Leasing and Development

Marana's Gladden Farms Back to Life After 2009 Crash


A master-planned community in Marana once a poster child of the housing run-up and crash- is once again bustling with activity.

Four homebuilders have bought 433 lots in Gladden Farms to build a second phase of the community that today boasts an elementary school, a park, splash pad and new-home prices at around $300,000.

In 2009, the development faced foreclosure on more than 600 acres of undeveloped land and homes that once commanded $400,000 were on the market for $160,000.

Dean Wingert, vice president of developer Crown West Land Group, has been involved with Gladden Farms since its inception in 2002, when he worked for Forest City Enterprises.

Crown West bought the property in 2013.

'That change in ownership brought in a renewed commitment to fully develop the community and embrace the needs of the homebuilders,' Wingert said. 'Things didn't change instantly, but the improvement over the past three to four years has been amazing.'

One major change was the decision to sell homebuilders 'shovel ready' lots instead of asking them to put in all of the subdivision infrastructure.

'This approach allows them to focus on what they do best- building and selling great new homes,' Wingert said.

Meritage Homes, Richmond American, KB Home and Lennar Homes are actively building in Gladden Farms.

'Projects like Gladden Farms are in high demand from homebuilders because the developers can make the lot delivery process more efficient and streamlined than in other locations,' said Will White of Land Advisors Organization, who handles the lot sales at Gladden Farms.

'While the one 'soft spot' in the Tucson homebuilding industry is the lack of infrastructure and 'shovel-ready' lots, Gladden Farms doesn't have this problem,' he said. 'Their foresight got them ahead of that issue and they are now being rewarded for it.'


The team that started Gladden Farms 17 years ago is intact today. Wingert, along with OK Rihl and Kelly Penuela, weathered the dark days of the farmland development.

The original owners had cleared land for about 1,750 homes and the first resident moved in in 2004.

But by 2009 only 1,000 homes had been built and many were surrounded by dust and tumbleweeds.

'We had financing in place for the development's infrastructure with a lending subsidiary of General Motors, and they were impacted very heavily by the recession and were looking to get out of every loan on their books,' Wingert said. 'I clearly recall going down to the county courthouse one afternoon to hold off the foreclosure action.'

The community avoided foreclosure by buying up debt from GMAC Financial Services at a negotiated price.

In 2020, Gladden Farms will welcome its 2,000th new homeowner.

'People always have different key reasons that draw them to Gladden Farms but I think primarily it's the extensive open space corridors with the paved trails and landscaping,' Wingert said. 'Being former farmland, Gladden Farms has a different look and feel than your normal Tucson-area community.'

An elementary school within the community, opened in 2016, was a big boost.

'We gave the school district the land and extended roads and utilities to the site early on, but the recession delayed the need for the school longer than expected,' Wingert said.

'I think that all worked to everyone's advantage, though, because when the school district was ready to build a new school they used the new concept of a computer- science immersion program housed in a beautiful modern new facility.'


Kati and Chris Carbonneau bought their home in Gladden Farms in 2006 in one of the completed neighborhoods.

'We looked at houses all over Tucson and liked the community, the bike paths, the green belts and also that it was a little on the outskirts,' Kati Carbonneau said. 'We love the farming community and our house backs up to the cotton fields.'

When the new phase of the development is built out, it will displace a chunk of that scenic farmland, but even so, the couple plans to stay in Gladden Farms with their six children.

'Our family has been raised here,' Kati Carbonneau said. 'We've seen the school be built, we've seen the splash pad built and really love Marana.'

After retirement in 2007, Dee and Ross Walker bought their home in Gladden Farms.

'That first year our house depreciated by $100,000,' Dee Walker said. 'It was an 'Oh, great' moment but that was happening no matter where you went.'

She got involved with the homeowners association and neighbors quickly became family. The couple always had faith that the community would rebound and the amenities would materialize.

'I do enjoy sitting by the pool in summer and am hoping for more things to come in,' Dee Walker said. 'When we bought there was a sign that said Fry's is coming soon but they didn't say how long 'soon' would be.'

