Updated: Apr 12
Last week we attended a community meeting about The Trailhead, the proposed commercial development at the NE corner of 83rd Ave. & Happy Valley Rd. There are always rumors surrounding any new project, so we will attempt to address them here based on the questions we had and that other community members asked the developer directly. Here is our recap, in full detail.
-The Trailhead Shopping Center
-NE corner of 83rd Ave. & Happy Valley Road
-This project is just for the “hard corner” and not all of the current “open desert”
-The project is about 40 acres of 600 acres of “open desert” space at that NE corner
-It will be a master-planned mixed-use project anchored by an upscale Safeway grocery store and a multi-family complex.
-There will be four sit-down restaurants, patios, and upscale amenity areas for community gathering.
-The Trailhead will be developed by Arizona-based developer, The Pederson Group, Inc. They have been developing commercial projects for almost 40 years, and have developed noteworthy mixed-use and commercial developments, such as The Promenade and Hayden Peak Crossing.
-The remaining land north of the site is owned by residential home builders that will be building the Aloravita South neighborhood. This is unrelated to The Trailhead project being discussed here.
-Aloravita is a “Planned Community District” that has been in the works since 2011 and is in line with the City of Peoria’s General Plan2040, which lays out the future of the city through 2040. You can see more info about that and the planned land use map on the City of Peoria’s website.
Why are we telling you this?
Simply put, there is zero chance that this land will stay “open desert.” The plan for a long time has been to build single-family homes and have some commercial development at the hard corners of 83rd Ave. and Happy Valley Rd. The entities that own the land want to sell to make a profit and that is not something any of us can control. Development has already happened across the street from this space on the SE and SW corners.
Who will be the anchor tenants?
The center will be anchored by an upscale Safeway and a multi-family complex (more details on that below). Safeway will have all the bells and whistles such as a wine cellar, cheese shop, full bakery, fishmonger, etc. There will be a minimum of four sit-down restaurants at The Trailhead. In order to bring in high-quality chef-driven restaurants, there needs to be daily foot traffic, which both a grocery store and an apartment complex provide.
Why do we need another grocery store?
With all the recent growth in this area, market research shows that our community is underserved when it comes to grocery stores. There is more demand than supply, which aside from market research, many of us can attest to if you’ve been to Fry’s Marketplace at Four Corners on a Sunday afternoon.
Why does there have to be a multi-family complex?
As stated above, in order to attract the types of restaurants we want, the complex needs to have daily foot traffic to provide them guaranteed business. An apartment complex helps provide that. There will be 334 units, including one, two, and three bedroom units. The complex will be 3 stories, or approximately 35-40 feet tall. For reference, Safeway will be 30 feet tall. It will be set at the back of the complex where the land dips down along 83rd Ave. The average unit size is 1,000 sq. ft. and the average monthly rent is $2,000, so they will NOT be inexpensive. The target demographics for these apartments are young professionals, people moving to the area that are waiting on a house or deciding where to buy, and empty nesters or retirees that no longer want the maintenance of a single-family home. This will help alleviate some of the housing shortage we are experiencing, as well. There will be high-end amenities and a focus on being stylish but blending in with the beauty of the natural desert. In addition, the complex will offer a buffer between the back of the shopping complex and the new single-family homes in Aloravita South. With 334 units at an average of 1,000 sq. ft., it is NOT likely that there will be many children living in the complex and putting a strain on an already-strained school system. Apartments generally have far less children than single-family homes. This area (south of Jomax and west of the wash) is within the Peoria Unified School District. The schooling issue is something that needs to be addressed separately with the districts.
What about traffic?
83rd Ave. north of Happy Valley Rd. will finally become four lanes! There will be two lanes in each direction, plus bike lanes and sidewalks. It is our understanding that the developer for this project will be responsible for any of this alongside their property and then the developer of Aloravita South will be responsible for the rest of it further up to Jomax. There will be deceleration lanes added so traffic doesn’t back up on Happy Valley Rd. or 83rd Ave. going in and out of the complex. There will be a traffic light added on Happy Valley at 79th Ave. and medians in some areas. (See photo)
Is The Trailhead actually a trailhead?
It is a shopping center that hopes to eventually connect to the beautiful nearby trails! It will have paths on the north and east side of the complex and within the complex. Aloravita South will also have trails, which will eventually connect Happy Valley to Jomax and even further north. The City of Peoria has plans to connect all the trails so hikers and bikers can eventually make their way all the way to and from this corner to Paloma Park and back! Ideally there will be a connection of some sort from the shopping center across 83rd Ave. to a trailhead at Sunrise Mountain, but that depends on timing of trails being completed.
Who will the tenants be?
That remains to be seen and we don’t believe anything until we see the doors open, but we have made it VERY clear to the developer what our community does and does not want. We have seen more interest from local top-tier restaurants looking to come to this area in 2021 than ever before. There were some names thrown around at the meeting, but to be safe we don’t want to mention them. There were plenty of people at the meeting though, so you can ask around! We have discussed a wine bar, brewery, brunch restaurant, coffee shop, blowdry bar, etc. For the sake of full-disclosure and if we’re being realistic, we could see a nail salon, dentist, gym, and a few drive-throughs at ANY & EVERY shopping center. We’ve had to learn to compromise on that as long as the developer brings us the high-quality tenants we want as well. There is a small non-denominational church on the east side of the property. It was asked at the meeting if they would be able to put in tenants on their property and while they technically could, their intent is to build a church and there is not space for anything else in that area. If they did ever decide to build something other than a church, it would require another zoning change.
Why has this taken so long and when is this all happening?
This intersection is VERY complex. The property is a combination of state trust land and private land owned by 4 different entities, including a church. In order to make a well planned project happen, the developer had to purchase all the properties and get the proper entitlements, which is a complex process when there are that many parties involved. If each property got sold off individually, we would probably see something similar to what happened at a nearby intersection to the east. We would MUCH prefer a master-planned, mixed-use, cohesive shopping center than one that is developed piece by piece as each property owner sells. This is no easy task and requires an experienced developer that can make a huge project like this work. We have had a positive experience with the developer, the Pederson Group, thus far. They are local to Arizona and their CEO, CFO, zoning attorney, broker, and many other high-level executives attended the community meeting, which is not common or something we have ever seen before. We think that says something about their character and commitment to The Trailhead! The project is projected to break ground in the Fall of 2022 with a targeted opening in the Fall of 2023.