Goodyear’s Civic Square at Estrella Falls project just got real.
The City Council got its first look at proposed designs presented by city staff and project partners Globe Corp., Ryan Companies US and Butler Design Group, during a Feb. 24 work session in council chambers, 14455 W. Van Buren St., Suite B101.
Mayor Georgia Lord was absent due to the passing of her husband, retired U.S. Air Force Col. Ronald Lord, over the weekend, but City Manager Julie Arendall told the council she visited Ms. Lord earlier in the day to present the designs.
Phase I of Civic Square, at the northwest corner of McDowell Road and 150th Drive, will feature a four-story, 125,000-square-foot City Hall with a two-story, 20,000-square-foot public library in addition to council chambers and city offices. The project also will feature key partner Globe Corp.'s three-story, 100,000-square-foot office building; a parking structure that can accommodate up to 1,100 vehicles; and Civic Square Park, a two-acre greenspace where the city can hold activities and special events.
Groundbreaking for Phase I is planned for April 2021, with completion expected by mid-2022. The city hopes to have the park completed in time for Goodyear’s 75th anniversary celebration on Nov. 21, 2021.
Subsequent phases at Civic Square will see the addition of an office building and parking structure similar to the Globe Corp. building, and two additional buildings for retail and/or office use. The office buildings will face one another across the park, and the retail/office buildings will face City Hall across the park.
“The whole idea is that we’ve basically surrounded the entire Civic Square Park with buildings,” Jeff Cutberth of Butler Design Group said as he showed the council a 3D video animation of the site. “We really want to energize the sidewalks and make this a people place.”
The project was a long time coming.
The city has considered building a new city hall since purchasing 40 acres at Bullard Avenue and Interstate 10 in 1984, according to a staff report. Citizen committees were created in 1985, 1987, 2001 and 2004 to gather input on what residents would like to see in a City Hall project.
Goodyear’s current City Hall, 190 N. Litchfield Road, was purchased in 2001 as an interim building until a new city hall could be built, but the project languished until 2018, city Development Services Director Christopher Baker told the council.
When Globe Corp. officials approached city staff in early 2018 with a request to rezone its 47-acre single-use commercial property to allow single-family rentals, Baker said, staff began brainstorming ideas for the property that they presented to Globe that May.
“That meeting went very well,” he said. That summer, an urban design firm was hired and in July 2019, the council approved the new zoning, followed by the public-private development agreement in August 2019. Under the agreement, Globe donated six acres to the city for Civic Square.
“Sincere thanks to Globe for sharing our vision, and the passion that they have for Goodyear,” Mr. Baker said. “Together, we are creating a special place in the city. I would dare say an ‘Instagrammable’ place that will last for many, many generations to come.”
Globe Corp. President George Getz agreed.
“The process has gone so well and so smoothly, and that’s attributable to the staff you have out here in Goodyear,” Mr. Getz said.
During his presentation, Mr. Cutberth said six designs were presented to city staff, who narrowed the choices to two, and finally to the “classically contemporary” design presented to the council. The design incorporates metal, glass and stone elements, with “Goodyear” featured prominently on the front of the City Hall in what Mr. Cutberth said may be vertical back-lit glass panels. A breezeway in the center of the building will allow for pedestrians to easily access both park areas.
Visitors will enter City Hall on the south end of the first floor, which also will house council chambers. Library patrons will enter on the first floor’s north end, adjacent to a 100-vehicle parking lot.
The second floor’s south end will house the city’s one-stop-shop, with the library’s second floor on the north end. The third and fourth floors will house general city offices, with mayor and council offices on the fourth floor. That floor also features a center balcony.
“This was really a unique opportunity to do something really special to send a message about not only the history and the pride in Goodyear from the past but looking forward to, as we say, the next 75 years,” Mr. Cutberth said. “We’re still in the early stages of design and we’re excited to get your feedback on it.”
Council members were happy to weigh in.
“I like it. I think it looks really modern,” Councilman Brannon Hampton said. “I like the breezeway going through. It flows right over to the Bullard Wash.” He also liked the vertical placement of “Goodyear” on the City Hall building.
Councilwoman Sheri Lauritano said she was impressed with the designs.
“It’s really an open space and it flows really nice,” she said.
Councilman Joe Pizzillo asked the team to ensure park design is flexible enough to accommodate things like food trucks and other special event activities.
“Don’t make it so limited or whatever that you make it so difficult to put those types of things in,” he said.
Mr. Cutberth said the designers are mindful of the park as a special event space, adding that side streets around the entire Civic Square can be closed off for special events, too.
“That whole area, defined by all those buildings, basically becomes a big, open plaza,” he said.
Councilwoman Wally Campbell was concerned that a three-story building wouldn’t be sufficient to attract some businesses Goodyear would like to see at Civic Square.
“I’d love to have a Fortune 500 company come make their headquarters, like State Farm, and I don’t think they’d do it in a three-story building,” she said.
Mr. Cutberth said the team chose three-story buildings in the main part of the square to make the four-story City Hall a standout centerpiece. Taller buildings will be accommodated in future phases on the northwest corner of the site.
Ms. Campbell also asked the team to ensure there is adequate vendor access to the park and that there are plenty of electrical outlets for them.
Councilwoman Laura Kaino said aspects of the design reminded her of Phoenix’s City Hall, which features some iconic art pieces.
“You didn’t mention art,” she said. “I think it will need a further artistic touch to it.”
Ms. Kaino also wanted to know if the fourth-floor balcony could be used for events. Mr. Cutberth said it can accommodate about 50 people, with others using the adjacent indoor space during an event.
Vice Mayor Bill Stipp closed out council comments, noting that the current City Hall was only supposed to be in use for a few years.
“By the time we finish this project, it will be 20 years as an interim office building, but I think given what we’ve come to will have been well worth the wait,” he said.
Mr. Stipp also complemented the team on color choices for the buildings.“We get away from the browns and the gray and the white,” he said.
As the meeting closed, City Manager Julie Arendall said the next step will be to complete the proposed design of the public outdoor areas and present them to the council for review.
Kelly O’Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-963-1697.