Fry's bought an 11-acre site on Tangerine and Lon Adams roads in 2006 and started site improvements in 2007 that halted when the recession hit.

In 2018 Kroger, Fry's parent company, announced plans to scrap the planned store and sell the site following the company's plan to cut back on new stores by 35% and focus on remodels and digital sales.

Wingert said everyone is eager to get a nearby grocery store.

'The recent big increase in our homebuilding activity will, hopefully, push a grocery store forward,' he said, noting that the first phase of Gladden Farms is built out and the 433 homesites bought by builders are in the new phase.

'It's back,' Wingert said, 'to being an area of high demand.'

The original owners of Gladden Farms had cleared out land for about 1,750 homes. By 2009, however, only 1,000 homes had been built and many were surrounded by dust and tumbleweeds.


Seventeen years after starting, Gladden Farms will welcome its 2,000th new homeowner.


A multiuse path rings the homes in the Compass Pointe subdivision along Tangerine Farms Road and Sandby Green Drive in Marana's Gladden Farms housing development.


Building materials line the streets as homes go up along Boll Bloom and Oilseed drives in Gladden Farms' Shadow Glen subdivision.


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Leasing and Development

Tucson Master-Plans Continue to be the “Go-To” Choice for Home Builders

TUCSON, ARIZONA—Home builders continue to reload at a fast pace in master-planned communities.

KB Home recently purchased an additional 85 lots at Gladden Farm Phase II. The 40×120 lots carried a sale price of $1,140 per finished front foot or $3.876 million ($45,600 per finished lot).

Gladden Farms is a 1,350-acre master planned community in northern Marana, just west of Interstate 10 between Tangerine and Moor Roads. KB has built through 138 lots and 69 lots in Gladden.

The developer of Gladden Farms is Crown West (Dean Wingert, manager) and was also the seller.

Will White and John Carrol with Land Advisors of Tucson handled the transaction.

“The region’s master-planned communities are seeing a huge increase in pace and pricing power this year,” said White. “This is fueling the builder need to replace communities at a faster pace than projected. All great signs for the Tucson market.”

Meritage Homes also acquired more lots at La Estancia this week. The additional 47 lots are 40×115 and sold for $1,208 per finished front foot or $2,257,040 ($48,022 per lot).

The developer, Sunbelt Holdings, was the seller.

White and Carrol with Land Advisors also handled this transaction.

“The lot supply shortage in Tucson is being amplified by a much stronger market. These projects are delivering lots on time and efficiently in order for builders to keep up with demand, maintain pipeline and continue to meet growth projections,” according to White. “These larger projects are the focus for Tucson’s builders and will be for several years.”

For more information, White and Carroll should be reached at 520.514.7454.

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Leasing and Development

Thousands of new homes, retail planned on edge of metro Tucson's SW side

The booming housing market in the Tucson area has now reached the farthest west end of possible development.

Developers are planning thousands of new homes next to Ryan Airfield, near Ajo Way and Valencia Road — the farthest west that can be built out in Pima County before bumping up to state trust land.

On the south side of the intersection is a 1,200-acre site owned by two developers with plans for residential, multifamily, retail and office space.

Homebuilders are already active northeast of that intersection, and KB Home has lots under construction just east of Ryan Airfield.

“We expect continued growth in this submarket as buyers are being drawn to the area’s affordability, with prices in the $170,000s and its commuter-friendly location and proximity to amenities,” said Amy McReynolds, president of KB Home Tucson division.

The new and planned homes are drawing more retail to the city’s southwest.

New retailers have been moving into the shopping center west of Interstate 19 on Irvington Road and a regional grocer will be setting up shop on Irvington, just east of I-19.

At Ajo Way and Kinney Road, development continues on a retail center that already includes tenants such as Dairy Queen, Cricket Wireless, Domino’s Pizza and Subway, said broker Jeff Kost with Glenwood Commercial Real Estate.

The Circle K at the intersection recently closed in preparation to be razed for a bigger store with a gas-pump canopy, he said.

O’Reilly Auto Parts is developing a store nearby, and several homebuilders are interested in land around the intersection, which is underserved by restaurants and other retail, Kost said.

