Southeast/Pear Park: Slower pace allows infrastructure to catch up
While the economic slowdown may have put the brakes on some plans for building and development in the southeast area, other developer’s plans are proceeding, perhaps a bit slower than they were two years ago.
“We’re being a little more cautious,” says Steve Voytilla with Davidson Homes. “We’re building one home at a time, and then selling it before we start another one.” Davidson Homes is working on the last 10 homes at Autumn Glen, a subdivision where they’ve already built 60 homes. The company has also purchased six acres near 29 Road, with the intention of building 80 townhomes.
“The area is supposed to grow by 25,000 people,” explains Voytilla. “With the 29 Road viaduct, the Parkway, and the new 29 Road Bridge, we just think that area is a great area.”
The company is also getting ready to move forward with a 61-lot subdivision called West Branch. It will be adjacent to an earlier Davidson Homes project, Westland Estates, which is near 30 Road and D Road.
“As soon as things start picking up, and they have a little bit, we want to make sure we’re geared up and ready to go,” says Jeff Fleming, land planner with Davidson Homes.
“We’re trying to be wise and keep the projects that make sense moving forward.” One of the projects that made sense in the southeast area for the company was the Indian Road Commercial site, where Davidson Construction recently built and sold a $600,000 facility to Long Building Environments, a manufacturers representative in the HVAC industry.
“We’d been searching for quite some time,” says Terry Strade, manager for Long. “The site was very centrally located to all customers and the new parkway.” The company’s new location isn’t just a place to do business; it’s a showcase that features the equipment they carry and the new technology that brings energy efficiency to a new level.
“We’ve made a large investment in this market,” says Strade. “We have some of the most energy-efficient, green technology in the area. Our air-cooled system will be more efficient than geo-thermal, our whole building is a showcase to show off the technology.” Down the street, Pro-Build, a national supplier of building materials, also built a large new facility on Riverside Parkway.
The city is moving forward with plans to make that Riverside Parkway location even more convenient with the 29 Road and I-70 B interchange.
“Our intention was to bid the project as one completed project that would go from Riverside Parkway to North Ave,” says Paul Jagim, project engineer for the city. “In April, it became clear that there would be a delay to get the authorization for the bridge over the railroad tracks, so we broke it into multiple bid packages.”
Breaking the bid into smaller pieces was beneficial to two local companies who were able to bid on the projects. Sorter Construction began work on the north phase last week, while United Companies will begin work on the south phase this week.
“With both sides involved, there are the road crews themselves, material suppliers, utility companies, inspectors, about 100 local people involved in the construction of these two phases,” says Jagim.
The delay in building the bridge over the railroad tracks will also enable the money to apply for federal stimulus money to help with the costs. The interchange will be a five-lane roadway, with a center turn lane, bike lanes and sidewalks. The city anticipates that 30,000 vehicles will use the bridge over the railroad tracks once it is complete. In comparison, the traffic count on the 29 Road bridge over the Colorado River was at 10,000 vehicles per day the last time a count was taken in April 2007.
“For as long as the negotiations took, I think both sides view it as a success in terms of us working together,” says Jagim. “We compromised and now have a project that we can both be happy with.”
Even though the southeast area is becoming more accessible for commuters, it remains one of the more affordable areas in the valley for housing. Lot prices at KC Farms, a small subdivision off E and 31 1/2 Road, are just $59,955. New townhomes at Monarch Ridge, a 38-unit development at D and 30 Road, start at $214,900. Upscale homes at Chatfield III, with three-car garages, four bedrooms and over 2,000 square feet, range from $269,000 to $284,000.