Central Phoenix’s building boom is spreading north.

Developers are planning hundreds of new houses and apartments in the North Mountain and Deer Valley areas, including a 31-acre community full of restaurants and retail. A few projects broke ground in May with more slated for the summer.

Stretching from Northern Avenue past Happy Valley Road, the zones are seeing some of the same building trends as the central city, said Alan Stephenson, Phoenix Planning and Development director. Projects are filling in vacant parcels among existing development, or clearing land for new uses.

North Phoenix construction includes more single-family homes than the abundance of condos and apartments in downtown and midtown, Stephenson said, though both reflect people’s desire to live more centrally in a sprawling city.

North Phoenix ‘starving’ for housing and retail

One of the largest projects coming to the area is Trellis on Bell, a mixed-use development at 12th Street and Bell Road.

Plans include nearly 100 homes, restaurants like Raising Cane’s and Kneaders Bakery and more than 300 apartments. Crews recently broke ground on the first phase.

Evergreen Development bought the 31-acre parcel more than a year ago when it was a semiconductor manufacturing plant. A full demolition gave the company the rare opportunity to start from scratch on a large site, said Laura Ortiz, managing principal of Evergreen Development.

Trellis on Bell includes both retail and residential components because the area is “starving for it,” Ortiz said.

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More than six acres of retail and restaurants will start opening this year. About 13.5 acres of the land will be sold to a developer building single-family homes, Ortiz said.

The company also will soon break ground on hundreds of market-rate apartments, with completion anticipated by 2018. Ortiz said many of the tenants could already live in north Phoenix and be looking for an upgrade.

“We expect that a large number of residents come from within the area,” Ortiz said.

Infill developments using passed-over parcels

Developer Encanto Living broke ground on Encanto Moon

Developer Encanto Living broke ground on Encanto Moon Valley (rendering pictured), a 29-home neighborhood near Seventh Street and Thunderbird Road. (Photo: Encanto Living)

Other developments are using small pieces of land that were previously passed over, Stephenson said.

Three Encanto Living projects in the area, for example, will use vacant parcels for dozens of homes inspired by Phoenix’s historic neighborhoods. Owner Justin Johnson said the limited land could be challenging for a larger homebuilder but fits the scale of his projects.

Home designs are named after districts like Coronado and Willo, among others. Color options exceed what’s available in a typical homebuilder’s community, Johnson said.

“We’re trying to make these homes stand out,” Johnson said.

Crews recently broke ground at Encanto Moon Valley, which will have 29 homes near Seventh Street and Thunderbird Road. Two other communities are planned several miles away.

The pockets of north Phoenix are located near major grocery stores and offer some of the walkability of downtown or midtown, Johnson said. The target for the base sales price is under $300,000 to offer entry-level housing, he said.

“You’re still getting a lot of the amenities,” he said.

A new Fry’s Marketplace, revitalized mall

Trellis on Bell, at 12th Street and Bell Road, is a

Trellis on Bell, at 12th Street and Bell Road, is a development that will include both retail and residential components. (Photo: Evergreen Development)

A handful of other retail and residential projects are slated for the area.

Fry’s Marketplace is replacing an existing north Phoenix store with a location near 12th Street and Bell Road. The city is considering a proposal for Metrocenter Mall that would allow more uses for the struggling shopping center, like offices and housing.

Plans filed with the city show a 95-home community called Lookout Mountain Estates near Third Avenue and Greenway Parkway.

Not all neighbors are happy with the incoming developments, though. Longtime resident Bob Stapleton, who lives near the Encanto Moon Valley site, said the city is approving new residential projects that “pack them tighter and stack them higher.”

He has a range of infrastructure concerns with the Moon Valley project, including how close together the houses will be.

“The neighborhood objected strongly,” said Stapleton, spokesman of the Olde Neighborhood, an area group.

But while Phoenix is still seeing growth on its edges, Stephenson said, smaller infill projects can improve existing neighborhoods.

“It helps increase the vitality of that whole area,” Stephenson said.

Published By: Brenna Goth, The Republic | azcentral.com

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