Homebuilders enter escrow for new 1,200-acre master-planned community in Mesa

Homebuilders enter escrow for new 1,200-acre master-planned community in Mesa

Article Originally Posted By PhoenixBusinessJournal On January 2, 2022

Homebuilders and developers are paving the way for thousands of new homes on 1,200 acres of land that once was occupied by dairy farmers.

All of the land is under contract, with homebuilders and developers expected to close escrow over the next few months, representing $140 million in land sales, said Nate Nathan, designated broker for Scottsdale-based Nathan & Associates Inc.

Both Nathan and Joe Colucci of Nathan & Associates, were the exclusive brokers for the land deals near Elliott and Hawes roads.

Six years ago, Nathan teamed up with Jordan Rose, founder of Rose Law Group, to help a group of dairy farmers rezone their dairy farms into a mixed-use master-planned development.

"The dairymen got together and offered to rezone the state land department's land along with their deal to create a mixed-use master-planned development, which is now known as Hawes Crossing," Nathan said.

The development was approved in 2019, with nearly half the project dedicated to residential use and more than half focused on commercial uses. It is expected to create 55,000 jobs in Mesa.

'Realize their dreams'

Most of the dairy farmers have vacated their land, moving their cows to rural areas as the land is prepared for future development, said Rose, zoning attorney for the project.

"It's so exciting to see these families realize their dreams and be able to protect their future," Rose said of the dairy farmers. "It was six years of a lot of work. To be able to see it succeed as the vision was planned and to know you had anything to do with it is a pretty satisfying experience."

Miami-based Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN) will close on 80 acres at Hawes Crossing in April, with plans to build 455 homes, said Jeffrey Gunderson, senior vice president of land operations for Lennar.

With plans to break ground on land development during the second quarter of this year, homes will start in the $300,000s, he said. Model homes are expected to be ready by the second quarter of 2023.

"The location of Hawes Crossing is just an amazing location in the southeast Valley," Gunderson said. "There's a very limited supply of available residential land in this area. We couldn't be more excited to see Hawes Crossing to come out of the ground."

Other builders

Other homebuilders also are working their way through zoning.

"The rest of residential land at Hawes Crossing is in escrow with other builders," Gunderson said. "We just happen to be the first ones to get our product and zoning case through the city. We needed a PAD amendment. We were the first ones ahead of everybody else. There's going to be a lot of activity in Hawes Crossing in short order."

Scottsdale-based Taylor Morrison Home Corp. (NYSE: TMHC) is taking 171.2 acres to build 618 homes, according to Nathan & Associates' master site plan.

Taylor Morrison executives declined to share details except to say: "As we finalize development details and next steps, we will be happy to reach out proactively and provide timely updates."

A total of 3,858 homes and apartments are expected to be built at Hawes Crossing at a time when other master-planned communities in the area are sold out and inventory of existing homes on the market breaks down to 17 days of inventory.

Barring some unforeseen events, Hawes Crossing has all of the elements of a great master plan with a solid builder lineup and good timing with the build-out of the Eastmark and Cadence communities in Mesa, said Jim Daniel, president of RL Brown Housing Reports.

"Looking at the general area around Hawes Crossing, we identified 93 active subdivisions with a total platted lots over 10,000 and 2,594 available lots," Daniel said. "In 2021, this data set pulled 2,714 permits and recorded 2,194 new home losings with an average sales price of $614,000."

Steven Hensley, advisory manager for Zonda, said he's not surprised to see builders and developers take land positions at Hawes Crossing.

"The limited number of clean-slate developments of this size left in the East Valley presents a rare opportunity for developers to add much needed housing supply in a desirable area," he said.