Tag Archives: arizona department of transportation

federal transportation bill

Upcoming Valley Partnership breakfast covers transportation

Valley Partnership has announced the topic for its upcoming monthly breakfast on Friday, Nov. 14. This month’s program will feature an update on current road, highway and infrastructure projects in Valley’s construction pipeline. Panelists will discuss projects currently underway as well as those projects slated for near and long term development and how they will benefit the business climate in the metropolitan Phoenix.

The Transportation Update panel will feature Michael Kies, director of planning and programming, Arizona Department of Transportation; Eric Anderson, transportation director, Maricopa Association of Governments; and David M. Martin, president, Arizona Chapter-Associated General Contractors. The panel will be moderated by Andrew Smigielski, principal/senior traffic engineer, Southwest Traffic Engineering.

The continued development and improvement of infrastructure across the Valley is vital to economic development of metro Phoenix and Arizona as whole,” said Richard Hubbard, president and CEO of Valley Partnership. “Well-planned, strategically-situated infrastructure is the framework upon which all other commercial real estate and economic development is built. It’s important the commercial real estate and development communities are educated current and future projects and the opportunities and challenges that come along with them.”

In addition to the panel, the Community Project Committee will present a Community Project wrap up. This year’s recipient is Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped (AFH) and build day is Saturday Nov. 8th. The committee will give a short presentation featuring photos and video from the event giving partners an opportunity to see what their time, energy and money accomplished for AFH’s Perry Rehabilitation Center.

The Valley Partnership Monthly Breakfast will take place Friday, Nov. 14, at the Phoenix Country Club located at 2901 N. 7th St. in Phoenix. Registration begins at 7 a.m.; program begins at 7:45 a.m. To register, visit Valley Partnership and click on the “Monthly Breakfast” tab.

The Offices at Reems.

Sperry Van Ness Represents the Seller in a 16-Unit Office Condo Portfolio Sale in Surprise

Justin Horwitz, Nicole Ridberg and Neil Sherman of Sperry Van Ness, LLC, in Phoenix represented Pacific Western Bank in the sale of the Offices at Reems, a 16-unit office condo portfolio located at 15515-15571 N. Reems Road in Surprise, Ariz.
The bank-owned shell and built-out condo units sold for $1,350,000 or $56 per square foot and closed on August 27. The portfolio is approximately 24,101 SF.
“The transaction turned out to be a win-win for both the buyer and seller,” said Justin Horwitz. “This sale put the Offices at Reems back on track to being a vibrant and desirable office condo project in the West Valley.”
The buyer, Reems and Greenway, LLC, was represented by Steve Cook of Escee Properties.

Michael Mahoney Cut

Mike Mahoney Awarded Sundt Construction Lifetime Achievement Award

Michael Mahoney CGM_9866Mike Mahoney, a general superintendent who most recently worked on Sundt Construction’s federal projects, was recently given a Lifetime Achievement award, underscoring Sundt’s core values of longevity and loyalty.

The award is not given annually; instead, it is only presented when warranted. This is the third time in the company’s 123-year history the Lifetime Achievement award has been presented. Mahoney’s contributions to Sundt were acknowledged during Sundt’s Annual Leadership Conference, where 100 of the top senior management gathered.

Mahoney, who started with M.M. Sundt as a concrete finisher, has worked on a wide range of projects across the United States for 40 years.

rsz_cbre-2

CBRE Hosts City-Wide Clothing Drive

Commercial real estate services firm CBRE is holding its third annual, city-wide business clothing drive called PurSUIT of SUCCESS, benefiting two nonprofit organizations that provide job training and career counseling to women and men throughout the Phoenix area.

The two beneficiaries of the business clothing drive are:

  • Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping empower women through services focused on economic self-sufficiency, self-esteem and lifelong learning.
  • St. Joseph the Worker, which assists the homeless, low-income and other disadvantaged individuals in their efforts to become self-sufficient through quality employment.
WHEN:September 9 – 20, 2013 
WHERE:Current, gently-used business attire can be donated—Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. —at CBRE’s Phoenix Esplanade office, located at 2415 E. Camelback Road. In addition, 18 CBRE-managed buildings throughout the Phoenix area, along with hundreds of building tenants, are participating in the business clothing drive. Many of these locations are also accepting donations from the public, including: 

  • 3131 & 3333 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
  • 3300 Tower, 3300 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
  • 5090 N. 40th Street, Phoenix
  • 92 Mountain View, 10001 N. 92nd St., Scottsdale
  • Broadway 101 Office Park, 2151 E. Broadway Road, Tempe
  • Desert Ridge Corporate Center, 20860 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix
  • Esplanade III, 2415 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
  • Gainey Center II, 8501 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
  • MAX at Kierland, 16220 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
  • Northsight Financial Office Park, 14500 N. Northsight Blvd., Scottsdale
  • Phoenix Plaza, 2929 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
  • San Tan Corporate Center, 3100 W. Ray Road, Chandler
  • Scottsdale Financial Center III, 7272 E. Indian School Road, Scottsdale
  • Scottsdale Gateway, 9201 E. Mountain View Road, Scottsdale
  • Stapley Center, 1630, S. Stapley Drive, Mesa

 

PurSUIT of SUCCESS is the largest, business clothing drive in metro Phoenix, and benefits women and men in job training programs at Fresh Start Women’s Foundation and St. Joseph the Worker. Through these organizations, women and men receive career counseling, job skill training, emotional support and clothing suitable to wear in a business environment, which, in turn, provide confidence and a positive self-image—an important step in their individual pursuit of success.

During the past two years, CBRE’s PurSUIT of SUCCESS has collected more than 6,900 articles of clothing, providing interview and work outfits for hundreds of people working to regain their independence.

To learn more about PurSUIT of SUCCESS visit www.cbre.com/purSUITofSUCCESS.

BORDER GOVERNORS

Brewer signs photo radar bill

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed a bill requiring state transportation officials to confirm there’s a legitimate safety need before they allow cities to put photo enforcement cameras on state highways.

A Senate amendment to House Bill 2477 passed by the Legislature softened a requirement that cities show photo enforcement has improved safety if they want to renew their state permits every three years. The bill Brewer signed into law Wednesday allows non-renewal only if it can’t be shown the cameras are maintaining a “positive impact” on public safety.

Eight cities and towns now use photo radar on stretches of state highways, and Casa Grande and Sierra Vista are working with the Arizona Department of Transportation to add them.

desert peaks awards

Arizona plans road projects with reduced funding

The Arizona Department of Transportation says it will be working with $350 million less as it maps out construction projects for the next five years.

The department says the decreased funding is due to stagnant revenue from gas and vehicle license taxes, and declining federal aid. Director John Halikowski says some tough decisions will have to be made about how to spend limited dollars.

The public can begin submitting comments on three scenarios Friday. One focuses on preserving the state’s highway system, another focuses on major projects, and the third is a combination of those two.

Public hearings are planned in Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff.

The State Transportation Board is expected to adopt a final plan to cover 2014 to 2018 at its June meeting in Pinetop-Lakeside.

federal transportation bill

Arizona Forward hopes to guide Arizona’s transportation systems

As Valley Forward transitions to Arizona Forward to encompass a statewide focus, it’s only fitting that the association with a 43-year history of success tackling environmental issues — including land use, water management, air quality and energy — turns its attention to an issue that impacts every resident and every business in Arizona.
Transportation.

