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oliveurban Dec 2, 2006 1:16 PM

Southeast Valley Development News

Chandler project's developer gets loan
$24 million to help get through a year

Luci Scott
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 2, 2006

The developer of a partly built hotel-condo project next to Chandler Fashion Center has obtained a $24 million bridge loan, saving the project from a foreclosure auction that was scheduled for February.

"All those debts and liens and subcontractors and general contractor and Mortgages Limited and all those people . . . will be marching down to the title company to pick up their checks," said Richard Rollnick, CEO of Landmark Realty Capital of Scottsdale, which issued the loan.

The general contractor, Weitz Co., and multiple subcontractors are owed about $5.8 million, plus attorney's fees and interest.

The amount that developer Jeff Cline owes to the original lender, Mortgages Ltd., is unknown, but a default on a loan of $3.45 million from that company triggered the foreclosure action. The entire amount he owes the company is thought to be more.

Cline, developer of the Elevation Chandler project, "now has a year to put all the rest of the financing pieces in place, and we're confident he will," Rollnick said.

This loan won't be enough to let Cline resume construction on the project. Work on the project had stopped in April.

The bridge loan is only for the next year. But it gives Cline breathing room to find an equity lender to allow him to continue construction.

The 10-acre project is expected to cost roughly $250 million. That includes an eight-story hotel topped with two floors of condominiums, a second 15-story condo tower, parking garage and fitness center.

"We're very happy to see that the project may be resuming progress in the near future," said Doug Ballard, Chandler's director of planning and development.

"Obviously it's going to have to come through the permitting process again."

When construction stopped, workers were operating under a permit to construct the building's shell that has expired.

"Assuming there's no real changes to those plans, it shouldn't take us very long at all" to re-issue the shell permit, Ballard said.

One of the subcontractors, Tim Drexler, owner of Ace Asphalt of Arizona, was skeptical about whether he would go back to the site. Before returning, he would need reassurances that he would be paid.

The fact that he had to file a mechanic's lien has tainted the project, he said. "It won't be an automatic yes we're going finish the project."

vertex Feb 11, 2007 4:59 PM

The East Valley Development Thread (Everything but Tempe)
With the light rail now under construction in Mesa, the construction of the MCC downtown campus, and the completion of the Mesa Arts Center, additional developements are now slated for downtown Mesa, as well as for the downtowns in Gilbert and Chandler. Let's use this thread to document the rise of these east valley cities.

Mesa Arts Center

Plan of the MCC downtown campus.

Shops along Main Street

vertex Feb 11, 2007 5:04 PM

Plans for a large development in DT Chandler. I'm looking for renderings right now, if you come across any, please post them.

Cautious buzz surrounds Chandler plans

Edythe Jensen and Luci Scott
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 11, 2007 12:00 AM

A $300 million downtown-redevelopment proposal that could change the look of Chandler is creating a buzz among business leaders but bringing words of caution from city officials.

The project, aired Wednesday at a wine and cheese reception by Desert Viking partners Niels Kreipke and Michael Hogarty, is the most ambitious redevelopment plan in city history and would more than triple the existing downtown retail and office space.

It would add about 600 townhouses and apartments, several six-story modern buildings, parking garages with more than 1,500 spaces, and more hotel rooms and a conference center next to the Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort. It also tucks a city museum into a multistory entertainment complex northwest of Arizona Avenue and Chicago Street.

City officials want to know where the money will come from. Kreipke said that hasn't been determined.

Assistant City Manager Pat McDermott said he expects Desert Viking will seek municipal financial aid, and at least one of the proposed commercial developments is on city land.

"Is this feasible? Can he get financing? What kind of market analysis has been done? All this has to be worked out," McDermott said. "It's easy to do what's been done to date: Pay architects a few bucks, and they come out with some really neat stuff. The hard part is selling it to lenders."

