Phoenix City North – Finally Going Forward

City North – a monster issue in 2005

Consider this:

  • Raw desert land zoned largely residential – $1 million per acre … actual 2006 auction bids for several large segments in the east half of the Desert Ridge planned community … where the question mark is on the map below. Desert thinning was started on a few of these parcels but all eventually reverted to the State.
  • Bloomingdale, Macy’s, Nordstroms … just a few of the upscale retailers with stated intent for facilities in City North … this would have been the most significant retail shopping area in Arizona

Map - City North in metro-PhoenixMap - Desert Ridge

Desert Ridge got off to a great start in the early 90’s. By 2000, more than 1,000 homes had been built and many more were under construction. And Desert Ridge Marketplace was in rapid development, eventually growing to 1.2 million square feet and becoming the core shopping destination for northeast Phoenix and Cave Creek. The JW Marriott Resort – Desert Ridge was also well underway. This eventually became one of the largest resorts west of the Mississippi outside Las Vegas. A LPGA event is a recurring spring event here.

By 2007, Desert Ridge between 36th Street and 56th Street and South of Pinnacle Peak Rd was a well established community. And the State of Arizona was taking bids on the land east of 56th Street for further development. Thus the $1 million per acre bids mentioned above.

The 2008 recession put a screeching halt to all that. The original Desert Ridge Master Developer was way over-extended at that point and their loans went into default. The resulting litigation has taken a full decade to be resolved.

Bankruptcy Court Finality

By far the most significant development, or non-development more accurately, in metro-Phoenix over the last decade-plus is finally able to emerge from its legal morass. Crown Realty & Development made a winning bid of $54 million to acquire the 96.5 acres that was to be the land underneath City North, plus the “Master Developer” rights for the Desert Ridge community. Both The North Phoenix Times and the Arizona Republic had comprehensive articles. These rights do not involve ownership, just a bit of overall control of the development plan. The only land purchased by Crown was the City North parcel.

The January bankruptcy acquisition by Crown is a final, non-appealable step in a decades-long litigation. From the articles it is not clear if the “Master Developer” rights extend to the area question marked on the map.

Major Desert Ridge Corporate Residents

In addition to major residential and retail development, there are major corporate and manufacturing facilities in Desert Ridge. Sumitomo opened a large computer chip manufacturing plant here in 1997. Mayo Clinic Hospital and American Express have had facilities in Desert Ridge for nearly 20 years … both are currently undergoing major expansions.  ASU is currently initiating a north-Phoenix campus within the area.

Maricopa County – Continuing Highest Growth in US since 2016

The growth and development of Desert Ridge, and many other communities in metro-Phoenix, is driven by a most-basic issue:  Maricopa County Arizona is a great place to live.

Climate is moderate nine months of the year … and delightful even in June, July and August in the early AM. Cost of living is moderate. Taxes are moderate. Flooding in a few well-identified areas is about the only natural disasters here. There are no tornadoes, no hurricanes, no earthquakes, no monster fires, no mud slides, no ice storms, no snow storms, etc. On a half-dozen days in June, July and August, the temp at about 4 PM will be in the range of 110 to 115. Higher temps than this are rare. And on those same days the temp at 5 AM will be in the 80 to 85 range … perfect for golf, jogging, hiking, etc., etc.

“Morning” people adapt to Maricopa County summers easily. “Evening” people are not going to adapt so well. Temps are commonly still 100-plus at 9 PM, or even later.

Thinking about getting out of the cold? Or moving to a place where cost of living is a lot more reasonable? Give us a call to talk about the communities here that would likely fit your lifestyle and budget.

Call today! You’ll be glad you did.


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