Air Guitar in Epicenter

Air Guitar in Epicenter will essentially be a high-end convenience store and will look like no other similar establishment.

Owners of a new market concept billed as a “fresh take on the traditional corner store” have broken ground in Agritopia.

Restaurateurs and co-founders of Upward Projects, Craig and Kris DeMarco, and retail store gurus, Eric and Elissa Seitz of Bro Retail Group, broke ground for Air Guitar, with an opening slated next fall.

“The groundbreaking marks the beginning of construction for one of the Valley’s highest profile new retail concepts, and brings together a dream team of local architects and builders in its mission to bring “Life’s Little Luxuries” under one stylish, convenient roof,” the owners said in a release.

The market, sporting an unusual design by debartolo architects, is located on the northwest corner of Higley and Ray roads next door to Epicenter at Agritopia.

 The owners describe Air Guitar as “a grab-and-go stop (that) could be a meaningful part of your day, not just something on the way.”

It sports an airy 5,000-square-foot interior under a soaring 9,000-square-foot canopy that floats and bathes the store in natural light.

Bookended with dramatic floor-to-ceiling glass walls that are protected from the sun, the building is considered “desert sensitive yet highly technical” and aimed at giving customers “rapid arrival, efficient flow, self-service and high-convenience,” said architect Jack DeBartolo III. 

“Most important, the timeless yet timely building offers generous exterior seating in a park-like setting featuring 60-plus trees, making the corner of this important intersection feel more like a park than a new building,” he added.

 Air Guitar will offer “healthy grab and go items with premium beer and wine and exceptional coffee and tea, all served up by an enhanced food and beverage-trained staff,” the owners said.

It is being built separately but in parallel with the new Epicenter at Agritopia. 

Agritopia founder Joe Johnston worked with the DeMarcos & Seitzes to purchase and develop the corner parcel based on their experience creating best-in-class concepts that transform entire neighborhoods.

 “We couldn’t be happier to have Air Guitar anchor one of the most significant intersection transformations in the state,” Johnston said.

Epicenter is a mixed-used project that includes luxury loft-style residential units and ground-floor retail.

During a Gilbert Planning Commission meeting in August, planner Ashlee MacDonald said the 16.5-feet-tall market will have a large covered patio and 32 parking spaces, more than the 21 required.

Meanwhile, Johnston’s company said Epicenter “is progressing on schedule with construction since its groundbreaking in January” and expects residents by next fall as well.

Epicenter will feature 320 apartment homes “that will appeal to a broad spectrum of residents seeking a walkable lifestyle,” it said in a release.

Amenities will include co-working space and a conference room replicating a greenhouse; a resort-style pool with cabanas; a yoga lawn and fitness facility with live-streaming classes; and a dog park.

Covered parking, garages with electric charging stations and elevator access for every building also will be provided, as will be package lockers and food storage and delivery lockers to eliminate non-resident foot traffic beyond secured areas. 

Epicenter will also feature a fully secured bike storage and repair shop. 

“Capturing the magic of the Agritopia community when designing Epicenter was very important to our team,” said Greg Nadeau, StreetLights Residential’s vice president of development. 

 The residences will include studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom living options and range from 504 square feet to 1,600 square feet. All units feature 10-feet ceilings, 8 -foot doors, granite countertops, undermount stainless steel sinks, upgraded GE stainless steel appliances, walk-in closets, large exterior balconies, dimmable decorative lighting, under-cabinet lighting, urban mudrooms and two beautiful finish schemes.

Epicenter will consist of some of the tallest buildings in Gilbert and its retail space will house Beer Barn, Matt’s Big Breakfast, Gadzooks, Peixoto Coffee, Bunky Boutique, Wylde Salon, Hooligan’s Barbershop, Vintage Home and The Fit Collective workout community.

The project will complete Agritopia, which includes an 11.3-acre organic farm.