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How Laveen development could impact future projects across Phoenix

A compromise over a major development in southwest Phoenix could impact future projects in the city.

For years, neighbors fought a nearly 300-acre development next to South Mountain Park, Loop 202 and the Gila River Indian Community.

“From day one, this really has been about density,” resident John Bzdel told city council members.

The developer wants to build 2,200 housing units. Last week, the City Council approved 1,200 with more to come if the developer brings retail and restaurants, a Level 1 trauma hospital and age-restricted housing for older residents.

Councilwoman Kesha Hodge Washington, who represents the area, orchestrated the incentive-based compromise.

“It includes the commercial that Laveen desperately wants. It includes the residential options. Hopefully they will bring some townhomes to our area, which is another variety of housing we need in this area,” she said.

The developer’s representative and residents, including JoAnne Jenson, praised Hodge Washington’s efforts.

“I really do believe that it's going to enhance the quality of life in Levine,” she said. “I'm very interested in the incentive program, which I think is very creative. And I imagined that it may be one of the first times we've seen it, but it may not be the last.”

Mayor Kate Gallego said, “It is pretty unusual to have so many different carrots to achieve community and I think it may be something that we use more and more often.”

Plans also include a resort, an electric vehicle auto mall to be built close to the freeway with shade structures and cool pavement to mitigate the heat island effect.

Here’s the Gila Foothills housing compromise that allows the developer to get to 2,200 units:

  • 1,200 units by right
  • Level 1 Trauma Hospital: 500 units
  • Restaurants and Retail greater than 15 acres: 250 units
  • Senior Housing (55 plus): 150 units
  • Platted (for sale, not rent) townhomes: 100 units
As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.