Roads And Returns Pass By Desert Troon’s Marana Investment: Threaten To Sue

Marana Road plan jeopardizes major shopping development land owned by Desert Troon and the Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System pension

Story Highlights:

  • A change to the alignment of an old farm road has two developers in northwest Marana considering legal options.
  • The Marana Town Council approved a realignment plan that would eventually route traffic along Marana Road away from Desert Troon’s proprty, just west of Interstate 10.
  • Attorney Jordan Rose, Desert Troon’s and/ or Cardon’s counsel, says Desert Troon and/ or Cardon has considered suing the Town of Marana if the town moves forward with realignment.
  • In a letter to the Town Council, Rose wrote: “We are hopeful that we will be able to work together to find a solution that achieves the town’s goals while not damaging current partners’ investment in the community.”
  • Councilwoman Roxanne Ziegler said immediately after the vote she felt bullied by letters from the developers threatening legal action. “It is a little bit disingenuous to threaten us with this and that,” Ziegler said.

Bully – April 29, 2015

Developers are threatening to scrap plans for a regional shopping center on Marana’s northwest side over the alignment of a road near Interstate 10. A Marana Town Council vote on Tuesday could eventually cost the town millions of dollars, between lost sales tax revenues if plans for the development do not move forward, and the forfeiting of developer contributions to the road’s improvement even if the center is built. The 117-acre mixed-use development would be along the north side of Marana Road just west of Interstate 10, on land owned by the Cardon Group and Desert Troon. Six members of the council — with only Councilman Herb Kai dissenting — opted to realign a much-widened Marana Road so traffic coming off the Interstate 10 interchange would curve well to the south of where the existing two-lane Marana Road now runs, shifting it away from the planned shopping center. Town officials say the new realignment would put more traffic along Tangerine Farms Road, linking traffic directly to the Gladden Farms residential development and the town’s Heritage River Park. Marana Unified School District also has plans to build a new high school and a performance center off Tangerine Farms Road. Adam Trenk, an attorney representing the Cardon Group, one of the developers, said he was extremely disappointed with the town council’s decision. “The viability of these projects will suffer,” Trenk predicted. The developers have had an agreement with Marana for more than five years to help pay to widen the road to handle more than 55,000 trips a day that would be generated by the new shopping center, in anticipation the road would follow the existing alignment next to their property. Trenk said pre-existing legal agreements reached with the town to pay for road improvements and giving right-of-way for utilities were likely voided by Tuesday’s decision. Councilwoman Roxanne Ziegler said immediately after the vote she felt bullied by letters from the developers threatening legal action. “It is a little bit disingenuous to threaten us with this and that,” Ziegler said. She said the town has a good track record of working with the business community and developers. Mentioning Walmart as a potential tenant in the proposed retail center, she said the site is well placed for future growth in northwest Marana. If they build supermarkets or big box stores, she said, residents will flock to the location. A developer clarified during the meeting that no big box retailers have yet signed contracts to locate in the proposed center. Marana Mayor Ed Honea said the town could not afford to delay a decision on the realignment, noting the town has discussed these plans on the books for nearly two years. Honea said the town also has an urgent need to address nearby traffic problems near the Marana Road exit, where there have been several accidents close to a McDonald’s. The mayor said the town could break ground as early as July but the council needs to finalize the plans so the construction this summer will fit into long-range plans.

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