Aug 22, 2023 - Things to Do

Farm and restaurant project at Los Olivos Park faces major delays

A sign advertising The Farm at Los Olivos as opening in 2020 has been defaced. Photo: Jeremy Duda/Axios

An ambitious farm-to-table project planned for Los Olivos Park at 28th Street and Glenrosa Avenue has hit a roadblock and won't open any time soon.

  • It was supposed to open in 2020.

State of play: A federal requirement to preserve park land has prevented the city from starting development, Phoenix spokesperson Adam Waltz tells us.

Why it matters: The project, which was supposed to bring new amenities to the park, had been greatly anticipated by nearby residents.

Flashback: In 2017, the city of Phoenix asked developers to submit proposals to build a "working urban farm" at a city park.

  • Aric Mei, the restaurateur behind The Parlor Pizzeria, and Matt Moore, a local organic farmer, pitched The Farm at Los Olivos, to bring an organic farm, farm stand, full-service restaurant and education center to 4.5 acres of Los Olivos Park.
  • In 2018, the city's Parks and Recreation Board authorized the city to move forward with the project, which was to be financed and operated by Mei and Moore's company, Greenbelt Hospitality.

Between the lines: Los Olivos Park was developed in the '70s with a federal grant that required the land be used for outdoor recreation in perpetuity.

  • Because a working farm would not technically be a recreational use, the city would have had to find another piece of land to preserve for recreation instead.
  • The city planned to "swap" the 4.5 acres at Los Olivos for 470 acres of vacant land adjacent to the Sonoran Desert Preserve and the Cave Buttes Recreation Area. But the plan fell through last year, Waltz says.

What's next: The Phoenix parks and recreation department is exploring alternate land parcels to use as the replacement property, Waltz says.

  • The department expects to provide another update by year's end.
  • Of note: Greenbelt Hospitality did not respond to our requests for comment.

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