Surprise Power Center Development Powers over Challenges 

by Joshua Simon

Village at Prasada, the 700,000-square-foot retail power center developed by SimonCRE for residents of Surprise, Arizona, has proven to be a massive undertaking that has continued to move forward in the face of mounting supply-chain and labor issues.

This will be the West Coast’s first power center constructed in more than a decade; currently, residents need to travel an average of 10 miles to reach the closest retail center that has comparable retail options. It is unlikely the Valley will see another center of this scale for a while, and more amenities are continually being added to the project, such as the upcoming joint venture to develop more than 500 apartments on the property. Construction on these apartments is scheduled to begin later this year, and Village at Prasada is expected to continue to grow along with it. With completion anticipated for fall, SimonCRE expects to begin delivering to its tenants then.

Their successful progress, regardless of the setbacks plaguing the construction industry, is largely thanks to the creative problem-solving utilized by the developer and the developer’s building partners. The project will provide a range of quality retail and restaurant options to an underserved community in the West Valley. The developer has worked closely with the City of Surprise’s Department of Economic Development to source highly desirable tenants, many of which represent retailers heavily requested by Surprise residents.

SimonCRE has also partnered with another developer, Carefree Partners, to develop the nearby Surprise City Center, which is intended to be more than 30 acres of mixed-use development, to provide more local activities, entertainment and lifestyle options to the residents of Surprise. This development is one that has been years in the making and is highly anticipated by Surprise residents for how it will change the landscape of their growing community.

These projects have moved forward regardless of mounting supply-chain issues affecting the construction industry, which have required quick thinking and adaptability. After the country went into lockdown in 2020, many cement manufacturing plants were temporarily shut down, leading to the current cement deficit that many builders are seeing. Distributors have been providing cement strictly on allocation, which has slowed many projects around the country. SimonCRE and its building partners responded by taking the rationed cement that they individually received and establishing a batch-plant on-site to mix and pour for the project in stages. This required deliberate planning and precision to ensure that the project continued to move forward.

This forethought continued to aid in the construction process, as it has allowed for concrete to be used to create tilt-up walls to keep the project progressing. The walls had originally been planned to be constructed with integral block; however, with a massive delay on these materials as well, the choice was made to pivot to concrete, thanks to the success of the on-site batch plant.

Concrete did not pose the only issue, as service entry sections and electric panels are currently on extremely long delays, presenting another roadblock on the horizon if not properly planned for. SimonCRE made the decision to source two copies of each service entry section and electric panels needed to complete the first phase of construction from different suppliers. This accomplishes a few things. First, it provides a safety net to ensure the appropriate delivery of the materials in the event one shipment is delayed by unforeseeable circumstances. Second, it provides a track record of which supplier is faster or more reliable. Third, if both pairs arrive on time, backup units can be stored for the next phase of the construction project, ensuring there are no further delays.

Roofing has also presented possible issues for builders and has required more creative problem-solving to address. SimonCRE shifted from using metal trusses, which are currently on an extended back-order; instead, utilizing wooden trusses and opting to use alternative roofing materials to complete these projects. 

The entire construction process has required creative partnerships with builders and tenants to source materials, as well as developing working solutions for roadblocks so that retail spaces can be completed and delivered to tenants as promised.

Village at Prasada has presented an immense project and opportunity, one that many did not imagine possible. The land sat undeveloped for years, originally intended to be an indoor shopping mall before that project was scrapped. Bringing this project to fruition has allowed SimonCRE to develop many industry partnerships and continue to develop large-scale projects going forward.

Joshua Simon is CEO of SimonCRE.

Photos courtesy of SimonCRE

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