New proposal at Asante in Surprise blends retail, residences


The vision of Surprise just after the turn of the century and the reality of it about 20 years later are dramatically different — witness Asante and its surrounding area.

This housing development just north and west of the intersection of 163rd and Grand avenues stalled for nearly a decade. One major retail development planned near the Asante entrance, bought by New York-based Kimco Realty in 2007, was in limbo as the developer’s original plans of a large outdoor retail center became increasingly less viable.

“This site has gone through many iterations. Kimco is a national retail developer and builds huge regional shopping centers.” said Adam Baugh, land-use and zoning attorney with Phoenix-based law firm Withey Morris PLC.

The 101 acres of retail were scrapped. Last year, Withey Morris and client Kimco unveiled a revised project with 85 acres of residential development and 15 acres of commercial land.

But a mostly housing wasn’t what the area wanted as new homes have poured into this area without corresponding road upgrades, snarling traffic and frustrating residents. With the latest version of Gateway at Asante, Kimco may have found a happy medium at 51 acres of commercial development and 50 acres of residential.

“If you live in Asante, you don’t actually have to go past that light,” Baugh said. “There’s no way I can build 101 acres of commercial here. That’s as big as Desert Ridge. Nobody wants Desert Ridge here because you’ll have 30,000 to 50,000 extra car trips per day. This area can’t handle that.”

Gateway at Asante is south and west of the intersection of 163rd Avenue and Pat Tillman Boulevard, just south of Barclay Group’s Asante Marketplace, anchored by a Fry’s Marketplace store scheduled to open early this year.

Baugh said the design would have retail stores lining west 163rd Avenue starting a bit north of the Grand intersection, as well as most of the parcel’s frontage on Tillman. The retail would wrap around a cottage-style community with a bit less than 300 units sharing walking paths trails and park spaces.

Further south and west is a parcel zoned for low-density residential, and the parcel’s southern end would be zoned for commercial uses such as professional offices, a medical office complex and technical businesses.

“There’s been a lot of people that have reached out to us about this space,” Baugh said.

Surprise Community Development Director Lloyd Abrams stated in an email the developer has submitted an potential amendment to the Asante planned-area development and is tentatively scheduled to go before the Planning & Zoning Commission Feb. 16 and the Surprise City Council March 7.

The main changes to the plan would be changing the zoning in the southern half to R-3 residential and C-3 commercial.

The northern half is more fleshed out and likely to go first. Baugh said the goal is to promote walkability and a seamless transition from the cottages to the retail area.
It starts with a park planned in the development’s center built by the HOA but open to the public — with the theory people will stay and shop more.
Trails would take the place of perimeter fences on the development’s west and south ends. Outdoor patios and smaller park areas would go next to the residential development.
“That integration is being accomplished by softening the edge of the residential and commercial areas,” Baugh said.

He said Kimco is mindful of the housing boom in this area, as well as the fact that Gateway at Asante, if approved, would only be the third retail development in the large area, behind a Dollar General story and Asante Marketplace.
Targets for the retail center include a secondary grocer — such as Natural Grocers, Aldi, Sprouts or Whole Foods — an urgent care facility, an eye doctor, sit-down restaurants and a drive-thru or two.
“The ability to add residential development close to a huge employer is one component,” Baugh said.
While the 2021 announcement of Asante Marketplace helped to spur this project, a major employer on Loop 303 played a bigger role.
Baugh said Gateway at Asante is about 15 minutes away from the new Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., which is under construction just west of Interstate 17 on Loop 303.
Withey Morris and Kimco noticed when TSMC bought an entire 300-cottage unit near 163rd Avenue and Happy Valley to lease to workers. And when the number of employees in and around the plant grew from the original 20,000 to 80,000.
“We don’t want to get ahead of the commercial with the residential,” Baugh said.

Kimco, Asante, Withey Morris, 163rd Avenue