Westcor to Lead Team Planning 12,000 Acres in Southeast Tucson
(Tucson) The Arizona State Land Department today awarded an Urban Planning Permit, as prescribed according to the Arizona Urban Lands Act, to Westcor and its partners, for the purpose of analysis, evaluation and master plan creation for 12,000 acres of State Trust Land in southeast Tucson along the Houghton Road Corridor. This land is the 2nd largest parcel of trust land ever designated for master planning.
Westcor will work in collaboration with the State Land Department and the City of Tucson to begin the master planning process and identify a portion of the land for a first auction, which could be held in approximately one year. The remaining acres will receive continued analysis and entitlement, and be released at subsequent auctions. A wealth of information has already been compiled for portions of the land contained within the permit area, and the goal over the next year will be to incorporate existing planning documents with additional, updated information to produce a unified vision for the entire area. No development will begin on the land until it has been sold to the highest bidder at auction.
“The Arizona Urban Lands Act allows us to work with the planning permittee, Westcor, to thoughtfully plan this land prior to auction, identifying developable parcels, infrastructure needs and a shared community vision,” said Mark Winkleman, Arizona State Land Commissioner. “Planning at this scale will benefit everyone. Working collaboratively, we will create a vision for the future of Southeast Tucson that balances new residential communities, open spaces and economic development opportunities. ”
By law, State Trust lands must be sold or leased for their highest and best appraised use to the highest bidder at public auction. Earning money to support Arizona’s public schools is the primary mission of the Arizona State Land Department, which is accomplished by striking a careful and responsible balance between commercial uses and the preservation of open space for public use. Since the Trust was established, more than $2 billion has been amassed in the schools’ permanent fund.
The Arizona State Land Department has worked closely with the City of Tucson in identifying a comprehensive process to ensure a shared community vision for the Houghton Road Corridor that benefits the area’s immediate neighbors, the City of Tucson and all of Southern Arizona.
“Westcor has expressed its intent to use all previous data gathered, planning efforts and extensive public participation as an important foundation to thoughtfully plan this large community asset that is so important to the Tucson of tomorrow,” said Councilwoman Shirley Scott. “I have long requested and fully support forthcoming efforts by the Arizona State Land Department and Westcor in inviting participation, full discussion and visionary planning to this part of Tucson. I am confident that our combined efforts and through this partnership we will bring to the planning table the many contrasting interests and voices that will make for a first-class plan.”
The City of Tucson recognizes the potential of this new community, and the benefit it will have for all Tucsonians, and has identified this planning area as vital to the long-term future of the Tucson metropolitan area.
"Thoughtfully planned, this Houghton Road Corridor will bring jobs, community resources and many other benefits to our entire city," said Mayor Bob Walkup. "The City of Tucson, the State Land Department, Westcor and our citizens will work together to achieve a greater vision for this area and for our city,” said Mayor Bob Walkup. “Our goal is to plan a fully integrated, functioning community with the highest quality of life and place right here in Tucson. And by working together in a public-private partnership we will bring more resources to the table and accomplish more than any one organization or group could accomplish separately."
The 12,000 acres designated in this urban planning permit border Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Rita Ranch, the University of Arizona Technological Park, Rancho Del Lago, Rocking K Ranch and the Union Pacific Railroad. The parcel also includes sections north and south of I-10 near Houghton Road. Westcor and its partners will solicit input and guidance from representatives of each of these areas, as well as many other stakeholders, in master planning this land.
Westcor brings its history of retail development and master planning, along with that of its parent company, Macerich, and a hand-selected team of industry experts to address all aspects of the project. Westcor’s partners include EDAW, experts in urban design and planning, Jacobs Carter Burgess, experts in transportation engineering, and Wood/Patel, experts in water/wastewater engineering. In addition, Westcor will work with economists, archeologists and many other experts in a comprehensive planning process that recognizes local context and physical opportunities along with responsible, sustainable land use guidelines.
“Our planning team will work to find ways to blend the desert eco-system, population, market-demand projections and regional transportation to generate a community tailored for its unique setting,” said Mitch Stallard, Vice President of Westcor and team leader of this planning project. “From a new city center to small, quiet neighborhoods, we expect the plan will add a vibrant new place to live and work in the Greater-Tucson metropolitan environment.”
The Arizona State Land Department manages 9.3 million acres of Arizona State Trust Land. The proceeds from the sales of this land go to the beneficiaries of the Arizona State Land Trust Permanent Trust Fund, primarily Arizona Common Schools, supporting grades K-12. For more information about the State of Arizona Land Department visit the website or call (602) 542-4621.