Ted Yocum 6-7-21 meeting
Ted Yocum was chosen as Chair of the Planning & Zoning Commission by his fellow commissioners Monday. He will hold that role until January 2024. Bill Robertson was named Vice Chair. [Jay Taylor]

The city planning and zoning commission on Monday approved two new multi-family housing developments on the city’s west side.

Known collectively as West Maricopa Village, they will add a total of 530 multi-family units to the city’s burgeoning supply of apartments and single-family homes for rent currently in various stages of development.

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West Maricopa Village is proposed for the southeast corner of Loma Road and State Route 238. It would be bordered by the Acacia Crossing subdivision to the east, the future Estrella Gin Office Park to the south, and the proposed PHX Surf water and surf park to the west.

The project consists of two distinct pieces: 182 one and two-bedroom, single family homes for rent on the property’s east side, to be known as Innovation Village, and 342 apartment units known as Fuze 520 in one, two and three-story buildings between Innovation Village and Loma Road. Matrix Equities will develop Innovation Village but is in contract negotiations to sell the Fuze 520 portion of the project to Z Modular of Chandler, which will develop it.

The project also will include a mixed-use component that could include residential such as apartments, condominiums or townhouses on the upper floors and commercial usage on the ground floor. The area also is likely to have a gas station, convenience store and/or a car wash. A final phase would include planned retail, commercial office or medical space.

The community is envisioned as being pedestrian-friendly, with a private main street emphasizing walkability and community enjoyment, according to developers. This will allow residents and visitors to move about the community without having to use their cars.

According to Matrix vice president Ron Smith, the Innovation Village portion of the project is on a fast track and pending approvals could begin construction as early as August 1 and no later than mid-September. He indicated that infrastructure would take 6-8 months and construction of the first units could be completed six months after that, meaning finished units could be ready for move-ins in the fall of 2022.

The homes will be built in blocks of 40 units, with successive phases beginning about two months apart to ensure a steady flow of available new units to the market.

“These will go fast,” Smith said. “The market is such that we anticipate that rental activity will be strong enough that we’ll just keep rolling through 40 after 40 after 40. That’s been the track record of this product.”

The Fuze 520 portion of the project required some design revisions to gain approval. The original designs featured a dark color scheme with many of the colors similar in hue, which the commission did not like.

Commissioner Rachel Leffall praised Z Modular for taking the commission’s previous design suggestions to heart.

“I think you did a great job with the colors, showing the different layers and textures and it looks like a lot more appealing project than before,” she said.

Commissioner Ted Yocum agreed saying, “this is far more interesting than what we saw last time. It’s very pleasant to the eye. I think the colors and materials, and the changes in texture add the variety we were looking for.”

West Maricopa Village VIlla Rendering
Rendering of an Innovation Villa Unit 1 at West Maricopa Village. Credit: Barduson Architects / Matrix Equities Inc.

The two projects will be developed concurrently, with Matrix likely to begin work about a month before Z Modular, according to Smith.

One concern voiced by the commissioners – traffic in and out of the development – was addressed by Smith, who will oversee development of the entire project.

Smith eased the commissioners’ concerns by saying that the main entrance to the neighborhood, on SR 238 just east of Loma Road, would feature a right turn only lane out of the development going east on SR 238; a left-turn lane going into the facility heading south off of 238; and no left turns allowed out of the facility going west on 238, so there would be no having to cross truck traffic.