Queen Creek’s plans for a commercial town center are taking shape. More than a million square feet of retail and commercial development are under construction near the developing Ellsworth Loop Road in the heart of Queen Creek.
As those projects hum along, town officials are looking forward to a vision being realized and healthier coffers.
“It’s an exciting time,” said Doreen Cott, the town’s economic development director.
“The vision for the town center is coming to fruition. It was always intended to be the economic core, and with all that is happening, it will be.”
About a dozen commercial developments as well as some apartment and housing developments will make up the town center along with the town’s municipal complex and the new Queen Creek library.
“It’s different every day,” Cott said. “There’s been significant progress on Ellsworth Loop Road, and we’re seeing significant square footage with the two larger projects.”
Those two larger projects, Queen Creek Marketplace and the Cornerstone at Queen Creek developments, will include a Super Target, Wal-Mart Supercenter, SteinMart, Ulta, Kohl’s, Tilly’s, Old Navy, Sports Chalet, Petco, Staples, Cost Plus World Market and other retailers.
“We’ll see about 1.5 million square feet of new commercial development in the town center,” Cott said. “Just in Vestar and Cornerstone (at Queen Creek) alone, we’ll see 1.2 million square feet.”
Kristi Mullenaux, who lives in the unincorporated area of Queen Creek, is excited over the shopping opportunities but is also pleased to see more commercial development near her husband’s dental practice, Queen Creek Dental.
“I think it’s going to bring in a lot of new businesses with these businesses being there,” she said. “I’m really excited about it.”
Queen Creek Village Center, on the northeast corner of Ellsworth and Ocotillo roads, is the first of the new shopping centers to open, offering more than 57,000 square feet of dining and shopping space.
There are also professional plazas being developed in the area that are bringing in medical offices and businesses.
“There are plans for pretty much all of that land on the north side of Ocotillo,” Cott said. “We’ll really start focusing on the south side of Ocotillo now.”
Cott said development of the Ellsworth Loop Road has been essential to selling and growing the town’s commercial core.
“Retail developers look at rooftops and traffic counts,” Cott said. “This new road will allow traffic for the residents of Queen Creek as well as people coming in from Pinal County to come in and shop. That is significant to the success of the town center.”
For the Queen Creek Marketplace and Cornerstone projects, town officials estimate collecting approximately $5 per square foot in sales tax revenue each month, with half of that $5 going back to the developer in repayment for construction of Ellsworth Loop Road and other improvements.
“We’ve had so much sales tax leakage with what development has occurred in Gilbert and Pinal County,” Cott said. “Now we’ll be able to keep that in the community and have the convenience of shopping closer to home.”
Mullenaux, who has lived in the Queen Creek area for almost three years, said she’s glad she won’t have to drive so far to shop.
“I’ll get to spend more time with my kids and my family,” she said.
“A lot of the times I drive to shopping on Power Road or the SanTan Village shopping center in Gilbert. It will be neat to see our tax dollars used to improve our communities instead of being used in other communities.”