“Valley Forward has always valued transportation as one of the organization’s key areas of interest,” says John Godec, president of Godec, Randall & Associates Inc., which helps governments and businesses solve public and stakeholder challenges. “The Phoenix and Tucson metros have seen radical transportation changes and improvements in the past decade, so we’re asking, ‘What’s next? Are we good to go now?’”

Just as it did last year with parks and open spaces, Valley Forward hopes to answer those questions as it unveils its stance on transportation, covering topics such as transportation planning, how it impacts the quality of life in the Sun Corridor and how transportation affects Arizona’s economy.

One issue that Valley Forward wanted to address in its Transportation Primer is one on the minds of every Arizona: traffic congestion and how to better connect cities with each other. According to a policy report written by Byron Schlomach for The Goldwater Institute, the average Phoenix commuter spends an average of 38 hours a year in traffic, while a commuter in Tucson spends roughly 42 hours in traffic.

In an attempt to remedy traffic congestion in Phoenix, voters adopted Proposition 400 in November of 2004, which allowed for the renovating and extending of current freeways and the addition of more public transportation, such as the Valley Metro Light Rail, all of which connect small communities with larger cities. In Tucson, Pima County voters approved the $2.1 billion Regional Transportation Plan, which saw the construction of a modern streetcar project throughout the city, giving more people a chance to get around, while getting cars off the highways.

However, the question that has been asked by Valley Forward is, is it enough, especially since Arizona only seems to be growing in size?

“At least half the transportation systems that the state will need in 2050 have yet to be built,” says Sally Stewart, deputy communications director at the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and Valley Forward member. “Despite the recent economic downturn, Arizona’s growth is not over. It is not a question of whether the Sun Corridor — one of the emerging megapolitan regions in the country — will be a reality; it is simply a matter of when.”

According to a study published in March 2010 by ADOT, it is expected that Arizona’s population will more than double, from 6.4 million to about 16 million people in the next 30 years. Maricopa County’s population is expected to increase by 90 percent, from 4 million people to about 7.6 million. The study suggests that because of this population explosion, travel times for various destinations in the Sun Corridor could increase by about 100 percent by 2050. This could mean that a trip between Phoenix and Tucson, which currently is about a 95-minute drive, could take up to 5.5 hours in 2050 (assuming that the Interstate-10 freeway is widened to about 10 lanes).

Valley Forward experts say that Arizona must plan ahead to improve this possible transportation dilemma, especially if the state wants to see more business activity and economic improvement.

“Transportation is key for economic development,” says said Eric Anderson, transportation director at the Maricopa Association of Governments. “The ability of a company’s workforce to commute on a predictable basis is critical. The movement of freight in and out of the region is also important. Companies looking to locate in the region always look at the adequacy of the transportation system in providing mobility and travel options.”

According to the American Public Transportation Association, every $1 billion invested in public transportation supports and creates 36,000 jobs. Despite the fact that policies, such as Proposition 400, have created and funded transportation projects, Valley Forward says that there is still not enough money allocated for Arizona’s travel needs.

“Arizona’s future economic development will be tied closely to the state’s willingness to commit funding and resources to improving and expanding its statewide transportation system,” says Craig Hughes, CEO and founder of Total Transit, the parent company of Discount Cab in Phoenix and Tucson. “Without a firm commitment to building and maintaining an efficient, integrated transportation network, the future could be one of congested freeways, inadequate rural highways, gridlocked city streets and under-funded and under-utilized mass transit.”

Valley Forward hopes that its stance and data findings will help create a dialogue not only among Phoenix and Tucson residents, but also policymakers.

“Arizona’s business community is a vital participant in guiding policymakers regarding the infrastructure challenges facing the state,” Stewart says. “If Arizonans want to enjoy a better quality of life based on a vibrant economy, then the business community must work closely with policymakers to make the difficult, but necessary decisions regarding transportation infrastructure.”

Adds Diane Brossart, president and CEO of Valley Forward, “We want to bring together the public and private sectors. Valley Forward’s goal is to try and drive the conversation to the middle and take the politics out. We want to drive up solutions so that Arizona, as a whole, can advance and can sustain itself.”

Brossart Diane final 9314 5-29-12

Valley Forward Exands its horizon

Timing is everything, even when it comes to Mother Nature.

“In 2010, we got an $85,000 grant to look at some federal issues on sustainability,” says Diane Brossart, president and CEO of Valley Forward, which brings business and civic leaders together to improve the environment and livability of Valley communities. “We were asked to target Arizona’s Congressional delegation and get them up to speed in regards to understanding a sustainability agenda for Arizona and what that meant.”

What grew from that seed was an initiative that had actually been germinating for more than a decade, Brossart says: taking the successful Marocopa County-centric Valley Forward and giving is a statewide focus. In August, Valley Forward’s board voted unanimously to to move forward with a business plan that will transition Valley Forward into Arizona Forward in January.

Brossart says the state is facing some serious issues related to the environment and the livability and vitality of Arizona’s cities and towns will be impacted by upcoming decisions related to:
* Land use planning and open space,
* A balanced multi-modal transportation system,
* Improving and maintaining healthy air quality,
* Solar and renewable energy technology,
*  Managing our water resources, and
* Protecting wilderness, parks, national monuments and other natural areas for Arizona’s tourism economy.

“As Arizona and the country recover from the Great Recession, a statewide dialogue is more important than ever,” says William F. Allison, a shareholder at Gallagher & Kennedy. “The issues impacting us – water, energy, transportation, land use – involve the entire state rather than only the Valley. Arizona Forward will provide a forum to think outside the box and beyond the Valley.”

To get Arizona Forward to have its greatest statewide impact, Brossart and her staff connected with nine companies that had influence on communities along the Sun Corridor — the stretch of freeway that connects Tucson, Phoenix, Prescott and Flagstaff — to become charter members of Arizona Forward.

“The leaders of those companies have become our tour guides as we go into Pima County and Northern Arizona,” Brossart says. She points to Kurt Wadlington, employee-owner of Sundt Construction in Tucson, for opening doors for Arizona Forward to spread its wings into Southern Arizona.

“Southern Arizona already has a very strong environmental focus, but struggles with areas that are dependent on statewide engagement from both a funding and advocacy perspective,” Wadlington says. “(Valley Forward’s) shift (to a statewide focus) will provide Southern Arizona with added resources to coordinate its future growth in the larger context of the Sun Corridor.”

Experts agree that now is the perfect time for Valley Forward to shift to a statewide focus statewide because Arizona is at a turning point, economically and environmentally.

“There are major issues that affect the state like transportation; managing resources; and protecting the wilderness, parks, and national monuments,” says Alfie Gallegos, area sales manager for Republic Services. “These are not just environmental issues, but are issues that have an effect on Arizona’s economy statewide. I think Arizona is ready to start having more positive statewide conversations about finding ways to grow our economy in a manner that can be sustained and is environmentally friendly.”

Brossart says that while Arizona has had countless groups that have focused on making their communities better, Arizona Forward will be looking to help educate legislators become the glue that brings those regional organizations together in a spirit of cooperation and unity.

“So much of our goal is to drive a political agenda to the middle and bring folks on both sides of the aisle together,” Brossart says. “The issues that we focus on are sustainability and environmental. Everybody needs clean air, clean water, open space and parks. Those are the things that make a community viable, healthy and liveable. We all want that. Those aren’t political issues. But they do fall into a political arena that sometimes clouds the issues. But if we can be a reasoning voice of balance like we have been successfully in Maricopa County, if we can bring that statewide, it will be really good for Arizona — economically and environmentally.”

