Sustainable, Mixed-Use Master Planned Community Coming to Mesa

Bernards has been slated as one of several general contractors to build the new 2,400-acre master-planned community of Eastmark in Mesa, Ariz.

Mesa, Ariz.—Bernards has been slated as one of several general contractors to build the new 2,400-acre master-planned community of Eastmark in Mesa, Ariz.

The Eastmark project combines residential, retail, tourism, recreation and employment into one sustainable, self-contained, multi-phase community. Eastmark is envisioned as a model for 21st Century desert urbanism.

Strategically located in the East Valley at the center of the Gateway area, Eastmark is envisioned to be a future economic catalyst for the entire region.

It will offer a residential hub with interconnected neighborhoods, and will provide educational resources and active centers of commerce. The development encompasses five square miles on what was formerly the General Motors Desert Proving Grounds, where GM vehicles were tested for durability, handling and emissions for just over a half-century, starting in 1953.

The site features access to major regional highways, to the nearby Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and to the campuses of three institutions of higher learning. They are Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus, Mesa Community College and Gilbert-Chandler Community College.

The Gateway area is on its way to emerging as one of the region’s major job centers. An estimated 100,000 jobs will be created in technology, aviation, business and education by year 2030.

First Solar is building a solar module manufacturing plant at Eastmark, and Nashville-based Gaylord Entertainment plans to build a destination resort, retail and convention center at the master-planned development’s core. Westcor, the region’s top retail developer/operator, is involved in future retail planning at Eastmark, and there are plans for an 18-hole Tom Fazio golf course.

The initial residential phase calls for 700 single-family homes. “Future phases are entitled with great flexibility, and many would be ideal for multifamily housing, which also expands the community and encourages walking and social interaction,” Dea McDonald, senior vice president of master developer DMB Associates Inc. and general manager of Eastmark, tells MHN.

Grading operations of the first 11 neighborhoods in Eastmark will be overseen by Mike Rock, vice president of Bernards’ Phoenix office. Bernards, with five offices in the Southwest, is a nationally ranked builder selected for the project in part due to the relationship DMB Associates Inc. has enjoyed with Rock, a LEED accredited professional who recently joined Bernards.

Another consideration leading to the selection is Bernards’ reputation as a quality sustainable builder. Carl McFarland, the company’s director of operations, and Tom Harrison, director of client development, comprise a team responsible for projects in several Midwest and Southwest states. Among those projects is a $75 million renovation and expansion in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

“We are still in the middle of an economy that is recovering,” McDonald says. “Luckily, this area continues to recover faster than some other regions, but there are challenges to developing a community of this scale and scope.

“DMB has been actively pursuing employers for Eastmark over the past several years, and has had impressive successes. We are continuing to work with local, state and regional agencies to bring new employers to Eastmark and the East Valley.”