Council approves mixed-use Sunrise Plaza in north Peoria

Mixed use project Sunrise Plaza could break ground later this year. [Submitted map]

Aldi grocer,140 residential units slated for project

By Philip Haldiman
Independent Newsmedia

An 18.6-acre property proposed to be the new home to international grocer Aldi as well as commercial, residential and other retail uses now has a path to breaking ground.

The Peoria City Council approved the rezoning and general plan amendment at its June 19 meeting. It will bring the mixed use project Sunrise Plaza at Lake Pleasant Parkway to the southeast corner of Lake Pleasant Parkway and Happy Valley Road.

The development is projected to break ground in the third quarter of this year. The Peoria Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval earlier this month.

Aldi, Black Rock Coffee Bar and North 40 Grill have signed on as tenants to the commercial component of the property.

The developer  is also working with a salon/spa, a couple fitness concepts and two additional restaurant users for the development.

The residential component proposes 140 units.

Sunrise Plaza will consist of a 8.73-acre commercial and retail center named Sunrise Promenade with two major anchors, one being Aldi, enhanced public space and a “Main Street” entry at center of project. The other component of Sunrise Plaza is a 9.85-acre residential development named Sunrise Village with one and two story buildings, as well as pedestrian access ways to the neighboring commercial and retail amenities. Nearly 25 percent of the total property is planned for open space.

“There is enhanced pavement and kind of a boulevard feel if you will coming in with trees and landscaping and they’ve done some items along Lake Pleasant Parkway,” Peoria City Planner Lorie Dever said. “As you continue through that main street entry area to the center you end up at the public gathering area which is actually between those two anchors, and a pedestrian area that continues on into the residential area.”

Applicant Berry Riddle LLC, on behalf of developers Thompson Thrift and TruVistaDevelopment, is requesting a Minor General Plan Amendment to change the General Plan Land Use designation from Estate Density Residential which allows 0-2 dwelling units per acre with a target density of 1 du/ac, to the Mixed Use land use category.

The applicant is also requesting to rezone the property from the Suburban Ranch Zoning District to the Sunrise Plaza Planned Area Development.

The Sunrise Village community provides additional housing choices for the area and Sunrise Promenade provides convenient retail and commercial shopping opportunities for the residents nearby and within the surrounding area, Ms. Dever said.

“We think this residential product is consistent in terms of, it is single story, two story it fits within the area and they are providing a high quality finish so we think it is appropriate at this location,” Ms. Dever said. “And the amendment constitutes an overall improvement to the city’s General Plan, will better reflect the development needs of the area while accounting for the existing built environment; and will not adversely impact the community as a whole or a portion of the community.”

The planning commission unanimously recommended the cases June 7, however some members of the commission were disappointed that the units will be rentals as opposed to sellable units.

“I think these are sellable items,” Chairman Shawn Hutchinson. “This is the type of community, that while it would be transient, it would be affordable enough to be starter homes for those people just getting started.”

Commissioner Jay Otlewski said he would love to see more developments like Sunrise Plaza throughout Peoria because it is the future and will attract more people.

The counter (to sellable units) is that we don’t have much rental up there,” he said. “This could be a good thing to bring more younger people up there that can’t get that house.”

The city received two emails of concern and one letter of support.

An Aldi grocery store is planned for the above development proposed for Happy Valley Road and Lake Pleasant Parkway. [Submitted rendering]
Commissioner Joanna Conde said she liked the project.

“I think it’s really creative. It looks like a really cool place to live for a young professional who wants maybe have a business in their home,” she said. “It’s a nice alternative rather than just stacking it through with an apartment complex. I can see a lot of shopping and I can see it being quite upscale. I think it’s cool, I  wish I were young enough to live there.”

Aldi grocery store, known for its no-frills affordability, is listed an anchor tenant in the Sunrise Promenade portion of the development. Last year, the grocer announced plans to spend $1.6 billion to remodel 1,300 stores by 2020, and $3.4 billion to expand to 2,500 stores nationwide by the end of 2022. Arizona is included in those plans.

Katie Roe, founder of Upper West Side PHX, said she is supportive of Sunrise Promenade and confident the developer has done their research and has the community’s best interests in mind.

“While residents have varying opinions about Aldi coming to the area, we firmly believe once they see the company has changed it’s concept to focus more on organic and non-GMO products at affordable prices, it will be a welcome addition,” Ms. Row said. “Aside from Aldi, we think the community will be happy with the concepts planned if the developer follows through on them. That being said, our hope is that the city of Peoria will pass the (rezoning and General Plan Amendment) quickly, as time is of the essence to keep tenants interested and feed the desired growth of the community.”

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