Hotel, housing planned for remaining property at large Glendale site – Phoenix Business Journal

Scottsdale-based developer Empire Group has finally landed some new commercial users for the remaining portion of a large site near Glendale’s sports and entertainment district.
After years of marketing the 66-acre property — west of the Loop 101 and 99th Avenue along Desert River Boulevard and adjacent to St. Joseph’s Westgate Medical Center, the developer is asking the city of Glendale to allow more commercial uses on the property such as senior and active adult living, assisted living, treatment facilities and memory care and modify the requirements for auto dealership and services and storage uses.
Shelby Duplessis, president of land development for Empire Group, said they are currently in escrow with an active adults housing developer for six acres, Auto House for an indoor dealership on about seven acres and a mini storage facility on about three acres. Empire is also planning to sell a site for a hotel across two acres and market the remaining five acres.
“Working with the city initially, they were pretty adamant they wanted commercial use,” she told the Business Journal. “In this area the demand has actually been more multi-family, so luckily we were able to sell the two initial parcels very quickly.”
Empire Group submitted an application to the city to update an existing planned area development called Desert River II that was created in 2020 for the property and would only allow for multifamily, commercial, office, hospitality and retail. This site was also originally part of the Desert River plan that was approved in 2008 that encompassed about 110 acres and was slated for business park and entertainment uses.
Since Desert River II was approved, Empire has sold off two large sites for multifamily development, but the remaining 24 acres had remained vacant until recently despite being marketed for multifamily, retail, medical, commercial and office and the developer completing infrastructure in the area.
West Valley cities have been working to add more office buildings in recent years but the office market was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and most new office tenants and buildings have continued going up in Phoenix and the East Valley.
“Due to the continued change in market demands since the approval in 2020, opening the Desert River area for even more specific uses … is needed,” project documents said.
The proposed changes are scheduled to go before Glendale’s planning commission on March 23. A city report said the addition of land uses would “attract new tenants and provide a creative mix of projects that fit within the expectations of the PAD.”
Indiana-based The Garrett Cos. purchased about 18 acres from Empire in August 2022 for $7.8 million, while Scottsdale-based Alliance Residential acquired about 16 acres from Empire in 2021 for $6.9 million, according to real estate database Vizzda. Empire Group previously said it has started working with the city on plans for the project since August 2018.
North of Empire’s site, Glendale-based Mangat Group is planning to build a $130 million sports complex called MG SportsPlex. It will include a hotel, basketball, volleyball and pickleball courts, a stadium-style championship field and two practice field hockey fields.
Glendale’s sports and entertainment district has grown substantially in recent years with major projects opening or planned including a Mario Andretti indoor go-karting track, a resort with three hotels and a 6-acre water feature and an indoor Mattel theme park.
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