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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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1/18/2013 9:12:00 AM
New planning for other side of Cornville Road, VSF sees wine culture as lure

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter


"We are not off and running, yet, but we have brought it back to the forefront and we are all fired up."

Brookfield Communities Founder and President Phil Peterson is referring to what in the past was called Bella Montana, the 750 acres of Republic Properties north of Cornville Road. But, forget that name. The proposed development is now part of "a new vision" that Peterson says will be better suited to the rural character of the area.

Originally, the plan called for numerous residential properties, but also 200 acres of commercial development. Peterson said that was imagined with "big box stores" as part of the commercial segment during the early days of the 2000s.

"That was what commercial activity was like in those days," he said. Those days are gone and the commercial proposal is now much subtler. No big boxes, but, rather, a wine tasting center.

"We are going to kick this off with the commercial development," he said.

Instead of a golf course, there would be lots of open space surrounding the residential area. "We will keep the washes free and natural and thread the area with walking trails," he said.

Peterson says Brookfield will partner directly with Jay Stuckey and Republic, rather than investors that were part of the Verde Santa Fe Development. The commercial development will adopt an "old frontier Arizona" architectural motif, he said, along SR 89A. "I have to give Jay the credit" for the wine experience theme, said Peterson.

He says the plan is to get 15-20 different wineries in a series of buildings all together and have a joint wine tasting area, surrounded by some cafes, boutique-type restaurants and then the several acres would be surrounded by vineyards. "We would have the local wineries participating with us to help get that established."

The commercial area would also include a resort and medical center that is being planned with the help of the hospital.

Peterson said Brookfield is still working in Verde Santa Fe with about 13 properties remaining. But, he emphasized, "everything we do in this (new) project is meant to complement to Verde Santa Fe. We have a long history there."

He said Brookfield first started planning about 2004, but then everything was put on hold when the recession caused development to stall.

Unlike many developers, Peterson said Brookfield has no debts: "We own all our land and can move forward unencumbered now that the economy is starting to show signs of rebounding. Brookfield is very healthy."

The company also has a 730-acre project in Bullhead City, Fox Creek, that it is expanding.

One difference from the Verde Santa Fe development is that Brookfield will work with the city, not with the county, since the new land was annexed by the city. Cottonwood now operates the water service and has begun planning a new wastewater plant.

City planning officials say they have not yet seen new plans for the area.


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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, February 6, 2016
Article comment by: Karla Cole Sterrett

I moved here from Des Moines Iowa and have always felt like I fell off the face of the earth! Why is it that Prescott, Prescott Valley can get business and we get NOTHING!!! A Walmart super center and that's it!!
Most of the people who move here are from cities (real cities) and would love to have some shopping but it has never existed in the lovely Verde Valley!
WHY???
I constantly hear about a Target coming in the Clarkdale area , Cornville area but it never happens!
It's a one horse town run by one horse thinking!


Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: GAIL GANONG

Just one more thought: Where is the sewer treatment plant going to be? Will it dump into Oak Creek? Enough garbage by the developer, you knew from the start there was not enough water there to build your last "big
development"!! Now you want to build another Verde Valley Medical Center?? The one in Cottonwood isn't bad enough already?
I see signs in Camp Verde that they too will have a VVMC! The one in Cottonwood is staffed by nurses and doctors that are temps from other states. Nice way to ruin Cornville and the Verde Valley. Oak Creek running through Cornville is a beautiful thing who told you that you could ruin that too!!


Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Article comment by: Exactly What Happened to Other

The money always speaks. Look at what happened to Mountain Gate in Clarkdale. They wanted to build hundreds of homes - started - and then went bankrupt! Then homes were supposed to look like original Clarkdale homes, but not even close. There again, money talks, so far it has never mattered what the citizens want. How about a nature conservancy of some sort? Places have been built before and the successful businesses in other areas of town have suffered and closed up. Look at the Food City shopping center, or the Safeway shopping center. Why not put the wine tasting places in there? Old Towne has been a great place to go for wine tasting and shopping. Think of something else!! If anyone who cares is really listening...

Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Article comment by: Tweetie Byrd

This old "grow or die" saying is getting pretty tired. There were better businesses here back in the 70's. Maybe the saying should be "grow AND die". Businesses selling a bunch of cheap junk and more of the same are not an improvement. Just how many wine tasting places does this area need? Again, more of the same!

Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2013
Article comment by: Much better concepts

Thank God they do not want another golf course, which can consume a million gallons of precious groundwater a day.

The idea of conserving lots of open space, and providing hiking trails along preserved natural washes is a much better concept.

Also glad to hear they are moving away from the idea of big box retail, to something smaller which will be more compatible with our rural character.

With the original concept, it seemed they wanted more of a Scottsdale-type project. But this isn't Scottsdale. We don't have access to SRP and CAP water,and that is huge.

Now at least these developers seem to have a much better idea of the unique identity of the Verde Valley region and how it is different than Scottsdale.

The more this project can contribute to the enhancement of our unique small town character and rural quality of life, the better.


Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2013
Article comment by: Lets Do It

It's about time we get some growth starting again here.We need jobs and money put into our economy. And we certainly need to grow large enough to attract the kind of people who know what professionalism and real customer service are, because we sure don't have it yet. For all those apposed, it's grow or die. Look what happened with all the businesses closing over the last five years. Let's get rolling Brookfield.

Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2013
Article comment by: Concerned in Cornville

Anthem North is more like it. The Verde Valley has a wave of foreclosures still going on and the market has hardly recovered enough to warrant 1400 new homes, but my main concern is WHERE IS THE WATER COMING FROM? Is the City of Cottonwood going to pipe from their currently owned wells or are they gonna drill baby drill? When Verde Santa Fe reared it's ugly head with the sea of rooftops and that well thought out golf course in the middle of the desert, I saw my water pressure and well capacity drop alarmingly. While this development idea is a huge improvement over the catastrophe which would have been "Bella Montana" I still hope to see some major water studies and traffic studies. And don't let the developers give you the old "helping the economy" drivel. They bring all their own contractors, realtors, title insurance people from Phoenix or other places and you can guarantee they won't use one local person. So much for rural Arizona.

Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2013
Article comment by: Cow poke

Now we know why Cottonwood wanted to annex VSF! It wanted to turn it into a wine bar!
Just what we needed more wine bars. Sure Old Town would love the competition...." to get 15-20 different wineries in a series of buildings all together and have a joint wine tasting area, surrounded by some cafes, boutique-type restaurants and then the several acres would be surrounded by vineyards." Come on guys you can come up with something better than that. That would make about 30-40 wine tasting bars in all, including Old Town. Was this proposal made by the CPD to expand their DUI tests? Good move for the Auto body repair shops. Combine a 500 HP SUV with a tank of Sangria and what do you get? VV may be noted as the hangover capital of the West. I'm all for it if it will expand the Choclate Walk. Bet no new houses will be built.


Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2013
Article comment by: Shaking my head Johnson

When is being rich at the expense of others' ever enough?
We moved to the Verde Valley for the small town feel, to enjoy the beautiful views of the red rocks, which now will be gone. Neighborhood with wine tasting centers? We have medical center's in Cottonwood and Sedona, why would a neighborhood need a medical center? I think Mr. Peterson is totally over the top with his money making idea's. Of course money does talk and money does rule the common man.
Yes, I am shaking my head!


Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

We can use the DUI money and round up some
Whino's to boot.Win Win situation.


Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2013
Article comment by: Just what we need, I'm sure

When so many places sit empty in Cottonwood, really? I guess if they keep building, someone will surely show up, right? Maybe we should build that big airport right smack in the middle of the valley, too, so they can fly people in to the wine tasting places. Yessiree, that's using the old noggin to attract people to our beautiful Verde Valley. And when it finally looks like a little Phoenix with a dry riverbed running through it, won't we be proud of ourselves? Yes, what a legacy to leave to our grandkids.

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013
Article comment by: to soon to tell

I find this very interesting again. We all knew this would happen someday but what are they really planning? He never mentions the number of homes that are going to built, find that intereting, how much more traffic that is going to put on Cornville road, what do the people of the Verde Valley really need in a commercial zone. Maybe a big box store is what is needed instead of turning that corner into another Old Town Cottonwood with all the wine tasting. Is that really want we need? The vineyards would be better than more homes but look at what is wanted and needed. Again, I would like to know how many homes, cars, people the City of Cottonwood can handle



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