Valley Forward members expect the transition to Arizona Forward to foster additional collaboration and conversation on statewide issues, bring additional viewpoints on key issues and allow for a more global conversation.

“My hope is that we can, over time, have a collective vision that regardless of our own regional filters, we’re all in this together and need to find ways to move forward as one sustainable, economically successful state,” says Iain Hamp, community affairs representative, Wells Fargo Team Member Philanthropy Group.

Brossart says one of the biggest messages Arizona Forward will be trying to communicate is that making sound decisions about issues surrounding sustainability and the environment are good for business.

“If we make a case that shows the economic impact of parks and open space on the tourism industry, the business community will take notice and they are uniquely poised to deliver of that message and be heard,” Brossart says. “Parks groupies are great and they are important. But when the business community gets involved, people listen.”

Where Arizona Forward could have its biggest economic impact is on growth industries that rely on the state’s amazing natural resources.

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of solar energy, as the clean, renewable energy source is experiencing massive growth and helping the state and country achieve greater energy independence,” says Patricia Browne, director of marketing and communications for SOLON Corporation in Tucson. “And Arizona has been at the center of this growth. This has been made possible not only by the companies developing the solutions, but by the state and local officials, Arizona-based businesses and individual residents who recognize the importance that solar plays in a number of ways such as a cleaner environment, economic development, and energy price stability. However, there are still challenges in making the adoption viable on a large scale, and Arizona Forward helps bring together the right players to help make this happen on a state level.”

Richard Mayol, communications and government relations director for Grand Canyon Trust in Flagstaff, says Arizona Forward will give members in northern Arizona the opportunity to not only have a voice in discussions that affect the state today, but in decisions that impact what Arizona will be like 20 years from now.

“We hope it will help create an economy that provides the opportunity for prosperity without sacrificing the environment,” he says, “and makes northern Arizona an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

And that is what Arizona Forward’s mission is all about: bringing business and civic leaders together in order to convene thoughtful public dialogue on statewide issues and to improve the environment and sustainability of Arizona.

“All areas of the state will benefit, from urban to rural and suburban areas in between due to a coordinated and planned strategy for such essential elements as affordable energy, water, transportation, affordable housing, and a wide band of employment opportunities,” says Janice Cervelli, dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona. “All geographic, economic, and environmental sectors of the state will increasingly become part of a larger, interdependent, connected system.”

GOALS OF ARIZONA FORWARD

* Establish cooperative relationships with like-minded Arizona conservation organizations and facilitate collaboration on sustainability initiatives.
* Bring business and civic leaders together to convene thoughtful public dialogue on regional issues and to improve the environment and sustainability of Arizona.
* Increase awareness of and interest in environmental issues initially in the Sun Corridor and then beyond, statewide, building on an agenda of land use and open space planning, transportation, air quality, water, and energy.
* Support efforts to promote the Sun Corridor as an economic development area incorporating sustainability and smart growth principles.
* Serve as a technical resource on environmental issues through Arizona Forward’s and Valley Forward’s diverse membership of large corporations, small businesses, municipal governments, state agencies, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations.

ARIZONA FORWARD CHARTER MEMBERS
Arizona Community Foundation
First Solar
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold
National Bank of Arizona
SOLON Corporation
Sundt Construction
The Nature Conservancy
Total Transit
Wells Fargo

FOUNDING MEMBERS: Access Geographic, LLC; Adolfson & Peterson Construction Company; APS; Arizona Conservation Partnership; Arizona Department of Transportation; Arizona Heritage Alliance; Arizona Investment Council; Arizona State Parks Foundation; Arizona State University, Global Institute of Sustainability; Aubudon Arizona; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona; Breckenridge Group Architects/Planners; Caliber Group; City of Tucson; Environmental Fund of Arizona; Fennemore Craig; Gabor Lorant Architects; Gammage & Burnham; Godec Randall & Associates; Grand Canyon Trust; Guided Therapy Systems; Haley & Aldrich; Intellectual Energy, LLC; John Douglas Architects; Jones Studio; Kinney Construction Services, Inc.; Lewis and Roca LLP; Logan Halperin Landscape Architecture; Pima County; RSP Architects; Southwest Gas Corporation; SRP; University of Phoenix; TEP / UNS Energy Corp.; The Greenleaf Group

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Outlines Plans For $1.4B Terminal Expansion

To accommodate passenger service over the next 20 years and beyond, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport outlined four distinct phases of new terminal development at an estimated total cost of $1.4B during a session of the Airport Authority’s Board of Directors meeting.

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is among the fastest growing hub airports in the U.S., accommodating 956,665 total passengers in 2011 and forecasting 1.3M in 2012. To accommodate the rapid rise in passenger service, the Airport’s current terminal facility has transitioned through four expansion projects in as many years.

Current passenger trends indicate the existing terminal facilities and infrastructure on the Airport’s west side will be at full capacity as early as 2014. In response, the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Northeast Area Development Plan was initiated. The plan, titled “Gateway 2030” by the Airport Executive Director at a recent Board of Director’s meeting, was prepared by the Jacobs Engineering Group in collaboration with Airport staff; Federal, State and local officials; development industry experts; and major land owners near the Airport over a 20-month period that began in October 2009.

Phase One

Gateway 2030 will be executed in four phases as demand warrants expansion. The first phase will include a single-level terminal and concourse with 14 aircraft gates, surface parking for 4,375 vehicles, airfield improvements, partial construction of a circulation roadway, and related infrastructure improvements. Phase One will be designed to accommodate up to 3M total passengers a year. The timing for completion of Phase One is demand-based but expected to be operational as early as 2017. The estimated cost for this phase is $344M.

Phase Two

Phase Two expands Phase One development, making the terminal facility capable of accommodating up to 4.4M passengers annually. Detailed expansion includes: four additional gates, extension of the circulation roadway, expanded surface parking to 10,500 vehicles, and a 1,000-feet extension of Runway 12L/30R. The estimated cost of this phase is $145M.

Phase Three

Phase Three increases the terminal capacity to 10M passengers annually and expands the terminal facilities to two levels and 30 total aircraft gates. Parking facilities include multilevel garages and planning for light rail service. Completion timing has not been determined. The estimated cost of this phase is $963M.

Phase Four

Phase Four completes the Plan and all related project efforts, enabling the airport to accommodate up to 20M passengers annually. Phase Four enhancements are expected to include a total of 60 aircraft gates, 21,000 vehicle parking spaces, and dual landside terminal arrival and departure curbs on two levels. Since Phase Four activities likely will not be undertaken until 2030 or beyond, no cost estimates have been forecast.

“Airport staff recognizes that we are stewards of an incredible community asset and we’re working hard to make it the best it can be,” said Airport Authority Executive Director, Lynn Kusy. “The Gateway 2030 project represents a significant step in achieving the Airport’s potential as it outlines the critical steps needed to meet forecast passenger demand.”

Potential funding sources for Gateway 2030 include the Federal Aviation Administration, Arizona Department of Transportation, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority member government contributions, and Airport resources such as passenger facility charges and bonds.

The Plan also forecasts $385M in private development which is expected to be spent on 2.5 MSF of office/retail space and two hotels producing 600 rooms.

