Phoenix-based developer Vestar has announced plans for a new grocery-anchored commercial center in the fast-growing Desert Ridge area, slated to span nearly 140,000 square feet.

The proposed development will include a 96,000-square-foot grocery store, 28,900 square feet dedicated to shops, and 13,000 square feet of retail pads. Situated 17 miles southeast of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. project, the center will occupy the southwest corner of Deer Valley Road and Black Mountain Boulevard, adjacent to Pinnacle High School.

In a recent meeting with Pinnacle High School authorities, Vestar emphasized prioritizing student safety and prospective center patrons. “That was one of the comments that came up during our meeting with the superintendent and principal — to better the site plans so we can ensure the safety of the neighboring students and hopeful patrons of the center,” a Vestar representative commented.

While the identity of the grocery tenant remains undecided, options include Safeway, Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, or Fry’s. The new center aims to serve an area with limited grocery options. Currently, Albertson’s, located at Vestar’s Desert Ridge Marketplace, is the sole grocery store covering a 21-square-mile expanse north of the Loop 101 and east of Interstate 17. Traveling further north reveals only a Fry’s and Safeway in Cave Creek.

However, due to zoning requirements, the grocery store can’t exceed 99,000 square feet. This restriction prevents the establishment of big-box retailers like Target or Walmart in the area.

The project’s announcement has stirred mixed reactions among locals. While some residents oppose the development, others voice support, especially given Vestar’s commitment to local infrastructure improvements. The developer has pledged over $5 million for off-site street enhancements, encompassing the expansion of Mayo Boulevard with two lanes in each direction. The improvements will also feature dedicated turn lanes, a 24-foot-wide landscaped median, a wrought-iron median fence, and a lighted pedestrian crossway to ensure community safety.

As indicated in city records, Phoenix’s planning commission will cast their vote on the project come November 2.