±4.03 Ac TOTAL
THREE-BUILDING CENTER: MULTI-TENANT RETAIL
ACQUISITION & GROUND UP DEVELOPMENT
How does a former steel storage yard become a new, iconic shopping center that was built and became fully leased during the Covid-19 pandemic? Well, when a development partnership of SimonCRE and another local group join forces and place a strong emphasis on delivering a project the community will love, this is the result.
Intentionally dubbed The Steelyard as a tribute to its previous use, the three-building retail center is located at the southeast corner of Chandler Heights and Gilbert roads in Chandler, AZ. These premier shops, totaling more than 26,290 square feet, sit at a heavily visited intersection today. But, it once was an underserved retail trade area. The partnership could envision its potential.
The project needed to be rezoned for retail, which is never an easy feat, but it was especially a challenge during this time. The team had to persistently work with the neighboring community to ensure the project would be well-received. Keeping in mind the “buy-in” of the community, the partnership needed to make an effort to maintain the vibe of the former steel yard by incorporating its water tower landmark into the project. However, the problem was the original water tower was not structurally stable or safe to preserve.
Another major roadblock for this project was construction delays due to the global pandemic in 2020. When it came to the building design, it had to respect the outlines of the Southeast Chandler Area Plan in order to foster an atmosphere consistent with a rural character that the community preferred. Also, the site would need to be strategically designed to allow for pedestrian access, both internally and to external points of connection. A major pedestrian connection to the hard corner was needed to actually drive foot traffic into the heart of The Steelyard.
The partnership continued to communicate with the neighbors, hosting meetings to provide assurance that it would be a good, local project that the community could get behind. To address the old, unusable water tower issue, adding a new, but similar water tower to the plans was drawn up during entitlement. It was an added cost, but one that the developers felt was necessary.
Despite the delays, the team was still able to complete the shell construction by October 2020, turning over spaces to tenants throughout the Summer for Fall openings. In fact, the project was 90% pre-leased to a diverse tenant mix including popular restaurants, service operators, fitness studios, and health users.
Wellness operators F45 Training, Athletico Physical Therapy, and Heartland Dental were strategically planned for this center to foster more consistent traffic during non-peak hours. Also, the Someburros space was intentionally designed as a drive-thru end cap to match the post-pandemic customer’s heightened demand for quick pickup and drive-thrus. The parking areas have largely been placed toward the project interior to create a more active street edge, with buildings and dining areas to create a strong community presence while moving these activities away from the residential development.
The partnership was able to get The Steelyard built, delivered to tenants that successfully opened, and refinanced – all through that difficult period of time for retail.
Due to having the right relationships and thoughtfully working with both the tenants and community to ensure support, The Steelyard became 100% leased less than eight months after completion. The strong national and regional restaurants that make up the center are Someburros, Jersey Mike’s, Pita Jungle, and High Tide Seafood. Other tenants include Rapha Tea, Nail Logic, Tan Max, and G.O.A.T. Haircuts.
In June 2021, Gila River Casinos, an enterprise arm of the Gila River Indian Community, announced plans to build a $100 million development just two miles south of The Steelyard. For more information, please read this article. Additionally, this area has experienced an influx of more than 1,200 new-build residential homes on the market.
“We are proud to have delivered with our partners The Steelyard to a previously underserved retail area of Chandler that the community showed immense support in welcoming the new development. We are excited to see what upcoming developments follow next in that area!” said Joshua Simon, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of SimonCRE.
In 2022 SimonCRE sold this property. To view more about this project, please visit its property page.
Featured in the News:
- New south Chandler development will feature Pita Jungle, other businesses
- Steelyard will bring retail to former Riggs land
- The Steelyard development breathes new life into southeast Chandler intersection
This acquisition and development project has been featured in Phoenix Business Journal, Rose Law Group Reporter, Daily Independent, and more news outlets. For property updates, please visit the property page.