For more information on Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, visit their website at www.phxmesagateway.org

Valley Forward's Crescordia Awards Winners

Crescordia Awards Spotlight Those Making A Difference In Our Communities

Crescordia Awards spotlight those making a difference in our communities

The U.S. 60 Gonzales Pass widening project has earned the coveted President’s Award (Best of Show) in Valley Forward’s 31st annual Environmental Excellence Awards program, held in partnership with SRP for the tenth consecutive year. Designated the Pinal-Gila Scenic Road, the 10-mile scenic stretch of highway is the Valley’s eastern gateway to the Superstition Wilderness and the Tonto National Forest, which plays host to 5.8 million visitors each year.

While freeways are inherently considered detrimental to environmental quality, this significant project was recognized for exemplifying sensitivity and responsiveness to site conditions, balancing human-made elements with the natural desert landscape to conserve and protect precious resources. The project team made environmental sensitivity a key priority in efforts to improve safety and capacity of the narrow, two-lane roadway by widening it to a four-lane facility.

More than 130 entries were received in Arizona’s oldest and most prestigious awards competition focusing exclusively on environmental initiatives. Winners were announced Sept. 17, at Valley Forward’s awards gala attended by more than 600 community leaders at The Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale.

Valley Forward and SRP presented 19 first-place Crescordia winners and 30 Awards of Merit. The awards set standards for achieving a balance between the built and natural environment in the region’s physical, technical, social and aesthetic development.

In presenting the top award, Valley Forward recognized three civil engineering companies and two landscape architectural firms that teamed with the USDA Forest Service and Arizona Department of Transportation. The project was lauded for reducing environmental impacts, conserving and protecting natural resources and integrating engineering and aesthetic considerations into each phase of the development process.

In addition to the President’s Award, the U.S. Gonzales Pass won a first-place Crescordia Award in the Site Development and Landscape (Public Sector) category. Crescordia is a Greek term meaning, “to grow in harmony,” and the President’s Award is selected from among all Crescordia recipients.

This year Valley Forward unveiled a newly designed Crescordia award created by Vernon Swaback and Nicholas Markwardt of Two Worlds Community Foundation. The prestigious award’s glass, copper and wood design exemplifies a balance between the natural and built environment, incorporating natural materials and local resources.

The breadth and depth of entries in this year’s program spotlights the high priority sustainability has in our growing metropolex,” said Diane Brossart, president of Valley Forward. “These awards have become powerful vehicles in advocating for the preservation of natural resources – air, water, open space and our unique desert environment.”

Two projects received two Crescordia awards each this year – Soleri Bridge and Plaza in Scottsdale and the Intel Ocotillo Campus. The Soleri Bridge and Plaza by renowned artist and architect Paolo Soleri was awarded first-place honors in the Site Development and Landscape (Trails) and Art in Public Places categories. A pedestrian passage, solar calendar and gathering space along the Scottsdale Waterfront, the striking bridge provides a scenic viewpoint over the 60-foot-wide water conveyance channel and includes a 22,000-square-foot plaza, providing a pleasing natural environment within the high-energy atmosphere of downtown Scottsdale.

Intel Corporation’s Ocotillo Semiconductor Manufacturing Campus in Chandler received the Crescordia for Buildings and Structures (Industrial & Public Works) along with the Environmental Stewardship – SRP Award. The four-million-square-foot campus is the first of its kind in the world to receive Silver Certification under the LEED Existing Building: Operations & Maintenance green building rating system. The impressive facility minimizes energy and water use, conserving natural resources and reducing its environmental impact.

“It’s inspiring to see the corporate sector leading the way in environmental stewardship,” said Richard Hayslip, associate general manager of Environmental Management, Policy and Compliance at SRP. “Working with the City of Chandler to achieve aggressive water reuse results, Intel Corporation has significantly reduced its environmental impact in the manufacturing process, demonstrating the potential of public/private partnerships.”

Christine Ten Eyck, founder and principal of Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, served as lead judge for the program. Other jurists include: Kristin Bloomquist, general manager, Cramer-Krasselt; Robert Booker, executive director, Arizona Commission on the Arts; Tamara Caraway, principal project development, Adolfson & Peterson Construction Company; Eddie Jones, principal, Jones Studio Inc., Jerry Meek, president, Desert Star Construction; Marty Sedler, director of Global Utilities and Infrastructure, Intel; Victor Vidales, board member, National and Arizona Audubon; and Dave Wilson, senior landscape architect, EPG.

Valley Forward is a non-profit public interest organization that brings business and civic leaders together to convene thoughtful public dialogue on regional issues and to improve the environment and livability of Valley communities. The organization operates with the belief that business must take a leadership role in solving the complex and sometimes controversial problems that confront growing population centers.

In addition to the U.S. Gonzales Pass, Soleri Bridge and Plaza and Intel’s Ocotillo Campus, Crescordia winners include:

Meritage Homes Launches Net-Zero Revolution (Meritage Homes)

Arizona-based Meritage Homes not only builds homes that cut energy usage by up to 80 percent but introduced the first “net-zero” production home in the state – one that could ultimately produce as much energy as it consumes.

Chandler City Hall (SmithGroup)

This modern, environmentally efficient building seeking LEED Gold Certification is located in the city’s historic downtown and encompasses 137,700 square feet of office space, a public TV studio, art gallery and 330-space parking structure, as well as Council Chambers. Open space and shaded walkways welcome visitors to the complex, which features an array of sustainable design elements.

Santa Fe Freight Depot (Arrington Watkins Architects)

Originally opened in 1929, this historic Phoenix building sat vacant for more than 50 years before being revived in a sensitive and thoughtful preservation project that now serves as headquarters for the Maricopa County Assessor’s Office and is currently seeking LEED Gold Certification.

U-Haul Contributions to Phoenix Metro Area Built Environment (U-Haul International)

Demonstrating a longstanding and strong commitment to sustainability, U-Haul routinely implements building and site improvements that benefit the environment from energy-efficient practices and water-saving techniques to permeable ground cover initiatives and adaptive reuse building conversions.

Paradise Valley Community College – Life Sciences Building (Marlene Imirzian & Associates LLC, Architects)

The innovative Paradise Valley Community College Life Sciences Building uses a diverse pallet of sustainable materials, including concrete floors and masonry, high recycle-content carpet and tack boards, bamboo doors and millwork, providing an environmentally friendly home for its growing anatomy, physiology and biology programs.

Sustainable Landscape Management: Standards for Landscape Care In the Desert Southwest (Arizona Landscape Contractors’ Association)

The Arizona Landscape Contractors’ Association has taken important steps to promote higher industry standards by adopting best recommended practices published in “Sustainable Landscape Management: Standards for Landscape Care in the Desert Southwest.”

Downtown Chandler Redevelopment (City of Chandler)

City officials and private partners joined forces to redevelop downtown Chandler, which had fallen into disrepair with boarded up buildings and high crime rates, into a walkable, lively core utilizing principles of environmental and economic sustainability.

Arcadia Residence (colwell:shelor Landscape Architecture)

This one-acre site in Arcadia features a home and landscape renovation that honors the historic essence of the unique neighborhood, creating a seamless transition between interior and exterior living spaces that take advantage of existing lush citrus groves and maximizes views to the mountains.

W.L. Gore & Associates Phoenix Campus (LVA Urban Design Studio)

Situated in the commercial core of the Sonoran Foothills Master Planned Community in North Phoenix, W.L. Gore & Associates’ 40-acre campus is a model of responsible development, featuring only low-water use plants including many native species. Salvaging efforts saved 82 mature trees and 158 specimen cacti, all of which were replanted on site.

