Tag Archives: camelback corridor

123rf.com: Tim Wege

Colliers completes the sales of multifamily complex

Colliers International in Greater Phoenix recently completed two sales for one buyer, Investment Property Associates (IPA) of Grand Haven, Mich. The buyer purchased the 395-unit Sienna Springs apartment complex for $20.5 million and the adjacent Willowick Square office building for $5.9 million, both in Phoenix.

Both properties are located on the southwest corner of North 16th Street and Colter Street within a mile from the Camelback Corridor. IPA plans to redevelop the sites with high-end multifamily and senior apartments, and possibly some mixed-use components.

Liv Biltmore LLC, an entity of IPA, purchased Sienna Springs, 5120 N. 16th Street, from P.B. Bell (Bellstone VII LLC) of Phoenix. The same buyer acquired Willowick Square, at 5150 N. 16th St., from Presson Advisory LLC of Phoenix.

“We are, again, glad to work with IPA on this transaction and look forward to watching their vision for this unique community become a reality,” said R. Chapin Bell, chief executive officer of P.B. Bell.
Both transactions were brokered by Cindy Cooke, senior executive vice president, and Brad Cooke, senior vice president, both with Colliers International.

“Historically, Phoenix has been known for its sprawling suburbs and outward expansion; however, developers are refocusing their attention toward the urban infill location,” said Cindy Cooke, adding, “These highly desirable sites provide tenants with walkability to restaurants, shopping, entertainment and employment in the Camelback Corridor.”

Eric Johnston, IPA partner and president of its senior housing operating arm, Retirement Community Specialists (RCS), said, “Our desire is to work with the city to create a multigenerational campus, comprised of both a Liv multifamily and a Generations senior living community, where residents can move through various life stages without having to move from the neighborhood that has become their home.”

IPA partner Scott Brooks added, “There is an exciting transformation happening in that area and we believe our unique approach modeled after true village-style living will really complement the vision and growth of the neighborhood.”

The properties face 16th Street, which has been one of the most active redevelopment areas in Metropolitan Phoenix with many new restaurants, retail establishments, multifamily developments and other convenient amenities. The location provides residents with ample retail and business employment opportunities along Camelback Road. The Metro Light Rail is 1.7 miles away and State Route 51 is also nearby.

Sienna Springs
Built in 1973 and renovated in 2006, the Class B, garden-style complex is comprised of 17 one- and two-story buildings, totaling 201,298 square feet, on 10.20 acres of land. The open grass courtyards are complemented by a clubhouse, three swimming pools, a volleyball court, canopied playground, barbecue grills and picnic areas.

“Sienna Springs is located in the heart of one of the most dynamic livable areas within the Metropolitan Phoenix area. Very few multifamily communities have this combination of a central location, with excellent retail options, restaurants, theaters and other conveniences less than a mile away. It is the only 10-acre site within a five mile radius,” Cooke noted.
Willowick Square
The buyer’s acquisition of Willowick really enhances the 10.2-acre site of Sienna Springs. It is a perfect corner piece giving its location on the corner of 16th Street and Colter, adjacent to Sienna Springs.

Built in 1974, Willowick Square is a Class B office complex, consisting of 53,417 square feet on a three-acre lot.

Best Public, Commercial Buildings - AZRE Magazine September/October 2011

Phoenix Children’s expands to Biltmore Commerce Center

Phoenix Children’s Hospital has committed to a 27,265-square-foot office lease at Biltmore Commerce Center, a Class A Camelback Corridor office building that was purchased just months ago by office investment and management expert Lincoln Property Company (LPC) and a fund managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. (Oaktree). The company will move into Biltmore Commerce Center next month, bringing the project to 96 percent occupied.

The is the first lease new deal signed by the building ownership, which purchased Biltmore Commerce Center as part of more than $165 million in Phoenix-area investment activity in the early months of 2015.

“PCH was looking for a location close to its main hospital that could provide office-specific space for its growing administrative and executive functions. With its location and efficiencies, Biltmore Commerce Center fit that bill precisely,” said Lincoln Property Company’s Vice President Amr Ceran. “We are very pleased to welcome PCH to our tenant mix, and look forward to putting this project’s full advantages to work for them.”

Under the lease, Phoenix Children’s Hospital will ultimately occupy 27,265 square feet of space – a full wing on the project’s second floor. They will use the space for executive offices and for administrative functions including human resources and accounting.

Scott Maxwell of CRESA represented Phoenix Children’s Hospital in the lease negotiations. Lee & Associates’ Bill Blake, Craig Coppola, Andrew Cheney and Colton Trauter represented the landlord.

