Represents the largest private capital investment in Mesa’s history
DMB and Gaylord Entertainment (NYSE: GET) announced an agreement to create a destination resort and convention center that could bring billions of dollars in private investments and thousands of new jobs to Mesa and the Southeast Valley over the next several decades. DMB also announced its agreement for a Tom Fazio 18-hole championship golf course and the continued regional alliance with Westcor for future retail planning.
The agreement with Gaylord Entertainment will bring a destination resort and convention center to Mesa Proving Grounds, a 3,200-acre portion of land used currently by General Motors as its desert testing facility, laying the foundation for substantial ongoing private investment and development. Although all of the precise details of the size, theme and character of the resort and convention center have yet to be finalized, the Gaylord name ensures that the facility will celebrate the geographical heritage of the Southwest, introducing regional themes and attractions designed specifically for this project.
Once built, the hotel will likely be the largest in the state of Arizona. “The infusion of private capital and, more importantly, capital from outside the state, will allow Mesa Proving Grounds to evolve into an important hub for economic development in the Southeast Valley and in the process will help secure the City of Mesa’s economic security,” said Drew Brown, CEO of DMB.
These one-of-a-kind, all-encompassing hospitality, convention and entertainment offerings attract millions of new leisure and business visitors to the area each year resulting in steady revenues for the City, the Southeast Valley, Maricopa County and the State of Arizona that could transcend all market cycles, according to Brown.
Gaylord is an industry leader with a proven track record for creating successful first-class hotel, resort and convention centers across the country. “We’re extremely excited by the prospects of a Gaylord property at the Mesa Proving Grounds, which will become one of the most sought-after tourist and business travel destinations in the United States and a top choice by meeting planners for conventions,” said Colin V. Reed, chairman and chief executive officer of Gaylord Entertainment.
Gaylord’s other properties, all designed to enhance and complement the community in which they operate, include Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee; Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, Florida, near Orlando; Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas, outside of Dallas/Ft. Worth; and Gaylord National on the Potomac in Prince George’s County, Maryland, near Washington, D.C.
The announcement that includes Westcor as the retail developer heightens DMB and Westcor’s alliance to work together on a broad regional basis which began with One Scottsdale, in Scottsdale, Arizona. DMB and Westcor are committed to a distinctive, market-driven retail development which will complement the Mesa Proving Grounds master-planned vision.
The alliance aligns DMB reputation for residential and mixed-use excellence with Westcor’s expertise in quality, responsible retail development with the goal of creating the right project in the right place at the right time. The retail component of Mesa Proving Grounds is in the early planning stages; the precise timing for development has not been determined.
The Tom Fazio-designed golf course will be an 18-hole, par 72, international caliber golf club and is expected to incorporate significant grade changes to provide character as well as a challenging golf experience. A clubhouse, pro shop and other amenities/facilities befitting a Tom Fazio-designed golf course are part of the plan. Details about the specific landscaping theme and course layout are not yet available.
The agreements between DMB, Gaylord, and Fazio, and its continued alliance with Westcor respectively, at Mesa Proving Grounds provide a solid foundation for a new urban core in the Southeast Valley. Since purchasing the Proving Grounds from General Motors in December of 2006, DMB has worked closely with the City to develop a comprehensive vision and a carefully conceived land plan for the property to transform it from an obsolete, 50-year-old test facility, into a destination for tourists and a vibrant urban hub of economic activity. Located next to the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Mesa Proving Grounds is the largest remaining parcel of contiguous land within the core Mesa planning area. The property is of tremendous importance to the future growth and development of Mesa and the entire Southeast Valley.
These vitalizing initiatives will serve as a catalyst for expansion and growth at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. “The Airport is an essential part of the formula for creating the type of development this area is capable of supporting,” said John Bradley, vice president of DMB and general manager of Mesa Proving Grounds. “The fact that these important initiatives with Westcor and Fazio came about as a result of the Gaylord commitment is evidence of the potential that can be achieved by having Gaylord in Mesa,” Bradley added.
A substantial revenue generating operation such as Gaylord, which will be followed by the development of other hotels, resorts and retail components, is essential to the project’s sustainability and livability. The inclusion of high-level amenities will attract urban commerce, including retail, Class A office space and residential components, and will increase the opportunity for thousands of new high-quality, high-paying jobs. “This is precisely what DMB had in mind when we set out to develop this property,” Bradley said. “The importance of these announcements to the residents of Mesa and the Southeast Valley can not be underestimated. Landing an outstanding, high-quality operation such as Gaylord, when the company literally could have chosen to locate anywhere in America, shows remarkable forethought on the part of city leaders who initially introduced DMB to Gaylord. It’s a win-win for everyone,” Brown said.
DMB is a diversified real estate investment and development firm with real estate holdings through affiliated companies where people and their passions unite. Founded in 1984, DMB is one of the most active community developers in the West. Its projects include resort/recreational and primary home communities, country clubs, signature commercial properties, health clubs and spas. Additional information about DMB can be found at www.dmbinc.com.
About Gaylord Entertainment
Gaylord Entertainment (NYSE: GET), a leading hospitality and entertainment company based in Nashville, Tenn., owns and operates Gaylord Hotels (www.gaylordhotels.com), its network of upscale, meetings-focused resorts and the Grand Ole Opry (www.opry.com), the weekly showcase of country music’s finest performers for more than 80 consecutive years. The Company’s entertainment brands and properties include the Radisson Hotel Opryland, Ryman Auditorium, General Jackson Showboat, Gaylord Springs Golf Links, Wildhorse Saloon, and WSM-AM. For more information about the Company, visit www.GaylordEntertainment.com.
Founded in 1969, Phoenix-based Westcor is a wholly owned subsidiary of Macerich. The largest owner-manager of commercial properties in Arizona, Westcor’s portfolio currently consists of over 17 million square feet of retail space at 31 shopping centers, including 13 super-regional centers and 18 community and specialty centers. The company has set the industry benchmark for ground-up shopping center development, such as Chandler Fashion Center, SanTan Village and Scottsdale Fashion Square. In addition to responsible development, Westcor takes an integrated approach to charitable giving, using a variety of resources to make a difference in the communities, including volunteer programs, contributions and our partnership with the Step Up Women’s Network, a national non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening community resources for women and girls. Additional information about Westcor is available online at www.westcor.com.
About Fazio Golf Course Designers, Inc.
Fazio Golf Course Designers, Inc. emphasizes the premise that “golf courses should reflect the natural beauty of their environments.” Maintaining that principle, Fazio Golf Course Designers strives to follow design priorities that include creating harmonious transitions from existing topographical conditions, developing courses that offer golfers of varying skill a challenging yet enjoyable experience, and providing each client with optimum use of the property. The firm has won more awards from the industry’s leading golf publication than any other designer. For more information, visit www.faziogolf.com.