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GLENDALE, AZ-Vestar Development, based in Scottsdale, is eyeing a fall ground-breaking for a 524,000-sf retail center in the West Valley. The Agua Fria Towne Center, a community retail venue, will be constructed on 53 acres at the northeast corner of the Loop 101 and Camelback Road. The developer is under contract for the land and is expected to close the deal in September. A 23-acre adjacent parcel is also under contract. Camelglen LP, a local land investment group, is the seller.

“We are very bullish on the west side,” Mark Villalpando, a project manager with Vestar tells GlobeSt.com. “We think the demographics are great for retail. We are actively looking for additional projects.”

Loop 101′s recent completion in the West Valley has made the area viable for residential and commercial development for the first time, Villalpando says. The gush of new housing, and consequently new residents, that has followed the freeway opening has increased the demand for quality retail. “It is a newly opened area with a substantial amount of new housing coming and is an area that had been previously underserved on a retail basis,” Villalpando says. “The completion of highway infrastructure really makes that area function very well. It just provides access from the west side to all parts of the Valley.”

When complete, Loop 101 will ring the entire Valley. In the West Valley, it connects to Interstate 17, which runs north to south, near the northern edge of Glendale and travels south. It eventually will connect with Interstate 10, an east to west artery, near 99th Avenue.

Agua Fria Towne Center’s first phase will tally 264,000 sf of retail space, consisting of a 204,000-sf Super Wal-Mart, shop space and pads, Villalpando says. Crews should wrap up work in fall 2002. Wal-Mart will own its building and the land beneath it.

Shop space will lease for about $24 per sf, with as little as 1,200 sf available. Pad prices will vary greatly for the 3,500-sf to 7,000-sf sites. Location is a factor in the pricing.

Vestar continues to look for tenants for the second phase, which could begin immediately after the first leg delivers. A home improvement store could anchor that second phase, Villalpando says, adding the company is looking for a tenant to complement Super Wal-Mart.

Glendale recently passed an ordinance restricting locations for big-box retailers, but the land near Loop 101 doesn’t have any such restrictions. “This fits in with what they are looking for,” Villalpando says.

In early August, Vestar will take its plans before Glendale’s design and review board, but no hold-ups are anticipated. Vestar is still looking for a general contractor on the project, which was designed by Scottsdale-based KDRA.

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