Planting development seeds in far north Peoria: Council to consider new project at Carefree Highway

Posted 8/10/20

There’s not much in the far north reaches of the city right now, but developers are beginning to plant seeds for the future of Peoria along Carefree Highway.

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Planting development seeds in far north Peoria: Council to consider new project at Carefree Highway


There’s not much in the far north reaches of the city right now, but developers are beginning to plant seeds for the future of Peoria along Carefree Highway.

The Peoria Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of a 37-acre mixed use project consisting of commercial, retail, multi-family residential and light industrial uses.

The enterprise, which is planned as a regional development in one of the city’s future core areas, is known as the Carioca Company project, located at the northeast corner of Lake Pleasant Parkway and the Old Carefree Highway.

The new project could stand as a jumping off point for a largely undeveloped part of the city.

The property is owned by RG3 Solar LLC, who is represented by law firm Tiffany & Bosco.

The Carioca Company started business in June of 1972.  Today the company and other related companies have sales approximating $200 million annually and about 1,500 employees with operations in Arizona, California, Nevada and North Carolina.

The Carioca Company and subsidiaries develop and operate convenience stores and retail gasoline outlets, real property acquisitions, sales and leasing.  All the company’s 40 convenience store and retail gasoline establishments are in Arizona, including one in Peoria under the Shell brand.

Carioca Company CFO Eric Young is a resident of Peoria.

It starts with a gas station

Officials say it will be years before it is complete, but construction of the first phase consisting of a gas station and convenience store to service Carefree Highway travelers and patrons of Lake Pleasant is planned for late 2020. It will be followed by two additional phases: a second phase with commercial, office, light industrial, and multi-family and a third phase with commercial, office, multi-family planned.

The second and third phases will come online as development and infrastructure in the area progresses.

City Council will have the final approval on the case, Aug. 18, which will rezone the land from Planned Unit Development to Carioca Company Planned Area Development to accommodate for the new uses.

Planner Rick Williams said the project is in the very early stages with residential development and design standards not yet identified.

The city is permitting septic and a water well to open phase one of this development. Mr. Williams said that is the only portion of this development being approved at this point in time. Any future development on this site would trigger connections to city services, he said.

“Based on current timing and market development analysis,we believe, with other factors included, that we are years down the road from seeing the residential portion. Therefore the (residential) product has not been identified yet,” Mr. Williams said. “What would fit there five to 10 years from now versus what will fit there today is just too tough to identify today. Once that project has been identified we will come back in and include development standards that are appropriate for that identified product.”


The Carioca Company project is surrounded by Arizona State Trust Land that is largely vacant and undeveloped. However, there are two existing leases managed by ASLD close to the site — Wild Horse West restaurant located at the southeast corner of Old Carefree Highway and Lake Pleasant Parkway, and Turf Soaring School, which is about 1,500-feet west of that intersection.

Across Lake Pleasant Parkway to the west are several older uses on state lands, including an old airstrip, and a RV park and boat storage.

There has been neither support nor opposition to this project.

This particular property required a notification radius of 600 feet and all registered HOA’s within 1 mile.

The only property owner within this radius is BLM, which did not respond to the notification, according to city officials.

The Peoria City Council approved the current PUD zoning of the property in January 1984.

Mr. Williams said the PUD as currently entitled does not allow for mixed-use flexibility in the development of the site. The new request seeks to rezone the site from PUD to a PAD to allow, intermingle and expand commercial, office and multi-family residential uses consistent with the new Peoria General Plan 2040, which will be on the ballot to be considered by voters in November.

A vision for north Peoria

The General Plan 2040 identifies the property as a gateway to the city, and the PAD proposal intends to fulfill the city’s vision for the area, and will serve a wide-range of users, documents say.

City planners envision this area of the city as a power center with a regional trade area.

The Carioca Company project will be one component of the overall regional development of the Lake  Pleasant Parkway and Carefree Highway area.

Scot Andrews, president/CEO of the Peoria Chamber of Commerce, said while Peoria businesses have not escaped the downturn, the Peoria’s economic development team continues to attract excellent companies to the city.

He said Lake Pleasant Parkway to the Carefree Highway corridor, the advent of the Loop 303, the new Paloma Park development opening in October, and the attractive topography of Lake Pleasant will continue to attract northern growth and expansion.

The recent planning and zoning recommendation of the Carioca Company project in north Peoria is a perfect example, he said.

“Historically, amenities at this high traffic crossroad, aside from Lake Pleasant, have been absent. Our Peoria growth potential and momentum is to this north junction, and thus residential growth is inevitable in the area,” Mr. Andrews said. “Exiting the area east from the I-17, and west to Wickenburg makes this project a catalyst for continuing expansion and development in this area for a great quality of life. We’ll see accelerated development in the years to come. This will be one of the most desirable areas to live in Peoria. And we can’t wait.”

Future phases are likely to be several years out into the future as Phase 2 will require connection to city infrastructure, which is approximately 2 miles to the south at Loop 303 and Lake Pleasant Parkway.

City officials said the initial phase will benefit from the heavy recreational traffic in the area. As utilities and the city grows northward, the regional center will be able to take advantage of future utilities in the area as well as gauge the market for additional services to this area of Peoria.

Planning and Community Development Director Chris Jacques said the gas station and convenience store is likely to be highly desired for Lake Pleasant patrons, and the Loop 303 and Carefree Highway will be an important node well into the future.

“I’m not sure the gas station by itself begins the creation of a regional center but it does provide investment in an area near the lake that will be desired by patrons,” he said. “The PAD for the 37-acres provided additional benefit to the city in that it enabled the removal of old, legacy zoning in favor of development standards and uses that are more in sync with the general plan and vision for the future.”

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