South Mountain 620 parcel up for auction Thursday
By Doug Murphy Staff Writer
The third time could be the charm.
Twice, the state Land Department has tried to auction a parcel
of land west of 19th Avenue.
And twice no developer has come forward with the minimum bid
of slightly more than $56 million.
At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, developers will have another chance
to bid on the land that is zoned for up to 1,300 homes.
Known as the South Mountain 620, the land department hopes
to sell the parcel's 521.5 acres of usable land for a minimum
bid of $56,001,000. It is located between 19th and 27th avenues
and between Pecos Road on the south and South Mountain Park on
The area attracted much controversy over proposed housing
densities, transportation and school sites, but an agreement
reached in the summer of 2001 quieted the arguments.
The agreement between the land department and the city of
Phoenix limited the number of homes to be build and allowed for
245 acres to be purchased for park and open space. Arrangements
were also made so a school could be built on the property.
Laurel Arndt, who for years fought to have the land designated
open space, now hopes the sale goes through.
The Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee member
said she fears the failure to sell the land puts the complex
agreement at risk of falling apart or getting lost.
"It worries me that people will change, and the agreement
will fall between the cracks," she said at a planning committee
meeting last month.
Tempe-based Woodside homes is building houses on 320 acres
to the west of the South Mountain 620, between 27th and 31st
avenues, and has shown some interest in the auction, but has
been turned off by the price.
"I think the reason it hasn't been auctioned is it is
a bit on the pricey side," said Paul Gilbert after the last
scheduled auction. Gilbert is a land-use attorney with the Phoenix
law firm of Beus, Gilbert and Devitt and was at the two previous
auctions representing Woodside Homes.
Sales from state trust land benefit education in Arizona.
The reporter can be reached at (480) 898-7914 or by e-mail