500-acre northern Arizona land parcel in escrow for 1,000 homes, theme park

500-acre northern Arizona land parcel in escrow for 1,000 homes, theme park

Article Originally Posted on Phoenix Business Journal on May 18, 2021 

Developers in escrow for a 500-acre parcel of private land in northern Arizona are planning to build at least 1,000 homes and are in talks to create a theme park.

Total development costs for the entire project are estimated at around $500 million, said Brent Moser, principal of Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Phoenix.

This parcel near Bearizona Wildlife Park and Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel in Williams could be the last parcel of private land in northern Arizona, Moser said.

Moser and Mike Sutton, also a principal of Lee & Associates, are handling the transaction negotiations and also are taking a lead role in what Moser calls quarterbacking the project on behalf of Witchita, Kansas-based Kansas Development.

While it could take 10 to 15 years for the entire project to be built, the first phase of development would be a $150 million to $200 million investment, Moser said.

"This is the last substantial — over 250 acres — privately owned parcel of land I am aware of along I-40 with near-term development potential in Coconino County," Moser said. "The other properties along I-40 and I-17 are owned by the state land department or the federal government, which would require a lengthy application process and ultimately wind up in an auction sale."

Land priced at $20M

Listed for $20 million, the parcel at Interstate 40 and Grand Canyon Boulevard currently is owned by Valley entrepreneur Max Biegert, who spent $85 million to develop and build the Grand Canyon Railway and Hotel in the late 1980s, Moser said.

A 35-acre lake — named Gonzales Lake — is on the parcel. About 75 homes overlooking the lake are expected to be included in the master-planned community — named Canyon Gateway at Williams — along with some apartment units closer to I-40, Moser said.

The new custom homes would each be on half-acre lots and range between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet, he said. Smaller production homes that would cater to the workforce would most likely be between 1,400 and 2,000 square feet.