Wooden judge gavel and book

Developers will have a second chance to bid on some prime State Trust Land in Ahwatukee next Monday after the Arizona State Land Department on May 26 postponed a scheduled auction.

Although the auction of a 373-acre parcel along Chandler Boulevard between 19th and 27th avenues has been advertised for 10 weeks as required by state law, developers are believed to have needed more time to prepare a bid.

The starting price is $105 million for the land, which an appraisal said can accommodate 1,050 single-family houses.

The city also has set aside 12 acres for a year after the final subdivision plat is filed in case either Kyrene or Tempe Union – or both districts – want to build a school there.

Another 44 acres is zoned for apartments or condos while 11 acres are zoned for commercial development. Those 55 acres are in the southeast corner of the tract near 29th Avenue and the freeway, although they can be relocated elsewhere within the massive tract through a routine administrative zoning amendment.

The fact that the land is already zoned, has a prime location and is on the block at a time of a critical inventory of homes for sale is expected to whet the appetite of developers and possibly drive up the price above the minimum bid.

Postponements of state land auctions are not unusual. Just a week before the Ahwatukee auction, the Land Department postponed until later this month the auction of an 1,100-acre parcel in Goodyear and a nearly 900-acre piece of land in Queen Creek.

The money will go to fund K-12 education, one of the 13 beneficiaries of trust land sales set in the Arizona Constitution.

While the Land Department commissioned a detailed appraisal of the Ahwatukee land – which gave the parcel high marks for its development potential – developers often want to do their own studies before walking into the Land Department’s downtown Phoenix auction with a hefty check.

Bidders in the live auction of the Ahwatukee land, set for 11 a.m., must bring a cashier’s check for $13.75 million. The bidding is conducted orally.

The appraisal indicates that before houses start going up on the site, the developer will have close to $6 million of basic infrastructure work to undertake.

Part of that will include extending Liberty Lane through the middle of the parcel and expanding that adjacent portion of Chandler Boulevard from three lanes to five.

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