Architectural drawings wowed a small audience of mostly business owners and supporters. Several longtime residents who have been working nearly 20 years to build a municipal museum cheered the plan and the museum's location.

"This is the most exciting project that's gone in downtown Chandler since Dr. (A.J.) Chandler started the city in 1912," said Jim Patterson, former mayor and president of the Chandler Historical Society.

"It's the kind of thing we've been dreaming about for downtown for many, many years," said Joan Saba, whose family owns Saba's Western Wear and has been involved in downtown business since 1954.

Missing from the presentation were finances, and that's a big issue for the city, McDermott said. He and City Manager Mark Pentz learned of the plan only hours before the reception.

"The proposal is exciting; it's the type of project we would like for downtown, but it is still very preliminary," McDermott said. "As much as the council loves Niels, they don't love him to the point of giving him unlimited funding."

Kreipke said Thursday that he intends to seek some city financial help. "Projects of this magnitude in redevelopment areas typically include city participation," he said.

The city should help Desert Viking, said Jack McCormick, owner of software and tour companies based in downtown Chandler.

"The city has entertained a lot of foolish ideas, and this is the first solid proposal to come on board. If the financing is appropriate and with the city's blessing, we can start putting Chandler where it belongs."

Kreipke said he is hopeful that the San Marcos resort would finance the additional rooms as an expansion and that the city may be asked to participate in the conference center.

Known for its rehabilitation of historic buildings, Chandler-based Desert Viking is also building San Marcos Commons - luxury condominiums, offices, shops and a parking garage under construction next to the San Marcos.

The firm has proved it can transform the area, Chandler Chamber of Commerce President Becky Jackson said. Eight years ago, "windows were boarded up in downtown Chandler."

Since then, Desert Viking has renovated the 1916 downtown Sahwaro Hotel, now Cupid's restaurant; turned the rundown 1914 Hotel Chandler into 98 South Wine Bar & Kitchen, and transformed the 1912 Monroe Building into El Zocalo Mexican Grille. Desert Viking also renovated the old post office, now La Stalla Cucina Rustica, and remodeled for lease the former Rowena Theatre, built in 1920.

HooverDam Feb 11, 2007 5:13 PM

Reall this thread should be everything but Tempe and Scottsdale, since we have a Scottsdale thread as well.

But either way, thats some interesting stuff, I didn't know about the MCC downtown thing (I pay very little to no attention to the City of Mesa). I wonder if there has ever been any talk of expanding MCC into a more full fledged college, lord knows the Valley is dying for more higher educational options.

The downtown Chandler stuff is very cool too, I think both the downtowns of Chandler and Gilbert have some neat things going for them and could become very nice areas. Downtown Gilbert has a nice, quaint little strip right now, and they should work to cultivate that as much as possible. Downtown Chandler to me seems to lack an image, which may be part of its problem. Downtown Phoenix is obviously the major regional hub, downtown Tempe is the college town, downtown Scottsdale is the high end area, downtown Gilbert has a quaint, historic small town charm- not sure about Chandler though.

vertex Feb 11, 2007 6:10 PM

HD, the MCC 4-year program is starting this fall, but only for a handful of programs, such as nursing.

Until recently, Gilbert was pretty much where Mesa was up to about 5 years ago, strictly a bedroom community, with no real rush to do anything downtown.

I believe Chandler, with its' biotech and semiconductor industries, see themselves as the Santa Clara or Mountain View of the valley. I just don't think city leaders are really sure how to position their downtown to reflect this.

And in spite of what the phone company might think, no one in the east valley really considers Scottsdale to be a member. Historically, the east valley has always comprised of communities south/east of the river. Hence, no reason to mention it in the title.

vertex Feb 12, 2007 3:38 AM

Here are some images from the Mesa Arts Center, taken this afternoon while on my way home. Took these with my phone's camera, so they aren't the best, but they give you some idea about this place.

