Redevelopment Wrecks: Mesa, Arizona

Mesa, Arizona

City officials are still debating what to do with 30 acres of land that sit vacant thanks to a failed redevelopment project that began in 1992.[1]  Known to the City as “Redevelopment Site 17,” the tract once contained 63 homes that the City condemned and purchased at a cost of $6 million.  A group of Canadian developers planned to build Mesa Verde, an entertainment village featuring a time-share resort, water park and ice-skating rink. After the City had already seized the homes, financing for the project fell through.[2]  Now, 14 years later, the City is still considering possible redevelopment plans for the area.[3]

[1] Hunter Interests Reports, “Analysis and Recommendations for Development of Sites Pursuant to the Town Center Action Plan,” Hunter Interests Inc., Sept. 12, 2002.

[2] Paul Green, “Eminent Domain: Mesa Flexes a Tyrannous Muscle,” East Valley Tribune, Sept. 2, 2001; Robert Robb, “Count on City-Driven Project to Fail,” The Arizona Republic, Sept. 21, 2001.

[3] Patrick Murphy (Town Center Development Specialist, City of Mesa, Town Center Development Office), Telephone Interview with Justin Gelfand, Institute for Justice, May 22, 2006.