Developers Bullish on Tribal Land Commercial Projects

By Corina Vanek | Phoenix Business Journal

As opportunities for large-scale developments within the city of Scottsdale have become harder to come by, developers and builders have turned their focus east, to the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, which has quickly become a destination for a slew of commercial projects.

In the past five years, nearly 1.7 million square feet of commercial space has come online on the reservation, according Newmark Knight Frank research. That slice of the Valley is home to Salt River Fields, the spring training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, as well as the Great Wolf Lodge, Medieval Times restaurant and Arizona’s only White Castle burger restaurant.

Development in the corridor has nearly doubled in the past five years, and the area now encompasses about 3.5 million square feet of developed space. The reservation is directly east of Scottsdale, and is bounded by Pima Road on its western edge.

What’s more, the area has also seen some massive office leases in recent years, including McKesson, which leased 395,879 square feet across three buildings and International Cruise and Excursions, which leased 149,544 square feet in the submarket. Buildings on the community have Scottsdale addresses, but have to gain approval from the tribe, not the city.

Even in the face of the COVID-19, which has brought sweeping changes to office and retail real estate, one of the area’s most active developers has chosen to move forward with new projects in the reservation corridor because of his optimism about the area’s long-term future.

“We are still fully committed to the trade area and the market,” Daniel Lupien, principal of Palmer Development said. “We have high hopes for success, not just for our projects but for the neighborhood.”

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