“In our opinion,” he said, “a grocer would do very well at this intersection.”

The widening of both Ajo Way and Valencia Road have made the commute to these areas appealing for residential development, said Dean Wingert. He is vice president of Crown West Land Group, which owns the 640-acre Wildflower project near that intersection.

The company’s experience as the original developer of Gladden Farms in Marana shows how improved infrastructure makes areas that once seemed remote an easy commute.

“We have a lot of experience with the whole idea of ‘Who would want to live way the heck out there?’” Wingert said.

He said the Wildflower project will be mostly residential but may include a business park, versus retail, because it doesn’t have a hard corner.

Crown West bought the parcel five years ago in anticipation of the road improvements, and hopes to start moving dirt in the second quarter of 2020.

The neighboring parcel, Sendero Pass, is 570 acres owned by Sunbelt Holdings, which successfully developed the La Estancia community on Wilmot Road and Interstate 10.

Will White, who runs the Tucson office of Land Advisors Organization, worked with both Crown West and Sunbelt on acquisition of the parcels.

“The southwest submarket is coming into its own after many years,” he said. “The large amount of retail services — current and planned — and amenities such as Casino del Sol’s entertainment and golf are all significant for the area.”

The rise in home prices and the fact that homebuilders are still moving product bodes well for these new developments, he said.

“I am expecting pretty big things for this submarket over the next several years,” White said. “It has been over a decade of slow progression in this area, but we expect it to heat up significantly going forward.”

Bob Bambauer, executive vice president of Sunbelt Holdings, agreed that road improvements triggered the start of development.

“We liked the location of Sendero Pass for its accessibility from these arterials and the fact that this submarket is constrained from a future supply of entitled land,” he said. “Another big factor for us was the large amount of retail services within a relatively short drive from the property.

“We think the amenities of this area will continue to grow to serve future residents.”

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Leasing and Development

Crown West Realty Announces Plans for 500,000 SF Industrial Project Known as the Euclid Logistics Center

Spokane Valley, WA – Crown West Realty, LLC is pleased to announce plans for a multi-building project located near the corner of 5th Street and Euclid Avenue within the Spokane Business & Industrial Park (The Park). Plans call for the construction of approximately 500,000 square feet in total which will transform the southeast corner of The Park into a state-of-the-art distribution and logistics center to be known as the Euclid Logistics Center. The first phase will kick off this year and consist of a 120,000 square foot concrete-tilt building featuring 36-foot clear heights, cross-dock capacity, 135-foot truck courts and built to LEED standards. Divcon Construction has been selected as the contractor. The remainder of the project will be built out as the market demands.

Owned and managed by Crown West Realty, The Park is one of the region’s largest employment centers with over 120 resident companies employing in excess of 4,500 people. With approximately 5 million square feet of dock-high and grade-level buildings The Park ranks as one of the largest business and industrial complexes in the country. The expansive inventory, variety of product, ample resources, location and solution-oriented management team make The Park this area’s most flexible and valuable leasing option available.

Crown West Realty is a full-service real estate investment, development, and management firm with offices in New York City, Phoenix, Denver, Tucson, and Spokane, and manages a series of discretionary investment funds which own a nationwide portfolio of office, industrial and agricultural properties and over 9,500 residential lots in Arizona and Nevada.

For more information about this project or any of Crown West Realty’s properties, please contact Dean Stuart at 509-924-1720 or Read More »
Leasing and Development

Spring Update on North Marana Housing Market

North Marana comes into its own

If you haven’t stopped in the North Marana area in the past 5 years, it’s worth a closer look. This area, which is located just west of I-10 northwest of Tucson, is showing some of the best activity in the region and there are no signs of it slowing anytime soon.

Compared with Tucson’s constrained developable land supply, North Marana has plenty of runway to continue to provide homebuilders and developers ample room to grow. Mainly due to its agricultural origins, the area is free of washes and other site constraints that continue to challenge the development of the high desert areas to the east. Infrastructure is abundant in the area which makes it attractive to the developers as the barriers to get larger projects off the ground are considerably less than in other areas of Pima County.

