Pulte applies for 6,000 acres south of Loop-303 for master-planned community.
Homebuilders want in on thousands of acres of coveted vacant desert land along the west side of I-17 near Loop-303, where the building boom has shifted since Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) claimed its stake in the area with its $40 billion chip factory, bringing thousands of jobs to the North Valley.
At a recent City of Phoenix North Gateway Village meeting, Phoenix Economic Development Director Chris Mackay confirmed interest by Pulte Homes for a master-planned development on multiple state trust land parcels west of I-17, just south of the Loop 303 and the North Phoenix 3500 Technology Park, where TSMC is located.
While it’s too soon to know whether the state will agree to auction off the parcels, records obtained by Valley Vibe from the State Land Department indicate that Pulte Home Company LLC has filed an application with the state for roughly 6,000 acres.
Mackay said that a master- planned community in that area, known as Biscuit Flats, could be close to the scale of the size of Anthem.
To put it into perspective, Mackay said, “Biscuit Flats is 12,000 acres and Anthem is 5,600 acres… you could fit two Anthems inside of Biscuit Flats.” She added that the potential master-planned community could involve multiple homebuilders.
Lennar Homes’ I-17 West Side Developments
Lennar Homes was able to purchase privately owned land for the development of its Middle Vistas community, 228-single-family homes under construction near the southwest corner of Interstate 17 and Dixileta. But, as far as acquiring State Trust Land, it’s been a lengthier process.
Just last month, a bidding war took place between Lennar and other homebuilders on 80 acres of state trust land, just south of Pinnacle Peak Road, adjacent to Six Flags’ Hurricane Harbor water park. Driving the price of the parcel up were bids by Lennar Homes, Ashton Woods, D.R. Horton, along with another commercial/multifamily developer. Ultimately, Lennar Homes won the final bid at a price tag of $32.3 million, more than doubling the opening bid of $15.7 million.
While that may sound like a catalyst for homebuilding costs to boom, Jeff Gunderson, senior vice president of land operations for Lennar said that isn’t the case. He said the bidding war hasn’t been the norm in the Valley, and that the true value of that particular parcel was extremely undervalued and was based on an outdated appraisal value.
“There were four bidders willing to push the price up there―all end users who have the best idea for the value of the land,” Gunderson told Valley Vibe. Housing prices are set based on market levels, he added.
Meanwhile, Gunderson confirmed that Lennar is working with the State Land Department on other parcels in the area, however, he said the process to get a parcel to auction is lengthy, noting that it took a year to get the 80-acre site south of Pinnacle Peak Road to auction.
By Karen Goveia