New retail proposed: 18.59 acres at Idaho and Old West Highway being developed for shopping center

Ground could be broken as early as next summer on a new retail center in downtown Apache Junction, according to a representative from developer Barclay Group.

Old West Marketplace, a shopping center on 18.59 acres, is being proposed for the northeast corner of Old West Highway and North Idaho Road, according to a staff report presented during the Sept. 22 work session of the Apache Junction Planning and Zoning Commission.

The commercial parcel is bordered by Idaho Road to the west, Junction Street to the north, Outpost Road to the east and Old West Highway to the south. It is zoned B-3, City Center District, according to the staff report. It includes an old gas station, the Second Avenue alignment and a couple other undeveloped parcels, according to the report.

Previously the site of the Apache Junction Plaza, the parcel was a commercial subdivision established in 1962 prior to the city’s incorporation in 1978, according to the staff report. The report states the site “was never developed the way it was intended, with about 50 small shops around a central parking area.” The former Apache Junction library building, which later became the Apache Junction Water Co., building, now vacant, still stands on Second Avenue inside the project land parcel.

The proposed shopping center, according to the report, would include a 123,000-square-foot major anchor grocery store and fueling station and five other parcels that are proposed to be developed with a bank, fast food sites and some retail shops.

The properties are properly zoned and the applicant is not asking for deviations from the standard zoning, landscape or parking requirements, so there is no need to rezone the site, according to the report.

Colby Fincham, senior vice president for Barclay Group, said during a phone interview Sept. 24, that he could not discuss details about the development because it is in the preliminary design stage; however, he said, realistically, the project could break ground in mid-2016.

Barclay Group is a full-service, integrated real estate firm that develops, leases and manages commercial and residential properties from large power centers to master-planned communities, according to its website: http://barclaygroup.com. The company was formed in 1982 and has offices in Phoenix and Palm Harbor, Florida. It began by developing neighborhood centers and single-tenant buildings anchored by Fry’s, Publix (grocery store), Walgreens and Target, according to its website.

Locally, Barclay developed the shopping center at Combs and Gantzel roads in San Tan Valley, which was completed in 2008, Mr. Fincham said. Its most notable project, according to its website, is Tucson Spectrum in Tucson, which is more than one million square feet.

The Apache Junction site is owned by WGG Partners LLC of Belvedere Tiburon, California, according to information in the staff report. It is being developed by Barclay Group along with Scottsdale-based civil engineering firm Sustainability Engineering Group, according to the report.

Apache Junction is a good market for the shopping center because of its seasonal aspect that creates a lot of spending power in the city, Mr. Fincham said during his interview.

He said the name Old West Marketplace was determined by the site’s location along Old West Highway, not necessarily due to its aesthetic design. He said the look of the shopping center will adhere to the city’s design codes for the downtown area.

The applicants are working with the city’s public works department and the utility companies that serve Apache Junction to abandon and/or relinquish old rights-of-way and utility easements that affect the properties, Rudy Esquivias, senior planner and zoning administrator for the city of Apache Junction, said during a phone interview.

The utility companies include Salt River Project, CenturyLink, Southwest Gas, Arizona Water Co., Apache Junction Water, the Apache Junction Sewer District and Mediacom, he said.

P&Z Commission Chairwoman Tess Nesser during a phone interview called the proposed shopping center a fantastic addition to the community and a positive sign of growth here.

“Instead of a vacant lot, we will have the potential for additional income from taxes for the city,” she said.

She said she is also excited to see commercial development in the downtown area.

“By putting something this major on the north side of Old West Highway, it will spread across those vacant lots and pull the downtown area together to the city complex,” she said.

The Apache Junction municipal complex is on the northeast corner of Idaho Road and Superstition Boulevard, just north of the proposed shopping center. The council chambers and municipal offices are at 300 E. Superstition Blvd. The Apache Junction Police Department, 1001 N. Idaho Road; Apache Junction Multi-Generational Center, 1035 N. Idaho Road; AJ Parks and Recreation Center, 1001 N. Idaho Road; and AJ Public Library, 1177 N. Idaho Road; are adjacent to the city offices.

“The worst thing would be to have everything south of the (U.S. Highway) 60 and everything in the downtown area dies because everything has moved south. Putting something major in the downtown area will attract businesses and people,” Ms. Nesser said.

The Apache Junction Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on the project during its Oct. 13 regular meeting. The commission typically meets twice a month in the Apache Junction City Council chambers, 300 E. Superstition Blvd. Work sessions are held at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month and regular meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month.

To view meeting dates, agendas and videos of planning and zoning commission meetings, visit https://apachejunction.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx.

Written by Wendy Miller – Apache Junction/Gold Canyon Independent

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