Agritopia in Gilbert Breaks Ground on High-end Apartments with Makers Space, Restaurants, Shops at Epicenter

Article originally posted on AZ Central on January 9, 2020

A rendering of the new Epicenter mixed-use development in Gilbert's Agritopia.

With shovels in the ground and cranes in the air, developers broke ground on Thursday on the final piece of development that will bring more restaurants, apartments, a fitness studio and other retailers to Agritopia, a unique master-planned community in Gilbert.

Agritopia has gained national acclaim for combining its agricultural roots with modern amenities, from an urban farm to trendy restaurants.

The final piece of the community is Epicenter, a high-end residential and retail destination in the downtown core.

Epicenter will feature two, four-story buildings with more than 49,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 320 luxury apartments above.

“This corner will be such an incredible part of our community long into the future for the next 100 years and beyond, and the legacy will continue,” Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels said, referencing Gilbert’s 2020 centennial year.

Father-son duo Joe and William Johnston, who are behind the creation of Agritopia, led the speeches and dirt-turning.

Epicenter is scheduled to open in fall 2021 at 3000 E. Ray Road in Gilbert.

From Gadzooks to Matt’s Big Breakfast

Epicenter will be the “capstone” project for Agritopia, which sprawls across 166 acres near Higley and Ray roads that was previously the Johnston family farm.

The Johnston family has owned the land for 60 years, with the past 20 years focused on creating Agritopia as “village life for all ages,” Joe Johnston said.

Agritopia has an 11-acre organic farm and homes have low fences, front porches and other features to encourage neighborly living.

Joe Johnston, local entrepreneur and founder of Johnston and Co., speaks at Epicenter's groundbreaking in Agritopia on Jan. 9, 2020. To his left are Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri and Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels.

Joe Johnston, local entrepreneur and founder of Johnston and Co., speaks at Epicenter’s groundbreaking in Agritopia on Jan. 9, 2020. To his left are Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri and Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels.

Epicenter, which has always been in the plans, will “wrap everything up in a nice bow and create the downtown we wanted for Agritopia,” William Johnston previously told The Arizona Republic.

The development aims to create a “health-focused, walkable environment.”

Among the retailers planning to open in Epicenter are:

  • Matt’s Big Breakfast, a popular Phoenix-based restaurant that has expanded Valley-wide.
  • Gadzooks, an enchiladas and soup restaurant with locations in Phoenix and Tempe.
  • Peixoto Coffee, a Chandler-based coffee roaster.
  • Bunky Boutique, a Phoenix-based chic clothing, home and gift store.
  • Wylde Salon and Hooligan’s Barbershop.
  • Vintage Home, a unique home furnishings store.
  • The Fit Collective with FunkFit and Cycle Ave, Gilbert-based fitness studios.

Joe Johnston said the retailers are the “best of Arizona operators” that focus on food, health, lifestyle and personal services.

A restaurant space in Agritopia's soon-to-be-constructed Epicenter.

A restaurant space in Agritopia’s soon-to-be-constructed Epicenter.

Apartments with makers space for residents

At full capacity, the 320 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments will house 1,000 residents. Agritopia is home to approximately 1,600 people on 452 lots, not including residents of its assisted living home, according to William Johnston.

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