2/22/2012 8:03:00 AM Phoenix company proposes resort development for Poland Junction area
"I want to make sure that it is understood we don't want to come in and strip the area, we want to enhance, not take away."
- Jasmine Aponte, vice president of marketing and public relations, ABM Development Services, LLC.
Heidi Dahms-Foster Special to the Tribune
If a Phoenix-based company is successful, the Poland Junction area could have an upscale resort development by summer 2014.
Jasmine Aponte, vice president of marketing and public relations for owner Gregory Arrington's ABM Development Services, LLC, said the company approached the county last summer with the preliminary plan for the resort, and received a "very good reception."
ABM planned to roll out its plan for the community on Tuesday night during the Arizona Highway 69 Chamber meeting at the Mayer Recreation Center.
Aponte said the project will be ABM's first large-scale development, and the company wants to build what will be primarily a getaway experience in which people can escape the heat of the Valley but still be close to home. The development will encompass 1,900 acres in an area east of Poland Junction and north of Highway 69 on Bell Ranch and adjacent property. Aponte said the property will be secluded, yet close to surrounding communities. The plan includes 60 custom home sites, 50 casitas, 50 condominiums, and a 250-room hotel, along with an array of restaurants, upscale retail shops, a tennis academy, and hiking, biking and horse trails.
"We are also right now working on including a world class championship golf course,"
Plans for the development also will include a variety of pools, an amphitheater, art gallery and botanical garden. Aponte said the company is working with consultants to make sure the necessary water and other resources are available, particularly for the golf course.
The company is working with Mayer Fire Dept. with an eye to annexing into the district for fire protection. The development has the option of annexing into either Mayer Fire District or into Central Yavapai Fire District. However, access to the property is currently through the Mayer Fire District, and the department provides protection to the area on a fee-for-service basis, said Mayer Fire Chief Glenn Brown.
Brown said he has been able to offer some suggestions for ABM because he has a background dealing with fire protection for the Princess Resort in Scottsdale.
"I've already talked with (ABM) about some things they can do to build in fire protection, reduce their costs, and provide better fire service for them," Brown said.
Brown said the developers plan to use gray water and treated effluent to water the golf course and to partially supply fire protection needs.
ABM chose the Mayer area for the development for a number of reasons, Aponte said.
"We did a lot of research, and found that this is the best location for us. We love the idea of being within the natural resources for a getaway, to shop, golf, play tennis or enjoy the outdoors, yet not in the thick of things in a regular city. We're a mile off the highway, so people can enjoy a mini vacation, get away from everything, and then get back to family and business or anything else," she said.
Predictable weather also was a big consideration in the location for the development.
Aponte stressed that ABM wants to preserve the natural beauty of the location it has chosen.
"We want to make sure we do not take away from the land, that what we do is in harmony with the landscape. Even though we're away from the highway, we don't want to stick out like a sore thumb," she said. "I want to make sure that it is understood we don't want to come in and strip the area, we want to enhance, not take away."
The Mayer area is attractive in that it offers people a chance to get away from the city for a day, a weekend, or during the week, she said.
While the housing market is still struggling, Aponte said ABM officials are confident that it will successfully fill a niche market.
"We understand that the housing market is challenged nationwide, and we have taken that into consideration. But based on what we're offering, and the location, this is an awesome opportunity for custom homes and vacation rentals. We feel what we're offering is very attractive to individuals within that general area," she said.
Aponte said the company is working on employment numbers and will have more information once ABM has met all the requirements to proceed with development.
Dist. 2 County Supervisor Tom Thurman said he has not talked to ABM officials, but he has heard about the development.
"They talked to the Planning and Zoning folks, and they gave some direction, and things they need to do. I have no problem with it, for the record. But they have to have the water for another golf course," he said.