White Tank Branch Library and Nature Center (Maricopa County Library District)

Surrounded entirely by desert, the 29,000-square-foot library and nature center is located at the entrance to White Tank Mountain Regional Park and is only the third library in the U.S. to earn LEED Platinum Certification. Energy efficiency, water conservation, passive solar design and returning the site to its native appearance were cornerstone to the project.

Ikea Tempe Solar Energy Project (IKEA Tempe)

IKEA has installed a 75,000-square-foot solar array at its store in Tempe consisting of two 300-kilowatt systems, each built with approximately 1,300 panels. The solar program will produce approximately one million kWh of electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing at least 760 tons of carbon dioxide (equal to the emissions of 133 cars or powering 84 homes yearly).

Conservation and Sustainable Living Programs (City of Glendale)

The newly created office of Conservation and Sustainable Living for the City of Glendale is educating residents, businesses and neighborhoods on sound environmental practices, giving away energy saving devices, providing teaching materials to schools and promoting sustainable landscaping.

Sonoran Sustainable Building Advisor Program (Sonoran SBAP, Inc.)

Designed to advance education and expertise in sustainable solutions for the built environment in Arizona, this nine-month program for professionals teaches best practices in sustainability sciences. It does not require the commitment of an advanced degree but provides more depth than short courses or online programs.

Valley Permaculture Alliance’s Education Program (Valley Permaculture Alliance)

The Valley Permaculture Alliance inspires sustainable urban living through education, community involvement and creative cooperation. Its programs include weekly sustainable living classes, monthly tours of local sustainable homes, ongoing hands-on training opportunities and special events.

[stextbox id=”grey”]For a complete list of 2011 Environmental Excellence Award Winners and categories, visit 2011 Environmental Excellence Awards Winners.[/stextbox]

 

Ahwatukee Residents See Hope for South Mtn Freeway Alignment

Ahwatukee Residents See Ray Of Hope For South Mtn Freeway Alignment

Phoenix metro Loop 202 Phoenix (December 10, 2010) – Ahwatukee residents are not enamored with the current Loop 202 plan in which a freeway cuts through their community and South Mountain. Those plans can change if the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) Tribal Council decides in January to recommend a possible extension of Loop 202 on reservation land south of Ahwatukee Foothills.

Officials from the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and the GRIC transportation technical team have been meeting since August to discuss freeway alignment alternatives.  Between now and January, GRIC members will attend meetings at which they can voice opinions and ask questions about the possible extension of Loop 202 on reservation land.  Tribal officials, including Gov. William Rhodes, have said the primary motivation for this alignment alternative discussion is not economically driven but rather about protecting the ecology of South Mountain.

homes in Ahwatukee FoothillsAhwatukee residents were encouraged to hear that GRIC’s freeway discussion is moving forward because the current plan involves taking out a church, more than 100 homes in Ahwatukee Foothills and 64 homes in south Phoenix, and cutting through three ridges in the South Mountain preserve.

Phoenix Metro South Mountain FreewayA series of meetings are scheduled to take place before the wish of Ahwatukee residents may be granted by a vote of the GRIC Tribal Council in January. The first community meeting took place Saturday in Gila River’s District 6 south of Ahwatukee and Chandler. Community members who attended the meeting reviewed maps of the current planned alignment – a 22-mile eight-lane freeway that would connect Laveen to Chandler through Ahwatukee and South Mountain Park - and a new plan to build the freeway about one-half mile south of Ahwatukee on reservation land.  Community members presented several questions and comments, including concern for the cultural and economic impact of the freeway altogether as well as the related impact upon people in terms of things like air quality.

Upon completion of the community meetings, the Tribal Council will either vote on whether to approve the freeway alignment or defer the issue to a ballot in which the community at large will make the decision.  Either way, Ahwatukee Foothills residents are encouraged by the ongoing discussion and the willingness of GRIC to consider this freeway alternative from the current alignment which they have been actively opposing.

Read more at Livability Law…

South Mountain Park - and a new plan to build the freeway
livabilitysummit

Valley Forward Hosts 7th Annual Livability Summit

Valley ForwardAs the world celebrated the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, Valley residents also had a reason to celebrate.

To commemorate Earth Day, Valley Forward was once again at the forefront of the sustainability movement in the state — hosting their Seventh Annual Livability Summit at the Wyndham Phoenix.

The title of the program, “What Does the Future Hold for Sustainability?”, proved to be a launching pad for intelligent and interesting observations from speakers, panelists and attendees.

The event began with a welcome from Valley Forward president and Green Scene guest blogger, Diane Brossart, followed by Jeanne Forbis, Valley Forward Association Chair of the Board and Global Corporate Affairs Communication Manager at Intel Corporation. Ms. Forbis introduced the morning keynote speaker: James Charlier, an expert in smart growth strategies and sustainable transportation systems. Mr. Charlier gave a lively, informative presentation before turning to the morning’s panelists to continue the discussion.

The panel titled: “How to Ensure a Sustainable Future for our Region” was comprised of:
Sue Clark Johnson | ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy
Paul Newman | Arizona Corporation Commisioner
Shannon Scutari | Arizona Department of Transportation
Mo Mukibi Jr., Ph.D. | CH2M Hill

Mayor Phil Gordon
Mayor Phil Gordon announced the City of Phoenix received a $25 million federal grant for its Green Rail Corridor project.

Each panelist offered their own unique perspective about the challenges Arizona faces in planning for a sustainable future. The lively debate then extended to the audience who asked some interesting questions.

For a complete list of all the speaker’s presentations visit Valley Forward’s website.

The summit was headlined by keynote speaker Jeremy Rifkin, renowned economic futurist and sustainability expert who wowed the audience with his incredible knowledge and experience. As president of the Foundation of Economic Trends and the author of 17 best-selling books on the impact and technological changes on the economy, workforce, society and environment, Rifkin is a seasoned voice in the field. Rifkin used his own experience as founder and chairperson of the Third Industrial Revolution Global CEO Business Roundtable to enlighten the crowd with some ideas about a possible sustainable future for Arizona. During his speech, Rifkin gave examples of several European countries that have already implemented astounding sustainable economic plans that can serve as a great example for the U.S. and for Arizona.

Rifkin’s compelling presentation got everyone thinking and emphasized the critical juncture we’re facing. He noted that we are at the turning point of our species or the “end of human civilization as we know it.” Rifkin further explained his reasoning by pointing out that we are living off 19th and 20th century ideas that are toxic to the biosphere challenges we face as a global society. The premise behind the Third Industrial Revolution is to harness smart technologies and global communication networks to create a renewable energy regime. Renewable energy and its growth is critical as well as harnessing this power by converting buildings into power plants. Lastly hydrogen storage, smartgrid and plug-in vehicles will maximize renewable energy and minimize cost.

Jeremy Rifkin
Author and economic futurist Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends delivered the luncheon keynote and signed copies of his book, “The Empathetic Civilization.”

Just hearing his thought-provoking ideas was incredibly inspiring. Implementing these ideas won’t be easy but Rifkin is optimistic that as more and more cities across the globe change their viewpoint and see the economic vitality sustainability can bring, a so-called “revolution” will take place.

Overall, the summit was an incredibly successful event. In addition, to the panel discussion, Valley Forward also hosted a resource area that spotlighted local initiatives for environmental concerns and sustainability issues. The organization was also proud to once again partner with the 2010 Future City Competition for 7th and 8th grade students, with winning students from Cochise Middle School attending the summit.

