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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

I’ve wanted to write this particular blog for nine months but confidentiality imposed by the principal developers precluded me from doing so.

Last September, the Glendale city council approved documents for the Crystal Lagoon Island Resort at Glendale. At that time David Leibowitz published an article disparaging the project. Here is the link to his original article: https://www.eastvalleytribune.com/opinion/valley-theme-park-plans-all-smoke-no-sizzle/article_50d85836-f6ab-11ea-a6a8-47e43bc1f48b.html .

In it he said, “Not to be outdone, the Glendale City Council last week approved ‘Crystal Lagoons, Island Resort,’ an 11-acre water paradise purported to include paddle boarding, scuba diving and boogie boarding – plus ‘water jetpacks.’ Whatever the hell those are.

“Naturally, Glendale electeds voted to waive $1 million in fees for the developer and employ a sweetheart financing deal known as a GPLET, which allows the builder to avoid paying property taxes for 25 years. That’s predicated on the project being built, of course, which I doubt. Not to sound cynical, but, like I said, I’ve been following theme park news for years. 

“The projects all follow a similar pattern: They get announced amid much braggadocio, make zero progress for years, then quietly expire.

“In this case, the political burbker du jour was Glendale Councilwoman Joyce Clark, who said at the Council meeting: “I am just so excited. … (This is) a blockbuster project that’s going to put Glendale on the map, not just in the Valley but in the Southwest.” Which I’m sure is what some elected yoyo said when the Garden of Eden was built – and with nary a tax break, if you can imagine that.”

Well, Mr. Leibowitz, today was the official groundbreaking for Crystal Lagoon Island Resort at Glendale. The project will be completed prior to the Super Bowl of 2023. I think it’s time you pound sand regarding your commentary about this project and I invite you to Crystal Lagoon Island Resort at Glendale when it is opened to pound said sand.

A project of this magnitude is not built nor planned in a day. The sale of the land has been completed at a cost of $27 million. Conceptual plans have been rendered and engineering/architectural plans are nearly completed. So now it is time to begin grading the land and that is exactly what is occurring now.

I suspect that Mr. Leibowitz’s motive for disparaging Glendale’s project had more to do with the election atmosphere in the fall of 2020. Add in his close connection in working with the Glendale fire fighter union. Glendale’s Primary Election was in August, 2020, a month before this blockbuster announcement. In that Primary Liebowitz and the Glendale firefighter union took a whippin’. They had backed and had poured tons of money supporting the opponent of Mayor Weiers and my opponent as well. They lost…again. You would think that they would learn the lesson to not mess with Clark and Weiers.

Liebowitz, stung after another firefighter election loss in Glendale, probably thought his article would be great payback and would be a perfect opportunity to go not to go after not only Glendale but me as well. It was like killing two birds with one stone. In this case, his stones missed their mark. I think we can write off Mr. Liebowitz and his opinions regarding anything Glendale related.

When the official groundbreaking occurred this past Thursday, June 10th, I said repeatedly this is the most significant project to come to Glendale since the arena opened in 2003 and the stadium opened in 2006.

Think about it. Why do so many of us escape to California for vacations? The incredible weather along the coast, of course, but it is the beach and water fun and the myriad of theme parks. I can’t think of a single theme park over there that combines a beach with rides.

That’s what makes Crystal Lagoon Island Resort such a unique venue, especially in the Arizona desert. I’m not sure the public realizes just how much one can do.

  • Do you want to swim, scuba dive, water jet pack or boogie board all day? No problem. You and your family can do that with a lunch break at one of the dozen or so restaurants available.
  • Or maybe it’s a day with the kids or grandkids at the Mattel Amusement Park including Thomas the Train and Hot Wheels rides. Over the coming months Mattel will be announcing more components for their amusement park. So be on the lookout for them.
  • Perhaps the older kids would prefer the “fly”or 4 D theaters similar to the “Soarin’ Around the World” attraction at Disney’s California Adventure theme park.
  • Have some visitors? They will be able to stay at Crystal Lagoon Island Resort where 650 hotel rooms will be available. Then you can all meet for a leisurely lunch followed by shopping at one or all five of the themed retail/restaurant island areas.
  • Looking for something unique to show off? Go to the Aerophile’s Aerobar for extraordinary food and drinks 130 feet off the ground. Want to show off the entire Valley of the Sun? Then the tethered hot air balloon rising 400 feet is just the ticket.
  • Need a bit more? Then plan on attending a live outdoor musical concert with well known musical artists nearly every night of the year. More announcements will be made about this element when the principals are ready to do so.

Marry Crystal Lagoon Island Resort with the Westgate/Zanjero area and it becomes a major vacation destination. Want to golf? Go to TopGolf or PopStroke (Tiger Woods designed mini golf). Professional sports venues of NFL football, NHL hockey or MLB spring training baseball await. If your passion is bowling there’s even a bowling alley! Professional shoppers beware as you head off to Tanger Outlets at Westgate or the unique, themed shops at Crystal Lagoon.

Just imagine! When Glendale hosts the Super Bowl in January of 2023, a couple or family can stay at one of the dozen hotels (nearly 2,000 suites available) and be within walking distance of all that I have mentioned above.

