The following are highlights and clarifications from a conversation between Tim Brislin, Vice President of Harvard Investments and developer of Cadence at Gateway and Tom Scanlon, East Valley Tribune Managing Editor regarding the success of Cadence at Gateway.
With nearly 1,500 fast-selling houses built or planned and another 700 rental homes, a place such as Cadence at Gateway would be the big story in most cities. But in southeast Mesa, it is frequently compared to its neighbor Eastmark.
In the interview, Brislin communicated, “Our goal was never to be Eastmark. From the get-go we said we wanted to build something different, and distinguish ourselves within the East Valley, watch their success and make improvements where we could so we weren’t just competing with Eastmark head to head.”
Despite the comparison, Cadence is accelerating like a marching band. And Cadence may beat Eastmark to the punch in offering what southeast Mesa residents have been pining for: A sit-down restaurant at their commercial center called Arrival. Also within Arrival, near the entrance to Cadence, a Mountainside Fitness gym is under construction, likely to open by fall.
Its business neighbors at Arrival at Cadence – just off Ellsworth Road, between Eastmark High School and the State Route 24 – will be “various quick serve and sit-down restaurants, a café, QuikTrip gas and convenience store and neighborhood shops.”
Councilman Kevin Thompson, who represents District 6, has been echoing his constituents’ call for “nice restaurants” – and frustration over the area’s fast-food offerings. So he was pretty excited after meeting with a retail developer hoping to make over the southeast corner of Ray and Ellsworth roads. “What they’re proposing is pretty cool,” Thompson said. “If what they want to do comes to fruition, I think residents there will be pretty happy.”
As far as Thompson sees it, neighbors aren’t begging for French chefs and five-star cuisine.
“You could put a sports bar there, it would go over extremely well,” he said. “You don’t have to have a high-end restaurant, just a place to have a beer and a bite to eat and be able to hang out with your friends.” In a recent Facebook post, Thompson shared pre-submittal applications in his district, including one for Cadence Shops.
“We got involved in 2010 knowing it was a legacy project for us in a phenomenal location,” Brislin said.
On Sept. 10, 2012, Mesa City Council approved annexation of 483 acres and rezoned it as a Planned Community District, then established the Cadence Community Plan. Seven years later, City Council approved a major amendment to the boundaries and removed Development Unit 5. More changes were teed up this year, as outlined in a Jan. 13 letter to Cadence residents from Harvard Investments. It outlined changes in the 20-acred Development Unit 3 at the southwest corner of the Crismon Road and Williams Field Road alignments, to be amended to “allow higher density residential uses, in addition to the currently allowed commercial, employment and mixed-use land uses, to be developed within DU3. “
Council approved the amendment Feb. 22, green-lighting an additional 350 rental units, for a total of 3,850 single-family and rental units. On March 1, council approved 135 houses for the Annex at Cadence, with five commercial lots of Cadence at Gateway North approved by council April 5.
Brislin explained that Cadence at Gateway is a one-of-a-kind community. Built for everyone, it’s packed with a resident-only fitness center, resort-style pools, community center, indoor game room, tennis, volleyball, bocce and basketball courts, sport fields, shaded play areas, ramadas, a dog park and a café-style hang out.
Brislin said one of the things that raises Cadence above the bar is its community club, highlighted by its pool and slides. “People come down to see it, and say, ‘Wow, I can belong to this club, pay $125 a month. It’s like checking into a resort.’ It has a great feel,” Brislin continued.
Selling homes does not seem to be a problem at Cadence. After selling out its first phase of 650 homes, “In Phases 2 and 3 we’ve sold about 474 out of 860 homes,” Brislin said. According to the Cadence at Gateway website, a variety of homes are available — starting in the low $400,000s. Within Cadence, a new gated rental home neighborhood with its own separate amenities has started construction.
Brislin said. “We do have some offerings coming that will be sit-down restaurants, neat cafes, things that aren’t drive-thru restaurants. We have a few more announcements coming which I think the residents will like.”