 

www.valleyforward.org

FutureShock

State Leaders Prepare The Copper State For Explosive Growth

An official letter from the state’s Lawn and Pool Use Enforcement Division says you must choose between taking out your green lawn or draining your swimming pool. You can’t have both, as the state has been severely restricting outdoor water use ever since the population of Central and Southern Arizona swelled to 10 million people around 2040.

You opt to keep the pool because urban sprawl and the heat-island effect have caused Arizona to break yet another record — the number of summer days when the temperature fails to drop below 100 degrees.

But time in the pool is getting rarer. Your daily commute from Pinal County to Phoenix is a grinding two hours. You’d like to work closer to home, but job centers and transportation routes haven’t reached your relatively new subdivision.

Welcome to the Sun Corridor, circa 2050.

With foresight, unified planning and a significant investment in the state’s infrastructure, the above scenario need not play out.

Without it, according to the author of a recent report on Arizona’s future, a part of the state risks becoming, not the next Los Angeles, but its bland sister — the San Fernando Valley.

“You’ll essentially get existing urban development patterns spread all over the place in a seamless, homogenous, urban fabric of chain stores, fast food restaurants and red stucco houses,” says Grady Gammage Jr., a principle author of “Megapolitan — Arizona’s Sun Corridor,” published by Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy.

The report predicts that land stretching from the middle of Yavapai County to western Cochise County to the Mexican border will someday merge into one integrated super metropolitan area — a “megapolitan” dubbed the Sun Corridor.

That doesn’t mean there will be uninterrupted development between Prescott and Tucson — there is too much Indian and federal land in the way. Instead, the corridor’s economies and commuting patterns will merge.

Imagine a series of overlapping circles emanating from Pima, Pinal and Maricopa counties. According to a measurement developed by scholars at the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, if at least 15 percent of workers from one area commute to another, those commuting patterns have merged.

Already, Pinal County sends 40 percent of its workers into other regions, most likely north to Maricopa County.

“That means Maricopa and Pinal are already merged,” Gammage says.

Some time between 2010 and 2020, Pinal is expected to send more than 15 percent of its workers south to Pima County, Gammage adds, creating an economic bridge between Phoenix and Tucson.

The U.S. Census designates these areas with cross-region commuting patterns as “combined statistical areas,” something the “Megapolitan” report says may happen by the 2020 decennial census.

The Sun Corridor will be one of 10 megapolitan areas in the United States. By 2030, it could be home to 10 million people and 4.5 million jobs, making it a potential hotbed of wealth and productivity. According to the report, the nation’s office market and high-tech clusters are in megapolitans.

However, as the Morrison Institute report asks, will Arizona be able to harness the staggering potential of such an area?

That would require a whole new level of dialogue and cooperation between the five councils of government, six counties, 57 municipalities and 300 other governmental units spanning the 30,000-square-mile area that would make up the Sun Corridor.

And the state is just at the beginning of that process, Gammage says, adding, “We’re behind the curve.”

Shannon Scutari, on the other hand, believes she sees progress every day.

As Gov. Janet Napolitano’s policy advisor for growth and infrastructure, Scutari is on the front lines of important growth initiatives, including the long-term planning exercise developed by the Urban Land Institute, AZ One – A Reality Check for Arizona, held last spring at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Statistics from the Morrison Institute

AZ One assembled more than 300 people from Maricopa and Pinal counties and guided them through alternative growth scenarios with the purpose of generating discussion and consensus.

“They’re talking to each other, there’s no doubt about it,” Scutari says of the disparate public and civic leaders she encounters in her job. “Some of them are actually even listening to each other.”

Scutari adds that the governor hopes to see the AZ One exercise duplicated in the Tucson and Flagstaff areas.

While her office is trying to bring several growth issues into sharp relief, Scutari says a pressing challenge is the state’s need to invest in transportation infrastructure.

That is why the Arizona Department of Transportation has begun a $7 million statewide study and is working with cities, tribal governments, land-use planners, regional transportation organizations and others to assess the state’s infrastructure.

One important feature of the Statewide Transportation Planning Framework, Scutari says, will be to connect land-use decisions with transportation infrastructure, some


thing that has never been done. The study already has outlined some of the most critical transportation needs.

Right now, the governor is backing an initiative campaign to put on the November ballot a one-cent increase in the state’s sales tax. The increase would raise $42 billion over 30 years to pay for transportation infrastructure.

The money is needed as Arizona’s roads and freeways are “only going to get worse in the next 25 years,” warns Tim James, director of research and consulting for ASU’s L. William Seidman Research Institute.

James headed a team that spent a year studying the state’s infrastructure and its ability to handle growth. The resulting report did not endorse the Napolitano-backed initiative, but it did say that without changes in funding mechanisms, the state cannot keep up with growth.

“There will be longer commutes, there will be more time spent in traffic, you’ll be traveling at lower speeds,” James says. “It’s going to be more congestion and less safe journeys. The road system is going to become unacceptably poor.”

The report, commissioned by the Arizona Investment Council, formerly known as the Arizona Utility Investors Association, concluded that accommodating growth is going to be “very, very costly” — probably $417 billion to $532 billion in the next 25 years.

In that time period:

  • Electricity demand will increase by about 85 percent, yet the state faces a funding gap in paying for new plants.
  • Just providing telecommunications services to the state’s current unserved population would cost up to $2 billion. Creating a state-of-the-art fiber network that would guarantee high quality telecommunications would cost about 10 times that.
  • Water delivery and treatment systems built decades ago will need to be replaced.

While it is impossible to predict exactly what the Sun Corridor will look like in 2040, planners do know generally where growth will occur.

Eric Anderson, transportation director for the Maricopa Association of Governments, says projections show most growth in Maricopa County will be in the West Valley as developable land in the east diminishes. Pinal County, where it meets the southeast corner of Maricopa County southeast of Queen Creek and the 275-acre state land parcel dubbed Superstition Vistas, will see a lot of growth as well. Finally, Anderson says, areas around Casa Grande and Maricopa will continue to expand.

According to MAG’s latest figures, there are about 1.8 million housing units already approved or entitled in various master-planned communities in Maricopa and Pinal counties.

Jay Hicks, co-chairman of the AZ One steering committee and a vice president at EDAW Inc., an architecture and environment consulting company, says people still can shape the character of future development, even in the face of all that entitled land.

Some parcels may need to be re-entitled as time passes and communities become more cognizant of the way land uses affect pollution levels and energy consumption.

Additionally, 40 to 50 percent of all commercial properties will need to be redeveloped in the next 15 to 20 years, Hick says.

Facing the challenges that come with growth seems daunting, but Scutari says there is “a sense ofoptimism” among the state’s stakeholders.

As Gammage put it: “There is an opportunity here, if we can seize it and get ahead of it, we can do something really special.”

Loop 202 - AZ Business Magazine Oct/Nov 2006

Plannings Pays Off For 202 South Mountain Freeway

The New 202

Plannings pays off for 202 South Mountain Freeway

By David Schwartz

Tom Tait Jr. just chuckles when quizzed about the future of his family’s land holdings in the West Valley, a large expanse of property that has been in the portfolio since the 1970s. Are there any great plans for development? Are there plans to flip the property and pocket the proceeds?

 

The New 202Not even close. Indeed, the past few years have raised the property’s worth, but that’s apparently where it ends. At least, he claims, that’s the thinking for now. “We are long-term owners of properties and really don’t bother much with any short-term benefits that there might be,” Tait says. “At the present time, we’re just farming the property. That’s what we’ve been doing and I don’t see that changing much. No matter what happens.” And apparently no matter what transportation planners have in store for the acreage.

