Tag Archives: ASU

housing.prices

Phoenix Housing Market Affected by Government Shutdown

The government shutdown may have dampened interest in buying Phoenix-area homes this fall. A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows the latest data for Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of September:

* The median single-family-home price was up about 33 percent from last September, to $199,000.
* However, demand is waning, and that may be at least partly due to the recent government shutdown creating economic uncertainty.
* Meantime, housing supply continues to rise, with more people willing to put their homes on the market as prices go up.

Phoenix-area home prices have been rising since hitting a low point in September 2011. The median single-family-home price rose 32.7 percent — from $150,000 to $199,000 –from last September to this September. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up 22 percent. The median townhouse/condo price went up 30 percent, to $117,000. However, the price gains are expected to slow down.

“Since the beginning of July, the Phoenix-area housing market has cooled dramatically,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The main change is a steep fall in demand, which we can see in the 12-percent drop in single-family-home sales activity just between August and September alone. Going forward, we anticipate a much slower rate of price appreciation than the furious pace we have witnessed over the last two years.”

Orr says the recent government shutdown may be at least partly to blame for the hard brakes on the housing market.

“The sudden weakness in owner-occupier demand since July is unusual and unexpected,” says Orr. “Poor consumer sentiment and concern over the government shutdown seem to have accelerated the decline. We also have no government information available yet on new-construction permits because of the shutdown.”

On the positive side, the number of available homes for sale continues to rise, after the area experienced a very tight supply for months. Active listings, not including those already under contract, went up 32 percent from Oct. 1 of last year to Oct. 1 of this year. More people appear willing to put their homes up for sale as prices rise.

“If the current trend continues, supply will exceed demand by the end of the year,” says Orr. “We now expect a balanced market to prevail during November. This is great news for buyers since they will experience less competition and be in a strong position to negotiate.”

The luxury market continues to perform well, thanks to the rising stock market and a big increase in the availability of jumbo loans. Sales of $500,000-plus, single-family homes grew an incredible 51 percent from September 2012 to September 2013.

However, cheap homes are tough to find, with fewer foreclosures coming onto the market. Foreclosure starts – owners receiving notice their lenders may foreclose in 90 days – dropped 61 percent from last September to this September. Completed foreclosures declined 63 percent. Orr expects foreclosures to keep falling over the next several years, thanks to tight underwriting standards.

Institutional investors and out-of-state buyers continue to lose interest in the Phoenix area, since better bargains can now be found elsewhere. The percentage of homes and condos bought by investors in September was down to 22.7 percent, from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012. Also, the percentage of Maricopa County residences sold to owners from outside Arizona was only 16.4 percent, the lowest percentage since January 2009.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed and downloaded at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. A podcast with more analysis from Orr is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

JohnCreer

John Creer to lead ASU real estate activities

John P. Creer was named Assistant Vice President for Real Estate Development at Arizona State University (ASU). Creer comes to ASU from Coldwell Banker Commercial in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he has worked as a commercial real estate broker since August 2011. Morgan R. Olsen, ASU’s Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, announced Creer’s appointment.

“With his nearly 30 years of experience in commercial real estate development, consulting, property and asset management and venture capital, John Creer possesses the expertise to lead the university’s complex real estate activities,” Olsen said. “His skill set will be of great value to our Real Estate Development Office as ASU continues the development of the athletic facilities district and other strategic real estate initiatives.”

Creer’s most recent professional accomplishments with Coldwell Banker include brokering transactions with national and regional companies such as UPS, US Bank and Obagi Medical Products, Inc. He is a licensed real estate broker in Utah and is a licensed real estate agent in California. Creer holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting, with an emphasis in corporate and partnership taxation from the University of Utah.

“I’m excited to work with Dr. Olsen and the real estate team to develop and maximize the value of real estate assets to benefit Arizona State University,” Creer said. “President Crow and Dr. Olsen have created a refreshing atmosphere in a public institution that is on the leading edge of public-private partnerships. I believe my public and private development experience will bring an added dimension to ASU’s growth trajectory in relation to its real estate development initiatives.”

Prior to his Salt Lake City relocation, Creer worked for Grandview Advisors, LLC, Vanir Construction and the Trammell Crow Company on professional service contracts with the Los Angeles (California) Unified School District. One of his notable ventures with his partners at Grandview Advisors was the development of a master planning process and protocol to support a $7-billion, voter-approved capital investment program for 585 public school sites across the Los Angeles area.

Earlier in his Los Angeles work, Creer was responsible for the development and execution of a $2.3 billion master plan for 41 new San Fernando Valley K-12 school sites. He managed a $200-million charter school development program and started an asset management division to monetize underutilized real estate owned by the school district through public-private partnerships.

Previously in his career, Creer was chief financial officer for a Los Angeles venture-backed technology transfer company. He formerly served as managing partner of a Salt Lake City commercial development firm and was the chief financial officer of a Salt Lake City technology start-up company. Creer also performed various development, leasing and property management roles for a Salt Lake City commercial and industrial real estate development firm.

“With his wealth of knowledge and history of success in a broad range of real estate development ventures, I’m confident that John Creer can build on our achievements in the real estate arena,” Olsen said. “We are pleased to welcome him as part of the ASU Business and Finance team, and look forward to working with him in meeting the university’s complex real estate needs and developing new revenue streams to support ASU’s evolution as a New American University.”

Visit https://cfo.asu.edu to learn more about the office of ASU Business and Finance.

JohnCreer, ASU-website

John Creer Joins ASU Real Estate Development Office

John P. Creer was named Assistant Vice President for Real Estate Development at Arizona State University (ASU). Creer comes to ASU from Coldwell Banker Commercial in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he has worked as a commercial real estate broker since August 2011. Morgan R. Olsen, ASU’s Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, announced Creer’s appointment.

“With his nearly 30 years of experience in commercial real estate development, consulting, property and asset management and venture capital, John Creer possesses the expertise to lead the university’s complex real estate activities,” Olsen said. “His skill set will be of great value to our Real Estate Development Office as ASU continues the development of the athletic facilities district and other strategic real estate initiatives.”

Creer’s most recent professional accomplishments with Coldwell Banker include brokering transactions with national and regional companies such as UPS, US Bank and Obagi Medical Products, Inc. He is a licensed real estate broker in Utah and is a licensed real estate agent in California. Creer holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting, with an emphasis in corporate and partnership taxation from the University of Utah.

“I’m excited to work with Dr. Olsen and the real estate team to develop and maximize the value of real estate assets to benefit Arizona State University,” Creer said. “President Crow and Dr. Olsen have created a refreshing atmosphere in a public institution that is on the leading edge of public-private partnerships. I believe my public and private development experience will bring an added dimension to ASU’s growth trajectory in relation to its real estate development initiatives.”

Prior to his Salt Lake City relocation, Creer worked for Grandview Advisors, LLC, Vanir Construction and the Trammell Crow Company on professional service contracts with the Los Angeles (California) Unified School District. One of his notable ventures with his partners at Grandview Advisors was the development of a master planning process and protocol to support a $7-billion, voter-approved capital investment program for 585 public school sites across the Los Angeles area.

Earlier in his Los Angeles work, Creer was responsible for the development and execution of a $2.3 billion master plan for 41 new San Fernando Valley K-12 school sites. He managed a $200-million charter school development program and started an asset management division to monetize underutilized real estate owned by the school district through public-private partnerships.

Previously in his career, Creer was chief financial officer for a Los Angeles venture-backed technology transfer company. He formerly served as managing partner of a Salt Lake City commercial development firm and was the chief financial officer of a Salt Lake City technology start-up company. Creer also performed various development, leasing and property management roles for a Salt Lake City commercial and industrial real estate development firm.

“With his wealth of knowledge and history of success in a broad range of real estate development ventures, I’m confident that John Creer can build on our achievements in the real estate arena,” Olsen said. “We are pleased to welcome him as part of the ASU Business and Finance team, and look forward to working with him in meeting the university’s complex real estate needs and developing new revenue streams to support ASU’s evolution as a New American University.”

Earthfest Provides Free Resources to Teachers

ASU partners with India to transform teacher preparation

Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College faculty are sharing a path of teacher development they hope will lead to a better education for India’s burgeoning population of school-aged children.

Called the India Support for Teacher Education Program (In-STEP), the year-long project funded by a $4.3 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development is bringing 110 India teacher educators to ASU for an intense, semester-long immersion in a world-class teacher education program. Teachers College also is collaborating closely with India’s Ministry for Human Resources Development to implement the program.