LPC has also completed a number of lease renewals at the project since its purchase, including Extreme Consulting and Strategy Wealth Management.

Located at 3200 E. Camelback Rd., on the northeast corner of Camelback Road and 32nd Street in Phoenix’s prominent Camelback Corridor, Biltmore Commerce Center is known for its Alucobond® metal panel exterior and highly visible, street-facing water feature. The project totals three stories and 259,000 square feet, with efficient floorplates and an 11,000-square-foot, newly remodeled three-story atrium running through the interior first floor. It also includes ground-level parking and subterranean parking that provides quick and direct access to all tenant floors via two separate elevator banks.

Additional project renovations and features include remodeled corridors and lobbies, upgraded landscaping and the new street-facing water feature. The property has earned an average 94-point Energy Star rating over the past six years. In 2012, it was named The Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY) by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA).

The project sits across the street from two retail projects, with numerous dining, shopping and business services options.

“This is a true landmark Phoenix property, with the full support of LPC’s more than 50 years of asset and project management expertise behind it,” said LPC Director of Management Services Alisa Timm, who directs the project’s property management strategy. “Amenities like the central atrium and high-tech touches give it the power to remain at the top of the market.”

With the Phoenix Children’s Hospital lease, Biltmore Commerce Center is now almost 96 percent leased to a broad group of tenants including HDR Engineering, Coamerica, Lee & Associates, United Way, Greystar, North American Title Company, DeRito Partners and Miller Russell & Associates.

LPC is now under construction on a first-floor, 4,600 speculative office suite at the project, with estimated completion in late July. This, along with one additional 6,241-square-foot suite on the third floor, makes up the last available space at Biltmore Commerce Center.

Edison Midtown rendering

$18.25M financing secured for development of Edison Midtown

Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P. (HFF) announced that it has secured $18.247 million in non-recourse construction financing for the development of Edison Midtown, a $30.5 million, 110-unit for-sale condominium project in Phoenix’s Midtown neighborhood.

HFF worked on behalf of the developer, Deco Communities (Deco), to place the 60-percent loan-to-cost, non-recourse, three-year construction loan with a commercial bank.  HFF also sourced joint venture equity capital for the project from an alternative investment manager ($5 billion AUM) in late 2014.

Due for completion in late 2016, Edison Midtown will be situated on 1.3 acres at the intersection of North Central Avenue and East Monterey Way.  The transit-oriented project provides immediate access to light rail and is located midway between downtown Phoenix and the Camelback Corridor, two of the largest employment centers in the state. Designed by Harley Ellis Devereaux, the modern seven-story condominium building will have five stories of one- and two-bedroom residential units situated above a two-level parking garage.

Property amenities will include a 2,000-square-foot fitness center, swimming pool and spa.

Edison Midtown represents the third transaction that HFF has completed for Deco in less than 24-months.  HFF also arranged non-recourse construction financing and joint venture equity for Deco’s $38 million Envy development, an 89-unit, for-sale luxury mid-rise condominium project located in downtown Scottsdale that is currently under construction, as well as joint venture equity for Deco’s Inspire on Earll condominium development, located just south of Old Town Scottsdale, which is soon to start construction.

HFF’s debt and equity placement team was led by director Bryan Clark.

Wetta Ventures redevelops prime Camelback Corridor site

Wetta Ventures is redeveloping a prime piece of Camelback Corridor commercial space on the northwest corner of Camelback Road and 20th Street in Phoenix across from The Shops at Town & Country and Camelback Colonnade.

Caldwell & Ober law firm currently occupies the 12,130 square foot, two-story building that will be redeveloped into retail and creative office space. Renovation is slated to begin in early September with completion and tenant move-in by January 2016. The redevelopment will allow for up to two retailers on the first floor with Camelback Road frontage and a creative office tenant on the second floor.

“This intersection in the Camelback Corridor has become one of the most premier retail destinations in the metro Phoenix area,” said David Wetta, founder of Wetta Ventures. “Tenant demand is high for this area, due in part to the highly successful redevelopment of The Shops at Town & Country. Nordstrom Rack and Whole Foods recently opened and The Container Store will be open later this year. We are very excited to have an opportunity to redevelop in this area and introduce new and very cool retail and office space.”

Wetta Ventures is currently seeking prospective general retail and office tenants that are looking to open in the first quarter of 2016. Michael Rumpeltin of Brick & West Design is leading the architectural design of the project. Brad Douglass and Ryan Leavitt of DTZ Retail have been hired to manage the leasing.

