Cotton fields ready for harvesting

On Aug. 14, according to commercial real estate site Vizzda.com, First Industrial Realty Trust bought 840 acres formerly known as Allen Ranches for $70 million.

Glendale recently annexed the former unincorporated Maricopa County land, which stretches from West Bethany Road to the north and West Camelback Road to the south, with Cotton Lane and Citrus Road as east and west borders.

Litchfield Park and Waddell neighbors howled in protest over the plans to develop the sprawling farmland into hundreds of homes and a large industrial project. 

A May 27 Glendale Star co-written editorial by Gary Blandino of Litchfield Park and Brad Melton of Waddell insisted, “The owners of Allen Ranches have hatched a plan to bypass the wishes of Maricopa County and area residents by asking Glendale to annex their property and immediately rezone it to include a much larger commercial footprint than the county-approved plan would permit and a smaller, high-density residential component. Half of the 800 lots in this new plan would be smaller than the smallest residential lot size designation for Maricopa County.”

The protests fell on deaf ears, as Glendale City Council approved the annexation and tentative development plan for about 200 acres of home development and 600 acres of industrial development. Allen Ranches plans a staggering 9 million square feet of warehouse and manufacturing space, with construction costs of more than $50 million, according to a presentation.

Next up for annexation in the “New Frontier” area near Loop 303: Reems Ranch, 260 acres near Reems Road and Northern Avenue, just outside the Luke Air Force Base gates.

A public hearing at the Tuesday, Aug. 25, Glendale City Council meeting was to move forward on  annexing Reems Ranch.

According to agenda material, “The proposed Reems Ranch site was issued a pre-annexation development agreement at the Aug. 27, 2019, city council public hearing. In addition, the proposed annexation was introduced at the Aug 11 city council workshop where the council provided consensus to move the annexation forward.”

Unlike Allen Ranches, which will have both residential and industrial development, its proximity to the air base means Reems Ranch can only have industrial development.

According to a June financial impact study on Reems Ranch development, “The potential types of users include: 1) an unoccupied shell building; 2) leased warehouse; and 3) leased manufacturing.

“It is estimated that the light industrial development in Reems Ranch could support about 2,430 jobs at an average wage of $47,000.”