A new “city” with a new, 21st century urban intention will eventually be part of the North Valley’s rapid growth. The infrastructure phase of City North, owned by Crown Realty and Development, is finished, according to Rick Carpinelli, senior vice president of Crown Realty.
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City North—100 acres of land with more than 5 million square feet of entitlement—is near the Loop 101 and 56th Street.
“Our goal for the entire property is to build a first-class, class-A new city on the north side of Phoenix,” Carpinelli said. “It’s going to be spectacular.”
When it’s fully complete, City North will have 2,600 residential units, 500 hotel rooms, 100,000 square feet of restaurants as well as 2 million square feet of class-A office space, according to the latest reports from City North. There is not an expected completion date yet, Carpinelli said.
Water, sewers and storm drains have been installed already, Carpinelli said. There are 3 miles of conduit that are distributed through the entire property, which will accommodate all its electrical needs, he said. This will generate the development with the latest in communications technology, like 5G.
As of now, construction workers are putting the finishing touches on landscaping and paving the streets, according to City North’s latest information on the development. Horizontal construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of November.
City North Drive will be designated as the city’s main street, he said, adding that it will have four lanes with a landscaped median. The road goes from 56th Street and takes a curve to the north that will direct people to Deer Valley, he explained.
The medians and north side of the road are already landscaped, he said.
“It’s beautiful, and we’re very proud of it and happy it’s there,” he said. “It’s great to get up and walk on it,” he said, mentioning the 12-foot-wide sidewalk on the north side of the road.
It’s dubbed a “City of the Future,” as it prioritizes socialization, fitness, the latest technology as well as spending time in the fresh air.
“The backbone of our property is designed to accommodate people being able to easily maneuver around, also to exercise and socialize and enjoy the outside,” Carpinelli said.
Taking cues from walkable parks, the developers designed the sidewalks to be 12 feet wide so bikers, runners, scooter riders, walkers and everyone can move fluidly without colliding, Carpinelli said.
Throughout the wide sidewalks, there are “comfort stations” with benches and bike storage where people can congregate, he explained.
“Part of being the state of the future is healthy living,” Carpinelli said. “You need places to be able to get outside and exercise and socialize.”
The comfort stations will also be specially designed to allow residents to easily get picked up by ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber, he said.
However, it is also designed for the lifestyle of “walkability,” where the essentials are within walking distance, Carpinelli said. There will be 50 restaurants within a mile of the property.
“We like to refer to our property as a new urban district,” he said.
City North will be a place full of life where people can work in a local office, have a home, and enjoy restaurants and the many retail establishments to come.
City North’s first phase of residential development will be a five-story, multifamily, class-A apartment complex with the latest amenities, like a pool and fitness center, he said.
“We had the opportunity to design it with things like office spaces within each apartment complex to accommodate this potential for doing work from home, which a lot of us have been doing,” Carpinelli said, referring to the work-from-home lifestyle created by COVID-19.
The development for this residential project will start at the end of second quarter next year, he said.
The first phase of office spaces has also been designed, Carpinelli said. The four-story building has 160,000 square feet of office space and it’s “fully designed and approved by the city,” he said of Phoenix. “It’s ready to go.”
A new Sam Fox Blanco Mexican restaurant will be part of the first phase of a retail complex development, Carpinelli said. The restaurant will feature a large outdoor space for dining, socialization, games and fun, he added.
There is another 15,000 square feet of retail that will be designed in that same project, Carpinelli said, adding that there will likely be a coffee shop and place to get ice cream as well. It’s unclear when development on this will begin, but Carpinelli estimated that it will be closer to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are plans for a new hotel, which will be dual branded by AC by Marriott and Element hotel, he said. The two hotels, which will share amenities, will be built adjacent to each other and will be connected by a glass tower, he explained.
Nearby residents have responded to the development with “open arms,” Carpinelli said. The residents of Desert Ridge “have been cheerleaders for the project,” he added.
“They can’t wait to see this property developed,” Carpinelli said. “The life and activity that this will bring will reinvigorate the retail and the stores that are already here and supercharge things as well as we’ll bring in new concepts to the property.”
The land that Crown Realty purchased was the center of a litigation battle, which made acquiring the property a very long, difficult and expensive process, he said.
The property was originally going to be developed as a large retail facility, he explained. It was slated to have four department stores, and as Nordstrom began construction the 2008 recession hit, stalling the project, he said.
Construction stopped and the property became tied up in litigation until Crown Realty got involved in 2016, he said. Crown Realty became a lender on the property as it continued to resolve the litigation, which it ultimately did, Carpinelli said.
“As a result of resolving litigation, we ended up becoming the owner of the property in early 2019,” he said.
All the costs, including the purchase of the land and all the infrastructure, were paid for in cash, he said, adding that there is no debt on the property.
“We’re very happy to be here and have the opportunity to develop the land because, as we see it today, we get to become part of the future of North Phoenix and really set toward a path for future growth in a very 21st century, technology-driven lifestyle in a way that Phoenix just really hasn’t historically seen.”
“We think that it will be highly successful here and maybe set a path of a new way of living for Phoenix.”