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SCOTTSDALE, AZ-The dusty desert corridor adjacent to Loop 101 is prime real estate in this affluent community but until now, large-scale development of the property seemed unlikely.

That may all change soon, however, as the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community moves forward with plans to bring high-end commercial and industrial business to 5,500 dusty desert acres. “We have some plans being finalized for a mix of office, retail and telecommunications” businesses, Clare Miller, manager of public affairs and landowner relations for Salt River Devco, the community’s development company, tells GlobeSt.com. The first undertaking, set to break ground by the end of this year, will be a commercial and office development on Pima Road.

Long-range plans call for the creation of three cluster “gateways” near the Via de Ventura and Loop 101 interchange which will be designed to attract corporate offices and biomedical firms. Another portion of the project between McDonald and McDowell roads will be designed for international trade and high-tech firms, including companies involved in electronics and telecommunications. A southern “gateway” will be turned into upscale retail and entertainment destinations that will complement the community’s existing Casino Arizona operation. Miller said tribal leaders will study the 50-year master development plan before granting final approval.

Rick Kidder, executive vice president of public policy for the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, tells GlobeSt.com that although the city will have no input into the planning process, Scottsdale is confident that any development will be compatible with city standards. “Everything we’ve heard smacks of good compatibility with Scottsdale,” he said. “I think they want to do it right.”

Local businesses, however, remain apprehensive about the economic impact that the development along the corridor will have on existing firms, Kidder said. “If there’s any unease, it’s about competition on our borders,” he explained. “But it will probably be a few years before we see anything of competitive substance on the Salt River Pima land and by then, some of our markets will have a chance to rebound.

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