Residents who live in a landmark downtown Phoenix affordable housing high-rise will benefit from a new state-of-the-art clinic being built by Arizona State University (ASU) through its Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy. The facility will also serve as a valuable training ground for students working under faculty supervision.
The new facility was made possible by a lease recently approved by the US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) between ASU and PAG-CDG (Westward Ho developers and property managers). John Bentz, president of PAG said, “This is a rare project for HUD due to the lease and the related programming in the facility. We are proud that it is happening right here in downtown Phoenix.”
The College of Public Service and Community Solutions is leasing 15,000 square feet of space on the first floor of the Westward Ho building but this is not the beginning of the relationship. ASU nursing students currently provides residents with health services such as blood pressure checks, nutritional help, and disease prevention programs. The expanded facility will also give residents access to counseling, referral services, community assistance as well as educational and cultural enrichment opportunities. The clinic will provide hands-on experience and professional development training for students majoring in social work, nutrition, therapeutic recreation, and nursing.
“We could not be more excited about this unique opportunity to put the design imperatives of Arizona State University and our College into practice. An integral part of our mission is to fuse research, service and learning. This innovative partnership does exactly that; And the Westward Ho initiative exemplifies our dedication to developing collaborative solutions in our community,” said Jonathan Koppell, dean of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions.
“Establishing an ASU presence within this historic landmark of our community is the embodiment of our university’s commitment to community embeddeness”, said Dr. Michael S. Shafer, professor of Social Work and director of the ASU Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions.
The 16-story Westward Ho is a historically significant building. It opened as a hotel in 1928 with 600 elegant rooms. With the exception of one building in Long Beach, California, the hotel was the tallest reinforced concrete structure west of the Mississippi. Its famous Thunderbird Room was added in 1951. The 1,000-seat dinner theater was the site for many grand Phoenix society receptions. In 1979, the 600-room hotel was converted to affordable housing. Today, Westward Ho is a 289 unit ‘elderly preference’ affordable housing development within ¼ mile from a light rail station and close to downtown amenities.
“We are happy to have Arizona State University here providing health and social services, “ said Mildred Webb, an 84-year-old resident at Westward Ho. “They have helped me and others many times and now my life is better. I am very happy they are expanding.”
“It is great to have companies such as PAG-CDG investing in the community as they have done for over twenty years,” said Councilman Michael Nowakowski, District 7. “Top that with ASU’s Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy running some of the most innovative social programs in the country, and we have a great one-of-a-kind neighborhood asset.” said Councilman Nowakowski.
In addition to renovating office space for the faculty, staff, and students that work at the Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy, Westward Ho plans to repair and upgrade various building components including central plant mechanical and plumbing system repairs and replacement of select in-unit features.
“The lease represents the culmination of years of discussions with ASU and will be a true community asset, not only to the residents of Westward Ho, but also the general public,” said John Bentz of PAG-CDG. “Having ASU expand North of Fillmore Street for the first time will help activate this area of Central Avenue and improve its walkablilty. This is a great example of a public-private initiative between multiple organizations coming together to create a unique and special community asset.”
The clinic is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2015.
The JPMorgan Chase Foundation (NYSE: JPM) announced a $6 million grant to NALCAB—National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders—for a multi-market pilot project focused on job creation, affordable housing, and small business lending in predominantly Latino communities. The three-year initiative is being led by NALCAB, as the lead applicant and convener for the project. Partners in the initiative include three nonprofit lenders working in five states:
* Affordable Homes of South Texas, Inc. (AHSTI)—Texas
* Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC)—Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada
* Community Resources and Housing Development Corporation (CRHDC)—Colorado
In its first year, the initiative will have an immediate impact on low and moderate income Latino communities still recovering from the recession. The nonprofit lenders will finance affordable housing and small businesses. In subsequent years, the partners will continue to leverage and expand their capital for lending and establish an equity fund.
This project builds on NALCAB’s successful track record in connection with two major national initiatives, the NSP2 (Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2) National Consortium and Inversiones: A Small Business Investment Initiative, which has been recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) as a Commitment to America. Under NSP2, a consortium of nonprofit affordable housing providers, including AHSTI, CPLC, and CRHDC, was awarded $137 million in federal funding to stabilize housing in neighborhoods hit by the foreclosure crisis. The consortium has produced more than 1,600 housing units and created 2,300 jobs. CGI/Inversiones is utilizing NALCAB’s national network of nonprofits to leverage $70 million to create 4,000 jobs by supporting the start up or expansion of 1,500 small businesses in predominantly Latino communities.
