Despite disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Goodyear is moving forward with the $87 million Goodyear Civic Square at Estrella Falls project.
On Sept. 28, Goodyear City Council pushed the project ahead, approving the preliminary plat of Parcel A at the site.
The Civic Square project will bring a new civic park, four-story city hall, two-story library, office suites, shops and a parking garage. Groundbreaking near McDowell Road and Pebble Creek Parkway just north of Interstate 10 is scheduled for April 23—Mayor Georgia Lord’s birthday.
Long before she was elected mayor, Lord helped craft a vision for the civic center.
She was the chair of a committee that initiated a project that has been discussed for nearly four decades, with excitement fading as the Great Recession sidetracked a previous plan.
“The downturn came and I was the mayor then and it broke my heart. I had to vote down beginning that project,” Lord said. “This time, the area is better, more centralized for both sides of Goodyear and I love the partnership with the developers.”
City Manager Julie Arendall noted a civic square was first planned for Goodyear in 1984.
“It has been 36 years now the city has dreamed of this project. It has started and stopped five times for a number of reasons, but this go around, I am very pleased to say the pandemic is not slowing us down on this … and has not changed our budget,” Arendall said.
She noted Goodyear is flourishing, despite the pandemic, which means Civic Square at Estrella Falls can move ahead.
“We’re actually in a good financial position. The project budget is just over $87 million, and $53 million of that is bonds that our residents approved,” Arendall said.
She said the other $34 million will come from general funds reserved in the five-year Capital Improvements Program.
“The city of Goodyear is blessed to be in a cycle where we’re thriving and growing, and we have not seen revenue impact as we’re hearing around the nation,” Arendall said.
While the COVID-19 impact was not financial, the project designers were able to pivot building plans to accommodate social distancing and healthy hygiene practices.
“All of the building doors will be automatically opening doors, so you don’t have to touch them. In the restrooms, there are touchless faucets,” Arendall said.
Civic Square at Estrella Falls will feature Goodyear’s first parking garage.
“This will be a project unlike any in the West Valley,” Arendall said.
Lord said the community is excited about the project.
“The majority of the city has already taken ownership for this project, and we haven’t even got the first building up,” Lord said.
Parcel A, about half of the property, is 48 acres at McDowell Road and 150th Drive, west of Harkins Theatres. The 48 acres will be subdivided into eight lots with a mix of civic, commercial and high-density residential types of uses. Goodyear City Hall will be on Lot 3, a civic park on Lot 4, and office and parking garages on Lots 6 and 7.
According to background material on the Sept. 28 agenda, “The intent of the Goodyear Civic Square PAD (Planned Area Development) is to create an urban, pedestrian-oriented development that will be a center for civic administration, services and events. The area is also intended for the development of higher intensity office and commercial development. Another key component of the PAD is the allowance of higher density residential development, which will support the commercial development anticipated in the area and help activate the civic spaces.”
Parcel B is 42 acres, planned for residential development. Parcel C is 17 acres, planned for a mix of residential and commercial development.
Parcel A is bordered to the south by McDowell Road and extends to West Monte Vista Road, where Parcels B and C begin, extending north to West Encanto Boulevard.
Prior to Goodyear City Council approval, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved the Parcel A plat Sept. 16.