Huge Development near Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport could Bring Restaurants, Hotels to Industrial Area

Article originally posted on AZ Central on June 23, 2023

An artist's rendering shows the entrance of Gateway East, which is planned to have offices, manufacturing facilities, hotels and restaurants.

A massive development that will include office buildings, restaurants, shops, hotels and large-scale industrial space on 273 acres near the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport got the final nod of approval needed from the city.

The project, called Gateway East, aims to bring new development to southeast Mesa, especially facilities that can bring jobs, like offices and manufacturing space.

The Mesa City Council finalized an agreement on June 19 with the Boyer Company to develop and lease the site. Because of Federal Aviation Administration restrictions, the site, located west of Ellsworth Road and south of Ray Road, cannot be sold, only leased on a long-term basis.

“Demand has only continued to grow,” Chris Brady, Mesa city manager, said of businesses looking to set up manufacturing or other industrial locations near the airport. He said when Gulfstream Aerospace came to Mesa and wanted to locate on the east side of the airport, it was a clear indication that more development needed to occur to accommodate businesses.

Leasing the land also provides long-term revenue for the airport that is unrelated to aeronautics, Brady said, creating additional cash flow on otherwise unused property.

The Boyer Company already has signed its first tenant to the new development. Canada-based Xnrgy Climate Systems will lease space for a manufacturing facility and office at the new development. The company plans to create about 1,200 jobs over five years.

In a company announcement, Xnrgy officials said the warehouse space will cover about 250,000 square feet and the office about 25,000 square feet, with the option to expand to an additional 750,000 square feet. The company manufactures air treatment systems for data centers and industrial buildings. Completion of the first piece is expected next year.

An artist's rendering shows some of the buildings planned at Gateway East, which will total 273 acres of development near the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

Project could bring hotels, restaurants

The Gateway East project also will add new commercial buildings to serve growing residential areas of Eastmark, Cadence and other fast-growing neighborhoods that need retail, restaurants and other services. Brady said some of the ancillary buildings, like the hotels and sit-down restaurants, will benefit both Mesa residents and businesses nearby.

Brady said southeast Mesa residents have demanded more options for shopping and dining, but added that Gateway East is different because it will focus on the aerospace industry and the other uses will complement the business component.

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Brady said the city would like Gateway East to attract companies that will create large numbers of high-paying jobs, unlike some parts of southeast Mesa that have attracted massive data centers, which bring a large capital investment but not very many jobs.

The demand for hotels already is strong in the area, Brady said. Despite financial troubles, Legacy Park’s sports tournaments and events have created high demand for hotels and food nearby. Legacy Park is just southeast of Gateway East.

Eventually, the city and the airport authority plan to build passenger terminals on the east side of the airport, to accommodate growth and new flights, Brady said. That is a long-term plan, but business growth and demand at Gateway East could move the process forward faster.

Mesa City Councilmember Scott Somers, whose district includes the site, said the planning is a long-term, collaborative effort, which also will eventually bring growth to the airport, with the goal to add flights and open a modern terminal.

Somers said he was glad the city chose Boyer to develop the Gateway East site. Full build-out likely will take decades, and having a long-term partner with strong financing will help keep the development on track.

Boyer has developed several other projects in the Valley, including several office developments along Tempe Town Lake.

Somers said he would like to see development at Gateway East that supports the businesses, the airport and the neighborhoods.

“There is tremendous demand for commercial development in the Eastmark and Cadence area,” Somers said.