Sprawling, Swanky Development Planned for North Phoenix

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usaa building
The USAA complex (in the horizon, seen looking south from Jomax Road) anchors the development that will include residential, retail and additional office space. Photo by Robert Roy Britt

Construction is expected to start later this year on a new development along Norterra Parkway that, if completed as envisioned, would be the swankiest in North PhoenixThink Kierland Commons or Scottsdale Quarter: a trendy Main Street with wide, shaded sidewalks, lofts above retail stores and restaurants, and a town center that is a “hub of activity,” according to planning documents filed with the City of Phoenix. Then, surround the town with a thousand homes and multiple nature trails and paved pathways so those who work at the nearby USAA Phoenix campus at 1 Norterra Drive can bike or walk to work.

UPDATE: In October 2017, the development was named Union Park at Norterra, and construction is underway. Details >>>

This is what USAA Real Estate Company—the real estate investment arm of the company—envisions for the 398 acres between I-17 and 19th Avenue, and Happy Valley and Jomax Roads.

A preliminary artist’s depiction of the USAA Norterra town plan. Design is subject to change. Source: City of Phoenix/USAA Real Estate Company

The mixed-use community “will feature a diverse and distinctive mix of single-family residential, multi-family residential, office, and retail uses,” said John Graham, president and CEO of Sunbelt Holdings, which is managing the development process. The list of amenities includes pocket parks, a community park with sports fields, recreation center with a pool, event areas and a hotel.

The project is “in the final stages of planning and approvals” for Phase 1, which involves just the single-family homes, Graham told In&Out, adding that construction is “anticipated to start later this year.”

The development, as-yet unnamed, would be a residential and retail anchor for the North Phoenix Corridor. It would “create a sense of place and community for its residents, USAA employees, and visitors to the retail shops, offices, and community,” the planning document states.

While Graham wouldn’t say which retail stores are being considered yet, documents include photos of other developments anchored by the likes of Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn.

USAA opened its Norterra complex in 2001 and today, with 3,500 employees, is ranked 44th in Arizona Republic’s list of top employers statewide. The company provides insurance and financial services to active and retired military service members and their families. USAA Real Estate Company was founded in 1982 and manages approximately $17 billion in assets.

Why You Need a Realtor When Buying a New House

usaa norterra town
An image representing what the town might look like, based on preliminary plans. Source: City of Phoenix/USAA Real Estate Company

The Big Picture

Single-family Homes

Up to 1,100, some with front porches, and garages and alleys in back

Live-Work Units

20–30 units including homes with office space, or townhouse above a business space

Residential Lofts

50–70 units above retail stores


800–900 rental units

Hiking/Walking/Biking Paths

3.5 miles

Retail Space

200,000–300,000 square feet
(the Shops at Norterra is 350,000 square feet)

Office Space

500,000–750,000 square feet
(the existing USAA office building is 950,000 square feet)

SOURCE: City of Phoenix; USAA Real Estate Company

The property owned by USAA and earmarked for development. Source: City of Phoenix/USAA Real Estate Company

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Small businesses are the lifeblood of our country and even more so this community. Supporting local businesses during this crisis can help keep our community economically viable. Please strongly consider supporting the businesses below, In&Out Magazine's display advertisers, as well as those in the Classifieds section of the magazine (see the full April 9 issue in PDF form). Many of these businesses have been part of the fabric of this community for two decades, not just serving our professional, service and retail needs but stepping up to support local charities, sports teams and so much more. Tip: If you know you’ll need to schedule a service, consider contacting a local business you trust and paying the standard fee for the deferred service. The links below go to their web sites.

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Robert Roy Britt
NoPho resident Robert Roy Britt has written for In&Out publications since its inception in 2005. Britt began his journalism career in New Jersey newspapers in the early 1990s. He later became a science writer and was editor-in-chief of the online media sites Space.com and Live Science. He has written four novels. .

Robert Roy Britt

NoPho resident Robert Roy Britt has written for In&Out publications since its inception in 2005. Britt began his journalism career in New Jersey newspapers in the early 1990s. He later became a science writer and was editor-in-chief of the online media sites Space.com and Live Science. He has written four novels. .

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