Target, Safeway and a Harkins BackLot entertainment complex will be the anchor tenants for the planned Verrado Marketplace with their doors opening by the end of 2025, Phoenix-based Vestar and DMB Associates have confirmed.
The first-of-its-kind shopping center for Buckeye will total 500,000 square feet with a host of retailers, restaurants and amenities at the northwest corner of Verrado Way and Interstate 10, about 30 miles west of downtown Phoenix.
Discount retailers Marshalls, Ross and HomeGoods will also open stores totaling 70,000 square feet at the center. Target will open in a nearly 150,000-square-foot space at the southeast corner of the property and also offer its buy online and pick up at store shopping options.
The new 75,000-square-foot Harkins BackLot — a new concept for the Scottsdale-based movie theater company — will feature a full-service restaurant and bar with a sports viewing arena, arcade games for all ages, a bowling alley and private event space.
Verrado Marketplace will also be developed with a PopJets splash pad and gathering spaces such as a central lawn and stage around the shopping center for community events, holidays, concerts and social activities.
Following the model of Vestar’s Desert Ridge Marketplace and Tempe Marketplace, the Verrado project will also implement the sip and stroll program, which allows adults over 21 to walk around with alcoholic beverages in designated areas.
Construction is expected to start in the summer of 2024 on the retail project, which will add to a growing list of major shopping centers being developed in the West Valley and southeast Valley to catch up with the population growth.
Jeff Axtell, executive vice president of development for Vestar, said the retailer interest for Verrado Marketplace has been “overwhelming” and that compared to other similar-sized municipalities, Buckeye’s shopping options are limited.
“The city of Buckeye has very little retail right now,” Axtell told the Business Journal. “The retailers are looking at this big hole, this big vacuum with all this demand from the people, and all of these people are driving to Surprise or Goodyear or other communities to do their shopping.”
Verrado Marketplace will be modeled as a smaller version of Vestar’s Desert Ridge Marketplace with a major department store, soft goods, entertainment plaza and neighborhood center with a grocery store.
More tenant negotiations underway
Vestar has been working on pre-development work on Verrado Marketplace since early 2022. After they put together their plan, design and concept, their team spent most of 2023 securing tenants, Axtell said.
Through the anchor retailers, the shopping center is now less than half leased up while negotiations for the remaining space are underway.
Ryan Desmond, Charles Skaggs and Justin DiBiase of Western Retail Advisors are the leasing brokers for the project.
Verrado Marketplace is expected to generate more than $50 million in tax revenue to the city of Buckeye over 10 years as well as 1,500 permanent jobs. It’s expected to have a $1.8 billion economic output over 10 years, according to Vestar.
With a new Costco-anchored shopping center and planned hospital campus in the same intersection, Axtell expects the Verrado and I-10 intersection to be one of the “dominant intersection of the whole West Valley.”
“It’s going to be that way for a long time,” he said.
This summer, the city of Buckeye approved a development agreement with Vestar to reimburse the developer up to $3.7 million for a police substation, a public event plaza and other infrastructure, which will be paid through construction sales tax and permit fees.
Vestar also plans to implement energy-efficient building materials, solar power, water harvesting, white “cool” roofs, artificial turf, LED lighting, onsite recycling and composting, drip system landscaping and electric vehicle charging stations at the marketplace.
Vestar will be part of of DMB Associates’ 8,800-acre master-planned community, Verrado, which has more than 6,000 homes with an additional 8,000 planned in Buckeye.
In addition to Verrado Marketplace, Vestar is also developing Vineyard Towne Center, Queen Creek Crossing, Laveen Towne Center and The Shops at Lake Pleasant across the Valley.