There is a story in the Arizona Republic of July 23, 2013 entitled Feds might retake prime parcel written by Eugene Scott. There is a 15 acre parcel of land that the federal government, in a very complicated land deal, sold to Barron Collier Development. It is located on the northeast corner of Central Avenue and Indian School Road. Barron Collier has stopped making $60 million in payments to the feds for that parcel. Ownership may revert back to the federal government.

casino 1Justin Johnson, a candidate for Phoenix City Council and the son of former Mayor Paul Johnson, recently said, “My concern is that if the federal government takes over, that they can develop something without public input and it won’t go through local control, and it won’t fit inside the city’s general plan.” He also offered the worst case scenario for that parcel, “We don’t have to look any further than what is going on in Glendale to see the nightmare scenario which could transpire. A potential casino in downtown Phoenix is not a compatible use in this urban area near neighborhoods and schools.”

As has been repeatedly pointed out, if the Tohono O’odham Tribe legally prevails in its quest to place a casino on a county island within an incorporated city, as it is attempting to do in Glendale,the state gaming compact is destroyed. It becomes null and void. As you can see, now one of the Phoenix council candidates has voiced concern with regard to this 15 acre parcel that will end up in federal ownership. Since it would once again become federal land Phoenix would have absolutely no control over what is developed and how it looks.

 It would be ironic if a Tribe created a secret shell company and bought the parcel, waited a few years, and then announced that they were building a casino on the site – shades of Glendale. This is a lesson for all Valley communities. Watch out if you have a county island within your city.  If the Tohono O’odham are successful in Glendale you could be next as casino development warfare erupts.