ARIZONA NEWS

Multibillion dollar entertainment, sports district planned near Scottsdale

Jan 13, 2020, 6:07 AM | Updated: Jan 21, 2020, 6:09 pm
(Rendering/The Solanna Group)...
(Rendering/The Solanna Group)
(Rendering/The Solanna Group)

PHOENIX — A new, next-generation sports and entertainment district is being planned for the Scottsdale area in the near future.

Cameron Colvin, chairman of CamCo Commercial Inc., and the Solanna Group announced the formation of a joint venture called Akimel 7 Productions last week. The project includes a land-lease arrangement to build a multibillion-dollar facility on the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community.

The development will be called Akimel 7 and is planned to be built on the northwest and northeast blocks at the Loop 101 and 202 exchange, and will extend north along the east side of Loop 101, totaling 500 acres.

“Our sports district is not just a district around a [sports] stadium. It’s much broader in its reach,” Solanna Group CEO David Fordon said.

“We’re looking at facilities in sports medicine, injury rehab, facilities for athlete fitness and performance, other sports: Field sports, lacrosse, rugby, field hockey, polo, cricket, the court sports like volleyball and tennis.

“We’ll have everything from extreme sports to UFC. We’re looking at even the possibility of Grand Prix racing in a small circuit like Kuala Lumpur.”

Sports stadium

The Solanna Group independently embarked on the design of a multipurpose stadium that could fit their needs: unique office designs, hotels, conference spaces and a center atrium that can be a field of many configurations so if any team ever left, they wouldn’t be stuck with a vacant arena.

Fordon said “just based on bells and whistles” that different costs range anywhere from $100 million to about $650 million.

(Rendering/The Solanna Group )

“We wanted to understand the footprints, the dynamics, the infrastructure requirements, so that’s why you’ll see a stadium in a lot of our renderings because we wanted a plan of what could happen from our perspective,” Fordon said. “It’s not just vacant land for any sports team to do what they want with.

Casino Arizona Field, a roughly 7,000-seat soccer-specific stadium, currently resides on the northwest block of Loop 101 and Loop 202, along the east side of McClintock Drive just south of McKellips Road.

Phoenix Rising FC has been the licensee to the stadium since 2017 and will continue to play there through the 2020 season. However, the team’s future home site after this season has yet to be announced.

“With our entertainment and theme park, we decided between sports and entertainment that you’d have a live block with hotels, upscale retail, specialized shopping, offices, amphitheaters,” Fordon said.

“We’re looking at 70% of this as one-of-a-kind uses like movie studios and themed attractions, a sports stadium — there’s only going to be one that’s pro stadium size.

“But you can do a lot of things with doubling the functions of that.”

Fordon added that Akimel 7 could include anywhere from “12 to 16-plus” sports fields and will feature sports medicine such as MRI, musculoskeletal-ultrasound and CT scan equipment.

Nonsport amenities

But the sports district is just one of seven zones in the 500-acre planned area.

There’s an emerging technology zone for robotics and nanotech, an international business world trade zone with import and export capabilities, and an international school. Akimel 7 will also feature a 25-megawatt solar power capacity grid that will serve the district and create a zero-carbon zone.

“That allows us to concentrate a lot of parking in one area, so it allows us to create more open space,” Fordon said. “And with open space, you have fields. The idea is that you can use them for fields or fairs or expos, exhibits, touring exhibits, parks, everything.”

That open space will be used for events such as auto shows, touring exhibits and more. But when unoccupied, it will allow for park areas, a dog park, walking, cycling, nature walk, etc., almost like a miniature Central Park in the middle of the development.

Construction schedule

Akimel is the Pima word for the “water people” and the number seven represents seven generations, a philosophy of Native Americans to think seven generations ahead and sacrifice decisions today for their children’s children and their children’s children. Each generation is 25 years, so the Solanna Group is looking at master planning into the 23rd century.

“It’s probably a 10-year range, but over the next two years, we’re planning to build out about 500,000 square feet,” Fordon said. “Between two and five years — 2.5 million square feet. I don’t know if that’s going to include a stadium or not and that’s over a 220-acre parcel.

“On the east side, that’ll probably be a seven-year period, which will probably start three years from now. I think you’re going to see 60-70% built out within 10 years of this whole place.”

Akimel 7’s cost

The district will be privately funded. No taxpayer money will be used in the development, Fordon said.

“With each project, it’s not like we have the capital under our mattress somewhere,” Fordon said.

“Each project brings their own capital. Now with our partnership with CamCo, we’re in a position to finance projects that are undercapitalized and projects we really like, but generally every project will bring their own capital, so it’s not like a burden for any one person.”

Fordon says there are going to be 30 or 40 projects such as hotels, stadiums, theme parks, robotics facilities, and trade centers, to name a few.

The whole project is estimated to cover 10-12 million square feet and cost around $4 billion. Fordon estimates that the land, infrastructure, superstructure and solar all costs roughly about a half a billion dollars each.

“Again, we’re not the government, we’re on the private side, so everything we did in our model is all privately financed,” Fordon said.

“It’d just be phenomenal for this area to have a great center to bring visitors, locals, everybody alike — that’s one of the stops you have to make when you’re in Phoenix, Akimel 7.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(ADOT Photo)...
Associated Press

1 person dead in wrong-way crash involving 4 vehicles in Phoenix

A wrong-way collision on a Phoenix freeway early Saturday involved four vehicles and killed the wrong-way driver..
14 hours ago
(Airbnb photo)...
Tom Kuebel

Airbnb names Phoenix family as top new hosts in Arizona

Owners of a Charming Coronado Casita with 123 ratings in its first year were named as the top new Airbnb hosts in Arizona.
14 hours ago
FILE - A dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at Lurie Children's hospital, Nov. 5, 2021, ...
KTAR.com

Arizona reports 3,655 new COVID-19 cases, 47 deaths on Saturday

Arizona health officials on Saturday reported 3,655 new COVID-19 cases and 47 deaths.
14 hours ago
FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 18, 2019 file photo, the logo of Google is displayed on a carpet at the...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

In need of Gmail storage space cleanup tips? Here are a few to get you started

If you haven’t done much in the past to keep the clutter from building up in your Gmail account, there are a number of places where you can free up valuable storage space.
14 hours ago
(Gilbert Police Department photo)...
KTAR.com

Gilbert Police Department hoping for leads in 1991 missing persons cold case

It's been more than 30 years since the disappearance of 23-ear-old Gilbert resident Lisa Jameson, and police are still hoping for tips that may lead to solving the case.
14 hours ago
(Facebook Photo)...
KTAR.com

ASU police wellness check turns into interstate effort to help lost elderly couple

Arizona State University police officers last weekend performed a wellness check that became an interstate effort to help a couple who authorities say were confused about where they were.
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Schwartz Laser Eye Center

How to sharpen your vision with elective procedures

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and being able to see clearly. You wouldn’t have to wait to put on glasses or contacts, and there would be no more blurry showers nor forgetting where your glasses are.
...
PNC Bank

3 cool tips to turn everyday moments into learning experiences for your child

Early brain development has a crucial impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school and life. Research has shown that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by age five.
...
PNC Bank

How one organization supports early childhood literacy for the most vulnerable

Nearly two out of every three children in low-income communities don’t own a single children’s book, a fact that ultimately could have profound impacts even before entering kindergarten, according to Arizona nonprofit Southwest Human Development.
Multibillion dollar entertainment, sports district planned near Scottsdale