Plans to build two multistory office buildings and shops near downtown Chandler could bring more employment to an area dominated by retail stores.
Meridian West Development’s plans include 360,000 square feet of office space and more than half a dozen buildings for stores, restaurants and banks. It would sit on 45 acres at the northwest corner of Arizona Avenue and Loop 202.
The project, called AZ 202, is preferable to another major retail center, because employment-based development is lacking in the area, city planner Bill Dermody said.
“This concept is exactly what we envisioned for this corner,” Dermody said. “It’s important to have a more diverse downtown.”
A hotel is also in the works for the development, which will likely cost in the $75 million range, Meridian CEO Greg Gienko said.
The company hopes to start construction by the end of 2007 with the first office building opening as early as next summer.
The hotel will likely have from 140 to 180 rooms, but Gienko declined to comment on what hotel chain may sign on because the company is in negotiations.
Access to the freeway and the surrounding community makes the location ideal for an office project, allowing Meridian to tap Chandler’s highlyeducated workforce and Pinal County’s growing population, Gienko said.
“These people have to work somewhere,” he said.
The company is also working on another project with office, retail and hotel elements at the northwest corner of Cooper Road and Loop 202.
There’s demand for topquality office projects with Chandler’s Class A office space vacancy rate at nearly zero, said Laurel Lewis, vice president at commercial brokerage Grubb & Ellis.
Meridian will face tough competition when new developments begin opening, Lewis said. More than 1.3 million square feet of office space is scheduled to open in Chandler in the next couple of years.
Major office projects are planned in the Chandler Airpark area and along Price Road near where Loop 101 meets the Santan Freeway.
There may be a glut of space at first, but the area’s long-term outlook is good, Lewis said.
“(Meridian’s development) is going to be successful just because the project is good looking, and it’s a good location,” Lewis said.
Chandler’s Planning and Zoning Commission will vote on whether to approve preliminary plans for the AZ 202 development on Wednesday.
It’s an exciting time in Chandler, said city economic development specialist
“We’re seeing all of these projects that we’ve worked on for so long coming out of the ground,” Mackay said.