As the lead applicant, convener and catalyst, NALCAB will be providing subgrants, technical assistance and training support to the three partners. “With this grant, JPMorgan Chase is making a bold investment in ongoing economic recovery in Latino communities that were hard to hit in the recession,” stated Noel Poyo, Executive Director at NALCAB. “The NALCAB Network will use this funding to drive innovative approaches to affordable housing production and small business lending—ultimately creating jobs and economic opportunity in low-income communities.”
“JPMorgan Chase views community development financial institutions as critical change-agents in underserved communities,” said Morris Camp, President of Chase in San Antonio. “Our $33 million commitment – made through our new CDFI Collaboratives program – will help our partners serve more people in need, as well as catalyze investment in low- and middle-income communities across Texas and the US.”
AHSTI, CPLC and CRHDC, all members of the NALCAB network, are high-capacity anchor institutions in their communities that provide culturally and linguistically relevant services. They are certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), nonprofit financial institutions that serve low-income communities. The CDFI designation provides opportunities for these organizations to access technical and financial support.
Cassidy Turley completed the sale of Country Club Greens, a 68-unit apartment community on 2.4 acres at 350 W. 13th Place in Mesa for $4M.
The buyer was Clear Sky Capital CCG L.P. of Phoenix and the seller was California Bank & Trust. Executive Vice Presidents David Fogler and Steven Nicoluzakis with Cassidy Turley Arizona’s Multi-Family Group brokered the transaction.
Built in 1986, the property has nine one bed/one bath and 59 two bed/two bath fully remodeled rental units that include new energy efficient appliances and upgraded kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
The complex also has a swimming pool and spa and on-site leasing office. Country Club Greens is located one mile south of the Loop 202 on Country Club.
In other news, Cassidy Turley completed a 2,800 SF lease for Voxpop, the shopper marketing radio network, at 2141 E. Camelback Rd.. Justin Himelstein and Jason France with Cassidy Turley Arizona’s Office Tenant Representation group represented Voxpop.
The marketing company relocated from an office at University and 35th St. to the Camelback Corridor submarket. Judith Tucker with Camroad Properties represented the landlord, Two Corners Financial Group, LLC.
Voxpop began in 2003 in Mexico and is the largest in-store marketing radio network reaching more than 40M people in more than 1,800 stores. In 2009 the company expanded its operations in the U.S.
The company currently has partnerships with retailers in Arizona, Texas and California, including Arizona-based Bashas’, AJ’s Fine Foods and Food City locations. Voxpop is a strategic messaging company that started by providing background music for stores and grew into providing targeted advertising and marketing messages for grocery customers.
The client list includes national companies such as Nestle, Coca-Cola, Tyson, General Mills and Kraft.
DEVINE LEGACY ON CENTRAL
Developer: Native American Connections
The $10.6M project is a 65-unit affordable housing community for working families. The urban design will include a mix of studio, 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units, and will incorporate a number of green building concepts. Completion is 4Q 2011.
Winters in Arizona may be sunnier than other places, but the economy in the Grand Canyon State has cooled faster than almost every state. Analysts expect 2009 to bring even more bad economic news, and it is likely that the monthly reports on job growth and unemployment will be downright chilling for some time to come.
As in all downturns in the past 50 years, Arizona’s economy will track the national business cycle. There are no forces inherent in the makeup of the state’s economy that would propel Arizona into an independent turnaround. Arizona will recover at approximately the same time as the country as a whole.
And, entering 2009, a rebound for the national economy is nowhere in sight. The National Bureau of Economic Research recently decreed that we have been in recession since the end of 2007. Now that a start date has been identified, it is only natural to wonder how long recessions typically last. The answer is that the average post-World War II recession has been 10 months from peak to trough. This information is perhaps useful for trivia buffs, but in the current environment, the 10-month average is not much of a guideline. This recession has already persisted past 10 months, and may be well on its way to setting a post-war record for length. The recession will certainly be 18 months at a minimum, and could persist for as long as 24 months. Or more.
The list of economic problems facing the country and Arizona continues to grow. Until recently, exports and non-residential building were actually expanding at a double-digit pace, keeping the Gross Domestic Product growth figures in the positive region. As the global economy slows, exports will decrease, probably early in 2009. Arizona has important manufacturing exports, especially in high technology, that will be affected.
Non-residential building (commercial, office, and warehousing) will grind to a halt in 2009 as current projects are completed. When the economy is losing jobs and sales are falling, there is no need for additional offices, retail space or warehouses.
During the first half of 2008, consumers in Arizona and the nation continued to spend, and that bolstered growth. New unemployment claims were mounting during this period, but conditions would have been worse if consumers were not contributing to the economy. The credit crunch hit in the second half of 2008. Combined with a chaotic stock market and continually falling home values, consumer willingness — and ability — to spend hit the breaking point. Arizona retail sales were down sharply in 2008, with auto sales and restaurant and bar sales both off by 25 percent. Consumer spending is expected to fall more during the early months of 2009.
