PHOENIX–Flush with nickels and quarters from its expanded casino, the Gila River Indian Community is developing a 2,000-acre mixed-use project, Wild Horse Pass, that will include a 500-room resort, two-18-hole golf courses and a 500-acre business park. The entire investment is estimated to be in excess of $100 million.

Infrastructure construction is nearly completed for the Wild Horse Pass Business Park, which is located on the southern edge of Chandler and Phoenix, just west of Interstate 10 between Queen Creek and Pecos Roads. Parcels from 3.5 acres to 80 acres are being offered for long-term lease to light manufacturing, back office and office users. At least one developer should be signed by year–end and perhaps two users, says John Werstler, a broker with CB Richard Ellis, the listing agent for the business park.

“They have not been involved in a lot of development deals,” he says. “The casino has afforded them the funds to develop other revenue sources. They will do whatever it takes to make sure that the business park is a success.”

Infrastructure costs for the business park, which includes roads and a fiber-optic loop, are more than $10 million. Werstler expects to attract users that otherwise would have gone to Chandler or Phoenix by offering significant savings because of the absence of property taxes and accelerated depreciation (22 years as opposed to 39 years). A 75,000-sf office in the business park would save $2.5 million over a five-year period, Werstler says.

Construction on the 500-room, four-star resort is scheduled to begin early next year. The Wild Wind Golf Course will open in November, and construction on another, called Devil’s Claw, will also begin early next year. The Gila River Indian Community is self-financing the entire project.

The hotel, which will be built near the Wild Horse Pass Casino, will be open by late 2002. A major operator will be announced within a month, Werstler says.

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