Maricopa city council Tuesday night unanimously approved the sale of three parcels of land and the lease of another to Mesa-based developers proposing a large water and surf park.
The sale of land at the southwest corner of State Route 238 and North Loma Road involved 18 acres to PRLG Holdings LLC for $1.18 million, 21 acres to Copa Surf LLC for $1.38 million and 20 acres to E Jaicks LLC for $1.30 million. City Manager Rick Horst said ownership of particular parcels was decided by the investment entities.
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A development, operating, and maintenance lease agreement with PHX Surf LLC was approved for the land where the pools would be sited. State law requires pools of a certain size must involve a government entity, Horst said. Thus, the city will retain ownership of those 12 acres.
A concept drawing submitted with the development pre-application was intended to suggest potential park amenities but Horst noted things may change in the four months before closing.
Both the city and the developers have an out clause in the contract. Should either party not wish to move forward during the four-month due diligence period, the agreement can be canceled.
“Do I think that will happen?” asked Horst. “No. Each day they are spending more time and money, the less likely it would be that they would back out.”
The concept drawing for the project, known for now as PHX Surf Park, will feature two enormous wave/surf pools, perhaps as large as 3½ acres each. But while the pools will be the centerpiece of the park, the developers envision offering much more than just wave pools and surfing. The sketch shows a hotel, several restaurants, an RV park, a tiny house village with a clubhouse, retail areas, water slides, a splash pad and other attractions.
Horst did not have a specific timeline for construction of the project, but noted, “It’s taken a year to build Sprouts, so that should give you some comparison. So probably at least a year.” It was likely construction would be done in phases, he said.
Councilmember Henry Wade said the waterpark could usher in a new era for Maricopa.
“We will always need something that is going to be a draw, and that would be a very significant draw,” he said. “I think that’s what the citizens need to keep a firm grip on, that we are trying our best to make sure Maricopa is a place they are happy to be living and that we’re a destination community. We have the resources to draw those folks in to get additional housing starts and economic development, and ultimately more jobs.”
Mayor Christian Price said the park shows that the city’s investment in its “adventure corridor” is paying off.
“There are so many things that are exciting in that area and it’s a real draw,” Price said. “It’s really Maricopa’s first dabble into the tourism industry. We don’t have a Grand Canyon, we don’t have a snow-capped mountain that people come to, so we have to get creative.”
Price said the economic impact would transcend the new jobs and spending at the park, with visitors patronizing restaurants and businesses throughout the city and local businesses serving the facility.
“Think about all the ancillary businesses that go into something large like that,” he said, noting companies will have to service the wave machines, replace sand on the park’s beaches and other possibilities.
“Large investments when you’re talking about a business are catalysts to bigger and better things from a symbiotic perspective,” Price said. “It’s things like this that bring things like sit-down restaurants.”