Compared to other states, Arizona’s labor markets are in the deep freeze. Employment in the state is down by more than 75,000 jobs compared to last year at this time. Arizona is just one of 37 states now losing jobs, but conditions are worse here. Arizona ranks 49th among all states in job growth. Only Rhode Island is losing jobs more rapidly. Unemployment rates nationally and in Arizona are destined to increase into the 7 percent or possibly 8 percent range before recovery begins.
And recovery will come, as it always does in business cycles, although this one will be deeper and longer than has been seen since the 1930s. Housing inventory will eventually be worked off, and foreclosures will begin to slow. Home prices will stabilize. The nation adds three million new residents per year, and the pent-up demand created by family formation and population growth will start to translate into new sales.
Arizona benefits from high levels of domestic migration. Even if migration slows temporarily in the down period, the basic attractions of Arizona remain powerful in the longer term.
One of these attractions for many decades has been affordable housing. During the housing boom, home prices in Phoenix increased faster than in many peer metropolitan areas, and Phoenix became less competitive to relocators. Although falling values have caused dismay to Arizona home owners, the resulting new lower prices actually create an environment for ultimate growth.
The table shows housing affordability as measured by the National Association of Homebuilders. Higher numbers indicate housing is more affordable. At the end of the previous recession (third quarter of 2001) Phoenix had an affordability value of 70, which means 70 percent of homes were affordable to families at the median Phoenix income. Phoenix housing was more affordable than the nation and the peer metro areas shown. Two years later, at the peak of the boom, Phoenix was less affordable than Denver, Riverside, Calif., and the nation as a whole. But the most recent values, for third quarter 2008, show Phoenix affordability up by 75 percent over the 2005 figure, and more affordable than the other metro areasandthe nation. The Phoenix housing advantage has been restored.
There is one final optimistic observation to be made, one which is familiar to Arizona economy-watchers. When recovery does begin, Arizona invariably rebounds much stronger than the nation, and more vigorously than most other states. What analysts are still debating is whether this rebound will come in 2009 or is delayed until early in 2010.
About the only person who would disagree about calling the late John F. Long the father of the West Valley would be John F. Long. For more than 60 years, the man described by friends and colleagues as quiet and unassuming, held the vision that transformed the West Valley from fields to thousands of homes for soldiers returning from World War II to emerging cities.
The legacy of John F. Long will live forever,” says Jack Lunsford, president and CEO of WESTMARC. “Unlike footprints in the beach sand, which are eventually washed away, John’s are cast in concrete. And that doesn’t just mean buildings. He left us foresight and philanthropy, all with humility and without fanfare, simply because he loved the area, he loved people, and he wanted to make the West Valley a great place for families to live.”
Long died in February at the age of 87, but his legacy in the West Valley — indeed the entire Valley — will live on, not just in the communities he built, but also in the people whose lives he touched.
“His vision and reality of building a master-planned community is certainly important,” says his son, Jacob Long, who is chief operating officer for the company his father founded, John F. Long Properties. “Not only was he providing an affordable place to live for so many, he was also providing jobs for so many people. A lot of those people not only stayed here, but they are an integral part of helping the West Valley grow as business and community leaders. At least once a week I meet someone who says, ‘Because of your father, my family or I was able to buy a solid home at a great price. It helped me build equity.’ ”
A Phoenix native, John Long got his start in the building industry with a G.I. loan, his own hammer and other tools he borrowed from his stepfather. He first set out to build a home for his new wife, Mary. Instead, he ended up selling the home for twice what it cost to build.
By 1954, John Long was thinking big. He set out not only to build a collection of tract homes in one area, but also to create a community with schools, churches, hospitals, shopping centers and parks. Long created the state’s first master-planned community and named it Maryvale, after his wife.
By applying mass production techniques to homebuilding, Long was able to offer a three-bedroom, two-bath house with a swimming pool for less than $10,000. Houses began selling at a rate of 100 per week, and John F. Long Properties was born.
Despite his success, Long never forgot who he was building the homes for, says Diane McCarthy, director of business partnerships and legislative affairs for West-MEC. For example, when Long first began constructing homes, he realized the VA loans didn’t cover such essentials as refrigerators and stoves. So Long trekked to Washington, D.C., and went before Congress to change the scope of the VA loans.
“He didn’t do it to make money. Making money was a sidebar to what he was doing,” McCarthy says. “He wanted to build communities. He knew with all those returning servicemen after World War II who had served out here either at Williams or Luke, he knew they were going to come West and he wanted an affordable place for them to live.”
