Gateway Airport opens up 270 acres for development | News | – East Valley Tribune

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Updated: September 8, 2022 @ 11:42 pm
The site will be developed in phases with specific goals set for each stage. (Phoenix Message Gateway Airport Authority)

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is throwing 270-acres of vacant land into the economic development feeding frenzy taking place in Southeast Mesa.
The airport board signed a deal last week with The Boyer Company to develop Gateway East, a large section of land in the northeast corner of the airport set aside by the airport authority for non-aeronautical development.
The trapezoid-shaped parcel between the airport’s runways and US 24 sits across Ellsworth Road from an area that has been growing at full-steam in recent year with developments such as the Eastmark and Cadence master-planned communities and the 320-acre Bell Bank Park sports complex that opened in January.
At its June 21 meeting, the airport’s board of directors approved a 40-year master development agreement with Boyer, headquartered in Salt Lake City.
The deal envisions a mixed-use commercial area developed in three phases at Gateway East, but the airport authority is giving Boyer freedom to hammer out the details of development. 
In Boyer’s tentative master plan for the area, 50% of Gateway East would be devoted to industrial uses, 32% to office, 9.5% to retail and 6.25% to hospitality.
Boyer describes itself on its website as one of the nation’s largest developers in the nation and a full-serve development company and manager of office, retail, industrial, medical, government, and other specialty property types, including schools and residential communities.
It has developed over 43 million square feet of commercial space since 1972 and has over $700 million of additional development in progress.
Gateway East has been set aside for specifically non-aviation businesses. Airports receiving federal grants are allowed to engage in non-aviation development for revenue support of operations.
By the terms of the federal government’s transfer of the property, which was Williams Air Force base until 1994, the airport can’t sell the land, but it can grant development rights to outside parties.
Communications and Government Relations Director Ryan Smith said the revenue generated for the airport from the Gateway East deal would help the airport expand in the future should demand for services increase.
By the terms of Gateway East deal, Boyer will pay the airport 55 cents per square foot for developed lots in addition to a 10% revenue share.
While Gateway East is devoted to non-aeronautical uses, the airport authority has reserved other space on the east side for a future terminal and aviation-related commercial development.
The site will be developed in phases with specific goals set for each stage. (Phoenix Message Gateway Airport Authority)
A large chunk of the remaining east side has already been taken by Gulf Stream Aerospace, which recently broke ground on a $100 million maintenance and repair hub.
With the Gateway East deal signed, Boyer has a greenlight to begin work on the first phase of 110 acres, composed mostly of industrial development with a small percentage of retail.
Boyer’s right to develop the rest of the acreage in Gateway East requires the company to meet benchmarks for development over the next 20 years.
The company’s first development deadline comes five years after the signing of the deal, when 500,000 square feet of development and all phase 1 infrastructure must be complete.
By year 10, the company must have 1.5 million square feet of development in place and all phase 2 infrastructure.
Representatives for Boyer at the meeting were optimistic about Gateway East’s prospects.
“We think it’s a great site; we think it has a great future,” Boyer Project Manager Matt Jensen said.
Jensen said that long before the deal was signed, the company began fielding calls from prospective tenants.
“We’ve been amazed really just over the last probably two months,” Jensen said. “You know, word gets out. We haven’t really been out marketing the property yet, but we’re working on calls. … A lot of good discussions taking place.”
Before Boyer starts putting buildings in, there is “horizontal development” that needs to take place, namely roads and utilities.
The City of Mesa is contributing to the launch of Gateway East by building the first 1,000 feet of a new road accessing the site, called Gateway Boulevard.
The airport and Boyer will share costs on developing the remainder of the road.
Airport Authority Business Development Director Shea Joachim said the road is “well on its way in design and it will be under construction shortly.”
Smith said outside of the financial arrangement and development benchmarks, Boyer has a lot of autonomy to manage the details of Gateway East.
“They’re going to look at what the market is looking for,” Smith said. “Really the sky’s the limit.”

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