This place is a wonderful jewel! I've only driven by before, so it's the first time I've gotten out of my car to really take a look. If you are familiar with the Valley's more iconic buildings, such as Bruder's Main Library or Predock's Nelson Fine Arts Center at ASU, then you might recognize a few elements here.

Even so, there is a lot to explore. There are a lot of details to be discovered, and the complex is divided into several areas.

The building surfaces and the paving materials are the first thing I noticed. There's a lot of interesting materials being used, creating a variety of surface treatments and textures. Concrete (both plain and stained), glass, aluminum, stucco and ceramic tile are all used here. Many of the exterior walls are brightly painted with blue, purple, green and orange.

The primary water feature is a man-made stream that runs through the length of the complex. Interesting color and texture used here as well.

The entrance from the parking lot on the southern end of the site echo's the same texture and pattern found in the water feature.

I also noticed the variety of screens and awnings used to create shade. Some seem pretty familiar (think of the Phoenix Library), while others are interesting twists on older ideas.

These 3 images show large screen walls, made of perforated metal squares, placed in a grid and spaced apart. They're really interesting up close. Also note the horizontal tensil fabric structures used for other windows.

As you might expect, there is plenty of outdoor sculptures and other art as well.

Overall, a great experience. If you ever come out here for a show or an exhibit, make it a point to arrive early. You won't be disappointed.

Sekkle Feb 12, 2007 2:26 PM

^ Thanks for the pics, vertex. I have driven by but never walked around the arts center. It looks very nice.

vertex Feb 15, 2007 10:46 PM

A small project, but a nice example of some of the restoration and reuse projects occuring. It's called the Irving building, and it used to house the Mesa Arts Center (see above); it's on Center St., in DT Mesa.

Restored Historic Irving goes Artsy

Josh Kelley
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 14, 2007 05:31 PM

The Creative and Performing Arts Department for Mesa Public Schools soon will move downtown into Historic Irving, the former home of the Mesa Arts Center and the oldest standing school building in the district.

The building was constructed in 1934 and is undergoing a $3.4 million renovation intended to make the design and landscaping as close to that of the original structure as possible. The renovation at 155 N. Center Street is scheduled for completion in mid-May, and the arts department plans to move in over the summer.

"We're excited. It's a beautiful building. It's got soul," said Rod Castillo, director of Creative and Performing Arts. "We anticipate we'll have a great deal more access and use because teachers will be able to find us."

The arts department offers teachers resources, including art kits, materials for projects, cultural artifacts, traveling exhibits and prints used by volunteers to teach elementary children about art masterpieces. But to get to the building where those supplies are stored, teachers must trek through a parking lot of buses at the district's large complex at Stapley and University drives. Now those supplies will be moved into the 26,000-square-foot Historic Irving.

"It also puts us downtown in the arts district, if you will," Castillo said. "It's just a natural good place for us to be."

The building will provide storage space for donated musical instruments and meeting space for in-service training.

There is a small auditorium that has been refurbished and seats 120 to 140. It likely will be used for performances by the district's harp ensemble and possibly for oratory events such as poetry readings.

"We feel that's a great compliment to the downtown area as far as completing the arts center and art galleries and everything that's happening downtown in Mesa," said Jill Benza, assistant superintendent for business and support services.

Years ago, the district stopped using Historic Irving as a school and let the city take over the building with the understanding that it would be returned to the district if the city stopped using it, Benza said. When the new Mesa Arts Center opened, the building was vacated, allowing the district to retake it.

"We put a lot of effort into putting it back the way it was when it was new," said Dennis Gearhart, the district's construction director. "It's part of the historic society."

The original wood flooring was left in place and sanded and re-finished. Electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems were upgraded, including the air conditioning. Window panes were replaced but the original frames were kept as was the building's concrete trim. Old photos were used to restore original color and landscaping.

Gearhart said the cost of restoring the building's original features was minimal.