The coveted project was awarded to Teachers College over other U.S. education institutions due to its large-scale program of teacher preparation, close partnerships with more than 180 diverse, preK-12 schools and proven ability to manage complex international programs, according to Ara Barsam, senior director of grants and associate research professor.

“Engaging globally is a key ASU aspiration,” he said. “The In-STEP project provides a tremendous opportunity for us to expand our impact beyond metropolitan Phoenix and the United States to where our Teachers College model is being recognized worldwide.”

Barsam wants the program to equip and inspire the 53 Indian teacher educators who converged on ASU this fall, and the 57 coming next September, to new levels of professional performance. In preparation, he traveled to India in July to assess the needs and strengths of the Indian participants through focus groups and interviews before they arrived in the U.S.

WPCarey-School-Sign

W. P. Carey School Dedicates New McCord Hall

One of the nation’s largest and highest-ranked business schools dedicated a brand new, state-of-the-art facility today. The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University held a ceremony to mark the official opening of its 129,000-square-foot McCord Hall.

“We believe we’ve built the most advanced learning environment available for graduate business students,” says W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Amy Hillman. “Every detail was designed to teach students in a way that makes them better contributors to today’s work environment. The building has an emphasis on collaboration, discussion-based learning and flexibility.”

The new building is being added to the school’s two existing structures, which were renovated during this project. Together, they will ease overcrowding for the 10,000-plus students who attend the W. P. Carey School. McCord Hall will be home to the school’s graduate and executive-education programs, including the Top 30 nationally ranked MBA programs.

The impressive facility features modern architecture, technologically advanced tiered and flat classrooms, a multipurpose event space, a new graduate-level career center, team rooms, study areas, outdoor assembly areas, a lounge for honors undergrads, and a health-conscious café. McCord Hall is also environmentally friendly, with less water and energy use than similar buildings and a solar array that returns power to the campus grid. The project totaled $57 million, and the return on investment is expected to be great.

“We estimate the project has already had an economic impact on the gross state product of $64 million and the creation of 880 jobs,” says Professor Dennis Hoffman, director of the L. William Seidman Research Institute at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Of course, the value of the construction does not include the added value that will accrue from the human capital produced in McCord Hall’s learning environment, allowing students to acquire knowledge and skills to compete in today’s economy.”

ASU President Michael Crow and Hillman presided over the dedication ceremony at the university’s Tempe campus. Philanthropist Sharon Dupont McCord and other building donors also took part. McCord and her late husband, Bob, are the major donors behind the facility’s name. More than $17 million in gifts and pledges from area companies and families, as well as other various sources, are helping to fund the building. Student support has been robust.

To learn more about the W. P. Carey School of Business, visit wpcarey.asu.edu. For more information about McCord Hall, go to http://building.wpcarey.asu.edu/. Donations to the building campaign can still be made at asufoundation.org/wpcbuilding. The W. P. Carey School’s full-time MBA, evening MBA, online MBA and undergraduate business programs are all currently ranked Top 30 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Manzy1-cut

Hardison/Downey Construction, Inc. Completes Manzanita Hall Remodel

hardison/downey construction inc. (h/dc) recently celebrated the completion of Arizona State University’s Manzanita Hall, a nearly three‐year project that included a full gut and remodel of the historic 15‐story building on University Drive.

Interior of Manzanita Hall.

Interior of Manzanita Hall.

Nicknamed “Manzy,” the dorm was originally constructed in 1967 to accommodate 1,000 female students, towering over other campus buildings. The remodeled, 218,000‐square‐foot building now offers a total of 241 two‐ and three‐bedroom/one bathroom, and four‐bedroom/two‐bathroom units for 816 co‐eds.

Students enjoy a spacious lobby, mail and computer rooms, shared student lounges on every other floor, a modern fitness facility, basketball courts and a sand volleyball court with new landscaping.

Manzy Square, the student dining facility, was also remodeled on the first floor.

“It’s always difficult to work within the boundaries of a tight, active campus, but with the team’s diligence and tenacity we were able to blend the design intent with the architectural requirements of ASU to deliver another outstanding project,” said h/dc Senior Project Manager Russ Myers.

Interior of Manzanita Hall.

Interior of Manzanita Hall.

Most of the students housed at Manzy are in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the building was designed to encourage students to live and study together.

hd/c was the general contractor of the building for owner American Campus Communities. The project was designed by Studio Ma with Solomon Cordwell & Buenz and was built to LEED® Silver standards.

Amy-Hillman

W.P. Carey dean wants the world to know about school

Amy Hillman, a renowned management professor and noted researcher, replaced Robert Mittelstaedt as dean of Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business in March and became the school’s first female dean.

Az Business sat down with the leader of the W. P. Carey School, ranked in the top 30 among the best graduate business schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, to talk about her goals as dean and how her background as a researcher impacts her leadership.

Az Business: What is your biggest challenge as dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business?
Amy Hillman: Keeping the school nimble as an organization. Technology is playing a transformative role in higher education. The skills and expertise needed to succeed in an organization change as a result. We have to stay close to our corporate partners to make sure we stay on the leading edge of business education.

AB: How has the transition from second in command to dean been so far?
AH: Great. In the second-in-command position, I focused internally. We have amazing students, faculty and staff, and we work with some great partners within ASU, outside of the business school. Now, I also get to spend time with alumni, corporate partners and donors. In addition, I interact a lot more with other business-school deans. It’s a full circle.

AB: What are the W. P. Carey School’s strengths?
AH: We have hard-working students, dedicated staff, a supportive community, and a really desirable and unusual faculty combination. It’s not that hard to find good teachers or good researchers, but our faculty members are both, and that’s much more difficult to achieve. They are world-class researchers on the cutting edge of new knowledge in their fields, as well as excellent teachers. Therefore, what they discover one day, they teach in class the next. Add to this, they care about the students’ success in school and future careers. We have a dynamite combination. That’s why we’re currently ranked Top 30 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for all of our marquee programs — undergraduate business, full-time MBA, part-time MBA and online MBA.

AB: What makes you an effective dean for the W. P. Carey School?
AH: I love my work. I value relationships, but also performance. It also doesn’t hurt to be a management professor with real-world managerial experience. We have a lot of stakeholders to manage.

AB: How has your background prepared you to educate the entrepreneurs and business leaders of the future?
AH: In addition to my decades of work as a management professor and then executive dean, I also originally got my MBA because I needed skills to be a better manager in retail, before I ever went into academia. What I learned one night in my classes, I would apply the next day on the job. I also come from a family of entrepreneurs, so innovation and practicality loom large. I think this helps me stay focused on what we need to do to advance the practice of business.

AB: What are your goals as dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business?
AH: I’d like to build stronger — deeper and broader — corporate relations, increase lifelong value to our alumni, make our student experience a personal one, and make working at the W. P. Carey School of Business rewarding and fun. I’d also like to make sure the W. P. Carey School is no longer a “best-kept secret.” More people need to know all we do and how well we do it.

AB: What’s been the biggest change in education since you entered academia?
AH: I’d say one of the biggest changes to education as a whole — not specifically to business education — is the questioning of the value of education. This is unimaginable in developing nations like China. I was recently there with our executive MBA students in Shanghai. One of our speakers at an event was Nobel Laureate Ed Prescott, a W. P. Carey School of Business faculty member. Young kids wanted to have their pictures taken with him for his intellectual achievement. Sadly, I see too many people here in the United States who believe education isn’t the main driver of economic achievement.

AB: How has your background as a researcher impacted the way you educate the business leaders of the future?
AH: As a researcher, I’m strongly influenced by data, not anecdotes. So let’s analyze what’s happening before we jump to conclusions based on our personal observations. That said, most business research questions are big, complex ones without “one right answer,” so we need to train our students to look for patterns among data, but at the same time to embrace uncertainty. Make the best decisions with incomplete information. That’s the real world.

credit

Study: Young Credit Card Users Are MORE Responsible

If you think young people don’t know how to manage money and pay down their credit cards, then you should think again. A new study from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond shows young borrowers – 18 to 25 years old — are among the least likely credit card users to have a serious default on their cards. Not only that, they’re also more likely to be good credit risks later in life.

“Young credit card users actually default less than middle-age borrowers,” says Assistant Professor Andra Ghent of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Also, those who choose to get credit cards early in life are more likely to learn from any minor defaults and move on, avoiding major credit card problems in the future. Plus, they’re more likely to be able to get a mortgage and become a homeowner at a young age.”

The new research by Ghent, as well as Peter Debbaut and Marianna Kudlyak of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, is now a Federal Reserve working paper. In it, the researchers analyzed consumer data from the New York Federal Reserve Bank Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax to determine whether young borrowers are worse credit risks than others and to estimate the effect of individuals choosing to get a credit card at a young age.

