development

Buckeye to spend $7M for potential Costco-centered plan

Money will be invested in site infrastructure

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BUCKEYE — In the process of giving details about a major shopping development investment Tuesday, Dave Roderique also answered a $3 million question.

“Costco has not made a formal announcement,” Roderique, the city of Buckeye’s deputy city manager, said during Tuesday’s Buckeye City Council meeting. “But we have a site plan from them, for this location, and it’s under final review.”

Buckeye Mayor Eric Orsborn was among those singing praises of the Buckeye Commons development at Tuesday’s meeting.

He said not only will more groceries help reduce the large food-desert gaps some Buckeye residents must currently cross, but also will bring in much-needed tax revenue to help pay for new Buckeye staff and infrastructure projects.

Orsborn said conservative estimates of how much tax revenue Costco will produce means the city may see about $3 million per year in local revenue alone. The city’s sales tax rate of 3% accounts for almost one-third of the 9.3%, total tax customers pay at stores in Buckeye.

He also mentioned Costco will help draw more retail outlets to Buckeye Crossing and the planned Verrado Marketplace, planned for the north side of Interstate 10 along Verrado Way.

Roderique said the Costco revenue will be just the start of commercial activity in that northeast part of the city.

“Other projects are not nearly as far along, but there will be others,” he said.

EdKey Sequoia Schools is paying the city $900,000 to complete infrastructure improvements along Roosevelt Street. That’s the southern boundary of Buckeye Commons and is where Sequoia Pathfinder Academy is located.

The city’s main action on the Commons project Tuesday was to approve a reimbursement agreement with Sunbelt Holdings, which will put up its own $900,000 to match almost $8 million that’s coming from the city. That will bring the city’s net cost for the project and improvements to about $7 million.

Reimbursement agreements are where Buckeye agrees to pay back developers after they build roads, traffic signals, parking lots, drainage, sidewalks, lighting and water and sewer in a neighborhood. This allows the developer to get started right away, while the city gets roads paved and other improvements quickly, while being able to budget for the reimbursement in a future budget cycle.

The construction deadline for Buckeye Commons, though the city manager can extend it, is March 30, 2023.

Sunbelt Holdings also will construct a traffic signal at the Jackrabbit Trail/Roosevelt Street intersection, paving Roosevelt and making it two main traffic lanes in each direction from Verrado Way to Jackrabbit Trail.

The reimbursement approval took place at the end of one of Buckeye Council’s longer meetings of the year. The lengthy agenda included approval of, without much discussing, a major general plan amendment to create an “employment zone” at MC 85 and Dean Road for what’s called the TGV Rexco/NextGen Amendment.

The unanimous approval gives developers the opportunity to build in “employment zoning” in an area that is mostly farmland now, surrounded by other farmland, housing, a church and a school.

Employment zoning only came to life in Buckeye a few moments before the NextGen item was heard at Tuesday’s meeting. The zoning was created when the council unanimously approved a general plan amendment and creation of two State Route 85 employment zones.

Vice Mayor Craig Huestis put forth a motion for the State Route 85 and employment zone creation with only a quarter-mile housing buffer required for light-industrial land uses.

No one seconded that motion.

A motion was then made to approve the zone and amendment with a half-mile buffer for heavy-industrial land uses, in addition to the quarter mile for light-industrial. All seven council members approved that motion, including Huestis, who said, “With reservations, aye.”

The council also approved a $170.48-per-$100,00-valuation property tax rate and its $520 million fiscal 2023 budget.

The city’s 2023 budget includes more than 50 new city jobs and does not include $21 million reserved for capital improvement projects.

Buckeye, Commons, Costco, site plan, Roosevelt Street, Verrado Way, Verrado, Sunbelt Holdings, Orsborn, Roderique

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