“Through the renovation process, the goal is to strip the building back to its essential forms, highlighting the concrete waffle slab structure and the building’s simple lines,” said Wetta. “New steel cladding will accentuate the strong horizontal lines of the building at the second floor and roof. A new, taller storefront will open up the building’s interior spaces to the outside along the east façade that will be accented with lush desert landscape.”

Wetta Ventures is responsible for the successful redevelopment and opening of the Annex (615 S. College) at ASU in Tempe, which is a public-private venture with ASU. Postino Winecafe and Snooze, an AM Eatery, both opened at the Annex last fall. In Nov. of last year, Wetta Ventures made headlines with the development and sale of its adaptive reuse project, Old School O7 for a record price-per-square-foot. Old School O7, located at the corner of Osborn Road and Seventh Street in Phoenix, is home to Taco Guild, retailer Buffalo Exchange and Starbucks.


Dan Mann launches 3engineering

In just over one year, young civil engineer, Dan Mann, PE, started a new multi-disciplined firm, takes office space in the Camelback Corridor and gains multiple clients in his area of specialization.

Mann, who has been practicing civil engineering in Phoenix for more than 13 years, believes the success he has experienced in this short period of time has everything to do with working with clients ready for something uncommon to the civil engineering industry—personality and fun.

“Engineers are not on the top of everyone’s ‘exciting people to talk to’ list.  At 3 engineering, I try to make the process more enjoyable. I like truly engaging with clients and surprise them with the fact that not only can an engineer hold a normal conversation, they can do it while not staring at their shoes.”

Prior to starting the firm, located at 29th street and Camelback Road, Mann worked with local and national civil engineering firms, as well as worked alongside a general contractor to gain the insight from multiple perspectives. As a graduate of Arizona State University with a degree in civil engineering, Mann quickly grew his career over the last 13 years while specializing in retail, quick service restaurant, institutional, hospitality, and multi-family market sectors.

“As I reflect on my first year since the start of my new venture, I can sincerely say that every day I am excited to come to work and create new opportunities to grow my business and build on the great relationships I have,” Mann said.

Mann expressed that gaining clients through referrals of current clients is one of the most rewarding part of the hard work he dedicates to growing the firm and delivering exceptional service to clients. “It gives me a lot of pride when existing clients are happy with our service, attitude, and outcome of projects and knowing new clients have been referred to us based on our performance.”


Chris Toci named top producer at Cushman & Wakefield

Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona, Inc. has announced its top producers for 2014.  For the second straight year, Chris Toci, executive director in the Capital Markets group, led the Phoenix office.

Toci negotiated investment sales totaling $290.4 million and approximately two million square feet in a variety of property types, including corporate campuses, Class A office buildings and a notable adaptive reuse project in Tempe.

The largest single transaction closed by Toci was an $85.1 million, 332,815-square-foot sale of Anchor Centre in the Camelback Corridor. Another significant deal was the $51 million, 337,439-square-foot sale of an office portfolio for American Express.

Other top producers include:

• Multifamily Advisory Group: Jim Crews;

• Office Group: Larry Downey and Mike Sayre;

• Investment Properties: Chad Littell and Chris Toci;

• Industrial Group: Jackie Orcutt and John Grady;

• Tenant Representation: Don Rodie, Blaine Black and Sam Murik.

“We are very proud of all our Top Producers this year,” said Jerry Noble, Market Leader and Managing Broker for C&W of Arizona.  “In 2014 Cushman & Wakefield participated in several transactions that helped shape the market. We are privileged to serve so many great clients and look forward to a strong market in 2015.”


Intravest Title adds sixth Arizona location

Intravest Title Agency, Inc. has officially secured its sixth location: the Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors® (SAAR) new headquarters. The title company has been rapidly expanding since March 2014 and was chosen by SAAR to be one of only four carefully selected tenants to join its new building. Intravest Title is one of the premier title and escrow companies in the state and has grown from four employees to more than 40 in the past 11 months and has captured a top 25 market share ranking.

“We are excited to open our new office and give more of the Valley’s top escrow officers the opportunity to join our team,” said Dylan King, CEO/President of Intravest Title. “We strive to be a great place to work and put a real premium on maintaining a family culture and providing a true work-life balance for all of our employees.”

Intravest Title offers employees the perks of corporate America while still encouraging quality of life. The company boasts a proven sales team that is dedicated to building each escrow officers’ client base and an executive leadership team that truly values each employee and their ideas. Employees are provided with the latest technology, up-to-date training and administrative support to ensure their continuing success.

The new Scottsdale office joins the existing Camelback Corridor, North Phoenix, Peoria, Tempe and Prescott locations. SAAR will be hosting a grand opening for its new building on February 26. Stop by the Intravest Office if you are interested in learning more. For more information about Intravest Title or to inquire about employment opportunities, contact Dylan King at 602-300-9969 or via email at dking@intravesttitle.com.


