After nearly two decades of entertaining many Ahwatukee and other area families, Fiddle Sticks Family Fun Park will officially close its doors near Elliot Road and Priest Drive to make way for a 384-unit apartment building.
Curtis Parks, CEO of AMP, which operates Fiddlesticks, said they had no plans to close, but the landowner sold the land to the developer.
"It was a good property, we managed it for the owner, but the owner of the property decided to sell it," Parks said. "We've been there for quite some time and it was a little bit of a surprise that even in this market there was a development group that had the capital to do a deal. Apparently, it was an attractive piece of land and the developer thought it would be a nice addition to their portfolio, so they decided to buy it."
The land was sold to San Capella, Mark-Taylor Development, which plans to build a multi-family residential structure in place of Fiddlesticks.
The new apartments will be two- and three-story buildings totaling 507,000 square feet over the 19.5 acre lot, according to a staff summary report by the City of Tempe.
The Tempe City Council approved the project and the change in zoning from "commercial" to "residential," unanimously on Oct. 20 during a public City Council meeting.
"Although the property frontage is located within a primary commercial arterial, the depth of the property would not be suitable reuse for most other commercial developments other than the current use," the staff report said. "With a change in the General Plan Land Use and the integration of dwelling units, the area will provide a synergy with the existing commercial land base."
The Tempe City Council received no public input on the request and a neighborhood meeting was not required.
The new apartments will be built with Spanish-style design accents, stucco finish and tile roofs, according to the staff report. They will be gated and include a clubhouse and two recreational areas with a pool, hot tub, sand volleyball and "lush" landscaping.
Fiddlesticks closed down most operations in August, but the driving range will continue to be open until Dec. 2.
Fiddlesticks Family Fun Park was approved by the city in June of 1991, according to city of Tempe records. On Aug. 23 the Development Review Commission approved the request by Mark-Taylor Development.
Parks said AMP does not have any plans to open another Fiddlesticks in the area any time soon.
"We obviously like the Phoenix market," Parks said. "It's a growing market and a family market so that fits well into our scope, but at the moment we don't have another site identified. We have a sister property in Tucson, Funtastics, and we're looking to possibly expand that in the future. As of now, we don't have any immediate plans to open another property in Phoenix."
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