With available land shrinking and prices rising in Chandler, Gilbert and Queen Creek, expanses of acreage once thought to be well outside the metro region are being turned into large residential developments.
An example is Magma Ranch, a master planned community east of Johnson Ranch near the intersection of Judd and Attaway roads. With parks, trails, pools, athletic courts and two elementary schools, the project will cover 1,300 acres and have more than 4,600 single -family houses once complete, said Nariman Afkhami, CEO of Aread, the Scottsdale-based company developing the project.
Areas have been set aside for commercial and retail development, including corners at the intersections of Judd and Felix roads as well as Judd and Cooper roads, Afkhami said.
Such outlets are important because Magma Ranch residents and those from other nearby communities "need to have shopping centers with grocery stores, dry cleaners, gas stations. These are things that will support the community and their needs," Afkhami said.
Founded in 1990, Aread has done projects across the Valley and has several large-scale projects planned for elsewhere in the East Valley, including Coolidge and Eloy.
Such areas provide the necessary acreage to create master planned communities aimed at a working family’s budget, Afkhami said.
"If money is not an object, you can live anywhere you want. People on a fixed budget try and provide as much as they can for their family. And that’s why we’re developing where we are," Afkhami said.
Aread officials declined to give a price range for the homes.
Five homebuilders will develop neighborhoods in the first phase of Magma Ranch, including K. Hovnanian, Home Life Communities, as well as Royce, Vantage and Woodside Homes.
Some models should be finished by the end of the year, Afkhami said.
"Our focus is to be more of an entry-level to move-up subdivision. We try to bring a good selection of builders that have the same mindset as we do," Afkhami said.
Construction is expected to continue at Magma Ranch for some time. Much of the initial grading, road and infrastructure work for the project’s first phase should be complete by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Afkhami and his staff are anxious to start the project’s second phase.
"Our plan is to start Magma Ranch 2 by October and Magma Ranch 3 by the end of next year," Afkhami said.