Glendale partners with developer to build large mixed-use project near Cardinals stadium

Glendale partners with developer to build large mixed-use project near Cardinals stadium

Article Originally Posted By Phoenix Business Journal On August 10, 2021 

A 62 acre parcel near State Farm Stadium and the future Crystal Lagoons Island Resort could soon be the site of a new, office-anchored mixed-use development, after the Glendale City Council voted Tuesday to enter into an agreement with Plaza Cos. to collaborate on the project.

The final vote on the project was 5-2. City Councilmembers Bart Turner and Lauren Tolmachoff voted against the proposal.

The site is just east of Loop 101 and south of the stadium and includes a 10-acre parcel owned by the Bidwill family, the owner of the Arizona Cardinals. The remainder of the site is owned by the city of Glendale.

“We have been working to get this queued up for two years,” Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps said. “With all of the growth in that area, we wanted to find out how to better utilize that property.”

The site is currently being used as parking for Cardinals games, but that means that the site is only used a few times a year.

Glendale’s class A office inventory is about 95% leased already, so companies that might be interested in locating in the city would find it difficult to find suitable office space.

“We are in a little bit of a ‘chicken or the egg’ situation,” Phelps said. “We have no class A office vacancy in the city, so we need to demonstrate that if you build a class A office of any kind, the workforce will be available.”

The new plans call for about 600,000 square feet of new, class A office space, 60,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space, new hotels and about 230 apartment units. The city is also contractually obligated to provide parking for Cardinals games and for the Crystal Lagoons development, so the site will include a parking plan as well.

Phelps said office is a perfect use for the site because it will be fully utilized during normal business hours and less busy during weekends and nights, when the parking will be needed for games.

The additional development will help to fill out the city’s entertainment district, Phelps said. Now, the area is anchored to the north by the Desert Diamond Casino, then includes Westgate, the stadium and the future lagoon project, but south of the stadium is currently all parking lots.

“This is a really dynamic area to live and work in and experience Glendale,” Phelps said.

Public-private partnership

Plaza Cos. also is the co-developer of the Park Central Mall adaptive reuse project in central Phoenix and SkySong in south Scottsdale. Phelps said part of the reason the city wanted to work with Plaza was the firm’s extensive experience with public-private partnerships with cities.

“We wanted a developer that could not see things as they are today, but see what things could be,” Phelps said.

The arrangement between Plaza and the city will operate in a way similar to Plaza’s arrangement with the city of Scottsdale and SkySong, where the city owns the land, which is leased by a partnership including Plaza, and the buildings are privately developed.

“Plaza is headquartered in the West Valley,” Sharon Harper, chairwoman, CEO and co-founder of Plaza Cos. said. “We have special knowledge and excitement for the great vision of what the West Valley means to the greater Phoenix economy.”

Harper said the company has been working with the city for a few years on the project to determine the best practices for the partnership with the city and the Cardinals.

“We understand what it could be,” she said. “The whole here is greater than the sum of the parts.”

The early improvements, including infrastructure and road design, will begin soon, and Harper said the partners will work on branding and naming the project. The hotel and apartment components will also move quickly, Harper said.

The company will also be in touch with site selectors and other real estate professionals to seek out tenants for the new buildings. The project will be designed to incorporate entertainment and sports, and work cohesively with the surrounding developments, including the stadium and the lagoon.

“This is an opportunity for Plaza Companies to work for such an innovative city and work closely with the Arizona Cardinals and an opportunity to do something very distinctive for the region,” Harper said.