Gilbert’s Agritopia Epicenter is now on target.
The mixed-use, upscale development on the northwestern corner of Ray and Higley roads was initially rebuffed by residents of the master-planned community for its density.
Last week, however, Gilbert’s Design Review Board unanimously approved the project without any public protest.
“We reconfigured it, and there is no opposition,” said developer Joe Johnston, whose family used to farm the land. “We listened to the residents and tried to redesign it in a way to make everybody happy.”
Among the changes were more space between the residential and commercial buildings, and changes to the flow of traffic.
Epicenter, consisting of four mixed-use buildings, will create a town center for Agritopia, Johnston’s popular “village” built around an urban farm. The bottom floors of the buildings will host retail shops focused on dining and health, while the three top floors will be luxury apartments. A beer garden is included in the plan.
The project envelops nearly 22 acres. Construction will begin in about 10 months, with an opening planned in fall 2016.
Johnston said he looked at traditional, mixed-use projects in cosmopolitan cities, including Paris, for inspiration. He sought to create a lively street scene, unique to Arizona, but not so elsewhere.