UMB Bank opens Biltmore location

In the back of a large, architecturally beautiful, glass building on Camelback and 28th Street resides the newest bank to the Biltmore area, UMB Bank.

UMB Bank, a previous resident to the Biltmore area, has returned and brought with them hopes of improving their community.

“We want to become focused and help the community. Most of our team is involved in the community in one way or another, because we want to help Arizona grow,” said President of Arizona Region Robert Faver. “We are operating on what we call TUCE, and that stands for ‘the unparalleled customer experience’.”

After years of asking, customer’s requests have been fulfilled and UMB Bank is “proud to be a part of the prestigious financial district of the Camelback Corridor,” said Branden Zavala, transaction specialist II for the newly added branch.

“Our clientele here is great, we serve and target a lot of people here in this specific area, and so it’s a perfect location,” he said.

Vice President and Financial Center Manager Casey Seeger agreed with Zavala and added that while the Scottsdale community is important, they want to focus on the entire state.

“We didn’t, and don’t, want to be viewed as the Scottsdale bank,” she said. “We want to be an Arizona institution. So being at the center of the financial district really falls into our strategy.”

UMB Bank, while not excluding personal banking, focuses most on commercial and private wealth banking, said Faver.

“Our focus is to help commercial businesses. We want to help businesses grow and we want to grow with them,” he said.

Faver said the size of UMB and the service they provide is what makes them special.

“We have the backing of a large institution providing us the ability to handle large transactions, however we provide service from a community level.”

Both Zavala and Seeger agree with Faver on what makes their bank different than others, as well as holding their own beliefs.

Seeger points the finger of success at their provided customer experience and established history.

“Our company stands for a tradition of character and integrity. We are a 102-year-old bank and we have been able to sustain successfully for that long. We maintained when many in our industry did not, and that is a lot to be proud of,” she said. “We don’t have a bank on every corner so our business really is relationship based. Unlike big-box banks we are deeply rooted in the community because we want to serve the people and resident.”

Zavala, while discussing the banks uniqueness quoted UMB’s CEO, “We are the bank you used to have.”

He explains this quote by describing their principle to not make any empty promises.

“Let’s say you walked into another bank to sign up and they promise you all these things, like no fees and waived this and that, but when the problem actually arises, they throw policy at you. We don’t do that. We actually do what everyone else promises they can do,” he said. “UMB provides a commitment to a higher level of service and a truly unparalleled customer and employee experience. I know it sounds like a cliché, but it really is the heartbeat that we run off.”

Jim Patterson, CEO of UMB Bank in Arizona.

UMB Bank Announces New Camelback Location

UMB Bank, n.a., a subsidiary of UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF), announces the opening of a new full-service banking center in Phoenix, Ariz. The new center will be located in the prestigious Camelback Corridor at 2777 E. Camelback Road and will replace the company’s current Raintree location. UMB plans to move into the new location this summer. The branch will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday.

In addition to offering full-service consumer banking, the Camelback location will include private banking, investment and wealth management services and commercial banking.

“We have moved our banking center to the Camelback corridor to provide our clients a more convenient location and better accessibility to our associates,” said Jim Patterson, CEO of UMB Bank in Arizona. “Our commitment to this market continues to grow, and we are making a sizable investment to expand our presence in the Arizona region.”

The Camelback location is one of two banking centers UMB has in the Phoenix and Scottsdale market. Its Kierland Commons banking center is located at 16210 N. Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. To contact the Kierland office, call (480) 315-6800. To contact the Camelback office, call (480) 912-6720 or visit the UMB website at www.umb.com.

Northbank Office

ViaWest Group completes $5.2M sale of Northbank Office Building

ViaWest Group announced the sale of Northbank Office Building, a two-story suburban office building in Phoenix, for $5.2 million. The ±31,231 square foot, multi-tenant property located at 5110 North 40th St., was built in 1983 and completely renovated in 2005, with additional upgrades in 2013. It is part of the master-planned Northbank Office Park, which is comprised of eight high-quality office buildings.

Steve Lindley, Bob Buckley and Tracy Cartledge with Cassidy Turley’s Capital Markets Group negotiated the sale transaction.
Northbank Office Building was 94.2% leased at the time of sale, with 15 of 17 suites occupied.
“The property boasts an exceptional leasing history with average occupancy of 90.6% over the past 15 years, including 11 quarters at 100% occupied,” noted Steven Schwarz of ViaWest Group.