"We just did the research," he said.

pulled from

DevdogAZ Feb 15, 2007 11:54 PM

:previous: My dad told me about going to school in the old Irving School and the Cubs practiced at Rendezvous Field, which was just north of there (where the Mesa Rendezvous Center is now). He tells me that they used to sneak out the school window, go get autographs from the players, and then sneak back in.

The Mesa Arts Center is really nice. For those of you who haven't been there for a show, you really should make a point to go there. The design is really cool, because there are four theaters, but they all share a common lobby area. I don't like the material used for the inside of the big theater (Ikeda), but overall, I think it's a great facility.

As for other development, Mesa Riverview is going up like crazy. The Bass Pro Shops looks to be nearly complete on the exterior, and I think it's scheduled to open within the next couple of months. The movie theaters have been open since last May (and are very nice). I think once Bass Pro opens, much of the rest of the development on the north end of the site will open as well. It should be a nice place to go. I'll get some pics soon and post them. In the meantime, the website is:

I found something online the other day about a new shopping center in Gilbert called Main Street Commons (or Gilbert Commons). Many of you probably already know about it, but it was news to me. It's being done by the same developer as Kierland Commons, and is supposed to be a similar development. It's located at Val Vista and Pecos, just off the Santan 202. The website is:

JimInCal Mar 1, 2007 2:45 PM

Proposed $100M mixed-use Chandler project one example of latest trend of urban living Misty Williams, Tribune

"The Valley’s latest development craze — projects that blend retail, office and residential space — is sweeping into Chandler with a proposed $100 million project in the works.

Sitting on 12 acres next door to Chandler Fashion Center, The Metropolitan would combine 60,000 square feet of retail space, 342 condominiums and 38,000 square feet of offices.

The project would include 12 buildings, ranging in height from one story to six stories, city planner Kevin Mayo said. The condos — ranging in size from 900 square feet to 1,900 square feet — would sit above boutique-type shops, giving the development a more urban feel, Mayo said. The site will also include an 8,000-squarefoot, stand-alone restaurant with valet parking.

“It’s representative of the evolution Chandler’s going through,” transforming from rural-suburban to full-fledged urban, he said. “It’s kind of the way of the future.”

The Metropolitan is one of three major mixed-use projects currently being developed in Chandler."

Here is the link to the entire story. What I like to call suburban urban is happening all over metro Phoenix. Westgate and Zanjero in Glendale, City North and Kierland in Northeast Phoenix, Surprise, Mesa and now Chandler in a pretty big way. Interesting trend.

THannay Mar 5, 2007 11:24 PM

Mesa is winner for Waveyard project
Gary Nelson
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 5, 2007 02:26 PM

The company planning to build a massive water park and resort is expected to announce Tuesday they have chosen a site in Mesa.

City Councilman Tom Rawles said Monday he's been told an announcement is near. When asked if that means Mesa will be the site he said, "I think that's the only reason anybody would have let me know."

Mesa has been vying for months with the northwest Valley city of Surprise for what's billed as a world-class amusement park and resort. The land now occupied by the Riverview Golf Course has been mentioned as the most likely site.

Finally the City of Mesa did something right. This is a great project for them.

HooverDam Mar 5, 2007 11:55 PM

Interesting, I would've thought this wouldve ended up in the West Valley. I really dislike Mesa, but this location is OK, its barely in Mesa.

If it does end up going where the Riverview Golf Course is (SE corner of the 101 & 202 interchange) at least its not deep into east Mesa or anything, its fairly centrally located and good freeway access. It would be amazing if Tempe Town Lake extended that far east, and could be incorporated into this project, but thats just fanciful dreaming I suppose.

Another plus is that it will be near the new "Tempe Marketplace" (Desert Ridge V2.0), so it'll be a nice little corridor for families.

combusean Mar 6, 2007 2:02 AM

The updated version ...

