Buckeye, long known as a “corridor,” is quickly becoming a destination.
From July 1, 2017, to July 1, 2018, Buckeye’s population grew by 8.5%.
That’s not just the fastest-growing city in Maricopa County, nor in Arizona.
But, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report in May 2019, Buckeye was the fastest-growing city in the country among municipalities with populations of 50,000 and higher. In 2017, the Census Bureau recorded Buckeye’s population as 74,370 - today, city officials estimate Buckeye’s population is roughly 82,600.
Those figures were released several months ago. A big land deal last week is the latest outcome of this accelerated growth.
Thursday, a partnership between Carefree Buckeye 196 LLC and Boeing V LLC announced the purchase of 196 acres of commercial land from AZ Buckeye Investors.
The price tag: $3.65 million.
The land is east of Buckeye Municipal Airport at the Interstate 10 and Highway 85 intersection.
“We are excited to be involved in another important piece in the West Valley,” said Scott Phillips, director of acquisitions of Carefree Partners, representing the buying entities. “The teamwork to put this together with NAI Horizon and the quality information and engagement we received from the city of Buckeye have both been a great part of the process so far.”
Phillips said the buyers view this as “a great long-term project.”
What exactly will be built?
“I’m not totally sure yet,” Phillips said. “We’re very preliminary in the planning phase. But the confluence in transportation and path of growth it opens up a lot of possibilities.
“It will probably be oriented toward a mixed-use.”
That could mean retail and homes, in addition to commercial properties.
Carefree Partners is hardly new to the area, one of its affiliates sold the Microsoft data center its land in Goodyear.
As such, Carefree Partners knew about the rapid growth in the Buckeye area long before the city’s fastest-growing title.
“The way we look at it, is clearly the growth is important because it demonstrates the strength of the West Valley as a whole and the future of the West Valley, it’s continuously coming into its own,” Phillips said.
He said the area is on the confluence of potential and commercial growth:
“It’s starting to fire on all cylinders.”
David Roderique, Buckeye’s Economic Development director, said he anticipated a mixed-use commercial site for the new purchase.
Don’t expect anything for a while, he noted.
“This is a long term play for them nothing in the short term,” Roderique said. “There is zero infrastructure there today, and there is no road access to the site. Great visibility at the intersection of two freeways, but that’s about it.
“They’ve got a ton of work to do before they can even start to envision opportunities there.”
Even so, Roderique noted, “This large-scale property has strong potential to play a key role in Buckeye’s expanding freeway corridor development.”
That freeway corridor could soon be growing, as well.
“This commercial land site is sizable and will be regionally significant as a strategically located freeway property at the western gateway of Buckeye on Interstate 10,” said Lane Neville, NAI Horizon senior vice president who brokered the deal.
“The property also fronts Highway 85, the proposed future CANAMEX Interstate 11 alignment.”
The CANAMEX corridor is a series of improvements to freeways and other transportation infrastructure linking Canada to Mexico through the United States. The corridor was established under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
According to a press release announcing the Carefree Partners sales, “Buckeye is listed as the No. 1 fastest-growing city in the country according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Buckeye was the only Arizona city to make the list this year.
“There are tremendous future opportunities in Buckeye for retail shops, services and employment due to this rapid growth.”