With multiple enhancements and upgrades over the past 30 years, the property includes a large open lobby with striking finishes including new flooring and energy efficient lighting. The façade and landscaping of Northbank Office Building were both updated during the recent renovations. The property sits on a two-acre site with 17 office suites averaging ±1,800 square feet, creating a desirable configuration for private tenants.

“Even though we bought this in 2005 (for $4.3 million) through strong management and negotiating a discounted note payoff, we made this a successful deal for our investors,” added Gary Linhart, also of ViaWest Group.

Northbank Office Building is located in the heart of the Camelback Corridor office submarket with an abundance of amenities within minutes of the property. It offers convenient access to multiple freeways, Sky Harbor International Airport, and high-end employment base.


Latest leasing deals bring 3131 & 3133 Camelback to full occupancy

Cassidy Turley announced that it completed leases of 13,782 square feet with Kforce, Inc., 7,468 square feet with Lawyers Title, 6,293 square feet with GL Legacy Commercial Advisors, Inc., and 2,250 square feet for Newmark Realty Capital at 3131 and 3133 East Camelback Road in Phoenix.

Cassidy Turley Managing Director Trevor Klinkhamer and Senior Vice President Ray Harris represented the landlord, TR Camelback Corp. Chris Latvaaho of Cushman & Wakefield represented Kforce Inc.; Tom Imparato of Orion Realty Group represented Lawyers Title; Tom Jacobs of Cassidy Turley represented Newmark Realty Capital; and GL Legacy Commercial Advisors, Inc. was represented by Torrey Briegel of Phoenix Commercial Advisors.

“It’s very hard and unusual to lease a multi-tenant project of this size to 100%, and we believe this is a testament to the excellent location, timeless quality of construction and the excellent property management at 3131 and 3133” said Mr. Harris.

Built in 1998 and 1999, 3131 & 3133 Camelback is a Class A, multi-story office project. It is ideally located in the Camelback Corridor, on the southwest corner of 32nd Street and Camelback Road and is one of the most highly prized tenant addresses in the Phoenix metro area. The two-building property is in proximity to Arizona SR 51, Interstate 10, and 202 freeways and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Convenient to the recently renovated Biltmore Fashion Park, Ritz Carlton Hotel and many fine restaurants including Central Bistro, Tarbells, Donovan’s Steakhouse, Capital Grille, Tomaso’s, True Foods, Hillstone, Stingray Sushi, Seasons 52, Christopher’s & Crush Lounge, and Chelsea’s Kitchen. For more information contact: Trevor.Klinkhamer@cassidyturley.com or Ray.Harris@cassidyturley.com.

The Esplanade

JLL earns exclusive leasing assignment for Esplanade office towers

After an extensive vetting process, the Phoenix office of JLL has been selected as the exclusive leasing agent for the four Class A office towers at The Esplanade, a 1-million-square-foot landmark mixed-use project located at 24th Street and Camelback Road, in the heart of Phoenix’s prestigious Camelback Corridor.

JLL Managing Director John Bonnell and JLL Vice Presidents Brett Abramson and Greg McMillan will direct all office leasing efforts for The Esplanade’s 10- and 11-story, Class A office towers. The buildings were constructed between 1989 and 2002, and represent a total 906,459 square feet of space at 2425, 2525, 2575 and 2555 E. Camelback Rd. Each tower features high-end finishes, panoramic views of Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak, private balconies, 24-hour security, on-site conference and fitness facilities, concierge and abundant covered parking.

JLL is also working with property owner by MetLife, Inc. as it implements extensive, project-wide renovations that are delivering new building lobbies, new corridors, an upgraded amenity package and new speculative office suites.

“The Esplanade represents some of the Valley’s nicest office space in an equally premier location. It is one of those iconic projects that checks virtually every box on the tenant and employee wish list,” said Bonnell. “It also has an owner that recognizes the value of these advantages, and will make the investment necessary to ensure The Esplanade remains a market leader for the long term.”

In addition to its office towers, The Esplanade includes a first-floor retail component, fine and casual dining, a 14-screen AMC Theatre, a 291-room Ritz Carlton Hotel, and a pedestrian-friendly design that links the project to neighboring Biltmore Fashion Park, one of the metro area’s most upscale shopping and dining environments.

The Esplanade is within one mile of Piestewa Freeway/State Route 51 and minutes from the Valley’s Loop freeway system, Interstate 10, Downtown Phoenix and Sky Harbor International Airport. These factors combined to rank Camelback Road as #34 on JLL’s list of Most Expensive U.S. Streets for Office Space in 2013—an overview of the nation’s most premier, in-demand submarkets for office space.


