Remember Gallery Park?
While far from ready as originally planned, it apparently follows the “I’m not dead yet!” cry from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”
While it remains to be seen if the massive restaurant-and-entertainment center becomes part of the southeast Mesa landscape, the far less-flashy Power 202 Business Park is well under way across the Loop 202 from Gallery Park.
The two projects and under-construction Cannon Beach are changing the landscape of former farmland on the east side of Power, just north of the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.
If all the plans come to fruition, Power Road will be transformed from a just-passing-through artery to a major destination.
The future Cannon Beach is the site of a flurry of activity, with frames of buildings going up on a 37-acre development, highlighted by a “surf lagoon.”
Cole Cannon, who lives in nearby Gilbert, plans to have the Mesa beach and entertainment complex open next summer.
A few hundred feet south, construction crews have been flattening the area, in preparation for building – though the only thing currently on the massive Gallery Park area is a Spencers TV and Appliances.
Councilman Kevin Thompson, who represents District 6, said he has been keeping an eye on Gallery Park.
“I ask once a month for an update on them. Haven’t really heard anything,” Thompson said. He said the pandemic caused the project to “kind of pump their brakes a little bit.”
But, he stressed, “It’s not dead.”
Indeed, recent activity in public meetings shows the project has a strong pulse.
At the end of 2018, the Tribune carried the city’s announcement that “a developer has announced plans for a 40-acre community in Southeast Mesa that it says could generate thousands of new jobs – and residents – once it’s completed.
“VIVO Partners said its Gallery Park, located southeast of the Loop 202 Freeway and Power Road, will offer people an opportunity to ‘dine, shop, work and reside at this morning-to-night destination while strolling through ever-evolving art installations,’” the city and developer promised.
They also promised a unique mixed-use development that will showcase “an eclectic art-walk experience” that includes “wall murals, exterior fixed and interactive art installations, and revolving art displays featuring emerging local artists creating their new pieces live on site.”
Office buildings will be required – and the hotels encouraged – to display art within their lobbies while restaurants “will also be strongly encouraged” to display art that’s compatible with their brands, the developer said.
The project, though delayed, is still in the works – apparently.
Last month, the Planning and Zoning Board heard a request for “Gallery Park Replat 2.”
The site is in District 6, north of Ray Road on the east side of Power Road near the Loop 202.
In the 2018 story, Jose Pombo of VIVO Development Partners told the Tribune, “I have friends, family and two business partners who all live in the Southeast Valley and are tired of driving 30 to 60 minutes to find culinary-inspired places to eat next to great, energetic gathering spaces.
“Gallery Park will be a first-of-its-kind social destination that weaves art within a curated mix of tenants to create a genuinely cool vibe that Southeast Valley residents have been craving.”
The website gallerypark.com is a bit outdated, stating the project will be ready in the first quarter – of 2020.
“Gallery Park will bring Class A office space, two hotels, luxury apartments, restaurants, retail and entertainment to the Southeast Valley,” the website says.
In March, the city Planning Department “administratively approved” Pombo’s request “to construct all driveways into Gallery Park from Power Road arterial and extend utilities to the first north/south driveway. Improvements include construction of three entry drives, site walls and landscaping from Power Road up to and including first north/south drive aisles east of Power Road.”
Last month, the Planning and Zoning Board approved “Gallery Park’s site plan for adjustments to the building configurations.
At a May 6, 2019, City Council study session, planners presented a request for Gallery Park annexation from Maricopa County and rezoning from agriculture to allow 28 buildings, including apartment buildings with 420 apartment units.
Two years after the annexation, Council approved the Gallery Park zoning request.
Pombo did not return a call from the Tribune requesting information on the project’s process.
“I think they’re wanting to start moving forward on the multifamily (apartments),” Thompson said. “I’m hopeful that more and more things will take off, after that.
“Everything’s zoned, everything’s approved. It’s just a matter of them getting shovels in the ground.
Across the freeway, rather than a “game changer” a la Gallery Park, Power 202 Business Park looks more like what southeast Mesa residents have grown accustomed to: warehouses and other industrial buildings.
According to a brochure pitching the project, “Power 202 Business Park is a state of the art industrial/distribution employment center designed to accommodate a variety of tenants. The newly constructed business park will provide excellent frontage on Power Road & easy access to a Full Diamond Interchange on Loop 202 Freeway.”
Clearly, the developer is targeting transportation companies:
“Other notable features include a variety of bay sizes, clear heights from 24’ to 32’, grade level and dock high loading and abundant 277/480 volt power. This project is currently under construction and will be available for occupancy late summer 2021.”
The Lee and Associates brochure states most of the sprawling project already is leased.
Though hardly as flashy as Gallery Park or Cannon Beach, Thompson said the business park is another welcome addition to southeast Mesa.
“It brings job opportunities to the community,” Thompson said.
“Instead of sending our residents out into other communities to work, we’ll have the offices here.”