Adaptive Reuse of Historic Potato Barn in Gilbert

by Mike Hunter

Construction on the renovation and expansion of the iconic Old Potato Barn in Gilbert is set to begin the second week of this month, as a fourth-generation, Mesa-based family business moves forward with its plans to breathe new life into the 54-year-old barn that once housed the area’s potato supply. Completion is expected in summer 2021.

The City of Gilbert approved plans this past June for The Higley Barns, a multimillion-dollar, adaptive, mixed-use development that will transform the 20,000-square-foot barn located on Williams Field Road between Higley and Recker Roads into a unique multi-tenant space, plus add an additional 8,000-square-foot building, a 10,000-square-foot building and a 14,000-square-foot building to the three-acre property.

The Smith family, owners of Central Arizona Supply, Arizona’s premier plumbing supply and appliance company, have owned the property since 2015 and see this is an opportunity to parlay their more than 50 years as an Arizona family-owned and -operated business into an expanded new role as real estate developers.

“It has always been our vision to create a community-focused collection of restaurants, shops and home products in a landmark location that has such history in Gilbert,” says Jeremy Smith, co-owner of Central Arizona Supply. “The Higley Barns will become a mercantile for goods, services, history, art, music, entertainment and culinary, all within a gathering place that enriches the surrounding community in a meaningful way.”

The Smiths will open their 12th Central Arizona Supply location within two areas of the property. Half of the barn will showcase the latest in luxury kitchen and bath plumbing, appliances and designer lighting in a 10,000-square-foot plumbing and appliance showroom that will welcome designers, homeowners, builders, plumbers and contractors for an immersive experience with the world’s top brands. 

The 8,000 square-foot building will uphold the company’s origins with a plumbing supply and parts counter and warehouse, which accounts for nearly half of Central Arizona Supply’s overall business. 

Phoenix-based Brick & West, known for designing some of the Valley’s most notable restaurants, has been hired as the architect and Lee & Associates Arizona will manage the leasing and/or potential sales of the mixed-use space.

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