NB|AZ Announces Opening of Camelback Wealth Center

National Bank of Arizona (NB|AZ) announced the opening of its new Camelback Wealth Center, which strengthens its commitment to the community and clients around the Camelback Corridor. The existing branch location at 4040 East Camelback Road was remodeled into the new wealth center, which blends executive banking and private banking under one roof.

As one of the most affluent areas in the Valley, Camelback Corridor is a prime location for the new wealth center, which provides a wide array of options for high-net-worth clients and a streamlined approach to financial decision making. The wealth center provides clients a comprehensive array of financial services under one roof, housing 15 bankers including retail bankers, wealth managers, an executive banking team and a mortgage specialist. The remodeled building also offers a more energy efficient design and has been updated with a cash recycler for quicker processing of cash transactions.

“NB|AZ was founded on local relationships and we are proud to celebrate our commitment to the Camelback Corridor community with the opening of our new wealth center,” said Jathan Segur, National Bank of Arizona Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing. “We are dedicated to serving our customers and valued partners in the Valley, and this new wealth center will enable us to better foster those relationships.”

NB|AZ plans to commemorate the opening of the new wealth center with an open house event on February 26. Clients, valued partners and members of the Camelback Corridor community will be in attendance.

In addition to the new Camelback Wealth Center, NB|AZ has another wealth center located at 7375 East Doubletree Ranch Road in Scottsdale, which opened in October 2012. For more information about NB|AZ or a full list of NB|AZ branches, visit www.nbarizona.com.

Parkway Fountains Construction, CushWake

Parkway Fountains Office Building Undergoes $600,000 in Renovations

Parkway Fountains, a four-story Camelback Corridor office building is getting a $600,000 renovation and being reintroduced to the market.
New owner and operator Griffin Partners of Houston is making a foray into the Metro Phoenix office market. The company is starting with Parkway Fountains, located at 1702 E. Highland Ave.  The 80,315-square-foot property was built in 1986. This will be the first renovation work since it opened.  Plans call for completion of renovations in February.

Renovations include:

  • Fountain removal in building lobby;
  • New travertine marble tile in building lobby;
  • Antiquated brass fixtures and surfaces replaced or re-finished;
  • New modern stainless steel and glass guardrails;
  • New fresh, light overall paint throughout all common areas;
  • Impactful accent paints;
  • Warm wood elevator cab walls;
  • Stainless steel elevator rails;
  • Warm, contemporary main lobby carpet, with coordinating corridor carpet;
  • New energy efficient light fixtures throughout remodel;
  • New modern ceiling tiles throughout corridors;
  • Modern interactive directory;
  • New fire alarm system.

“Griffin is excited to reintroduce Parkway Fountains to the Phoenix office market,” said Lee Moreland, Griffin Executive Vice President. “It’s an entirely new product and we are pleased to offer our current and future clients a more efficient, modern and stylish office experience. Parkway Fountains is the first of several planned value-add acquisitions in the Valley, and we look forward to expanding our local footprint.”
“The new common area corridors and fountain-less lobby are refreshing and breathe new life into the project,” said Chris Nord of Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona. “With the building upgrades, immediate freeway access and rich amenity base, we’re excited to reintroduce Parkway Fountains to the market.”
Griffin Partners worked with architect Tricia Johannes and Cushman & Wakefield’s leasing team to renovate the property it purchased in June. Stevens Leinweber Construction has been selected as general contractor for the project.
Parkway Fountains is located in the bustling Camelback Corridor with immediate access to SR 51. It is also within walking distance to numerous retail amenities including restaurants, shopping, banks and health clubs located at the Camelback Colonnade and Town & Country Shopping Center.

Tenants include First Investors Corporation, DAUM Commercial and Environ International Corporation.
Nord and Michael White of Cushman & Wakefield serve as exclusive leasing agents for Parkway Fountains.

Park One Building Exterior, WEB

The Weitz Company Moves to Camelback Corridor

The Weitz Company announced its relocation to the Park One commercial office complex located in the Camelback Corridor of Phoenix. The move was completed Nov. 25.

The Weitz Company was established in Iowa in 1855, and opened a Phoenix office in 1978 to serve clients in the regional Southwest. In those 35 years, Weitz has put in place in excess of $3B construction locally, including many landmark projects. In 2003, Weitz built and moved into its iconic 63,000 SF building at 5555 E. Van Buren St.

“We’ve had some wonderful times in this building,” says Janine Ploen, Weitz’ office manager, who has been an integral part of the move team and is celebrating her 25th year with the company.

