Featured in Daily Independent on December 12, 2022.
Most of the one-square mile that makes up Surprise City Center hasn’t been developed despite decades of possible plans.
But after changes to the developers’ vision for the area, a lawsuit and city council disagreements about what should go there, the area is finally starting to see more buildings go up as the year comes to the end.
“Now that we’re getting some of the knowns in place, now that we’re starting to get some of these projects identified, under construction, in escrow and closing, you’re starting to see some of these pieces come out of the ground,” said Scott Phillips, the vice president of Carefree Partners, to the Surprise Planning and Zoning Commission at his latest update of the area Dec. 1.
Carefree Partners are the owners of most of the undeveloped land remaining in the area bounded by Bell Road to the north, Greenway Road to the south, Bullard Avenue to the west and Litchfield Road to the east. Surprise Center Development Company is the official offshoot of Carefree Partners for this project.
“I will always give a caution and a caveat, nothing is done until it’s done. We’re in a strange time on the market where financing is weird, construction costs are high, but we’re moving full-speed ahead as of right now,” Phillips said.
SCDC is again working with Norris Design for an update for the full plans. The last came in 2019.
“We’re tweaking things further based upon where we are today with current developments,” Phillips said.
The overall new vision includes nine separate blocks in the northern half of the square mile.
That would bring walkable streets, on-street parking, shady areas, and what Phillips calls a “rich architectural palate on the site.”
Phillips said SCDC auditioned half-a-dozen possible partners to help develop parts of the City Center. But most of them didn’t see a vision of walkability that SCDC saw.
It ended up pairing up with SimonCRE, the same group developing the Prasada area near Waddell and the Loop 303.
“We believe that based on Josh’s experience specifically and SimonCRE as a company, that they were a very good fit here,” Phillips said.
The Quarter at Surprise is no longer the marketing name of the northwest quadrant of the area now that SimonCRE has joined the mix.
Phillips said the group changed the name to reduce confusion when compared to the Scottsdale Quarter, but they’re still working on coming up with a new marketing hook.
Simon’s group, SimonCRE Retail at Surprise, is helping develop what is technically called Block 3 of the nine.