December 10th, 2012
Parker Leavitt, The Republic
When Gilbert officials three years ago spoke of a massive mixed-use complex that could someday reshape the town’s slow-developing central business corridor, some may have dismissed it as a pipe dream.
But with Thursday’s unanimous Town Council vote to initiate a $35 million tax-incentive deal for the sprawling, 300-acre project, Rivulon took a meaningful step toward becoming a reality.
The actual economic-incentive agreement will come back to Town Hall on Dec. 20 for further review and a possible vote, but state law required the council to first approve a “notice of intent” to proceed with the deal.
Rivulon, a project by Gainey Ranch developer Nationwide Realty Investors, includes 3.1 million square feet of office space, 500,000 square feet of retail shops and 250-plus hotel rooms, according to a town-staff report.
Gilbert currently has about 3.3 million square feet of existing office space, so Rivulon brings the potential to nearly double the town’s inventory, Economic Development Director Dan Henderson said.
The commercial complex would encompass hundreds of acres bounded by Lindsay and Gilbert roads to the east and west, Pecos Road to the north and Loop 202 to the south. Much of the land is undeveloped, though there are a few homes sprinkled across the area.
A preliminary phase-one site plan depicts a four-story, 120,000-square-foot office building closest to the freeway, two additional two-story office buildings and several other buildings that could house restaurants, small businesses and larger anchor tenants.
To help move the project forward, Nationwide is asking Gilbert to pay for street improvements to roadways adjacent to the complex and several internal streets.
If the agreement is approved, the town will use sales-tax revenue generated by the project to reimburse the developer for the road improvements, according to a town report.
Gilbert will not reimburse the developer until the completion of the 120,000-square-foot office building and at least 250,000 square feet of “pad-ready sites.”
The incentive deal would come with a $35 million maximum payout. By comparison, Gilbert committed to give the developer of its auto mall, which opened in 2007, a rebate on half of the retail-sales tax it generates until 2017, with a cap of $60 million.