￼￼￼￼By Melissa St. Aude | Casa Grande Dispatch
Developers want to transform Casa Grande’s sleepy southeast corner into a gateway to the city and a place for residents to live, work and play.
On Thursday, the Casa Grande Planning and Zoning Commission gave initial approval to a preliminary development plan and a zone change request for 525 acres near Interstates 8 and 10, moving forward a proposed corporate campus known as Regional Gateway Commerce Center.
Commission members recommended to the City Council that the number of acres dedicated to open space be reduced from 154 to 150 in the commerce center’s companion residential development project, Casa Grande Mountain Ranch, to accommodate a future Henness Road exit off Interstate 8.
Jack Gilmore, a planning and landscape architect representing Casa Grande Mountain Ranch Limited Partnership, which owns both properties, told commission members that developers envision the two projects working together as a “wonderful gateway” to the city.
“People will live, work and play right at that interchange,” he said. The corporate park likely would attract national tenants looking for highway exposure and a location near Phoenix, according to Gilmore.
“This is a strategic location,” he said.
Developers are anxious to get the planned area development “on the books” so the property can be marketed.
Regional Gateway Commerce Center would be built in three phases and timing of construction based on market demands, Gilmore said.
Of the 525-acre property, 9 acres are pegged for commercial use; 44 acres designated as a business park; 25 acres as light industrial; 194 acres as office or light industrial; 35 acres as garden office; 162 acres as corporate office; 9 acres would be set aside for park or open space; and 47 acres for rights of way and interior roads.
The future Casa Grande Mountain Ranch housing development, which was approved by the city in 2007, is to be to the south of the site on 758 acres.
Plans for that development include homes built at a density of about four dwellings per acre with parks and a school to be phased in.
Paul Tice, planning and development director for the city of Casa Grande, said Casa Grande Mountain Ranch and Regional Gateway Commerce Center would
complement AZ Sourcing’s planned projects, Station I and Station II. Station I is the former outlet center now referred to as HomeCenter Factory Direct off Jimmie Kerr Boulevard. AZ Sourcing also owns the 34 acres directly behind it, where it plans to develop Station II, a commercial and residential center.
But he said connectivity between the Station and Casa Grande Mountain Ranch projects is a challenge due to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.
“I wish they had better connectivity,” Tice said.
He said an overpass may need to be considered in the future if the projects develop as planned.
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