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CHANDLER, AZ-The Schirmer Ball Co. is eyeing final approval of construction documents within three months, setting off immediate work on a $40-million, mixed-use project in Chandler.

Schirmer recently received a city zoning approval on Biagio, The Village at Wildtree, a mixed-use project that will have office, retail, medical and residential components. The 22-acre site is situated at the northeast corner of Rural Road and Chandler Boulevard. “This is the first of its kind here,” Scott Schirmer, principal, tells GlobeSt.com. “The retail will serve as a gathering place for all the other uses. We developed the center for people to come and stay, to have a cup of coffee, to enjoy a restaurant, not to just come and shop and leave. We are trying to create a community within a community.”

Biagio will include 20,500 sf of inline retail shops, a 17,000-sf Osco Drug store, two retail pads, 15,000 sf of medical office space, 15,000 sf of general office space and 200 apartments. An open patio area between two of the restaurant spaces is designed as a gathering place. The retail space should be ready for occupancy by November 2002.

Scant marketing has been done on the project, but interest is high, Schirmer says. Tempe Credit Union has reserved one of the retail pads and a number of other would-be tenants are expressing serious interest, he says.

Twenty apartments will be built over the retail portion of the project, further creating a village-like atmosphere, Schirmer says. The multifamily units, which will be built north and east of the retail and office components, will consist of one- to three-story buildings. Dirt will start flying on the residential component as soon as the commercial elements deliver.

“We think it’s something that everyone has wanted…a change in lifestyle,” Schirmer says. “It tries to create a lifestyle that is more people friendly.” Tempe-based Barduson & Associates is the designer of the Southwestern Tuscan-style development and Wilmeng Construction, also of Tempe, the general contractor.

Residents of the nearby subdivisions, including Wildtree, can access the development without traveling main roads. Schirmer developed Wildtree four years ago.

Schirmer says mixed-use projects of this type are sometime difficult to realize because banks and other financers are reluctant to lend to something other than a single use. Cities often are worried about overlapping zoning and CCRs, he says. In Biagio’s case, he says the city’s staff and council understood the project and were supportive.

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