City seeks developers for south Phoenix property with long history – The Business Journals

Phoenix is moving forward with a request for proposals for a city-owned, vacant lot on the south side of the city that has a long history.
The economic development and equity subcommittee approved on Jan. 25 a motion that will allow the city to issue a request for proposals and select a developer for the site. City staff will evaluate and rank proposals based primarily on what the concept is, what the return to the city will be and the developer’s qualifications, experience and financial capacity.
A city spokesperson said a City Council vote to issue the request for proposal is expected to occur late February. The request is then expected to be issued by spring of 2023 and a proposal could be selected by the end of 2023 following interviews, panels and additional community outreach, according to a timeline presented at the subcommittee meeting.
The infill site totals 12.1 acres at the southwest corner of 24th Street and Broadway Road, also known as Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. It’s a key piece of the Four Corners, an intersection the city has been trying to redevelop for more than 20 years.
In the 2000s, a neighborhood resource center was developed at the southeast corner and was seen as the first step in revitalizing the Four Corners, but the other three corners are still vacant.
In the late 1930s the area was a community for Black and Hispanic families, in part, due to the discriminatory practice of redlining, which prevented them from living in certain areas, the Arizona Republic reported. By the 1990s, media reports said this neighborhood was experiencing increased crime and the Rainbow Market, a troubled building on site, was bulldozed.
Four Corners is also located in a food desert, meaning the area lacks access to fresh food within a close radius, and has seen a significant increase in population in recent years.
After multiple community meetings held for the property, the city said that its main target for the 12-acre parcel is a neighborhood grocery store and a mixed-use development focused on what residents in the area desire, which includes a health grocery store, medical services catered to the community, sit-down restaurants, entertainment options and local retail.
Chris Mackay, the city’s economic development director, told the subcommittee that this area is where a large percentage of single-family residential permits have been issued in Phoenix in recent years.
“Three years ago, much like 32nd Street, we couldn’t have stood here and told you that we are optimistic that we’ll get some good responses on this front, but now with new rooftop counts, with the additional properties that have been platted, moving things forward, we are very optimistic that we’ll see some good responses,” Mackay said during the meeting, adding that they may have to issue more than one request to build a project that residents want to see developed here.
To gauge developer interest in the site, the city first issued a request for information in March 2021, which was presented to the community that October. The city said it received five responses with concepts including a mixed-use housing development, neighborhood grocery store, community resources and affordable housing. Over the past two years, the city has also held multiple community meetings for resident feedback.
Residents surveyed also hope to see outdoor spaces, no fast food restaurants, a homage to the cultural heritage of the area, community support services, art and a community garden.
The property is one of several that the city owns and has been looking to develop into new housing or commercial amenities and is temporarily being used as a farmer’s market. Also in south Phoenix, the city is working with Arizona Fresh Holdings LLC and Peoria-based Plaza Cos. on a new $200 million Agri-Food Innovation Center along Elwood Street near 7th and 16th streets.
It will comprise a produce distribution center, farmer’s market, community park, retail buildings and a business park and is expected to bring 1,500 jobs to the area.
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