The day after the Oct. 6 groundbreaking for Red Hawk Garage Suites, early purchasers raised their glasses to celebrate the start of a dream’s transition to reality.
Plans for the 48,000-square-foot space at 15th Avenue and Happy Valley Road had begun three years ago, but the concept is something that Red Hawk Development CEO Charles Eckert Jr. has wanted to build for more than a decade.
“If you would’ve told me three years ago it would’ve taken us three years to get the building permits, I would’ve laughed in your face,” said Eckert. “I’m glad that didn’t happen because I would have made a fool of myself.”
Eckert had worked with several groups on the same concepts, including Toy Barn. Around 2007, when Toy Barn was preparing to develop its first project on Lone Mountain Road, Eckert was thinking about creating a similar space in Anthem.
But the Great Recession put a pause on the project.
Eckert continued to work for over a decade with other projects north of Happy Valley Road between 19th avenue and 17th avenue.
Despite being busy during that span, he could not shake the idea of creating luxury garage suites.
“Arizona is a car state and I always felt there was a market niche for this,” he said.
His concept has changed.
“Our original concept was to take this three-acre parcel of land and put an automotive repair service center on the corner of it then wrap the site with garages,” said Eckert. “I ended up changing that by getting rid of the corner and incorporating the entire garage project on the entire parcel. That delayed us about six months.”
The project launched again in February of 2020 and gained a little traction until the world shut down, for reasons we are all familiar with by now.
Then he ran into more roadblocks.
“We’ve had some real challenges and the city has had some real challenges with getting paperwork, documents and approvals turned around,” he said. “It’s been a long and aggravating process.”
He said it took his company 11-months to get site plan approval from the City of Phoenix.
Despite all the challenges, he was committed to making his vision a reality.
“As a developer, I take big risks for a living,” said Eckert. “I’m also an economist by trade, so I knew that this thing would catch on based on the Garage Town concept and Toy Barn’s success.”
Eckert was intrigued by the development of 4,000 new homes in the area.
“I wanted to look at this project through two perspectives. One perspective was through the eyes of car guys and the other perspective was through people who own boats and RV’s,” said Eckert. “The beauty of where we are is that we’re a mile and a half east of I-17 and we’re accessible by loop 101 and 7th street.”
His gamble has paid off as Eckert reported Red Hawk Garage Suites had reservations on 30 of its 46 garages before breaking ground.
One of the early purchasers was Jeremy Wells, who plans to turn the garage into a “fun zone” for him and his teenage son.
“We plan to bring our dirt bikes, ping-pong table, arcade games and couches and we’re really excited to have an off-site place to hang out,” he said.
“We live in a home that’s somewhat restricted as to what you can store and this allows us to get the toys that we want and enjoy them rather than store them,” he said.
Red Hawk will feature a large community clubhouse with a club room for patrons to smoke cigars, a wet bar, and a large community refrigerator. Each garage will have plumbing to accommodate a restroom, will feature 120 amps of power and have the capability for air conditioning.
“It’s a gathering place for people with common interests,” said Eckert. “You can build your own man cave in these things.”
With the success of the first initial round of spaces, Eckert has plans to open more locations in the future and establish a brand.
“We’re creating a brand and we plan on doing this between six and eight more locations across the valley,” he said. “We want Red Hawk Garage suites to be synonymous with the Valley.”