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Friday, August 18, 2017

Developer Eyes Land Adjacent to The Farm for Mixed-Use Center

Although T. Charles Hirshon and his wife have visited Phoenix many times during the past 10 years, it wasn’t until seeing the southwest corner of 32nd Street and Southern Avenue that they pursued the idea of developing property at a U.S. location outside of Chicago.

“My wife and I fell in love with the site about two years ago,” remembered Hirshon, president of Chicago-based Manava Inc.

Plans are still in the early stages, but Hirshon is exploring the idea of building a nine-structure, mixed-use development called The Village Center at South Mountain at the intersection. The first phase would include an assortment of retail housed on the ground floor of several buildings, with office space on the upper level. The second phase would primarily entail office space on the west end of the development.

Hirshon has been working with Wayne Smith, owner of The Farm at South Mountain, to come up with a design that complements the surrounding area.

“We don’t want to do the kind of thing you’re seeing on Baseline,” Hirshon said. “We’re really trying to integrate ourselves using The Farm as our model.”

He describes the current concept as having an “Arizona rural farm look and feel.”

“I can only say we’re very grateful because they’ve been very willing to not cram something down our throats, but work with the area,” Smith said.

According to Smith, the 10-acre site was slated for offices and some commercial tenants in the early 1990s, but financing didn’t get approved and the project was dropped. Since then, plans for multi-tenant housing have been considered, but they didn’t tie in well with the mixed-use agricultural surroundings.

Although the retail components at The Village Center at South Mountain are still being determined, Hirshon anticipates a mix of boutique-type stores with a couple of anchor tenants. He is also exploring the idea of including some type of farmer’s market.

A timeline for construction is still uncertain, as plans still need to be submitted to the City of Phoenix for approval. In addition, Hirshon is still putting an investment structure in place.

“We’ve been taking our time,” he added. “The key today, especially in this economic environment, is to take the time to do something great, which has always been our intent – to be mindful of the neighborhood and what they want.”

Other projects in the Manava portfolio include four developments in Chicago and two in Tahiti.

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