The results demonstrate that part of the Credit Card Act of 2009 may not have been necessary. The act made it illegal to issue a credit card to individuals under 21 unless the person has a cosigner or submits financial information indicating an independent means of repaying the debt. It also includes a provision banning companies from recruiting credit card users within 1,000 feet of any college campus or at college events.

“Letting students apply for credit cards may actually make sense,” says Ghent. “These students are the people who want credit, need to build up a good credit history, and have a steeply sloped income profile. If they don’t have a student loan, then a credit card may be the only way they can establish a decent credit history.”

The researchers found that while people in their early 20s are more likely to experience minor delinquencies (30 or 60 days past due), they are much less likely to experience serious delinquency (90 days or more past due). In fact, someone age 40 to 44 is 12 percentage points more likely to have a serious delinquency than a 19 year old.

However, the Credit Card Act of 2009 has clearly had an impact on how many young people are getting credit cards. Individuals under 21 are 18-percent less likely to get a credit card following passage of the act, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

“You can’t learn by just watching credit card use,” adds Ghent. “You have to get a card, pay it down every 30 days, and experience, in order to learn. It’s also hard to get a mortgage if you can’t get a credit card to build up your credit history.”

The full study is available at http://www.public.asu.edu/~aghent/research/DebbautGhentKudlyak_July2013.pdf.

julena lifsey

Julena Lifsey Joins CK Group

CK Group, Inc., announced the hiring of Julena Lifsey for the role of marketing coordinator and graphic design.

Lifsey is a graduate of Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and a minor in business. She has two years of experience in freelance graphic design work and creating innovative design solutions for various clients. She specializes in print design focusing on advertising and marketing design but has experience in front-end web design, branding and creating company identities. Julena will provide the CK Group, Inc. with a wide range of talents and expertise. She will lead the process and development of an array of proposals, statements of qualification (SOQ), marketing materials, webpages, advertisements, press releases and design projects.

asu

ASU freezes tuition for Arizona undergraduates

Arizona State University will not increase tuition for Arizona undergraduate students for the academic year that begins in fall 2014. This applies to both current students and those entering that year. No determination has been made yet regarding tuition levels for out-of-state students or for graduate students, whether in-state or out-of-state.

“ASU is focused on providing an exceptional education,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “Our commitment to the people of Arizona is to use innovation and operational efficiency to make access to such an education available to all who are able and willing to do the work.”

ASU will deliver a formal proposal to the Arizona Board of Regents in the spring as part of the regular process for setting tuition. The university is making this announcement early in order to give Arizona undergraduate students and their families as much planning time as possible.

Phoenix-Area Housing Market

Phoenix-area Housing Supply Increasing

Over the past two years, the tight supply of homes for sale in the Phoenix area has helped to dramatically drive up prices. However, a new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows change on the horizon. The data for Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of August, reveals:

* The median single-family-home price is up 28 percent from last August, to $192,000.
* However, supply is finally starting to increase to help meet demand, and may be in balance by the end of the year.
* The luxury market is powering back, but might be derailed if the economy is pounded by the government shutdown and other events in Washington, D.C.

Phoenix-area home prices have shot up since hitting a low point in September 2011. From last August to this August, the median single-family-home price rose 28 percent – from $150,000 to $192,000. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up 22 percent. The median townhouse/condo price rose 31 percent.

“We predicted the price-increase slowdown that happened over the summer months,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Now that temperatures are cooling, prices will start rising again, at least for the near term. However, they’re likely to go up at a less furious pace than the last two years.”

Orr says increases in the amount of homes for sale are helping to stop the price boom. As of Sept. 1 this year, the area had 29 percent more active listings (not under contract) than at the same time last year. As supply has been going up, demand has gone down, with sales of single-family homes 12 percent lower this August than last August.

“Although demand still exceeds supply, they are fast moving toward each other,” says Orr. “If the current pace of change continues, they are likely to be in balance before the end of the year. The seller is no longer holding all the cards in the Greater Phoenix housing market, and if their offers are countered aggressively, some potential buyers may walk away because they now have more alternatives.”

The types of transactions happening in the market are also noticeably shifting. Luxury homes over $500,000 grew their market share from 15 to 21 percent of the money being spent over the past year, while the lowest-priced homes (below $150,000) fell from 25 to 14 percent of the market.

“Access to finance at the high end of the market is very good, and we are seeing interest rates for jumbo loans even lower than the rates for conventional loans,” Orr explains. “However, if the stock market is negatively affected by events in Washington, then this will have an impact on the luxury housing market in Arizona.”

Investors continue to lose interest in the Phoenix market, with better bargains available in other parts of the country. The percentage of residential properties purchased by investors fell from the peak activity of 39.7 percent in July 2012 down to just 23.7 percent this August. The rates of all-cash buyers and out-of-state buyers are also dropping. In fact, the percentage of Maricopa County residences sold to non-Arizona owners in August was only 17 percent, the lowest percentage since January 2009.

Prices in all areas of Maricopa County are up over last year, and cheap foreclosures are tough to find. Foreclosure starts – owners receiving notice their lenders may foreclose in 90 days – declined 61 percent from last August to this August. Completed foreclosures went down an incredible 73 percent.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed and downloaded at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. A podcast with more analysis from Orr is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

Test

Andy Landeen joins Ryley Carlock

Ryley Carlock & Applewhite added attorney Andrea (Andy) Landeen to the firm’s Creditors’ Rights and Bankruptcy, Lending and Commercial Litigation practice groups, where she will continue her practice of representing lenders and other creditors in pre- and post-judgment litigation.

“We’re very excited about what Andy brings to the firm as well as our creditors’ rights and bankruptcy team,” said Scott Jenkins, Jr. who leads the firm’s lending, creditor’s rights and bankruptcy group.  “With Andy’s diverse experience, she will help us better serve our expanding client base.”

Prior to joining the firm, Andy also represented debtors in litigation in involving commercial real estate transactions arising from judicial and non-judicial foreclosures, as well as representing sub-contractors and materialmen in construction defect and/or mechanics’ lien dispute in both state and federal courts, and the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.

“I am so excited to join Ryley Carlock & Applewhite not only because of the culture of professionalism, teamwork and commitment to excellence for which the firm is known, but also because of the balanced approach and high regard this firm has towards its attorneys as well as its clients.  I look forward to working with my team and growing with the firm.”

Landeen attained her law degree, cum laude from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University and her undergraduate summa cum laude from Smith College.

WPCarey-School-Sign

W. P. Carey School Honors Top Business Leaders

Three top business leaders will be honored for their innovation and achievements, when they are inducted into the W. P. Carey School of Business Homecoming Hall of Fame this month. They include the head of a famed jewelry company, a high-profile business founder from China, and a corporate leader at one of Arizona’s biggest companies.

On Oct. 17, they will join previous Arizona State University alumni inductees from such diverse organizations as the American Red Cross, Motorola, the U.S. Air Force, Wells Fargo Bank, XM Satellite Radio and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“These stellar inductees represent strength, leadership and accomplishment in the business world,” says W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Amy Hillman. “They demonstrate how far our students can go and have gone in making their mark on the global economy.”

The 36th annual W. P. Carey School honorees are:

> Eddie LeVian, chief executive officer of the Le Vian Corporation, who has made Chocolate Diamonds® a red-carpet staple in Hollywood. LeVian earned a business degree from the W. P. Carey School in 1979 and took his innovative marketing ideas back to his family’s fine jewelry business in New York. The company’s sales have more than quadrupled over the past decade, and the LeVian family is active with many charities, raising $75 million in the past decade alone.

> Canglong Liu, a high-profile business leader in China, who founded one fertilizer factory in 1979, which grew into a conglomerate of major companies, including the Sichuan Hongda Group, now with 30,000 employees and 60 subsidiaries around the world. Liu is chairman of businesses that focus on finance, minerals and real estate. He is also a member of the national committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the standing committee of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce. The Hongda Group has given $8 million to AIDS prevention and research in China. Liu received his MBA from the W. P. Carey School’s prestigious executive MBA program in Shanghai in 2007.

> MaryAnn Miller, chief human resources officer and executive leader of corporate communications for Avnet, a Phoenix-based Fortune 500 company with more than 18,000 employees and customers in 80 countries. Avnet is one of the largest distributors of electronic components, computer products and embedded technology in the world. Miller has more than 30 years of experience in human resources and operations management, and is responsible for leading the company’s human resources, organizational development and corporate communications worldwide. She is also a member of the Avnet Executive Board. She received her MBA from the W. P. Carey School’s executive MBA program in 2001.

