Georgia-based homebuilder Ashton Woods has purchased about 150 acres of land directly south of the Ak-Chin Circle Entertainment Center for $17.7 million and will build approximately 600 homes on the site. The project, known as Amarillo Creek, was originally to be developed by Shea Homes, which sold to a Canadian investor in 2007 when property values plummeted during the Great Recession.
The parcel lies between Peters and Nall Road on the north, Papago Road on the south, Green Road on the east and Amarillo Valley Road on the west.
The lots have been partially improved, according to Ben Heglie, a land broker for Scottsdale-based Land Advisors Organization who was part of the team that represented the Canadian seller known as Zen Arizona.
“The lots are graded, the underground utilities are in, and some of the road improvements have been completed along Papago,” Heglie said. “About a third of the improvements were completed by Shea. This was the last partially finished lot deal in the city.”
Ashton Woods has not responded to multiple requests for comment on the project, but Heglie said he thinks development of the community will begin soon.
“Ashton Woods has already started completing the improvements on the lots,” Heglie said. “Those should be completed in the first quarter of next year, and construction on the houses will start immediately after that. I think they’re hoping for sales in late 2022.”
Heglie believes there will be a significant push toward development on the south end of town now that Global Water’s Southwest Plant at Papago and Green roads is to be upgraded and put into service. It originally was to start service in 2007 but like Amarillo Creek, the plant’s launch fell victim to the recession.
“Builders actually started to work on the subdivisions down there, so we had to have our infrastructure built and ready to go,” said Jon Corwin, vice president and general manager of Global Water. “Then obviously the Great Recession hit, and the developers went away, and we had constructed that plant and never turned it on. So, we are going through a recommissioning process.”
The Global Water facility includes both potable water distribution and wastewater facilities that were commissioned but never turned on.
“The Ashton Woods deal was a catalyst to get Global Water’s Southwest Plant up and running,” Heglie said. “It needed some upgrades and further improvements that didn’t get done last cycle and the Ashton Woods deal gave them the incentive to get that plant going.”
Heglie believes Ashton Woods, which also builds in Tortosa, will finish its projects there then turn its full attention to Amarillo Creek.
“My main takeaway from this deal is that this will be the first of many builders going into that area south of town now that Global will have service in the area,” Heglie said.