Mesa wins Waveyard water park project

Gary Nelson
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 5, 2007 06:03 PM


Mesa is the winner of a battle with Surprise over a $250 million resort and water park.

Waveyard developers Jerry Hug and Richard Mladick told The Arizona Republic Monday they chose Mesa because of its freeway and airport access, family-friendly reputation and public support since Mesa first entered the picture late last year.

"What we're talking about today is not why not Surprise, but why Mesa," Mladick said.

The deal depends, though, on the outcome of a November referendum that the developers said they requested to make sure citizens are on board with the deal.

It also depends on completion of a development agreement that likely will include incentives from the city and details on how to convert a municipal golf course and softball fields into what's touted as a world-class private amusement park.

The land is currently occupied by the Riverview Golf Course, just west of Dobson Road and south of Loop 202.

Scottsdale-based Waveyard Development LLC announced last summer it wanted to build a $250 million hotel and water park featuring surfing, whitewater rafting, snorkeling and numerous other sports venues.

Mladick said Monday that additional development around the site could push total overall spending to $500 million at buildout.

Surprise appeared to have the inside track even as Mesa entered the picture late last year. Mladick and Hug told a Mesa community meeting in October they were within weeks of announcing a formal agreement for a West Valley site.

But those talks appeared to bog down early this year, even as Mesa continued working on a development agreement.

Scot Rigby, a Mesa economic development official, has been negotiating that agreement and said Monday it's not fully hammered out yet.

The Mesa site lies west of the Riverview shopping center, which features theaters, several big-box stores and a soon-to-open Bass Pro shop.

Late last week, developer Marty DeRito announced an upscale 150-room Hyatt Place hotel also will be built there.

West Mesa has struggled economically in recent years. Motorola Inc. closed a large plant at Dobson and Broadway roads about five years ago, and AT&T has chopped hundreds of jobs at its once-huge facility at University Drive and Alma School Road.

Also, Banner Mesa Medical Center near Brown Road and Country Club Drive will close this year because, hospital officials have said, it would be too expensive to renovate the aging facility.

In the late 1990s, the Riverview site east of Dobson Road was pitched as a location for an Arizona Cardinals football stadium, but Mesa voters resoundingly rejected that idea.

Surprise Economic Development director John Hagen said he figured that Mesa might win the park because developers could not get the site they desired along the Loop 303, south of Prasada, Westcor's future regional shopping center for the price that they wanted.

Surprise Vice Mayor Doc Sullivan said the announcment blindsided several Surprise council members, who thought they were still in a good position.

"I was under the impression we had a better chance than not," Sullivan said "We had more than enough land available, it was right on the freeway and we were in the position to help them financially."

"If I was an employee of Mesa that was laid off and Mesa gives a financial incentive for something like this, I'd be pissed off," Sullivan said.

Councilman Joe Johnson said when Mesa went public it was clearly a threat to get Surprise to lower the price of their land, but said that the city would not give the land away for free.

Sullivan said the negotiation process was grueling, pitting the cities against each other.

"I'm a businessman. I see why they wanted to play our cities against each other, " he said.

What does Surprise want to do with that land now? Sullivan says possibly pursue another entertainment venue. But Hagen said a commercial or residential project is most likely to go up at that spot.

FireMedic Mar 6, 2007 3:06 AM

anyone got pictures of Gilbert, the new santan mall or the new santan freeway, new Gilbert mercy Hospital or Chandler that they could post or

DevdogAZ Mar 6, 2007 9:33 PM

Here are some pics I took today of Mesa Riverview, which is partially open and has several stores slated to open within the next couple of months. This is directly across Dobson Road from the site of The Waveyard project and most of it will be open before Tempe Marketplace. This corridor will definitely be very different within the next few years, as long empty land will be the new retail centers of the East Valley.

The "Main Street" at Mesa Riverview:

This picture shows the "Main Street" with the Bass Pro Shops building at the end.