About 200 alumni, business leaders and students are expected to attend the Homecoming Hall of Fame event on Thursday, Oct. 17 at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix. A reception starts at 5:30 p.m., followed by the awards ceremony.

Space is limited. For more information on tickets or sponsorship, go to www.wpcarey.asu.edu/homecoming or call (480) 965-2597.

Manufacturing Companies

GPEC, ASU earn Department of Commerce Grant

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) and Arizona State University (ASU) this week were awarded a $170,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The initiative, called the “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership” (IMCP) seeks to accelerate manufacturing sectors and job creation in cities across the country.

The funds will be used to develop a plan to implement an Innovation and Commercialization Center for Advanced Manufacturing (ICCAM) in Greater Phoenix that advances the region’s manufacturing sector and improves its competitiveness for domestic and foreign investments, advances research commercialization and prepares workers for advanced manufacturing jobs. The ICCAM will focus on new growth opportunities, like advanced sensor and control technologies, and applications that leverage historic regional strengths like aerospace, semiconductor, electronics, precision and control technologies.

“This grant is crucial to the ICCAM’s success as we seek to support and grow high-tech manufacturing technologies and their respective supply chains by providing access to applied research, product development and design services, as well as access to global markets,” GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome said. “Creating a strategic plan to develop these technologies is important for retaining, upgrading and growing the region’s key industry clusters.”

“This award is further recognition of the significant opportunities for growth in the manufacturing sector in our region and our state” said Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, Senior Vice President for ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. “ASU is committed to ensuring the continued expansion of manufacturing in Arizona and has implemented several programs and initiatives, with community partners and organizations such as GPEC, which will encourage startup and established manufacturing, ensure students become more involved in manufacturing and spur the overall growth of this sector as a driver of Arizona’s economy.”

Together, GPEC and ASU will assemble a project team to implement the project in two phases over a one-year period. Phase I will focus on finalizing the ICCAM’s technical parameters, refining its programs and services and developing performance metrics. Phase II will center on developing implementation strategies, identifying investment sources, building coalitions and finalizing a full implementation plan through the program’s launch.

Pending support from Congress, the ICCAM project will be eligible to compete for future large scale IMCP grants that are 50 to 100 times the size of the implementation strategy grants. This would allow the region to execute on its proposed strategy for advancing manufacturing in Phoenix and beyond.

renewable energy projects

SRP, ASU partner to research renewable energy initiatives

Salt River Project (SRP) and the Conservation and Renewable Energy Collaboratory (CREC) at ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) have partnered for a second year to award a $170,000 grant to fund research initiatives in renewable energy and conservation.

This year the SRP-CREC research program selected four projects for funding. Projects include: reliability and performance testing of batteries in hot and dry climates; solar hot water system testing and evaluation; use of algae for bioremediation of water; and evaluation of solar photovoltaic (PV) performance and degradation.

“CTI faculty and students collaboratively work with our industry partners like SRP to define important, use-inspired research problems,” said Mitzi Montoya, vice provost and dean of CTI. “Industry partners like SRP are the foundation of the college and provide an important component of our project-based learning and applied research model.”

In addition to its sponsorship of the CREC research program, SRP has been a long-standing supporter and sponsor of the iProjects program at CTI. iProjects pair students with mentors and companies to find solutions to real world-challenges. This year, two student teams will work on projects that will benefit SRP and the electric utility industry. One team will develop an electrical model that will allow the utility industry to better plan for and forecast the impact of distributed generation and energy storage methods on high penetration utility systems. A second team will work to develop a portable battery impedance tester for battery technicians to monitor battery state of health on solar installations and substations.

“During our partnership with CTI, we have engaged in innovative research with talented faculty and students on important issues affecting SRP and our customers,” said John Sullivan, SRP’s associate general manager and chief resources executive.  “We are pleased with the collaborative relationship that SRP is developing with CTI, and we look forward to continuing to develop this important partnership in the coming year.”

privacy

How Personal Employment Information Is Shared And Sold

In today’s competitive business world, employers constantly are seeking ways to increase efficiency and reduce cost.  One obvious option in this effort is outsourcing, and employers certainly should be free to delegate functions to third-party vendors when it makes sense to do so.  But what are the implications when outsourcing requires an employer to share with a vendor private information about the employer’s workforce?

For attorneys who counsel either businesses or individuals, it’s important to know what rules and limitations apply to the increasingly popular trend of outsourcing employee verification services.  The issues associated with this trend are far-reaching and beg the question:  How can we better regulate and improve this beneficial type of outsourcing, for employers and employees alike?

The key to answering these questions begins with an understanding of the dual role credit reporting agencies play as database sponsors in the employee verification industry.  For example, in addition to compiling consumer credit scores, credit reporting giant Equifax also is in the business of compiling other information that is equally personal; namely, confidential details about workers’ current and former employment.  In fact, Equifax might even be selling information as personal as your compensation level, the name of your healthcare provider, whether you’ve ever filed for unemployment benefits, and your paystub history.

What is “The Work Number”

The Work Number, a subsidiary of Equifax, provides various financial and employment verification services.  The Work Number uses its ever-expanding database to confirm employment and income information for commercial verifiers, social service verifiers, and potential future employers.  The Work Number’s database currently contains the employment and salary records of over one-third of U.S. adults, and it includes detailed employee information about weekly paystubs, healthcare providers, medical and dental insurance, and unemployment compensation claims.

The Work Number built its database with the cooperation of thousands of U.S. businesses.  The Work Number markets itself to these willing participants as a means for busy human resource departments to outsource the time consuming task of verifying a range of information on former and current employees.  This service is so attractive that participating businesses actually pay for the ability to send The Work Number all employee information typically needed in the verification process.  The Work Number fields verification inquiries on the employer’s behalf, freeing up employer staff time for other tasks.

While providing employers with a valuable service, The Work Number simultaneously funnels this information it receives from its clients to its parent company, Equifax.  In turn, Equifax sells the information to third parties such as debt collectors, student loan issuers, and financial institutions.

Although Equifax’s sharing of the personal information garnered by The Work Number under in its role as a verification service provider is indisputable, the extent of such sharing is in question.  In an interview with NBC News, Equifax spokesman Timothy Klein denied that salary information is sold to debt collectors.[i]  Klein’s statement is in conflict, however, with Equifax CEO Richard Smith’s 2009 NYSE Magazine interview, in which he stated “[W]e can provide information about a debtor’s location, income, and employment.  That can help prioritize which accounts to pursue first.”[ii]

Because employer use of The Work Number has become so prevalent, the District of Columbia has issued new guidelines for low-income housing compliance, which include a provision governing the treatment of applicants whose employment and earnings can be verified only via The Work Number.[iii]  Likewise, the current Code of Mississippi Rules actually includes The Work Number’s email address, phone number, and website address in a statutory provision that instructs applicants for State-funded childcare on how to provide income and employment verification.[iv]  Considering The Work Number’s fast-paced growth and the privacy concerns it poses for consumers, it makes sense to consider what safeguards, if any, are in place to protect us.

Fair Credit Reporting Act

The most obvious consumer protection tool implicated by Equifax’s practices is The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  The FCRA regulates instances in which “consumer reports” or “investigative consumer reports” are requested from a “consumer reporting agency.”[v]  For purposes of the FCRA, a “consumer reporting agency” includes any entity that regularly assembles credit or other information about consumers and furnishes that information to third parties via any means of interstate commerce.[vi]  Thus, Equifax and The Work Number are considered consumer reporting agencies for purposes of the FCRA.  “Consumer reports” include any communication of a consumer’s personal characteristics which will serve as a factor establishing the consumer’s eligibility for credit or insurance or for employment purposes.[vii]  By contrast, “investigative consumer reports” include reports regarding the consumer’s personal characteristics gathered during personal interviews, but do not include specific factual information about the consumer’s credit record.[viii]  Due to the more personal nature of information contained in an investigative consumer report, stricter guidelines are in place regarding disclosure of investigative consumer reports compared to ordinary consumer reports.  To the extent Equifax and The Work Number provide third parties with consumers’ personal and financial information, Equifax and The Work Number furnish consumer reports.

There are three types of recipients of the information provided by Equifax and The Work Number: prospective employers, financial institutions and creditors, and third party purchasers.  The FCRA applies differently to each recipient type.

Prospective Employers

The Work Number markets itself as a means for prospective employers to verify employment information of job applicants.  Thus, as its core business, The Work Number provides sensitive information to prospective employers.  Because the FCRA applies whenever employers request consumer reports from a consumer reporting agency like The Work Number, the FCRA is implicated by The Work Number’s information transfers to prospective employers.

