Infrastructure portion of Centrovida development acceptable - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Infrastructure portion of Centrovida development acceptable

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Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2008 1:29 am | Updated: 10:46 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Careful to avoid any invocation of the “s-word” — subsidy — that motivates activists to fire up the photocopiers to crank out petitions, developers of a proposed south Scottsdale retail-residential complex revealed updated plans for their project last week, dubbing it with a new name and no requests for city money.

They told us, however, that they plan to dedicate streets within the project to the city, which will own them — and construct them and add public infrastructure paid for with tax dollars.

As the Tribune’s Brian Powell reported Thursday, the $150 million Scottsdale Centrovida, from the Spanish words for “center of life” and which had been known as Los Arcos Crossing, would be built along McDowell Road between 74th Street and Miller Road.

While we continue to find it curious that nine-figure private developments can’t find a way to pay for water and sewer lines primarily serving their projects — just as anyone building a new house on a vacant lot would — public infrastructure has become more common.

A well-known recent example is the Scottsdale Waterfront. When the Scottsdale City Council voted on the project in 2003, similar city-paid infrastructure — including its infamous odorous sewers — was part of the development agreement that was approved with little public outcry.

Since the city and its taxpayers will own the streets and the public services above and below them, the proposal from developer PDG America isn’t calling for a subsidy in the classic sense. No tax dollars possibly headed for other municipal expenditures would be paying part of the cost of private development.

We still await more details on this project, including the name of the grocer to succeed Bashas’, which has terminated its lease for the store currently at the site. Still, whatever plan ultimately comes before the city, we hope that the project is considered on its merits rather than have too much attention focused on its public infrastructure component.

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