I hope I have been able to convey the magnitude of Crystal Lagoon Island Resort and its impact on Glendale with expected visitors of 5,000 to 6,000 a day. It is significant and truly incredible!

So, David Liebowitz…go pound sand…at Crystal Lagoon Island Resort. It’s coming despite your negativism and disbelief.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

This is a blog I have been dying to write for the past year. I simply couldn’t wait to announce this project until tomorrow. So, I will write for a couple of hours and post it in the wee hours of tonight. In this first blog I will give you the big picture regarding the project and in my next blog I will go into detail for those of you who may be nerdy like me.

A year ago our City Manager shared with me that there was a possibility that a Crystal Lagoon project could be coming to Glendale and specifically to my district, the Yucca district at the southwest corner of Cardinals Way and 95th Avenue. I had no idea what the concept was so the first order of business for me was to do my research. What I learned made me anxiously hopeful that Glendale could land such a project. I was excited about the prospect and periodically asked our City Manager Kevin Phelps about the success of the negotiations always ending with, “Can I announce it yet?” For months the response was always, “Not yet.”

The concept was born with Fernando Fischmann, a trained biochemist and a real estate developer. His first project was in San Alfonso del Mar, Chile. The obstacles in the creation of a large lagoon as an amenity to his real estate development project were immense and frankly, solutions were non-existent.  At the time there was no cost effective technology available that could be utilized to maintain a large body of water.

He did what any other genius entrepreneur would do. He did the research himself by setting up his own laboratory to invent the technology needed for his project. He successfully patented his newly created technology allowing him to build major residential/lagoon projects worldwide. Today there are at least a 100 Crystal Lagoons throughout the world — in every South American country; southern European countries like Spain and Greece; the Middle East from Egypt to Jordan; Canada and dozens of lagoons in the United States. The list of projects is extensive.

But it was time to apply the concept to not just residential projects but to a commercial/retail/office/hotel concept.

One of the first such projects will be in Glendale. The developer is ECL Glendale, LLC.  The project site is 48+ acres and will host 9 complimentary components:

  • an 11 acre lagoon style water park planned to include scuba diving, windsurfing and water jet packs
  • 175,000 square feet of retail space
  • 130,000 square feet of office space
  • 3 hotels offering a total of 630 hotel rooms
  • amusement rides
  • family entertainment center
  • fly and 4D theaters
  • restaurants and bars
  • a performing arts and film venue space

There will also be the first ever “aero bar,” a 135 foot elevated bar in the middle of the lagoon with a 360-degree view. It also will include the world’s largest helium balloon. The balloon will be on a tether with a gondola that raises riders 400 feet in the air offering a bird’s eye view of the entire Valley. Some of the newest elements have yet to be announced and you will learn of them in the coming months.

ECL Glendale, LLC. plans to begin construction this year, probably late Fall with a target completion date of October of 2022. That gives them a few months of operation to work all the bugs out before the Super Bowl comes back to Glendale in 2023. It’s an ambitious schedule but as all elements will be constructed simultaneously, it is doable.

So, how much will this plethora of entertainment cost the visitor? I understand that an All Day Pass will be $20 per person. That seems to be a competitive price compared to other water venues in the Valley.

Why am I so excited about the project? It’s a one-of-a-kind attraction for not just the State of Arizona but for the entire Southwestern United States. But even more importantly, it forever ensures that Glendale is the premier sports and entertainment destination in all of Arizona. Now, all we need is basketball and soccer to capture the entire sports market. Maybe if the Coyotes Hockey team actually leaves Glendale as they have threatened to do for several years we could repurpose the arena for basketball? Or perhaps the property owners of the “Vision 4” properties on the west side of the Loop 101 might try to lure additional sports venues such as basketball and soccer to their site? Who knows?

This soon-to-be resort site compliments and adds to all of the existing and soon-to-be constructed development in the Westgate and Zanjero areas. It causes Glendale to become a year round tourist destination, similar to Disneyland or Disneyworld. It also increases Glendale’s viability as a host city for mega events such as the Final Four. Lastly, it will generate slightly less than $10 million a year in new revenue for the city and will create an estimated 1,800 jobs.

This was a difficult and complex project to bring to reality. It has a lot of moving parts and I will get into those moving parts in my next blog.

I don’t believe anyone else, other than our City Manager, Kevin Phelps, could have successfully concluded this project. He is a master at development and exactly what Glendale needs to become eminently successful in a highly competitive market as cities out bid and jostle one another to land mega projects. Mr. Phelps has also put together an outstanding team of senior management responsible for the success of this project. It includes Brian Friedman, Director of Economic Development; Lisa Collins, Planning Administrator; Vicki Rios and Jack Friedline, Assistant City Managers; and Craig Johnson, Director of Utilities. If I omitted anyone please accept my apology. Michael Bidwill, representing the Bidwill family, also contributed to the project’s success by working with ECL Glendale, LLC. to craft a parking agreement.

I don’t think I can express the momentous effect this project will have not just for Glendale and the Metro Valley but for the entire state. This project is in the forefront of a new type of retail. As was expressed today, people no longer just want to buy things. We are entering a new age where people want experiences…memories that are invaluable. That is the promise of this new concept for Crystal Lagoon and the new buzz words are ‘experiential retail.’

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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