The FCRA addresses issues such as what types of employers can obtain consumer reports, how they must obtain the report, what they must do before taking adverse action in response to the report, and what they must do after taking adverse action.[ix]  The Work Number contends that FCRA guidelines are met when it provides prospective employers with employment information.  Such guidelines include providing job applicants with written notice that information obtained from a consumer report may be used when making decisions concerning their employment.[x]  This notice must appear in a document containing only this disclosure.[xi]  Additionally, the consumer must provide written authorization of the procurement of the report.[xii]  To the extent The Work Number provides employment verification to prospective employers and meets these guidelines, it is within its rights to do so.  What the FCRA fails to address, however, is how other information in The Work Number’s database, such as salary and insurance information, is used for non-employment purposes.

Financial Institutions and Creditors

In addition to providing potential employers with consumers’ employment information, The Work Number also concedes to providing creditors and financial institutions with employment information from its database.  In an interview with NBC News, Equifax spokesman Timothy Klein admitted that pay rate information is shared with third parties.[xiii]  These third parties typically include mortgage, auto, and financial services credit grantors.  Klein said The Work Number provides such information to financial institutions and credit grantors in compliance with the FCRA, but denied that salary information is sold to debt collectors.[xiv]  The Work Number asserts that consumers give such third parties the right to access this information at the time the consumer applies for credit.

Section 1681 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act states that generally, a consumer reporting agency, like Equifax or The Work Number, may only furnish a consumer report to such third parties when the consumer reporting agency has reason to believe the third party “intends to use the information in connection with a credit transaction involving the consumer … and involving the extension of credit to, or review or collection of an account of, the consumer.”[xv]  Even assuming Klein’s assertion is true that consumers grant these third parties access to such information, other provisions in the FCRA raise the question of whether this authorization is sufficient.  Subsection (c)(1)(A) of the FCRA requires that “the consumer authorize[e] the agency to provide such report to such person.”[xvi]  This language suggests that a much more personalized authorization transaction may be required than Klein alluded to in his statement.  Namely, it appears that the consumer must furnish the specific consumer reporting agency in question with authorization to provide the report to the specific financial institution or creditor requesting the report.  Interestingly, although in certain circumstances a consumer may authorize all reporting agencies to give all creditors this information by executing a general waiver at the time he or she applies for credit, another subsection of the FCRA indicates the consumer may have an additional line of defense.  Pursuant to subsection (c)(1)(B)(iii), a consumer may elect to have his name and address excluded from lists provided by consumer reporting agencies in connection with credit transactions not initiated by the consumer.[xvii]

Unfortunately, the rules delineating when reporting agencies like Equifax and The Work Number can give creditors and financial institutions other information from The Work Number’s database are unclear.  It is not clear when, how, and with regard to whom the consumer must provide authorization for a reporting agency to share this information.  However, given that consumers must be clearly notified in writing and provide authorization prior to issuance of a consumer report when such report will be used for employment purposes, a strong argument can be made that this same proactive and consumer oriented approach should apply to all sections of the FCRA.

Equifax Information Sold to Third Parties

In addition to providing information to prospective employers, financial institutions, and creditors, Equifax also sells some of this information to interested third parties.  For example, Equifax heavily markets The Work Number’s services to student loan issurers.  Thanks to The Work Number’s information, student loan issuers have seen a 5.5% increase in Right Party Contact and a 7.3% increase in Collections Resolution.[xviii]  Additionally, Equifax provides information from The Work Number to financial firms.  In these transactions, the information is packaged as a “portfolio monitoring” service which allows financial firms to market their products to a specially selected group of consumers.  The Work Number’s information is also marketed to these firms as “proactive managing of risk.”  In this context, the firms analyze information from The Work Number for early warning signs about when someone might soon run into financial trouble.  The marketing campaign for these services touts “Using The Work Number to stay abreast of employment changes can expand your ability to mitigate risk while maximizing product and service potential.”[xix]

Strangely, the FCRA seemingly fails to address this type of information transfer at all.  While the FCRA provides guidelines for when a consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report, how and when a consumer report may be furnished for employment purposes, how and when a consumer report may be furnished in connection with credit or insurance transactions, and what added protections are afforded medical information, there is a lack of guidance regarding the sale of such information.  Nowhere does the FCRA expressly prohibit the sale of consumer information to third parties with a business interest in the information.  This is further complicated by the fact that Equifax owns The Work Number.  As a credit bureau, Equifax proceeds under the comparatively lax rules governing credit reporting agencies, which are distinct from those governing data brokers.  Thus, by virtue of Equifax’s affiliation with The Work Number, it can behave as a credit bureau, selling credit information to lenders.  The problem, however, is Equifax has access to a much greater wealth of consumer information than a credit bureau otherwise would, thanks to its affiliation with The Work Number.

The good news, however, is that the FCRA actually may address the problematic affiliation between Equifax and The Work Number.  Section 1681s-3 of the FCRA relates to affiliate sharing.[xx]  This section prohibits an entity that receives information which would be a consumer report from another entity under common ownership from using that information to make a solicitation for marketing purposes, unless the consumer is provided an opportunity to prohibit such solicitations after a clear disclosure has been made to the consumer explaining that information may be communicated amongst such entities for purposes of solicitation.[xxi]  However, even this provision of the FCRA might not be as helpful as it seems.  Although it may prohibit Equifax from using information it obtains from The Work Number to solicit business, that is only half the battle.  Equifax still could continue to sell the information it gathers by its own efforts to third parties.  The information might simply be less comprehensive.

Possible Solutions

In light of these revelations, the first question on many consumers’ minds is how to address this sharing or sale of private information, which appears to be lawful under the guidelines currently in place.

From an individual’s perspective, preventing sensitive information from ending up in The Work Number database seems like a futile proposition.  A job applicant, for example, could attempt to condition a prospective employment relationship on the employer’s agreement not to share any of the applicant’s personal or employment information.  However, given the current job market, most employees would have very little negotiating power, and most employers are unlikely to oblige, especially given the economy gained by utilizing The Work Number.  If an individual is unsuccessful in this negotiation, he or she can always turn down a job offer.  While doing so will keep the employee’s personal information safe for now, the applicant has cut off his nose to spite his face and remains unemployed.  It seems then that the only plausible way to regulate these information transfers is to address them before the consumer even gets involved.

Congress Should Revisit the Fair Credit Reporting Act

The most effective means by which to provide much-needed regulatory reform is to take legislative action.  Specifically, Congress should revisit the FCRA, taking into consideration the flaws and gaps that Equifax is exploiting.  One approach could include amending the FCRA to require a consumer’s written authorization before such information is sold.  Specifically, implementing the same comprehensive authorization guidelines currently in place regarding consumer reports used for employment purposes could serve as a model.  Under this approach, the consumer reporting agency would need to provide consumers with clear, conspicuous written notice of the possible sale of their information prior to the information being sold.  Such notice would need to be in a stand-alone document, and the consumer’s response, either authorizing the sale or not authorizing the sale, would also need to be in writing.

Another possible approach includes implementing stricter rules governing the flow of consumer reports out of credit bureaus, perhaps mirroring the already stricter guidelines governing disclosure of investigative consumer reports.  Additionally, Congress could amend the FCRA to clearly delineate exactly what information can be included in consumer reports.  Part of the current problem appears to involve the crossover between the personal and employment related information contained in The Work Number’s database with the credit information expected to be in the hands of a credit bureau, like Equifax.

John Balitis is a director and attorney with the law firm of Fennemore Craig in Phoenix where he co-chairs the firm’s Labor Relations and Employment Practice Group.  He represents businesses in all aspects of employment law. Kristin Penunuri is a student at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.  She is a legal writing intern at Fennemore Craig in Phoenix.


[i] Bob Sullivan, Your Employer May Share Your Salary, and Equifax Might Sell That Data, The Red Tape Chronicles on NBC News.com (Jan. 30, 2013, 4:44 AM), available at http://redtape.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/30/16762661-exclusive-your-employer-may-share-your-salary-and-equifax-might-sell-that-data?lite.

[ii] Id.

[iii] D.C. Mun. Regs., Title 14 § 5402 (2012).

[iv] Miss. Admin. Code, Title 18, Subtitle 7, Rule 2 § 102 (2012).

[v] Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 (2006).

[vi] Id. at § 1681a (2006).

[vii] Id.

[viii] Id.

[ix] Bob Sullivan, Your Employer May Share Your Salary, and Equifax Might Sell That Data, The Red Tape Chronicles on NBC News.com (Jan. 30, 2013, 4:44 AM), available at http://redtape.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/30/16762661-exclusive-your-employer-may-share-your-salary-and-equifax-might-sell-that-data?lite.

