Goodyear City Council cleared the way for two massive developments totaling more than 600 acres.
In clearing the runway for the 224-acre Innovation Centre to take off between Citrus Road and Loop 303 south of Interstate, city council went against the recommendation of city staff—and the Goodyear Planning Commission, which voted against the project.
But council approved changing the area from agricultural zoning to allow for “industrial” development.
One might say this represents Goodyear “growing up”—as the Innovation Centre’s plan allows buildings up to 150 feet high—which would be nearly 50% taller than the Abrazo West Campus, currently Goodyear’s tallest building.
On another project, Goodyear City Council was in agreement with the Planning Commission in approving a general plan amendment to allow industrial development of 430 acres near Broadway Road and Bullard Avenue, south of the Phoenix Goodyear Airport.
Councilman Bill Stipp noted huge power lines in the area in addressing one neighbor who opposed the plan: “For the sake of the individual who said we should not allow any more industrial … the only thing that makes sense here is industrial. We should not put homes here,” Stipp said.
The request combines two properties: one of 240 acres, owned by Robert Wagner, and one of 190 acres, owned by Pioneer 2005.
The two properties currently have agricultural zoning. The owners requested a change to “industrial” designation “and to revise freeway alignments,” according to the agenda.
The property is in the vicinity of the proposed State Route 30 expansion.
Council unanimously approved the Wagner-Pioneer request without much discussion.
The Innovation Centre matter was another story.
After city planner Steve Careccia outlined the project, noting the city recommended denying the request, Wendy Riddell went through developer Keystone Equities’ presentation.
While the project would create retail shops, offices, entertainment and “high-wage employment,” Riddell said cross-dock logistics and internet fulfillment warehouses were crucial to the financial feasibility of the project.
According to the developer’s pitch, the Innovation Centre will bring a huge economic impact.
Over the next 10 years, according to the presentation, the Innovation Centre will bring:
• 600 direct jobs with a total payroll of $151.2 million.
• $7.3 million in tax revenues to the city of Goodyear.
• $5.6 million and $46.5 million in tax revenues to Maricopa County and the local school district, respectively.
• $20.6 million in tax revenue to the state of Arizona.
Additionally, Keystone projects 764 jobs will be created during construction, with a total payroll of $47.4 million and $92 million in construction and interior costs.
Riddell noted the developers have worked closely with the city “to try to find a win-win,” and agreed with more than 30 stipulations required by the city.
She said the stumbling block for city staff to approve the project is the planned cross-dock “internet fulfilment” warehouse part of the plan—which Riddell said was an absolutely necessity to make Innovation Centre financially viable.
Jeff Levy, who said he works in development, was the lone citizen to speak. “I’m 100% in favor of the development,” he said.
Before voting, several council members explained their views.
“We would all love to see more retail,” said Councilwoman Sheri Lauritano.
But, she said, an industrial development with warehouses would be an improvement to the desolate area. “It’s not a pretty parcel now,” she said.
“I think it’s time for this land to be productive,” added Councilwoman Laura Kaino.
“It seems we are welcoming internet fulfillment in a lot of areas,” Kaino noted. “I’m not sure why that should be excluded.”
Councilman Brannon Hampton said he was against the project when it was originally proposed two years ago. Now, he agreed with Stipp, who noted, “The only thing on this site that makes sense is industrial.”
Mayor Georgia Lord also voted for the Innovation Centre, though with a lack of enthusiasm.
“We wanted something spectacular there,” Lord said.
But, she concluded, “I think this is a step we need to take. … I think it’s the right thing to do.”