College—the latest state-run vaccination site.

Denise Lopez
Denise Lopez appointed HD South chief

Denise Lopez replaces Kayla Kolar, who left in 2020 to become the executive director of House of Refuge, as HD South's president and CEO.