Mammoth growth plans in West Valley, its farthest reaches and ‘cities of the future’ moving from blueprints and closer to reality


By Mike Sunnucks | Rose Law Group Reporter

Developers, builders and transportation planners have long plotted big growth plans in the far West Valley west of Buckeye and the outer reaches of the Phoenix suburbs.

Interstate 11, cities of the future developments at Douglas Ranch and on land owned by Microsoft founder Bill Gates are all on the drawing board.

That growth is becoming more than just blueprints and land plans, according to Jim Belfiore, president of Belfiore Real Estate Consulting and top real estate dealmakers such as Nate Nathan.

“The demand is already there,” said Belfiore, who points to home sales and buyers in areas such Sun City Festival, west of Surprise and Festival Foothills in Buckeye.

Belfiore, Nathan and others are also looking at the potential growth in Douglas Ranch. That is a 37,000-acre swath of land owned by El Dorado Holdings and JDM Partners west of Buckeye.

Plans call for as many as 119,000 homes and 9 million square feet of commercial space. Douglas Ranch could eventually be home to 300,000 residents.

The cities of Pittsburgh and St. Louis have just over 300,000 people.

“The Douglas Ranch guys are serious builders. Builders are showing sincere interest in long-term inventory there,” said Nate Nathan, president of Nathan & Associates Inc., a leading land brokerage and commercial real estate firm based in Scottsdale.

Nathan also points to growth and housing demand along the Loop 303 freeway the Sun Valley Parkway in Buckeye and developments such as Lucero in Goodyear.

He sees California with its higher costs of living and taxes continuing to fuel the growth in the West Valley and other parts of the Phoenix region.

“I think you are going to continue to see buyers because of the outflow of people from California,” Nathan said.

Nathan said the Loop 303 freeway has helped bring more jobs to the West Valley making farther out locations more desirable to buyers.

Builders are also betting on West Valley demand. Lennar Homes recently broke ground on a 1,500-home active adult community called Heritage at Asante at 163rd Avenue and Grand Avenue in Surprise.

Andy Warren, president of Maracay Homes, said the West Valley and its growth markets will also continue to offer affordable housing options especially compared to California but also to other closer in areas of metro Phoenix.

“I think there will continue to be a fair amount of growth in the far Southwest Valley driven by affordability,” said Warren. Maracay has homes in Goodyear, Buckeye

Belfiore is also seeing an increasing diversity of housing styles and price points in the West Valley.

Greg Vogel, CEO of Scottsdale-based Land Advisors Organization, also sees another path for the big growth in the far West Valley — telecommuting and remote workers.

“They could literally spend couple of days in the office a week, have one night in L.A. and spend the rest of the week in their $250,000, 4-bedroom, 3-bath home that is 20-some hundred square feet,” Vogel.

Vogel points to growth and the Golden State influx at the Tartesso development in Buckeye.

“If you see what is under construction. D.R. Horton has pulled over 500 building permits in the past five months.” said Vogel who recently drove through the far west side community,

“About every third to fourth house had a California plate,” he said.

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