The Tait family are among the owners of property in the vicinity of the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway, a long-charted, controversial thoroughfare that eventually will span 22 miles and link Interstate 10 in the southeast and West valleys.

But it’s the stretch of the freeway that cuts through the burgeoning southwest Valley that recently was brought into sharper focus by the Arizona Department of Transportation. In late June, officials ended any uncertainty and revealed that the freeway would connect at 55th Avenue in Laveen—an old favorite seen on the map for at least the last two decades.

The route was a popular choice of the three options presented for review. Better than 71st Avenue. Better than 99th Avenue, south of Loop 101. It was hailed as the right choice by officials in Phoenix and several area municipalities. It too was welcomed by several landowners in the area. But it was neither a surprise, nor unexpected.

Land experts say that the decision by the state was important because it serves to cement the value for the land in the area to be affected by the proposed freeway. There is now a line drawn in pen that can’t be easily erased and sent back to the drawing board.

But experts are quick to add that property in the area has been soaring in value anyway during the last two years, as the real estate market careened through its boom times and those familiar red tile rooftops became a more frequent sight with each passing day.

There likely will be no land rush, they predict, unlike what occurred when other segments of the Valley’s freeway system were put into place in years past. “They are putting it where I think most people thought it was going to be,” says Greg Vogel, chief executive of Land Advisors Organization, which has offices in Arizona, Texas and Colorado. “I don’t think there was a drop in values while they were considering other options. It’s already been priced into the market and it’s been a long time coming.”

Besides, Vogel says, there is not a huge amount of land to be had in the area that will be directly affected by proposed freeway as it sweeps its way through the area. He said land costs now in the fast-growing Laveen area already are between $175,000 to $350,000 an acre, a dramatic increase from more than a decade ago. “This isn’t a case where there are 25 pieces (of land) with 30 different buyers and all kinds of things going on,” he says. “It has been thought through and organized, so you’re not going to see anything like you may have with other freeways.”

Pat Feeney, senior vice president of CB Richard Ellis in Phoenix, says he has watched a surge in valuation of available industrial land that began in summer 2004 and pushed prices to about $4 per square feet. That’s more than a five-fold increase from the early 1990s. “The net result is that almost every piece of land in the submarket is owned by a developer who will be building on their property,” says Feeney, who has been tracking industrial properties for about 20 years. “No one out there is a seller right now.”

He says he sees no revaluing of land in wake of the transportation department putting its official stamp on the freeway alignment in the southwest Valley. Officials say that’s because the proposed freeway has been on the books since 1985, when Maricopa County voters approved a Regional Freeway System that was supposed to take care of the Valley’s transportation needs. But a funding shortfall meant that this segment fell down the priority list of projects. At one point, it was seen as a potential toll road.

AZ Business Magazine October November 2006Fast forward to 2004. Voters approved Proposition 400 that provides money to pay for a Regional Transportation Plan that includes the South Mountain Freeway. Transportation officials say plans call for the freeway to cost an estimated $1.7 billion, with construction expected to be completed and ready for motorists in 2015. “It’s the future for that part of the West Valley,” says Debra Stark, Phoenix planning director. “We think we have done a good job planning and making sure land has been set aside.”

She says one needs only to look at an aerial map as proof. In one picture, a clear path for the freeway already has been set aside along 59th Avenue and Broadway Road. Houses can be seen on both sides. “What has helped is that unlike other areas, we’re not seeing as much housing or commercial development,” Stark says. “And as we’ve done zoning there, we’ve asked developers to set aside land for the 55th Avenue alignment. So we’re more prepared for when the freeway is built.”

As for Tait, there are no great preparations just yet for his family’s property. Asked about his time frame for development now that the freeway route has been picked, he says, “What, so now instead of 30 years, it’s 20 years? That’s still a long way away.”

 

Arizona Business Magazine Oct/Nov 2006

Gridlock

West Valley Looks To Improve Transportation Efforts

Finding Solutions to Gridlock

West Valley looks to improve transportation efforts

By Debra Gelbart

Transportation issues affect the entire Valley of the Sun, of course, but they are particularly weighty in the West Valley, where lack of sufficient freeway miles and the dearth of motorist-friendly roadways are taking a toll on commerce, economic development, tempers and safety. “We simply don’t have the freeway miles that the East Valley does,” says Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs, who also chairs the Maricopa Association of Government’s (MAG) Transportation Policy Committee. “In the West Valley, we have too many people traveling on arterial streets, which hurts the quality of life within a city.”

find_solutionsShe says other areas of the Valley are able to concentrate on different aspects of transportation besides freeways. “Phoenix is focused on building light rail and expanding bus service. The East Valley is improving arterial streets,” she says. “But here in the West Valley, we’re still trying to get enough freeways to manage our explosive growth.”

It’s more than just an issue of convenience. “The seven-mile stretch of Interstate 10 that passes through the city of Goodyear—between Perryville Road on the west and Dysart Road on the east—is a major corridor of commerce for products from Asian manufacturing centers off-loaded at the Los Angeles ports,” says Goodyear Mayor Jim Cavanaugh, “and because of the narrowing of the freeway here [there are only two lanes in each direction], traffic backs up terribly. We’ve investigated and found that these seven miles have 10 times the number of traffic fatalities compared with the national average for the 2,500 miles of Interstate 10 across the nation. And we know that this leg of I-10 accounts for 35 percent of all traffic fatalities on I-10 within metropolitan Phoenix.”

The reality is that the commute from the West Valley to Phoenix has become unbearable, says Jay Ellingson, vice president of land development for SunCor, developer of the master planned community of Palm Valley. In January, Ellingson will become chair of WESTMARC, the Western Maricopa Coalition, which brings together representatives of business, 13 local governments and educational organizations to advocate for sound public policy in the West Valley. “We’re just not given the attention we deserve by employers and educational institutions,” Scruggs says, “in part because it’s difficult to travel from and through the West Valley because of so few freeway miles.”

Cavanaugh has been instrumental in securing relief for the congestion on I-10. Originally, I-10 between Dysart Road and the Loop 303 at Cotton Lane was not supposed to be widened until 2011. But because of the efforts of Cavanaugh, other Goodyear officials, leaders from the cities of Avondale, Buckeye, Litchfield Park, MAG and the Arizona Department of Transportation, the widening project will now get under way in 2007. “By late 2008, we will have four lanes in each direction,” Cavanaugh says. “By early 2010, we’ll have five lanes in each direction.”

Jack Lunsford, president and CEO of WESTMARC, says accelerating the widening of I-10 will have a dramatic effect on businesses. “If your people are sitting in traffic for an extra half hour at any given time, that results in a decrease in productivity,” he adds.

Accelerating the widening of I-10 is critical for the people who live in the West Valley, adds John Bradley, general manager of Verrado, DMB’s master planned community in Buckeye. The residents of Verrado may be able to look forward to the I-10 widening from Loop 303 to State Route 85 possibly beginning in 2013 rather than 2023, as originally planned. Currently about 2,000 people live in Verrado; at build-out in 2017 it’s expected to be home to as many as 30,000 residents.
The widening of I-10 is one of three freeway projects that will affect the West Valley. Another is extending Loop 202 from I-10 linking I-10 in the West Valley to I-10 in the Southeast Valley. Construction would start in 2009 and finish in 2015.

