Plans for Gilbert’s downtown Heritage North move forward

A huge development planned to bring a mix of rentals, retail stores and a hotel to downtown Gilbert is moving forward. But the project, which originally planned to start construction in 2020, still has some way to go before it is built.

In January, city council approved a necessary zoning change for the project, dubbed Heritage North. The city’s redevelopment commission on Wednesday recommended city leaders approve conditional use permits, which allow the development to have features not found elsewhere in downtown Gilbert, such as residential units on the ground floor and a hotel.

The project still needs to get design approval and more permits before it can be built.

Plans for the project, which sits on city-owned land south of Juniper Avenue between Ash Street and Gilbert Road, include:

  • Build an anchor at the northern end of the Heritage District, what Gilbert calls his downtown.
  • 288 rental units, with terraces overlooking Juniper Avenue or Ash Street.
  • A 100-room hotel with a “Heritage District” sign on the roof and a rooftop swimming pool.
  • A car park with nearly 800 spaces, an office building, three retail buildings and a building that can accommodate a mix of uses.

The site is a largely vacant dirt lot, except for a recently closed Burger King, which developer LGE Design Build has purchased and plans to demolish.

LGE Design Build designed the popular bar Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row in downtown Gilbert, a stone’s throw from where the Heritage North project is planned.

At a recent city council meeting, Mayor Brigette Peterson called the project “incredible.”

“I’m so excited to see it come to fruition,” she said. “It really is the gateway to our heritage district.”

Plans for this project date back to 2018

In 2018, Gilbert officials drew up plans for this site in a Heritage District Redevelopment Plan, signaling that the town center needed something at its northern end to accommodate visitors to downtown.

They signed on to this specific project in mid-2019, hoping it would launch as soon as 2020.

Plans have changed a lot since then.

Original plans called for the Burger King at Gilbert Road and Juniper Avenue to remain in operation. The plans also called for fewer apartments and more hotel rooms.

Huellmantel and city council members at a meeting in January said the extra time only made the project stronger.

Leaders are looking for ways to keep downtown Gilbert busy all day

Heritage North’s plans are part of a strategy to stimulate daytime activity in downtown Gilbert.

The southeast suburb of Phoenix has established itself as a nightlife destination for the East Valley. It has trendy restaurants and bars, but some leaders want to see more in terms of shopping and entertainment.

“Anyone would tell you it was downtown, there’s a need for other things to do, whether it’s retail or entertainment,” Peterson previously told The Arizona Republic. “When you’re waiting 45 minutes to get into a restaurant, wouldn’t it be nice to have a few stores to walk through?”

Contact reporter Joshua Bowling at [email protected] or 602-444-8138. Follow him on Twitter @MrJoshuaBowling.

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