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CHANDLER, AZ-A Scottsdale firm is planning to build a 550,000-sf retail project on 60 acres just south of Chandler’s downtown in a move that could lure a Wal-Mart Supercenter away from a competing developer.

Diversified Partners is planning to build Santan Gateway–two large commercial centers that will be split by the future Santan Freeway–on acreage east of Arizona Avenue between Pecos and Willis roads and east of a controversial site where a Wal-Mart is proposed to be located. Joseph Goforth, with Diversified Partners, tells GlobeSt.com that although the firm is not committed to locating a Wal-Mart on the site, the location would be ideal for the retail giant.

Wal-Mart has faced opposition in the past from Chandler residents who objected to locating a large retail store close to homes. The controversy prompted the city to enact a “big box” ordinance that requires retail businesses larger than 150,000 sf to be at least 1,500 feet from single-family residences.

Under the multi-million dollar Santan Gateway plan, Diversified will construct a large membership warehouse store similar to a Sam’s Club, along with several smaller retail shops on the south side of the property. Plans call for the north side to house a 203,000-sf retail outlet.

Wisconsin-based Continental Properties had proposed locating a Wal-Mart Supercenter just east of the Santan Gateway site, but that plan failed to win the recommendation of the city’s planning and zoning commission earlier this month. Chandler City Council will make a final decision on that proposal next month.

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