Joe Dodani calls Tonopah his “Diamond City.”
The land broker, who said he has 15 years’ experience with more than 200 transactions in the area, has seen the growth in the West Valley — growth that he said is poised to overtake Tonopah in the coming years.
So, with that in mind, two of Dodani’s clients have made purchases amounting to a combined 242 acres of land in downtown Tonopah.
Those clients — SLM Land Holdings and Phoenix physician Dr. Hetal Shah — each purchased about half of that land for $1,052,700, Dodani said.
But plans aren’t slowing down.
Both parties are looking at even more Tonopah land, he added. Shah has 150 acres in escrow and SLM has 80 acres in escrow, two sales which are set to close in September. Dodani said his clients will likely buy even more after that.
With few developers in the area at this stage, the timing is perfect to get in on the opportunity, he feels.
“It’s like how a diamond takes a long time to grow (in value); this is the same thing,” he explained of the term he coined, “Dodani Diamond City.”
He added: “Land investments long-term are like diamonds. And my clients who buy this, they believe that, I believe that, and it’s just a matter of time.”
Neither Shah nor SLM are developers; rather they are looking to get in on the market while prices are cheap, in the hope values will increase and developers will flock to the region in the coming years. They snagged the land for $8,700 per acre, Dodani said.
But the regional draw is two-fold, Dodani added: Acquire land in anticipation of that long-term growth, and ultimately acquire those end users.
“Most of the land we are buying right now, the larger pieces, has a commercial potential. We are not into development ourselves, but if a developer came in and became a partner, we’d definitely look into it. But the goal is to find the users,” Dodani said, adding that the land falls within an opportunity zone.
An opportunity zone, according to the IRS, is “an economically-distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.”
“End users can be commercial projects or builders, developers or solar plants and so on,” Dodani said.
Though the Tonopah of today still has much room for growth, many consider it to be a prime area for expansion.
Expansion which already seems to be in the works.
In late 2017, it was reported that a company with ties to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates purchased the majority stake in a nearly 25,000-acre plot of land near Tonopah, with the intention of building a master-planned “smart city” named Belmont.
And the long-awaited Interstate 11 corridor, which could eventually bridge Mexico and Canada through the United States, will pass through the region.
So, now is a good time to invest in the region, Dodani said.
“Tonopah is on the outskirts, outside of Buckeye. Buckeye the fastest-growing city. Maricopa is the fastest-growing county,” he said. “We expect Tonopah in the next eight, 10, 12 years to become like Buckeye or more than Buckeye.”