Despite a room packed with retail developers and commercial real estate brokers, only Macerich Co. CEO Art Coppola bid Wednesday on 112 acres of state-owned land in northeast Phoenix northwest of Loop 101 and Scottsdale Road.
But don't look for any significant development anytime soon on the land.
Mall giant Macerich and partners agreed to ante up $32 million for the 99-year lease and $67 million more for improvements such as roads, sewer, water and power for the choice lot, a small chunk of the 2,000-acre Paradise Ridge area of the north East Valley.
Coppola's bid was in the name of a group, which included local subsidiary Westcor, WDP and Landmark Land Co. It gives Westcor dibs on developing the property, which the local company has been eyeing for more than a decade.
In 2005, Westcor designed plans for a 1 million-square-foot luxury retail center on the property, dubbed Palisene and slated to debut in 2009.
But all that has changed, Coppola said after landing the land.
The Palisene property is just west of Scottsdale Road and literally across the street from One Scottsdale, the DMB-owned luxury residential-office-retail complex. Recently, DMB took on Westcor as a partner for the retail development of One Scottsdale.
Before that, the two companies were among three competitors for the upscale retailers expected to flock to the high-end area. Related Urban, retail developer for Thomas J. Klutznick Co.'s CityNorth project on 56th Street north of Loop 101, is the other rival for the luxury shops.
Related Urban snagged Arizona's first Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom for CityNorth, and that may have been the catalyst for DMB and Westcor to team up.
The new alliance between Westcor and DMB changes timing and plans for Palisene, Coppola said.
"We are committed to developing both sides of the street, but market conditions will determine what and when gets built (at Palisene)," Coppola said. "We are not ready to talk about timing. It was important today just to take control of our destiny."
Coppola said whatever is eventually developed at Palisene will complement, but not compete, with the luxury shopping center at One Scottsdale.