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Queen Creek Bus Tour: December 2021 Update

Dec 15, 2021 | Buyers | 0 comments

Newman Realty is focused on providing excellent counsel to our clients. To that end, it is important that we are up to speed on the latest developments in the communities we serve, including Gilbert and Queen Creek. In this update, we will be focusing on Queen Creek. 

We had the opportunity and pleasure of joining the Queen Creek Bus Tour. Bus tours are becoming more common, especially in growing communities, as a resource for educating residents and business leaders about how the city is managing growth as well as the general plan for the future. We’ve participated in bus tours of Gilbert and Chandler, and the tour of Queen Creek was as illuminating as the other tours. It was a sense of deja vu. 

I moved to Gilbert in 1992. At the time, Gilbert was wrestling with how to manage the growth while preserving both its small town feel and agricultural roots. Gilbert did this successfully for decades and became the darling of the East Valley. Recent developments are trending toward micro-urban centers in Gilbert is shifting the small town feel somewhat inevitably, but it remains a worthwhile endeavor.

Queen Creek finds itself facing essentially the same challenges but has the examples of Gilbert and perhaps Chandler to serve as sources of either good or bad inspiration. 

Takeaways from the Queen Creek Bus Tour

There is growth and excitement in Queen Creek and leaders have the experiences of Chandler and Gilbert to reflect on and impact decision making. 

  • Extension of the SR24: State Route 24 comes off Loop 202 and continues East through Mesa just north of the Queen Creek border. Construction will be completed in the summer of 2022 with exit ramps on Meridian, Signal Butte, and Ironwood, providing easier freeway access for most Queen Creek residents. It will also likely afford retail opportunities for Queen Creek and Mesa. Eventually, there will be a North-South freeway running from US60 to I-10 down south of Eloy. No timetable on that one but it is inevitable. SR24 would likely terminate at the new freeway which would serve Florence, Coolidge, and other southern municipalities.  
  • Costco is coming: Costco will build a retail center at Ellsworth and Queen Creek Roads, just south of the Queen Creek Station neighborhood. Unusual for Costco to build away from a freeway so this location is notable.
  • Downtown Queen Creek Redevelopment: Always a challenge for small communities is how to create a vibrant downtown that is still charming and friendly. Queen Creek owns undeveloped parcels of land in the town center area. Some Ellsworth and Ocotillo facing areas have been rezoned to be suitable as commercial properties in the existing structures. The intent is to develop a walkable streetscape with eclectic shopping, dining, and a community-friendly town center. This is about the stage of growth that a heritage town center should be redeveloped, and Queen Creek seems to be taking a reasonable approach to how the area will look including expanding East-West corridors between Ellsworth and Ellsworth Loop. 
  • Hospitality and Tourism: Queen Creek opened its first hotel last year when the Hampton Inn welcomed guests to their new location in Queen Creek Marketplace. Recently, it has been operating at nearly 100% capacity on weekends. This is our season for visitors, after all. Queen Creek attractions include the Queen Creek Olive Mill, Schnepf Farms, and the Horseshoe Park Equestrian Center which holds rodeo and riding competitions. Legacy Sports Park on Ellsworth Road just north of the Mesa/Queen Creek border will bring loads of visitors to the area for a variety of sports tournaments. Another hotel will be in order and sounds like is in the works. Tourism development is an area of focus for the Town as they look for innovative ways to attract visitors.
  • Entertainment: Fat Cats Entertainment Center at Ellsworth and Riggs made its debut in 2020 and offered movies, bowling, games, and laser tag. Dave and Busters is planning to come in near the Queen Creek Marketplace. Residents of Queen Creek have been looking for family-friendly entertainment options and these are welcome additions.
  • Medical: Ironwood Medical Center expanded to accommodate more bed space this modern hospital is well-positioned for future growth. With several acres of raw land available on the surrounding campus expect to see medical offices and continued hospital expansion in the months and years to come. 
  • Residential neighborhoods. Of course, this is our area of expertise. We see a nice mix of communities and home styles coming to the area with builder development in high gear.  Last year the Town issued a record 2000+ building permits and the pace seems unfettered for now. Queen Creek price points have risen in stride with neighboring communities and affordable housing remains a concern for all of metro Phoenix. Look to see zero lot line parcels, townhomes, and multi-family, to compliment some of the larger homes and homesites currently being sold or developed.

In times of rapid growth, municipalities face challenges both in vision and implementation regardless of the community size. This is a very important time in the history of Queen Creek and decisions made today will have an impact long into the future. Everything I saw on the Queen Creek Bus Tour shows town leadership engaged in the process and looking carefully towards the future. It will be interesting to see what the town of Queen Creek looks like 10 years from now.

Until next time, 

Mark Newman

Newman Realty


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