Multi-family in Peoria:  Intersection of 83rd and Olive a hot spot

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The intersection of 83rd and Olive avenues hasn’t changed much over the years, but construction activity is starting to pick up and the landscape is about to shift with as many as 760 multi-family units planned for the area.

Residents are likely familiar with the Valero gas station on the northwest corner and the Circle K on the southeast corner, which is adjacent to the newly constructed Bungalows on Olive, a153-unit gated multi-family development on 12.6 acres.

More development is about to overtake the intersection with new residential that could fuel more commercial in south Peoria.

Three new multi-family communities are on track for the area:

  • Parc at Roundtree Ranch on the northeast corner from Evergreen Development is under construction. It is a 275-unit 2- and 3-story multi-family project on 10.8 net acres.
  • Christopher Todd Communities on the northwest corner is a 189-unit single story, multi-family residential gated community on nearly 18 acres. City Council approved a plan to amend the Old Town Specific Area Plan land use designation and rezone the property last year.
  • Villages at Pioneer Park on the southwest corner from Empire Residential is a 332-unit gated horizontal multi-family development on nearly 26 acres. City Council approved zoning entitlements last year, and the site plan is currently under review by city staff. Once the site plan is approved, the developer may file for construction permits.

Growth shift

For years, the city has experienced a boom in single-family housing. It has slowed a bit but there is still a lot of activity — builders in northern Peoria averaged 93 net sales a month in 2019, and single-family housing permits increased 16% from 2018 to 2019.

But now multi-family is having its day.

Deputy City Manager Katie Gregory said the city is seeing a shift from single-family residential to multi-family residential. Much of the activity is taking place south of Bell Road, and one hot spot is the area of 83rd and Olive avenues.

Ms. Gregory said the move toward multi-family is a Valley-wide trend. There has been more of a desire for the lock-and-leave concept, she said.

“We had a long lull in multi-family. Right before the downturn we had a big spike then everything dropped off, but multi-family was zero, zero, zero for many years. Now we are starting to see an uptrend again,” she said.

Multi-family permits accelerated in Peoria about three years ago.

Fifteen permits were approved in 2014, three were approved in 2015, and zero were approved in 2016. But they took a big jump in 2017, with 156 multi-family building permits approved.

City Planner Chris Jacques said the advent and expansion of online retailing has created a sea change in the demand for commercial acreage. With the change in buyer habits, this often leads to a cycle of businesses struggling to compete for a receding demand, cannibalizing one another, resulting in an expansion of empty storefronts, he said.

This has helped fuel buyer interest in multi-family, with a horizontal multi-family product type that consists of 1-story, single or duplex units that provide a single-family rental experience without the typical multi-story, multi-family nuisance issues, he said.

“This paradigm intersected with a growing demographic paradigm where increasingly households — particularly millennials — are deferring marriage, kids and homeownership; empty nesters are retiring and downsizing; and others are looking for low-maintenance, amenity-rich environments,” Mr. Jacques said. “Finally, the lower-density and one-story quasi-single-family feel of these housing types provides a good transition to adjacent single-family residential communities and provides potential demand to support Pioneer Park, local commercial areas and the rejuvenation of Old Town – a mere 0.5 – 1  mile to the north.”

Residential shift at intersection

Commercial development has been a hard sale for the intersection of 83rd and Olive avenues over the years.

For example, a 107,000-square-foot Fry’s Marketplace and gas station on the southwest corner came close to groundbreaking in 2017, but the grocer backed out.

Additionally, some projects at the intersection were down-zoned from commercial due to lack of demand for such a product from developers.

Mr. Jacques said the demand for commercial development has purportedly remained low for this intersection given existing commercial one mile to the west at 91st and Olive avenues and Grand Avenue.

Council member Vicki Hunt, who represents the area, said with Old Town Peoria moving toward possible development as an entertainment/arts district, the area must have the density to support the foot traffic that will be needed. She said the new multi-family developments at 83rd and Olive will support this.

Also, with the soon-to-open MIHS medical facility at Cotton Crossing and Grand Avenue, more housing will be needed for future employees, she said.

“All in all I’m excited about the opportunity to welcome more families to the Acacia District to enjoy the amenities we have to offer and to be part of the exciting things that are developing in Old Town,” Ms. Hunt said.

Philip Haldiman can be reached at 623-876-3697, phaldiman@newszap.com, or on Twitter @philiphaldiman.

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