The move to Park One was driven by numerous factors, including an alignment with current market focus. “The location, for our industry, is ideal,” says Mike Bontrager, executive vice president of Weitz. Its adjacency to the “Main & Main” intersection of Camelback Road and 24th Street within one of the city’s primary business districts positions the company well to access both clients and associates. “Additionally, the complex and the immediate area provide fantastic amenities for our employees.”

The new office build-out, designed by DAVIS architects of Tempe, has been managed by Byron Bartlo, senior project manager at Weitz. The company’s own field teams, led by superintendent Mike Bonkoski, are performing the tenant improvement build. Even the desks and workspaces were designed and built by the employees. “This has been a collaborative effort from the very beginning,” says Bontrager. Convening an office-move “think tank,” he called upon employees for input on everything from concept and space planning to fixtures and fittings, trying to capture the essence of the company. “We designed our new office to reflect who we are and to continue to reinforce a high-performing, collaborative culture.”

Low-walled offices hug the expansive window walls, allowing more light into the space and providing almost everyone a view. The few perimeter offices have no doors. There are “huddle rooms” to be used for smaller meetings, conference calls and confidential work, or for impromptu work sessions that require a closed door. The kitchen/break area is similar to open food and beverage venues in public facilities. Delineated from the workspace only by exposed rebar, it features a bar-style counter and high-top tables, and is positioned midpoint in the office to be available for employees and visitors for lunch and after-hours gatherings. Other features of the space include angled slot windows, a state-of-the-art training room for the virtual design and building information modeling groups, two interconnecting conference rooms, work/print spaces and of course, the main open floor area. Everywhere, the design incorporates juxtaposed geometric lines and raw building materials in a clear representation of the company’s core business.

Camelback Springs-cut, Marcus & Milli

Camelback Springs Sold for $1.9M

Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services has announced the sale of Camelback Springs Apartments, a 28-unit apartment community located in the Camelback Corridor in Phoenix, according to Don Morrow, regional manager of the firm’s Phoenix office. The asset commanded a sales price of $1,932,000 or $69,000 per unit.

Brian Tranetzki and Rich Butler, multifamily investment specialists in Marcus & Millichap’s Phoenix office, had the exclusive listing assignment to market the property on behalf of the seller, a local private capital real estate investor. The buyer, a private investor out of the Los Angeles area, was also secured and represented by Tranetzki and Butler.

“The property is within a mile of the highly desirable 24th Street and Camelback commercial corridor that offers shopping, restaurants and services at the popular Biltmore Fashion Park, as well as the Camelback Colonnade, Town and Country Shopping Center and the Arizona Biltmore Resort,” says Tranetzki. “This high profile corner contains well over two million square feet of office development and is home to most of the real estate and financial services firms in the Valley,” adds Tranetzki.

Camelback Springs is located at 4711 North 15th Street in Phoenix and within minutes of State Route 51 (Piestewa Parkway) with direct access to Loop 202 (Red Mountain Freeway) and State Route 143 (Hohokom Expressway), which is located less than a quarter mile from Camelback Springs.

“Camelback Springs received over $540,000 in interior and exterior refurbishment in 2009 including new roofs, HVAC units, landscaping, kitchen and bath fixtures, cabinets and tile flooring. The project, originally named Austin Apartments was built in 1963 by McCullough-Ives Construction and provides tenants with vaulted ceilings, a two bedroom two bath floor plan and a cabana style courtyard complete with a swimming pool,” says Butler.

Biltmore Commerce Center Lobby, Cush Wake-cut

Cushman & Wakefield To Handle Leasing of Biltmore Commerce Center

Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona, Inc. has been selected to handle leasing of Biltmore Commerce Center, a Class-A office property located at 3200 E. Camelback Rd.

The property, which was recently purchased by DPC Development Company of Denver, will undergo a significant modernization and re-positioning in the Camelback Corridor.

The mid-rise office building, which contains approximately 258,348 SF of space, was constructed in the mid-1980s. The mid-rise building is situated on approximately 7.53 acres of land that includes a six-level parking structure. Anchor tenants at the property include HDR, North American Title and Accenture.

DPC Development Company is a value-add investor that is known for presenting their buildings in a first class manner and for attracting some of the most prestigious tenants. The company has owned other properties in Arizona and will soon embark on upgrading this asset.

Biltmore Commerce Center’s interior is designed around a sizable atrium space with a large water feature. “The owner has hired Oz Architecture, a very dynamic and creative firm based in Denver, to create a tenant-focused interior that addresses the needs and desires of today’s office users,” says Jerry Noble, senior director with Cushman & Wakefield. “The new ground floor will feature abundant, modern seating areas and Wifi access for meetings and individual work. A new, re-designed water feature and interior landscaping will be included in the design. The owner also is considering the addition of a coffee or restaurant user on the ground floor. This owner is committed to more than a beautification effort and is dedicated to creating a business environment that meets the current desires of tenants and their employees.”

