Things are taking shape on City North at Desert Ridge after new ownership took over last year. Last summer, Crown Realty & Development announced construction activity to begin on the almost 100-acre lot.

Construction is set to add two million square feet of office space and other mixed uses as well as 2,200 multi-family units to this prime northeast Phoenix location. The property that surrounds High Street’s retail, office and residential community near the Loop 101 and 56th Street is currently in its first phase and is set to include a number of restaurants including one from high-profile restaurateur and now hotelier Sam Fox, Blanco Tacos & Tequila, and a dual-branded hotel by real estate developer Brian Frakes.

As part of the deal, CEO of Crown Realty & Development Robert Flaxman, the master developer of City North and thousands of acres in north Phoenix, says the company plans to sell eight acres to Frakes’ company, Common Bond Development Group. That parcel is near 56th Street and a new street that will be called City North Boulevard. While still in the early planning stages, Frakes says his company is scheduled to develop 22,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and will also develop a dual-branded hotel with a total of 240 rooms.

The new Blanco Tacos & Tequila will be a departure from the brand’s other locations. Fox Restaurant Concepts latest Blanco will be a large-format restaurant totaling 10,000 square feet. Common Bond also wants to identify two additional high-quality restaurant and retail concepts to add to the development.

In a recent interview Frakes, who is also assisting Fox develop the boutique hotel in the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix, says the hotel will be branded but did not reveal under what flags it will operate under. Construction on Common Bond’s retail and restaurant project is set to begin at the end of 2020 and be finished by the fall of 2021, with the completion of the hotel currently slated for spring of 2022. Calling the development a “city within a city,” Frakes says that there will be so much going on in the area and that they are “part of a greater sum.”

Longtime successful restaurateur Sam Fox added hotelier to his resume last year with not only the announcement of his sale of Fox Restaurant Concepts (FRC) to the Cheesecake Factory Inc. for close to $310 million (with FRC continuing to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary and Fox maintaining leadership of the company) but also news of his plans to build his first boutique hotel at the very prime location of 44th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix.

This is also not the first time Franks and Fox are teaming up for a development project — the two have collaborated on The Yard in Tempe, Gilbert and Tucson. Meanwhile, nearby residents will wait patiently for more updates as this area has long been in need of development and with the powerhouses that are now at the helm, we are excited to see what the future holds for this “city within a city”

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