AZ Business MagazineThe third freeway project affecting the West Valley is construction of Loop 303, located about 10 of miles west of Loop 101 and currently a two-lane roadway extending from McDowell Road to Grand Avenue in Surprise. Future construction of what will be called the Estrella Freeway will link Interstates 10 and 17 in the far West Valley, but the six-lane freeway won’t be completed until about 2014. “All of these projects are vital now to moving traffic more efficiently and effectively in and around our West Valley cities,” Lunsford says, “and they will be critical in the West Valley’s ability to accommodate and manage future growth.”

Scruggs says the West Valley’s time in the spotlight is overdue. “The West Valley still isn’t recognized for the role it plays in Maricopa County,” she says. “The center of the Valley is shifting westward, to right around Loop 101 and Glendale Avenue. The way the West Valley is perceived will begin to change when we get the freeways we need.”

www.glendaleaz.com
www.ci.goodyear.az.us
www.suncoraz.com
www.westmarc.org
www.dmbinc.com

Arizona Business Magazine Aug/Sept 2006

AZ Business Magazine Aug-Sept 2006 | Previous: Policy Agenda | Next: Home Run

 

Waveyard Development

Valley’s Already Booming Economy Prepares For An Ambitious Future

The Metro Report

The Valley’s already booming economy prepares for an ambitious future.

By Peter O’Dowd

Surf park to bring millions to one lucky city and the entire region

Somewhere below this vast valley of dust and desert landscapes, an oasis is about to spring forth—a $250 million outdoor park on the scale of Disneyland but with an aquatic propensity previously unseen in Arizona.

 

Metro ReportWaveyard Development, founded by a life-long surfer and a former wireless executive, is capitalizing on the increased number of adventure sports enthusiasts flocking to Greater Phoenix. The plan is ambitious: a technological flurry of wave pools and whitewater rafting, kayaking and scuba diving—150,000 square feet of water surface in all—merged with a 320-room resort hotel, a conference center, retail, residential and restaurants on 200 acres. By incorporating these varied amenities into the master plan, Waveyard aims to become the nation’s first live, work and play surfing and adventure sports community. Developers cringe at the thought of calling Waveyard a theme park.

Wendell Pickett, managing partner of Greey-Pickett Landscape Architects, is leading the integration of Waveyard’s recreation and residential components. “Homebuilders are looking for the next growth driver in order to keep their pipelines full,” Pickett says in a prepared statement. “In a market of rising interest rates and declining demand, they need to remain competitive and add value to their product. The opportunity to surf, raft, snorkel, kayak and still be home by dinner is unprecedented in an urban environment.”

Developers Richard Mladick and Jerry Hug are keeping a tight lid on exactly where the park will break ground in 2007, though Mladick says the interest from several cities in the Phoenix area was extreme. Even as the group publicly gave the green light for development in June, a new municipality had come forward asking for consideration. “The impact on the city will be significant,” says Mladick, who spent the better part of his life in the ocean. “The city where it will be located has called this a transformational project. It will help define who and what that city is and drive the future growth around that city.”

However gung-ho the developers may be about their project today, the Waveyard concept started humbly. The original idea centered around a retail, entertainment and lodging concept with the potential to later bring in headline amenities like the whitewater course. But all signs pointed toward expansion when developers sat down with corporate sponsors and investment partners.

“Numerous feasibility studies were run by three separate companies on the Phoenix market and every time the capacity analysis exceeded our planning and design intentions for the original park,” Mladick says. “That’s what drove some of the growth.”

Phoenix has always had a radically under-served recreational market, developers say, which further supports Waveyard’s ambitious scope. Rawhide, the faux Western town that recently relocated from its longtime perch in north Scottsdale, was the state’s No. 2 tourist attraction behind the Grand Canyon for years, and Arizona is the only major metropolitan market without a theme park. This has always been attributed to the engineering challenges associated with the extreme temperature swings. Mladick says Waveyard is the logical approach to conquering these challenges in Arizona.

By catering to the nearly 39 million enthusiasts who participated in outdoor sports last year, according to the Outdoor Industry Association, Waveyard’s first-year attendance is projected to exceed 1 million, keeping dollars in Arizona that would otherwise be spent in coastal cities and drawing new revenue into the state during the scorching summer months.

www.waveyard.com

Harquahala Switchyard
Power Line Proposal Would Link States

Harquahala Switchyard, Ariz.— A California power company wants to build a 230-mile high-voltage transmission line from Harquahala Switchyard outside of Phoenix to a substation near Palm Springs, Calif. Officials at the Southern Edison Co. say the project, called Devers-Palo Verde No. 2 because it runs parallel to an existing line, will lower the cost of electricity for California customers and increase tax revenues and employment figures in Arizona. During a two-year construction period, 150 people will work on the project and Arizona’s economy will receive $85 million. Before construction starts, however, multiple state and federal agencies must grant approval, including permission from the Arizona Corporation Commission, the Bureau of Land Management and the California Public Utilities Commission.

www.sce.com

Phoenix
Expansion to Feed Need for Lawyers

Phoenix, Ariz.—For a state of its size, Arizona produces fewer attorneys than many of its peers; but now the capital city and fifth largest metropolitan area in America will finally see its first private, urban law school. The Phoenix School of Law will relocate from Scottsdale this fall to a campus on the southeast corner of Indian School Road and Central Avenue, adjacent to Steele Indian School Park. The move will bring an anticipated 150 students, faculty and staff to the new location–a number that will increase to about 500 within the next three years. The school’s spokeswoman Jodi Weisberg says Arizona falls below the national average of lawyers per capita. The state has approximately two attorneys per 1,000 citizens compared to the U.S. standard of 3.7 per 1,000. This is the first law school in Arizona that offers part-time and evening classes.

www.phoenixlaw.org

Lichfield Park
Mayor Keeps Commuter Rail Dream Alive

Lichfield Park, Ariz.— It may not be as glamorous as the light rail project snaking through Metro Phoenix, but Lichfield Park Mayor Woody Thomas believes commuter rail could service the region within the decade. The Maricopa Association of Governments put $300,000 into next year’s budget to study the feasibility of commuter rail and the Arizona Department of Transportation allocated $400,000 to update their reports, says Thomas. Thomas says light rail issues often clash with commuter rail proposals based on the “scepter of money” and fears that a regional transportation system would compete for light rail customers. But advocates say the two are complementary. Questions remain, however: How much would commuter rail cost? Is freight rail—running at capacity—able to share track? One proposed route would run from downtown Phoenix to near the Palo Verde power plant in the West Valley with only a handful of stops. Thomas says the East Valley would have similar opportunities.

AZ Business MagazinePhoenix
Metro Job Growth Tips National Scales

Phoenix, Ariz.— With population surging in all corners of the state, Greater Phoenix has edged ahead of every metropolitan area in the nation in at least one growth category. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 308 metropolitan areas reported over-the-year increases in non-farm payroll employment from April 2005 to April 2006. Of those cities, the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area topped the list with 97,800 new jobs. Next was the Dallas area, which trailed the Valley by nearly 17,000 jobs. Not surprisingly, Valley unemployment also improved. At 3.6 percent in April 2006, it fell 0.4 percent from the previous year. The Arizona Department of Commerce announced it would receive recognition from Area Development magazine for its involvement in the state’s employment growth. The magazine acknowledged Intel, Countrywide and Verizon projects that brought approximately 3,600 jobs to Chandler in 2005.

www.bls.gov

 

Arizona Business Magazine Aug/Sept 2006