[x] 15 U.S.C. § 1681b (2006).

[xi] Id.

[xii] Id.

[xiii] Sullivan, supra note 9.

[xiv] Id.

[xv] 15 U.S.C. § 1681b (2006).

[xvi] Id.

[xvii] Id.

[xviii] Bob Sullivan, Your Employer May Share Your Salary, and Equifax Might Sell That Data, The Red Tape Chronicles on NBC News.com (Jan. 30, 2013, 4:44 AM), available at http://redtape.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/30/16762661-exclusive-your-employer-may-share-your-salary-and-equifax-might-sell-that-data?lite.

[xix] Id.

[xx] 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-3 (2006).

[xxi] Id.

 

 

How To Learn More About Your Work Number

Consumers who want to know what, if any, information about them resides with The Work Number may do so by visiting The Work Number website (www.theworknumber.com) and requesting an Employment Data Report (“EDR”).  Processing this request involves logging in and completing an EDR request form that is available in .pdf format.  Alternatively, interested consumers may contact The Work Number by telephone at (866) 604-6570.

If an EDR contains information that is inaccurate or objectionable to the consumer, he or she may submit online comments via The Work Number website.  The website suggests that The Work Number will embed the comments so that they are visible to subscribers that obtain the consumer’s other information from The Work Number.

 

Michael Crow (current)

TREO Luncheon features university presidents

Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Inc. (TREO) will feature state university presidents, Dr. Ann Weaver Hart, of the University of Arizona and Dr. Michael M. Crow, of Arizona State University, at its 8th Annual Luncheon on Wednesday, September 25th at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson.

Strong economies are defined by well-paying jobs, held by individuals possessing knowledge and skills that are in demand. Post-secondary education most often provides these skill sets. While US citizens have traditionally been among the best-educated in the world, the nation now ranks 12th in the number of 25- to 34-year olds with college degrees. Businesses often cite the difficulty of finding qualified workers as a barrier to growth. Talent is always the number one factor in site selection decisions.

What is being done in the Sun Corridor to address talent development? Join TREO for a higher education update and a frank discussion on educating the next generation for jobs of today and the future.

When: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Where: Westin La Paloma Resort, 3800 East Sunrise Drive, Tucson, AZ
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Luncheon and Presentation
Registration: http://conta.cc/12e195U

 

KPNX TV, Channel 12 - Best of the Best Awards 2009 presented by Ranking Arizona

Transaction Creates New Partnership at SkySong

SkySong, The ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center has a new ownership structure after a transaction involving SkySong I and II, a 290,000 square foot, two-building office project located at Scottsdale Road and McDowell Road.

A partnership formed by Holualoa Companies, the ASU Foundation for A New American University, and Plaza Companies has purchased the entirety of the ownership in a transaction that closed on August 26, 2013. Financing for the acquisition was provided by Citigroup.

The same partners will also be starting construction of SkySong III, a third office property in the SkySong project. This new partnership represents a strong and continued collaborative focus on the cohesive technology, entrepreneurship, innovation, and education platform that positions SkySong tenants with competitive and distinctive advantages for their businesses.

During the period when the transaction was in escrow, leasing activity remained brisk at SkySong I and II, with more than 46,000 square feet of lease renewals and expansions in the past few weeks.

Stanton Shafer, Chief Operating Officer of Holualoa, said the transaction is a sign of the success of the project and the positive impact that SkySong has had on the Scottsdale area and the entire region.

“SkySong has had a tremendous impact on Scottsdale and on the Valley as a whole in aiding and strengthening economic development,” Shafer said. “With this transaction and with the start of construction of SkySong III, the project is truly well-positioned for tenants and companies to advance their business growth and success.”

R.F. “Rick” Shangraw Jr., CEO of the ASU Foundation, said the transaction is a sign of significant and ongoing investment into SkySong.

“SkySong has been a tremendous success story for Arizona State University and the ASU Foundation in furthering innovation and technology in Arizona,” he said. “We are now seeing a continued investment into SkySong in the form of this transaction and the start of SkySong III, which will have an even stronger impact on the region.”

More than 1,000 employees and 50 companies are already located on the SkySong property. Completion of SkySong III and IV and the 325-unit apartment property currently under construction will bring the total square footage of development at SkySong to almost 1 million square feet, and bring total invested capital at SkySong to almost $150 million.

“We are excited about moving forward with our new partnership and continuing to build one of the biggest success stories our community has seen over the past few years,” said Sharon Harper, President & CEO of Plaza Companies. “Existing tenants and prospective tenants both have come to realize the unique value proposition of SkySong. We offer something special that no other project in Arizona — or the entire country — offers.”

CBRE’s Kevin Shannon and Michael Moore in the firm’s Torrance, Calif., office, along with Bob Young, Steve Brabant, Glenn Smigiel and Rick Abraham of the Phoenix office, represented the selling entity. They were assisted by the Lee and Associates leasing team of Craig Coppola and Andrew Cheney.

The estimated construction cost of SkySong III is $32 million. The construction of SkySong III also includes a significant parking structure that will serve SkySong III and IV, as well as surface parking. Additionally, pre-leasing continues on SkySong IV, which would be located next to SkySong III and face Scottsdale Road. SkySong IV is fully permitted and shovel-ready, and the SkySong team continues to work with prospective anchor tenants.

SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center is a home to a global business community that links technology, entrepreneurship, innovation, and education to position ASU and Greater Phoenix as global leaders of the knowledge economy.

SkySong is a 42-acre mixed use development designed to:

• Create an ecology of collaboration and innovation among high-profile technology enterprises and related researchers;
• Advance global business objectives of on-site enterprises;
• Raise Arizona’s profile as a global center of innovation through co-location of ASU’s strategic global partners; and
• Create a unique regional economic and social asset.

Companies located at SkySong enjoy a special relationship with Arizona State University, which has more than 76,000 students at four metropolitan Phoenix campuses. ASU’s campus in Tempe is the single largest campus in the U.S., and is located less than three miles from SkySong.

In addition to locating its own innovative research units at the center, ASU provides tenants with direct access to relevant research, educational opportunities and cultural events on its campuses. Through ASU’s on-site operations, tenant companies have a single point of contact for introductions to researchers, faculty and programs to address their specific needs.

For more information on SkySong, visit www.skysongcenter.com or www.facebook.com/skysongcenter.

SkySong_Exterior_001new

Transaction Creates New Partnership at SkySong

SkySong, The ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center has a new ownership structure after a transaction involving SkySong I and II, a 290,000 square foot, two-building office project located at Scottsdale Road and McDowell Road.

A partnership formed by Holualoa Companies, the ASU Foundation for A New American University, and Plaza Companies has purchased the entirety of the ownership in a transaction that closed on August 26, 2013. Financing for the acquisition was provided by Citigroup.

The same partners will also be starting construction of SkySong III, a third office property in the SkySong project. This new partnership represents a strong and continued collaborative focus on the cohesive technology, entrepreneurship, innovation, and education platform that positions SkySong tenants with competitive and distinctive advantages for their businesses.

During the period when the transaction was in escrow, leasing activity remained brisk at SkySong I and II, with more than 46,000 square feet of lease renewals and expansions in the past few weeks.

Stanton Shafer, Chief Operating Officer of Holualoa, said the transaction is a sign of the success of the project and the positive impact that SkySong has had on the Scottsdale area and the entire region.

“SkySong has had a tremendous impact on Scottsdale and on the Valley as a whole in aiding and strengthening economic development,” Shafer said. “With this transaction and with the start of construction of SkySong III, the project is truly well-positioned for tenants and companies to advance their business growth and success.”

R.F. “Rick” Shangraw Jr., CEO of the ASU Foundation, said the transaction is a sign of significant and ongoing investment into SkySong.

“SkySong has been a tremendous success story for Arizona State University and the ASU Foundation in furthering innovation and technology in Arizona,” he said. “We are now seeing a continued investment into SkySong in the form of this transaction and the start of SkySong III, which will have an even stronger impact on the region.”

More than 1,000 employees and 50 companies are already located on the SkySong property. Completion of SkySong III and IV and the 325-unit apartment property currently under construction will bring the total square footage of development at SkySong to almost 1 million square feet, and bring total invested capital at SkySong to almost $150 million.

“We are excited about moving forward with our new partnership and continuing to build one of the biggest success stories our community has seen over the past few years,” said Sharon Harper, President & CEO of Plaza Companies. “Existing tenants and prospective tenants both have come to realize the unique value proposition of SkySong. We offer something special that no other project in Arizona — or the entire country — offers.”