Couple all of this with North Marana’s extremely strong housing statistics and you have a market with momentum that is simply too significant to ignore.

Gladden Farms leads the way
Gladden Farms has enjoyed a strong resurgence over the past 5 years. Historically speaking, Gladden Farms was one of the initial master-planned communities to form during the early 2000’s. It got off to a quick start and quickly ramped up to over 500 sales.

While the downcycle caused things to take a pause, the momentum in 2019 is at back at full-tilt.The community went from 1 to 4 homebuilders in 2016 and has been selling hundreds of lots annually.2018 was one of its best years with the sale of 347 lots.

Most impressive has been the strong pricing power of the community. The average sales price has risen almost $60,000 in the past 3 years and is up over $100,000 since the bottom of the market in 2011. Homebuilders have taken notice; they continue to reload lots at an aggressive pace and in-turn are seeing strong sales and traffic. This should continue as there are (at least) another 400 lots planned to close to homebuilders in 2019.

Will White of Land Advisors (who handles the marketing at Gladden Farms) commented, “The resurgence of this area, led by Gladden Farms, is impressive, but it is not surprising. North Marana is seen as the ‘go-to’ spot for the future growth in Pima County. The areas’ attributes and high-performance are continuing to fuel the demand and attention from builders and homebuyers alike.”

Future Land
And while Gladden Farms has rightfully received much positive acclaim, it is not the only area of north Marana that is getting attention. Currently, there are only a small handful of standalone subdivisions such as Barnett Farms and Cypress Gardens are ready for construction and homebuilders will likely move forward with those in 2019. This is far from enough to satisfy the underlying demand, though, and several larger projects such as the Sanders Grove and Tortolita masterplans – which could supply over 10,000 future lots – are well along the entitlement path and should provide inventory solutions for homebuilders within the next few years.

Part of the desirability of this area can be traced back to 2 interchange access points and great accessibility to I-10. Further, these larger amounts of unconstrained land will be able to be thoughtfully planned and provide infrastructure synergies that are unique to this area. The result will be a well-planned lifestyle and convenience region that is sure to appeal to family homebuyers, retirees, and second homebuyers.

From new schools, fire stations, restaurants, and shopping, north Marana has seen it all over the past few years. The new Gladden Farms elementary school has been a strong addition to the area and comes in addition to the K-8 program already in existence. The new Northwest Fire Station being constructed at Gladden Farms will be a state-of-the-art facility and a welcome addition the neighborhood. There has been a flurry of restaurant activity near the “round-a-bout” are near the Marana interchange in the past 18 months and construction activity is well underway.

Market Share
Currently, approximately 40% of new home permits in Pima County are in the Town of Marana. As absorption continues to increase and new land and communities are opened-up in the north Marana area, experts are estimating that this area alone could be responsible for more than 50% of all homebuilding activity in Pima County.

The Tucson metropolitan area has seen a ‘tightening’ of developable land since the bottom of the market in 2011, and several areas are further constrained by environmental issues, zoning, and governmental lands. In contrast, the north Marana agricultural area is free to continue to capitalize on this opportunity and capture more market share. It has the land to grow and that is a valued commodity in a supply-constrained market.

The north Marana area is home to Meritage Homes, Lennar, Richmond American, LGI, DR Horton and KB Home. Each of these homebuilders have 1-2 communities currently open for sale and, with the impressive sales pace, are on the lookout for additional opportunities. Further, Tucson has several other homebuilders that are not yet active in this area but will likely have it as part of their future growth plans. Simply put, homebuilders are aggressive to be in an area that is having success and has (will have) available lots to develop.

Will White sums it up well, “North Marana is really one of the best answers to the region’s ongoing land problem. The area has experienced landowners that have shown the willingness to accommodate the builders and are open for business. Tucson metro’s job creation is as strong and demand from families and home buyers is high and, by most accounts, is getting higher. North Marana has produced eye-opening stats over the past 3-5 years, and we think that will continue for a very long time. Put all of this together and it makes the homebuilders job a lot easier”.

One thing is certain: if North Marana hasn’t been in the plans for homebuilders, employers, and commercial users in the past, you can bet it will be in the immediate future!

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