Mixed-Use Project Looking to Add Life to Downtown Gilbert

The already vibrant downtown area of Gilbert, Ariz., will soon get another injection of excitement with the highly anticipated arrival of Heritage Park. LGE Design Build is planning to construct this massive mixed-use project on 10 acres of prime real estate in the popular Heritage District for the Phoenix-based developer, Creation

After serving as the general contractor for a number of other buildings (see below) in Downtown Gilbert, LGE will be constructing five stories of office space, totaling 150,000 square feet, along with 30,000 square feet of retail. This is all in addition to a residential structure that will include approximately 290 units, as well as a five-story hotel. 

“This is the largest contiguous property in that area,” said David Sellers, Creation Co-Founder and LGE President/CEO. “What we’ve tried to do is create an extension of the Heritage District.”

The name of the project, Heritage Park, is derived from the open greenspace that will be centrally located within the mixed-use site. This park area will include a structure that looks like the top of the landmark Gilbert water tower, which sits just to the south of the property. This structure, along with the other mixed-use buildings, will be a nod to Gilbert’s historic past with a modern twist and will be consistent with the existing properties in the district.

The speed limit on Gilbert Road, which runs down the center of the Heritage District, is 25 miles per hour and provides great visibility for the businesses located there. Because most of the already-existing patio areas are facing the street, the energy of the district is more than evident, and LGE’s upcoming, mixed-use construction project will only enhance that lively feel. 

“Really, at the end of the day, we want it be a true mixed-use environment,” said Sellers. “We want it to be where people live, where they work, where they visit, with the hotel. There’s going to be amazing restaurants, vibrant patios – a mix of uses, a mix of retailers.”

This project, which has been a few years in the making, immediately saw delays during the approval process due to the pandemic. The developer, Creation, and LGE Design Build worked hand-in-hand with the Town of Gilbert to push the project through. 

“I think the involvement we had with the town yielded a better plan than we started out with,” said Sellers. “You would think going into it, on Day One we got it right, but there was a lot of good input from the Town and from their staff, and what we have today is a phenomenal plan. And a lot of kudos go to the Town and their staff.”

With the delays now behind them, a groundbreaking on Heritage Park is expected to be taking place very soon. LGE Design Build is looking forward to constructing this new piece of Gilbert’s bright future while also tipping a hat to their historic past. 

Check out some of our other buildings we built in the Heritage District: Dierks Bentley Whiskey Row, The Porch, Postino East, Snooze, Oregano’s, Zinburger, Lolo’s Chicken & Waffles, Pomo Pizzeria, Level 1 Arcade Bar, Clever Koi, and The Collab (mixed-use office building). 

Defining Modern Architecture

The word “modern” has been used as an adjective for many things throughout history. The word is derived from Latin and dates back to the 16th century. This means that for five centuries, people have been describing new concepts as “modern.”

There’s been phrases like “modern music,” “modern art,” and “modern style” thrown around since the inception of this word. So, how do we define things that are “modern” and when does something stop being “modern”? Perhaps, that is why one may think there is not a consensus on what “modern architecture” truly consists of.

With time, what we consider “modern” often changes. What was considered “modern architecture” in the 20th century is a far cry from what is considered “modern architecture” in the 21st century. Much of the architecture in the 20th century, which was often an homage to past styles, has been rejected by modern architects, who set out to forge their own path for design. This begs the question, now, in 2022: What defines “modern architecture?”

When taking into account what has changed in architecture over the years, one of the most obvious answers is building materials. The advent of manufactured steel and durable glass has revolutionized how structures are built and look. One has to look no further than a skyscraper to see an example of how drastically different buildings look from a century ago. While steel was originally used to establish the internal structure, it has become more evident in exteriors with exposed steel-framed buildings, and thus a newer element of modern architecture. Glass, which was first used just for windows, now makes up the entire façade in many modern buildings and allows for another element of modern design, which is natural light.

Anyone who has ever stayed in an old hotel or watched a game in an old stadium can tell you that modern architecture embraces the idea of open space as opposed to the buildings of the past. Functionality and efficiency still play large roles in the designs of modern buildings, however, many architects now allow for expansive open areas. This trend is most evident in office buildings, where open floor plans have become the preferred layout. 

The level of detail in modern design is incredibly simple compared to almost every other era of architecture. Whether it be the Romans, Greeks, or even 20th Century American architecture, intricate designs dominated not only the exteriors of buildings, but the interiors as well. The adverse is true for modern architecture which boasts simple designs of both. 

Bold and simplistic geometric shapes have become the calling card of modern architecture, especially for the exteriors of modern buildings. These buildings feature obvious inspiration from the Art Deco movement which began in the mid-1920’s. Basic flat roofs and clean angles are drawn from classic mid-century modern looks made famous by architects like Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Lloyd Wright. 

Construction Labor Outlook for Q2 of 2022

One of the major pain points for general contractors, right now, is the shortage of skilled workers. Despite the steady decline of construction unemployment, firms are still struggling to find the necessary manpower across a number of different trades.

According to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), nearly 20,000 jobs were added between February and March of this year. However, trades like masonry, carpentry, electrical, and plumbing are still struggling to keep up with demand due to a dwindling workforce.

One major factor for this shortage can be directly linked to the pandemic. When the entire construction industry came to halt, in early 2020, many of the workers in the higher age group decided to retire early. When this mass exodus occurred, there was a disproportionate amount of entry-level/apprentices entering these trades. 

Among all of the trades, only construction laborers saw an increase in employment since the onset of the pandemic. The recruitment of laborers can most likely be attributed to the average pay, which has been gradually increasing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS).

Despite reaching a record level of unfilled jobs in January, at 380,000 vacancies, the BLS also reported that overall unemployment in the construction industry is at 4.6 percent as of April of 2022. This is well below the pre-pandemic numbers which were 5.5 percent in February of 2020. 

The numbers appear to be trending positively, but because most of the vacancies are in the more skilled trades, general contractors are still showing concern. Demand has returned across most sectors, many of which are near pre-pandemic levels, yet there is this lingering obstacle that all firms must face. Lack of manpower leads to delays, so general contractors are scrambling to find solutions to this ongoing issue.