More developers are signing up for pieces of the former General Motors Desert Proving Ground in southeast Mesa.
Scottsdale-based AV Homes Inc. and JEN Partners LLC of New York City announced Tuesday they have combined to buy 527 acres in the Eastmark property being developed by DMB Associates of Scottsdale.
A new entity called TerraWest Management Co. LLC will coordinate the two developments aimed at very different demographics:
AV Homes is spending $18.6million for 310 acres on which it plans to build a 1,000-home active-adult community under its Vitalia brand. The company already is in the Phoenix-area market with its CantaMia adult community in the West Valley.
JEN Partners is spending $13.6million for 217 acres where it will develop 550 lots for a gated executive-housing community. The lots then will be sold to luxury-home builders.
Carl Mulac, executive vice president of AV Homes, said in a news release that Eastmark “is clearly one of the best development locations in the region.”
DMB bought 5 square miles of the former GM property for $265million in late 2006 and then had to sit on the property as the Great Recession ravaged the real-estate market.
Early plans for a luxury resort on the north end of the GM land fell through, and a 1.3million-square-foot First Solar Inc. factory built on its northeastern corner last year is largely idle because of the economy.
But, early this year, DMB announced plans to break ground on about 700 homes in nine subdivisions northwest of Ray and Signal Butte roads. In June, seven builders said they were spending $50million to buy those lots in hopes of having homes for sale by next May.
The developments announced Tuesday will be south of there, between Signal Butte and Crismon roads.
Plans for another big chunk of the former GM property, purchased in 2004 by Phoenix businessman William Levine, lay fallow until this year.
In September the Mesa City Council approved two developments on that property, totaling 590 acres, being purchased by Harvard Investments of Scottsdale.
The GM site is viewed as a prime target for developers because Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport lies just to the west, across Ellsworth Road.