Bass Pro Shops, scheduled to open in April or May 2007:

The Cinemark movie theaters, which have been open since May 2006, at the other end of the "Main Street" from Bass Pro:

Some of the construction on the south side of the development, which is more like a typical suburban power center and less like the nice, walkable development on the north side. This section will include Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and several other large retailers.

Directly across Dobson Road to the west of Mesa Riverview will be a small auto mall which already has announced dealerships but ground does not appear to have been broken. This auto mall will be directly between Mesa Riverview and The Waveyard.

DevdogAZ Mar 6, 2007 9:38 PM

This article appeared in the Republic within the last week, announcing a Hyatt Place hotel to be built at Mesa Riverview, east of the Cinemark movie theaters.

Hyatt hotel to go up at Riverview
Jim Walsh
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 2, 2007 07:14 PM

A Hyatt Place hotel will be built at Mesa Riverview east of the Cinemark movie theater, near a planned office complex.

Marty De Rito, president of De Rito Partners Development, announced Thursday at a community meeting that the hotel will be added to the mixed-use development.

De Rito previously had announced a hotel would be built at the site, but had not identified the chain. De Rito could not be reached for comment Friday, but Kevin Christopher, a city spokesman, and Vice Mayor Claudia Walters both said they heard the announcement. Construction could begin at year's end.

"We want to fit in with what they're doing there. It's very creative," said Lewis Wolff, owner of the Oakland Athletics baseball team and principal of Wolff Urban Development, which will own, operate and build the hotel.

Wolff said he is considering a "baseball theme," with batting cages that would be available for guests to use and a fitness room with equipment similar to that used by players.

"A little bit of a Major League Baseball touch, if I can pull it off," he said. "It's a hotel we'd like to operate for business and pleasure travelers. I want it to be fun."

Robert Brinton, executive director of the Mesa Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the hotel will be "very upscale" and have 150 rooms. "It's a great product and we're happy to have it here."

The Hyatt Place chain caters to business travelers and features a state-of-the art media work center in each guest room, with a 42-inch plasma television and Wi Fi, according to the company's Web site.

Wolff's profile on the A's Web site said he owns the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in St. Louis and Fairmont hotels in San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Monica, Calif., and New Orleans.

The real estate investment firm develops office, hotel, retail, townhouses and commercial parking properties, according to its Web site.

The Hyatt Place would be six miles from Sky Harbor International Airport, within walking distance to the Bass Pro Shops under construction at Mesa Riverview and fill a void in the Mesa hotel market, Brinton said. It also would be close to Hohokam Stadium and help Mesa maximize revenues from the Cactus League by adding more rooms for Chicago Cubs fans.

"We haven't had enough hotels on the north side of Mesa," he said. A Marriott Courtyard, which also serves business travelers, is planned for Falcon Field.

"We know a Bass Pro will generate 3,000 annual hotel rooms a year," Brinton said. "This fits in nicely with the office and the retail."

A Bass Pro is the anchor tenant at Riverview.

The city needs more hotel rooms to capitalize fully on the Cactus League, Brinton said.

"We still know we have more people stay outside of Mesa and not inside of Mesa because we don't have enough rooms," he said.

JAHOPL Mar 7, 2007 3:03 PM

Fiesta Towers
Has anyone heard any more about the Fiesta Towers project across from Fiesta Mall in Mesa?

DevdogAZ Mar 7, 2007 3:23 PM

^^^ Here's their website:

Last I heard they were still intending to build, it's just that they announced right when the market topped and have probably been waiting for things to pick back up.

JAHOPL Mar 7, 2007 3:42 PM

Thanks, DevdogAZ, and thanks for the photos of Riverview. I drove past the area on Sunday and it's looking pretty good. If Fiesta Towers ever starts up, a couple miles north of our house, I wouldn't mind trying my hand at posting update photos.

FireMedic Mar 7, 2007 7:21 PM

Great pictures !:)

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