Glendale Sports and Entertainment District poised to expand west of Loop 101

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Glendale is paving the way for expansion of one of its busiest retail and entertainment districts.

Glendale’s Sports and Entertainment District, which includes Westgate Entertainment District, Tanger Outlets, the Cardinals’ stadium, the Coyotes’ arena, Camelback Ranch and Topgolf. The city is preparing for growth to the west of Loop 101 that will provide more places for Glendale and Valley residents to shop, eat, work and play.

“We want to take more of a proactive approach in partnering with different property owners as we may see there may be opportunities for us to look at sound, long-term economic development opportunities,” said Glendale’s special projects executive officer Tabitha Perry.

For now, Topgolf and American Furniture Warehouse stand alone on the west side of Loop 101 near Glendale Avenue. But 353 acres of mostly farmland to the north and northwest of Topgolf is ripe for development. City staff has dubbed the area “Vision 4.”

The area is bordered by Glendale Avenue to the north, Bethany Home Road to the south, 99th Avenue to the east and the New River channel to the west.

This month, the Planning Commission OK’ed city staff to begin a zoning change that will customize the area’s zoning to the needs of the area, help property owners attract development and complement the existing Sports and Entertainment District. The specifics of the proposed new zoning have yet to be determined. Staff will present its proposal to the Planning Commission in a future meeting.

The land’s current zoning is largely split between a planned area development and agricultural, with a small segment zoned for a business park. Staff’s proposal is to change the entire 353 acres, of almost entirely privately-owned land, to a new planned area development, custom to the area’s current needs.

The existing PAD, covering almost half of the Vision 4 property, was created in 2007, when the Sports and Entertainment District was in its infancy: Westgate and the Cardinals’ stadium had each opened in the last year, and Tanger Outlets, Camelback Ranch and Topgolf did not exist.

“There’s a lot of growth that’s taken place in the city,” Ms. Perry said. “There continues to be a lot of growth taking place, and the vision that was once foresaw with previous zoning or existing entitlements has changed. What we’re seeing from the market, demands are shifting.”

According to staff’s report, the goal of the new PAD will be to promote desirable new capital investment, promote job creation, market “shovel-ready” property, provide additional opportunities for live-work balance and facilitate the development process to achieve development on the property in a timely manner.

The Planning Commission had little discussion before giving staff the go-ahead to create a rezoning application, but Commissioner Martin Nowakowski, who represents the Yucca District which contains the property, spoke in support of the effort.

“I think it’s great potential. So, I’m looking forward to everything you guys come up with. So, build, baby, build,” he said.

Aside from the proposed planning change, the biggest part of Glendale’s hand in supporting development in the area has been to fund the extension of Ballpark Boulevard to better connect the Vision 4 area to Camelback Ranch. Camelback Ranch is removed from the rest of the Sports and Entertainment District, about three and a half miles to the southwest.

The red line shows the existing Ballpark Boulevard and the orange line shows the extension, planned for completion by February 2020, which will join it to Bethany Home Road and Maryland Avenue, better connecting it to the rest of the Glendale Sports and Entertainment District. [Submitted photo]
The red line shows the existing Ballpark Boulevard and the orange line shows the extension, planned for completion by February 2020, which will join …

The project will extend the road, which is the only road into the spring training facility, to connect with both Bethany Home Road and Maryland Avenue. The new road is planned to be open by February, in time for the start of spring training.

“The expectation and the goal for everyone is that that creates a development corridor that’s really going to explode over the next few years,” said Scott Carter, director of marketing and corporate partnerships for Camelback Ranch.

Glendale’s budget for the road extension is $10.7 million. Mattamy Homes, which is building a housing development north of Camelback Ranch in Phoenix, will contribute $850,000 and each of the teams Camelback Ranch hosts, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox, will kick in $150,000.

The city also plans to expand both Maryland Avenue and Bethany Home Road from where they currently dead-end at 99th Avenue to connect with Ballpark Boulevard. The extension will send thousands of cars through the Vision 4 property on their way to and from spring training games. It would also cut the driving distance from Camelback Ranch to the rest of the Sports and Entertainment District from three and a half miles to under two miles.

Mark Carlisle can be reached at mcarlisle@newszap.com or found on Twitter @mwcarlisle.

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