Already hailed as an innovator for his assembly line methods of homebuilding, Long adopted sustainable methods years before it became popular. In 1988, John F. Long Homes was chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop, construct and test a demonstration model home featuring roof-mounted photovoltaic solar cells. His Solar One became the world’s first solar subdivision. The 24-home subdivision in Glendale has almost all of its power needs met by ground-mounted photovoltaic cells.
“I think John was probably one of the greatest entrepreneurs and innovators, at least in the housing end, in water conservation, in just general development,” says Rep. John Nelson, (R-Phoenix). “He was a step ahead of everybody in those areas.”
For Long, finding new ways to build homes was just one part of his vision. He was interested in building a community; more specifically, he wanted the West Valley to be a place where people lived and worked. Rather than resent the fact that the West Valley was perpetually in the East Valley’s shadow, Long took the East Valley model and used it to reshape the West Valley. To that end, WESTMARC was born
“WESTMARC wouldn’t have happened without him. It’s just that simple,” says McCarthy, who first met Long in 1992, when she became the first director of WESTMARC. “He provided a lot of the seed money for us to get started, and in addition to the money, he talked to a lot of people. When you’re starting up an organization like that, you don’t have a lot of credibility because you don’t have a track record. He was willing to talk to other people and say, ‘Look, I really believe in what this organization can do and we have to give it a chance. And we all have to be willing to roll up our sleeves and get involved and help make a lot of these things happen.’ ”
Making things happen was a John Long specialty. He was always quick to donate money, land or services to make sure his beloved West Valley would continue to grow and be a place where people could raise families and build communities. A very small portion of what he gave includes the labor and material to fill potholes on 550 miles of West Phoenix streets; building and donating 21 townhouses to the city’s Affordable Housing Program; and when the Milwaukee Brewers were looking for a new Spring Training home, donating 60 acres of land for the Maryvale Baseball Park – as well as lending the city $10 million for construction.
Besides giving out of his own pocket, Long made sure others with the wherewithal gave as well.
“Dad was born and raised in Phoenix,” Jacob Long says. “This makes a huge difference. You have that sense of ownership and pride. He always was looking for ways to help others help themselves, who in turn might have the same feelings and be inspired. That is how true communities flourish.”
John Long had a standing challenge to other developers who built in the West Valley, Nelson says.
“He’d say, ‘I’ll do this if you do that,’ ” Nelson adds. “If you took a look at the developers who took a project on the West Side, they always had that challenge with John to put a project in pace that had benefits for those who lived there.”
McCarthy recalls a time when the library and senior center just north of Indian School Road and 51st Avenue badly needed repairs. Long made sure money for the upgrades was included in a bond measure. The measure succeeded, but when he found out the renovations weren’t scheduled until years later, Long took matters into his own hands.
“He went to the city and said, ‘Here’s the check for $10 million. Get it done sooner and pay me when the bond proceeds come in,’ ” McCarthy says. “So that beautiful, beautiful library and senior center he lived to see done.”
Exactly how much Long gave to the community is not exactly known, as most of his work was done behind the scenes and with no fanfare.
“Both parents instilled in us the need to be aware of someone who truly needs help and is experiencing a tough time through no fault of their own,” Jacob Long says. “One such person, a teenager, experienced a very bad athletic accident. He was confined to a wheelchair and his parents didn’t have the resources to modify their home. Dad read about this in the newspaper and he contacted the family and offered to remodel their home to accommodate the son’s special needs. This way he could be with his family. No one asked (my Dad) to do this.”
His philanthropy was not a recent development. In fact, he established the John F. Long Foundation, a nonprofit group supporting local charities, schools, education events and general community needs, in 1959. Long was generous in the extreme, but he was still a businessman and he would fight to protect his interests and those of the community he loved.
“He had a heart of gold and was tough as nails when he had to be,” Nelson says. “John sued the living daylights out of the city of Phoenix (in 1986) because they sold water to Palo Verde (Nuclear Generating Station). That was another side of John; he was not afraid to fight. If he felt he was right, he’d drag you to court. He didn’t care who you were.”
In 2000, WESTMARC created a lifetime achievement award and named it after Long. Despite all of his years working for the West Valley, the honor came as a surprise to him, McCarthy says.
“We told him we named it after him and I had never seen him speechless up to that point,” she says. “He was so thrilled at that. And then every year, I would take a couple of names to him and ask him, ‘Who do you think should get it?’ And he’d pick out the one and say, ‘That’s the one.’
“He never, ever flaunted anything. He was the most humble person. He would walk into a room and quietly sit down and unless you knew John Long, you wouldn’t know it was him,” McCarthy says. “I miss him. He was always somebody to call if you had an idea and he was willing to call you if he had an idea. And that’s how things get done.”