Marana may grow northward - Tucson Local Media: News

Marana may grow northward

Pinal County has land, water, transportation

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Posted: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 3:00 am

A growing interest in crossing county lines from Pima into Pinal County was the center of discussion June 15.

Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson was one of three keynote speakers at a breakfast hosted by the Metropolitan Pima Alliance. Davidson joined John Ward of Pulte Homes and Ben Belkin of Walton International in a conversation that detailed the heightened interest in moving northwest into Pinal County.

Ward, the manager for land planning for Pulte, updated the group of developers, Realtors, elected officials and business owners on Red Rock Villages, a 3,900-home development about an hour north of downtown Tucson and an hour south of Chandler. Red Rock Villages currently has 550 homes. About 150 plats are completed and awaiting buyers.

Ward said Red Rock’s location is unique because it provides a rural setting with good schools and community parks.

The project got under way in 2006. Ward said to his surprise about 80 percent of the current residents are from the Tucson market, while 20 percent are from the Phoenix market.

Davidson said these numbers are promising as Marana continues to create a general development plan that calls for the annexation of more land in Pinal County.

The Town of Marana has about 18 miles of land along Interstate 10.

“Marana is positioned very well to expand,” Davidson said.

While Davidson said the plan includes bringing Red Rock Village into city limits if residents permit, another major area of focus is the Pinal Air Park.

With the park’s runway capabilities to bring in larger jets, and the possibilities of starting a shipping center, Davidson said the opportunities are “amazing” for the region if done correctly.

Davidson said town officials are continually meeting with Pinal County officials, and with the water and sewer availability, moving northwest is in the town’s best interest.

Belkin explained that Walton International wants to invest in the land situated in the path of growth, and Pinal County is a target.

Besides I-10 running through the center of Pinal County, Belkin said the county also has the railroad and an abundant water supply that will entice commercial and residential developers.

Walton International currently has about 9,000 acres in Arizona. It is also investing in land in Georgia, Texas and Washington D.C.

The competitive factor is also helping Pinal County.

Belkin said Pinal County benefits from housing affordability, a transportation system that is competitive with California, good infrastructure and the strategic location.

When asked why investors are looking more in Pinal County instead of Pima County, Belkin said land availability is the issue. Pima County no longer has the land availability in prime locations.

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