Editor’s Note: You’ll find this article in this week’s In&Out Magazine, with a printed map that you may find easier to read.
From Outpost to Regional Hub
Twenty years ago, a fledgling bedroom community sprang up in the middle of the desert, straddling I-17, a dozen miles north of Happy Valley Road. Residents had to trek to Bell Road for groceries.
Over time, other neighborhoods have filled in the space between Anthem and the northernmost pocket of North Phoenix. Grocery stores, gas stations, new schools and hotels popped up. The region got a movie theater, a hospital, and the city opened Beuf Community Center. The interstate went from two lanes in each direction to four, and the 303 was looped in.
Now, amid a fresh building boom in the fastest growing city and county in the nation, the I-17 corridor between Norterra and New River—NoPho–has become more than a loose collection of neighborhoods. The gateway to Arizona’s high country is a regional hub, attracting small businesses, large corporations and their jobs, which will increasingly support a “work-where-you-live” lifestyle.
Nestled into it all, the Phoenix Sonoran Desert Preserve guarantees open space forever, with miles of trails, adding to the region’s attractiveness.
Meanwhile, more State Trust Land remains to be sold to support development and help fund public schools. Which chunk will be auctioned off next can’t be predicted, but you can bet developers have their eyes on all that empty space along what Phoenix Councilwoman Thelda Williams called “the hottest corridor for new development in the Valley.”
The following list and map reveal just some of the projects underway or planned, all combining to transform NoPho into a real thing.
1 North Gateway Village Core
Like other urban hubs in Phoenix, planned for commercial and retail services, with jobs to support surrounding residential. Zoning envisions a “cohesive, environmentally sensitive community” with open space.
Status: Early days.
2 Acero Canyon Crossroads
Sprawling 288-unit, three-story apartment complex with one, two and three-bedroom floor plans.
Status: Early construction underway.
3 Anthem Circle Mountain
The last section of Anthem, with 202 homes by Pulte & Lennar, some with views of New River Wash and the mountains beyond, plus access to all Anthem community amenities.
Status: Nearly built out.
4 Avilla Canyon
NexMetro to lease 200 single-family, single-level detached homes, east of I-17 on the site where Illumination light show has been held seasonally the past two years.
Status: Completion expected in 2020.
5 Bungalows on Jomax
Gated community to lease 141 single-family, detached homes with one-, two-, or three-bedroom floor plans, from 634 to 1,314 square feet.
Status: Construction underway.
6 Elux at Deer Valley
New construction of 212 free-standing casita-style rentals in Deer Valley. Floorplans range from one- and two-story units between 900‒1,400 square feet.
Status: Groundbreaking slated for June.
7 Sonoran Gate
Taylor Morrison building 255 homes on an isolated parcel amid wide-open spaces with broad vistas, near many trails.
Status: Open since October, 2017; buildout projected for fall 2019.
8 Union Park at Norterra
USAA’s walkable master-planned community of 2,000 homes on 398 acres with a town center and a main street.
Status: Phase I homes began selling in January.
9 Granite Creek Farms
Developer aims to build 173 single-family homes on 47 acres, leaving a 124-acre hillside undeveloped.
Status: Rezoning process in beginning stages with City of Phoenix.
10 Landlocked Site
Owner aims to eventually develop 55 acres of private property, perhaps in a mix of commercial and residential.
Status: Seeking right-of-way from Anthem Community Council.
Lennar purchased 140 acres of state trust land just north of Sonoran Foothills School.
Status: Plans not yet known.
12 MacEwen 480
Taylor Morrison proposes 1,420 homes on 473 acres.
Status: In rezoning process with City of Phoenix. No approval meeting scheduled.
Plan for 170 homes on 55 acres, some in the New River wash.
Status: Rezoning request goes before Phoenix City Council July 3.
14 Farmer’s Insurance
New regional office, opened in 2017, to create 1,000 jobs.
15 HonorHealth Sonoran Medical Center
Full-service hospital with 40 beds and plans to expand to 300, to anchor a health campus with office space, residential and possibly a hotel.
Status: Projected opening in September 2020.
16 HonorHealth Care Center
Plans to offer primary care and medical scans to complement the company’s existing Anthem center.
Status: Construction start date not set.
17 Legacy Sports Arena
Indoor facility for ice skating, basketball, soccer and other sports, with plans for a restaurant and a hotel with pool, by local developer Rob Eaton.
Status: Groundbreaking was in May, completion slated for fall 2020.
18 North Core Development
Vision of North Valley resident Scott McGill to create nightlife driven by non-chain, local-concept restaurants.
Status: Groundbreaking slated for second quarter 2020.
19 Union Park at Norterra
Retail, specialty restaurants and office space planned for a later phase.
Status: No start data announced.
20 USAA IT
Adding 1,000 mostly high-tech jobs to existing 3,800-person NoPho workforce.
21 W.L. Gore
Owns vacant land for future expansion that would add 1,200 jobs to existing NoPho workforce of 600.
Status: Timeline not yet announced.
22 Caurus Academy
New location for the charter’s middle and high school, to serve grades 6-11 in fall 2019, with the first graduating seniors in spring 2021.
Status: Under construction, slated to open in August.
23 DVUSD’s Next School
Deer Valley Unified School District to build a K-8 school to handle expected influx of students from Union Park at Norterra and other developments between Happy Valley and Dove Valley roads.
Status: Per agreement with USAA, construction must begin after the 200th Union Park home closing.