CBRE’s Kevin Shannon and Michael Moore in the firm’s Torrance, Calif., office, along with Bob Young, Steve Brabant, Glenn Smigiel and Rick Abraham of the Phoenix office, represented the selling entity. They were assisted by the Lee and Associates leasing team of Craig Coppola and Andrew Cheney.

The estimated construction cost of SkySong III is $32 million. The construction of SkySong III also includes a significant parking structure that will serve SkySong III and IV, as well as surface parking. Additionally, pre-leasing continues on SkySong IV, which would be located next to SkySong III and face Scottsdale Road. SkySong IV is fully permitted and shovel-ready, and the SkySong team continues to work with prospective anchor tenants.

SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center is a home to a global business community that links technology, entrepreneurship, innovation, and education to position ASU and Greater Phoenix as global leaders of the knowledge economy.

SkySong is a 42-acre mixed use development designed to:

• Create an ecology of collaboration and innovation among high-profile technology enterprises and related researchers;
• Advance global business objectives of on-site enterprises;
• Raise Arizona’s profile as a global center of innovation through co-location of ASU’s strategic global partners; and
• Create a unique regional economic and social asset.

Companies located at SkySong enjoy a special relationship with Arizona State University, which has more than 76,000 students at four metropolitan Phoenix campuses. ASU’s campus in Tempe is the single largest campus in the U.S., and is located less than three miles from SkySong.

In addition to locating its own innovative research units at the center, ASU provides tenants with direct access to relevant research, educational opportunities and cultural events on its campuses. Through ASU’s on-site operations, tenant companies have a single point of contact for introductions to researchers, faculty and programs to address their specific needs.

For more information on SkySong, visit www.skysongcenter.com or www.facebook.com/skysongcenter.

asu

ASU welcomes record freshman class

This fall, Arizona State University welcomes a freshman class that sets new records on many levels.

Testament to the outstanding reputation of the university, 38,701 students applied for admission as first-time freshmen. At the end of today’s registration for classes, ASU will enroll 10,149 academically distinguished students, who also strive for excellence outside of the classroom, from around the globe.

Incoming Sun Devils include a concertmaster of a chamber orchestra, a global humanitarian who raised more than $250,000 for orphans in North Korea, and a member of the Running Start Young Women Political Leadership Program in Washington, D.C.

“ASU is increasingly becoming the school of choice for Arizona students, as well as for students from outside the state and other nations,” said Elizabeth D. Phillips, executive vice president and provost. “The message is carrying far and wide that Arizona State University is a place that embraces and champions excellence and opportunity for all academically qualified students. Come to us with your dreams, and your commitment to work hard, and we will help you make those dreams a reality.”

The new Sun Devil class is academically strong, with an average high school GPA of 3.4 and average SAT score of 1116. Forty-nine percent are New American University Scholars at the Dean, Provost and President Scholarship levels, the most prestigious scholarships for first-time freshmen.

Among this year’s class are 5,747 Arizona residents, 63 percent of whom will graduate in the top 25 percent of their high school class.

For Brandon Deatherage, of Phoenix, ASU was his only choice. While he is just beginning his college years, he has his eyes set on becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon.

“I chose ASU because I’m a pre-med student and I heard they teamed up with Mayo Clinic, so that’s pretty motivating,” said Deatherage.

Rayann Chee, of Cedar Creek, was considering Dartmouth College when she was there for a business program last summer. When it came down to choosing where to apply, however, she chose ASU to carry on her family’s Sun Devil tradition — her mom attended ASU, her aunt graduated from ASU and her grandmother got her doctorate degree from ASU.

A Gates Millennium Scholar, Chee is majoring in criminal justice and is a student in Barrett, The Honors College. She is one of 1,000 talented students nationwide to receive the prestigious scholarship, which covers unmet financial need through graduation and can be used at any US university. Her dream is to help reduce the rate of juvenile delinquency on her reservation.

ASU continues to honor its longstanding commitment to socioeconomic diversity and access to education, with more than 31 percent of admitted Arizona residents reporting they will be the first in their family to graduate from a four-year college and 25.6 percent coming from low-income families.

The freshmen class includes the largest number of non-resident students, 4,244, a 29 percent increase from last fall’s incoming freshmen. With non-resident students representing all 50 states and 71 different countries, the largest number, 1,314, come from California. ASU is increasingly becoming the school of choice for students from the Golden State, seeing a 13 percent increase in enrollment since last year.

Melanie Abramoff, from Agoura Hills, Calif., considered the University of Southern California, but only applied to ASU. She said she “fell in love with” the Downtown Phoenix campus after she visited.

“I wanted to be part of the Cronkite journalism and mass communication program,” said Abramoff, who aspires to work for the Food Network or Entertainment Tonight. “They have excellent teachers, and they’re hands-on and looking out for the best interests of their students.”

Collectively, this year’s freshmen make up ASU’s most diverse class to date in terms of their racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. 39.6 percent of the class is racial and ethnic minority.

More international students will call ASU and the Phoenix-area their home than ever before, with nearly 900 new freshmen hailing from outside of the United States – a 66 percent increase from last year’s class of 529 international freshmen. ASU has set the record for number of new international students each of the last five years, in part a reflection of the institution’s recognition as a top 100 university in the world by both the Center for World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

ASU continues to attract vast numbers of students interested in studying in the high-demand STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. The top 10 majors of choice for newly admitted students include biological sciences, mechanical engineering, biochemistry, computer science, biomedical engineering and health sciences. Rounding out the top 10 are business — the most popular major — psychology, and journalism and mass communication.

skysong

Construction Set To Begin on 3rd SkySong Building

Construction is set to begin on the third office building at SkySong, The ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, continuing the momentum on one of the most successful commercial development projects in Arizona over the past few years.

With the first two office buildings at SkySong almost fully leased, work will begin on SkySong III on August 19, with a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for late September.   The 145,000 square foot building will be located along SkySong Boulevard, just southwest of the project’s iconic shade structure.

Arizona State University will lease 1 ½ floors of the four-story building, and current SkySong tenant WebFilings will be expanding their presence in the project by taking a full floor in SkySong III.   Plaza Companies will be taking office space on the first floor.  Combined, the three anchor tenants allow construction to begin with the building already 65 percent leased.

Like the first two buildings, SkySong III will be built to meet LEED Certification standards. The architectural design not only complements the rest of the project and the overall architectural quality of the Scottsdale area, it also includes significant consideration for sustainability. DPR is the General Contractor and Butler Design is the architect for SkySong III.

Plaza Companies continues to be the master developer of the project, in partnership with the Arizona State University Foundation and the City of Scottsdale. The financing for SkySong III is being provided by Alliance Bank of Arizona, and Holualoa Companies of Tucson has partnered with Plaza Companies for this project.

Sharon Harper, President & CEO of Plaza Companies, said the start of construction is a significant milestone and an example of the positive impact created by SkySong.

“We are very pleased to continue to build the vision for SkySong as a technology and innovation hub,” Harper said. “SkySong has already had a tremendously positive impact on south Scottsdale and on Arizona’s economic development efforts as a whole. Despite the challenging economic conditions of the past few years, SkySong continued to thrive and attract economic growth.

“Now, with this new building and with the coming completion of the SkySong Apartments, the impact of SkySong on our community will become even more profound and positive.”

Don Couvillion, Vice President of Real Estate for the Arizona State University Foundation, said the growth of the SkySong project has made the vision ASU President Michael Crow had for the project back in the mid-2000s a reality.

“SkySong was built to create a unique location for companies with a focus on innovation and technology, and the project has succeeded in becoming a hub for forward-thinking entrepreneurship,” he said. “The impact that ASU SkySong has had, as part of the overall SkySong vision, on dozens of companies over the past few years has been particularly significant in creating new jobs and economic impact.”

Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane said that the impact of SkySong on southern Scottsdale has been critical in sparking new economic development in that part of the community.

“It’s just another sign of how that corridor is developing on all lines, with what’s promised, planned and underway,” he said. “SkySong has already made a significant impact in the Scottsdale and McDowell Road corridors in helping bring in new businesses and economic growth.”

The estimated construction cost of SkySong III is $32 million. The construction of SkySong III also includes a significant parking structure that will serve SkySong III and IV, as well as surface parking.

Additionally, pre-leasing continues on SkySong IV, which would be located next to SkySong III and face Scottsdale Road. SkySong IV is fully permitted and shovel-ready, and the SkySong team continues to work with prospective anchor tenants.

More than 1,000 employees and 50 companies are located on the SkySong property. Completion of SkySong III and IV and the apartments would bring the total square footage of development at SkySong to more than 900,000 square feet.

SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center is a home to a global business community that links technology, entrepreneurship, innovation, and education to position ASU and Greater Phoenix as global leaders of the knowledge economy.

SkySong is a 42-acre mixed use development designed to:

  • Create an ecology of collaboration and innovation among high-profile technology enterprises and related researchers;
  • Advance global business objectives of on-site enterprises;
  • Raise Arizona’s profile as a global center of innovation through co-location of ASU’s strategic global partners; and
  • Create a unique regional economic and social asset.

Companies located at SkySong enjoy a special relationship with Arizona State University, which has more than 73,000 students at four metropolitan Phoenix campuses. Its campus in Tempe is the single largest campus in the U.S., and is located less than three miles from SkySong.

In addition to locating its own innovative research units at the center, ASU provides tenants with direct access to relevant research, educational opportunities and cultural events on its campuses. Through ASU’s on-site operations, tenant companies have a single point of contract for introductions to researchers, faculty and programs to address their specific needs.

For more information on SkySong, visit www.skysongcenter.com or www.facebook.com/skysongcenter.

home.prices

Rising Interest Rates Can’t Stop Phoenix Housing Recovery

Rising interest rates don’t appear to be stopping the big comeback in the Phoenix-area housing market. A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University reveals highlights for Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of June:

* The median single-family-home price rose again to $190,000, up about 27 percent from June of last year.
* The luxury market is finally booming back, now that more banks are willing to finance jumbo loans.
* Rising interest rates have caused some people to accelerate their housing purchases, not significantly slowed things down.

Phoenix-area home prices have risen dramatically since they hit a low point in September 2011. The median price for a single-family home went up 26.7 percent – from $150,000 to $190,000 – between June 2012 and this June. Realtors will note the average price per square foot jumped 21.1 percent over the same time. The median price for condominiums/townhomes went up 38.9 percent to $125,000.

The tight supply of homes available for sale continues to drive the upward price movement in the market, with multiple bids being offered for most resale homes in the lower price ranges. However, the luxury market is also roaring back, with sales higher this summer than for any of the last six years.

“Access to finance at the high end of the market has improved recently with more lenders offering jumbo loans,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Along with good returns from the stock market, this has strengthened a recovery in the luxury market, where sales volumes were back to 2007 levels in June.”

Overall, the Phoenix-area market had 11,178 active single-family-home listings available without an existing contract as of July 1. However, about 84 percent of those were priced above $150,000, leaving just 26 days worth of inventory for buyers at the lower end of the market.

New-home builders aren’t completing houses fast enough to make a big dent in the supply problem. While analysts expected 17,000 construction permits to be issued this year, the area is only on track to have about 12,500.

“Current new-home sales rates are less than a third of what would normally be needed to keep up with the current population growth in the area,” says Orr. “Census estimates show that between 2010 and 2012, the combined population of Maricopa and Pinal counties grew by 2.9 percent, while the number of dwelling units – both owned and leased – grew by just 1 percent. Tight lending standards and a shortage of construction labor are two reasons for this.”

The Phoenix area is also seeing less cheap, “distressed” supply coming onto the market. Completed foreclosures on homes and condos in June were down 61 percent from last June. Foreclosure starts – owners receiving notice their lenders may foreclose in 90 days – were down 64 percent. Foreclosure starts finally just dipped back below “normal” historical levels for the area this June.

Institutional investors are showing less interest in the Valley as bargains are more readily available in other areas of the country. The percentage of Maricopa County homes and condos acquired by investors, including mostly “mom and pop” investors, was down from 34.9 percent last June to 26.7 percent this June. However, the area is still seeing a lot of all-cash home purchases. In fact, 44 percent of the Maricopa County property transactions under $150,000 were all-cash deals this June.

“For those who need mortgages, there has been much talk of rising interest rates and the effect this might have on demand,” adds Orr. “Rising rates have certainly reduced the motivation to refinance existing loans, but they have also sped up purchases by some buyers who want to lock in prices and rates. Still, other buyers will stop to reconsider their options, likely causing a pause in new contract signings in July and August, but I expect normal activity to resume in October.”

Rental activity remains strong, with relatively low vacancy rates and no surge in vacancies expected. Orr says the supply of rental homes in the Phoenix area represents just about two months of inventory, and there’s fast turnover.

“President Obama referred to his objective of making it easier for middle-class renters to qualify for home loans, when he visited Phoenix on Aug. 6,” says Orr. “The low-end market will depend to a considerable extent on whether he can make this happen through the actions of the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed at http://wpcarey.asu.edu/finance/real-estate/upload/Full-Report-201307.pdf. A podcast with more analysis from Orr is also available fromknowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

education.business

W. P. Carey Offers New Degrees for Evolving Business World

Thousands of students are descending on the Arizona State University campus for the new school year, with move-in starting tomorrow. Those coming to the highly ranked W. P. Carey School of Business will have several brand new degree options available to them. The three degrees are designed to address the needs of a rapidly changing business world.

“We always try to evaluate what businesses and recruiters are telling us they want in the workplace,” explains W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Amy Hillman. “They say they’re looking for talented individuals to analyze the mountains of ‘big data’ now coming in from social media and other technology. They’re also looking for great hires in HR, and we’re rounding out the new offerings with a degree in sports and media studies, which should be popular with students.”

The new graduate-level program starting this fall is the Master of Science in Business Analytics. The “big data” program is a joint effort between the school’s Information Systems and Supply Chain Management departments, both ranked Top 20 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The nine-month program was created largely for those who recently graduated from college, but who want to position themselves for faster advancement in the booming information field.

“The business-analytics program is an opportunity to jumpstart your career in using big data and computer models to solve complex business problems and really add value to your company,” says Professor Michael Goul, chair of the school’s Information Systems Department. “Only about a dozen master’s programs like this exist in the United States. It’s estimated 4.4 million data analysts will be needed worldwide by 2015, so it’s a big area of career growth.”

At the undergraduate level, the W. P. Carey School is introducing a Bachelor of Arts in Business with a human resources concentration and one with a sports and media studies concentration:

The HR degree focuses on learning how to help an organization of any size manage its personnel and make informed decisions about employees. This includes learning about staffing and employment law, as well as developing critical thinking and writing skills for effective corporate communication.
The sports and media studies degree covers fan loyalty, strategically leveraging communication channels, and increasing revenue. Classes include sports administration, sports relationship management, and sports media. The concentration courses for this degree are offered through ASU’s prestigious Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Both of the new undergraduate programs are offered at ASU’s Polytechnic campus in Mesa. That’s also where the school is offering Bachelor of Arts in Business degrees with concentrations in agribusiness, business entrepreneurship, communication, food industry management, management and technology.

The W. P. Carey School of Business is currently ranked Top 30 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for both undergraduate and graduate business programs. For more information on the school’s programs, go to www.wpcarey.asu.edu.

shopping

Are Republicans More Open to New Product Choices?

Some people may think of political conservatives as having a desire to maintain traditions, but a new study shows they also have a more adventurous side that seeks out variety in products.

The new research from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University was recently posted online by the Journal of Consumer Psychology. It includes three experiments in which political conservatives prove they are more likely to choose a variety of consumer products than their liberal counterparts.

“Although political conservatives have been found in previous studies to have a higher desire for control, they have an even stronger motivation to follow social norms when there is no threat to the system or individual,” explains Professor Naomi Mandel of the W. P. Carey School of Business, one of the study authors. “Since we have a very individualistic culture in the United States and Europe, people tend to think of others more favorably when they include more variety in their consumption choices. Therefore, political conservatives may seek out that approval and positive evaluation.”

In a series of experiments, Mandel and her co-author – Assistant Professor Daniel Fernandes of the Catholic University of Portugal – found political conservatives wanted more variety in their products than liberals.

For example, the researchers first used several established scales to question and determine the political leanings of 192 college undergraduates. Then, they told the students to imagine four consecutive weekly grocery shopping trips during which they could select from four brands of snack chips. Overwhelmingly, the politically conservative students chose more variety in their chips for the month than the more liberal students did.

In another experiment, 111 undergrads were polled for their political leanings. Then, they completed other tasks before ultimately being asked to select three candy bars from five options as a reward for participating. Again, the political conservatives exhibited much more variety in the candy bars chosen.

“Differences between liberals and conservatives are rooted in basic personality dispositions that reflect and reinforce differences in fundamental psychological needs and motives,” says Mandel. “We wanted to understand how and why a consumer’s political ideology could affect his or her consumption choices.”

Mandel explains the findings could help marketing managers with future ad placements. For example, if a company wants to introduce a new product, it might decide to target politically conservative neighborhoods and outlets like Fox News and The Wall Street Journal.

To read the full study, go to http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057740813000478.