DPC Development Company also has undertaken a re-landscaping effort on the exterior at the corner of 32nd Street and Camelback Road. Simpler plantings and extensive lighting are being installed to improve the curb appeal of the building during both day and night.

“We were proud to acquire this signature asset on the Camelback Corridor,” said Justin Lutgen of DPC Development. “We have been looking for more opportunities in the Arizona marketplace and this asset provides great upside potential. Biltmore Commerce Center’s phenomenal location and 70 percent occupancy offers us the ability to improve the value of the property and lease the remaining space as the market improves.” Biltmore Commerce Center is one of the few buildings in the Camelback Corridor that offers 45,000+ SF of contiguous space for a large user.

Jerry Noble, Pat Devine and Greg Mayer of Cushman & Wakefield will serve as exclusive leasing agents for Biltmore Commerce Center.


Arizona attorneys open new Phoenix firm

A new law firm, Bergin, Frakes, Smalley & Oberholtzer (BFSO), recently opened its offices in the heart of Phoenix’s Camelback Corridor, with a focus on real estate, litigation and government relations services.

Although the law firm itself is new, BFSO’s partners are longtime Arizona lawyers and colleagues who have handled cases for a wide spectrum of development, business, financial and government clients in their respective careers.

“We decided to open our own firm to put our 50-plus years of experience in real estate and development, commercial transactions, and civil litigation to work for our clients,” said BFSO partner Carolyn Oberholtzer. “We are dedicated to providing trusted, reliable counsel to help our clients accomplish their goals and protect their interests.”

Focusing on civil and commercial litigation, both Brian Bergin and Kenneth Frakes are native Arizonans with long tenures as litigators and a wide range of experience spanning several decades. With a legal master’s degree in taxation, Michael Smalley concentrates on tax planning, corporate structure and governance, real estate and banking, as well as handling all transactional and finance matters for BFSO’s clients. Oberholtzer is a land use and municipal relations attorney who has been handling zoning, entitlement and municipal cases across Arizona for the last decade – from master-planned community and large-scale retail zoning cases, to annexations, special use permits and variances, and development agreements.

For more information about Bergin, Frakes, Smalley & Oberholtzer, located at 4455 East Camelback Road, Suite A-205, Phoenix, Arizona 85018, contact the law firm at (602) 888-7855, email them at info@bfsolaw.com, or view their website at www.bfsolaw.com.


Biltmore Bank Sponsors Start-Up Competition

Biltmore Bank of Arizona, a premier community bank headquartered in Arcadia along the Camelback Corridor that is focused on the needs of the small and medium-sized business, announced that it has joined Tallwave, a lean business accelerator and venture management firm also located in Scottsdale, for the first-ever “High Tide” Start-Up Competition.  High Tide is focused on commercializing new sustainable ventures in Arizona by bringing validated companies to willing and motivated capital sources.

“High Tide is the only startup competition in the Southwest, applying lean business and design validation principles to identify, develop and commercialize rapid-growth startups,” said Jeff Gaia, CEO and president of the Biltmore Bank of Arizona. “Through our sponsorship of this innovative program, we believe we can help connect the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Arizona as well as assist startups in becoming become viable, scalable and sustainable growth companies.”

Thus far in the competition, High Tide has selected and celebrated 20 companies throughout the Southwest to participate in its “Phase One: Validation” program, which examines viability of each venture. Six of these 20 companies have since been announced as finalists and have now moved to the “Phase Two: Acceleration” program, which assesses product-market fit and go-to-market commercialization.

The finalists – four of whom are from Arizona – are:
Convrrt from Chandler
Creative Allies from Santa Monica, California
GreenRx from Denver, Colorado
HiringSolved from Chandler
LocalWork.com from Phoenix
SaveOnCouriers.com from Phoenix

Each High Tide finalist will receive a cash grant of $15,000 for use in company operational expenses and an additional $35,000 in scholarships for either “Product Market Fit” or “Go To Market” services from Tallwave. There is no cost to entrepreneurs selected to participate in the High Tide program. For more information, visit www.TallwaveHighTide.com.

“As a High Tide sponsor, Biltmore Bank has visibility into Arizona’s most exciting and promising startup and early-stage ventures,” said Jeffrey Pruitt, Tallwave chairman and CEO. “Entrepreneurs need the help of community leaders such as Biltmore Bank and we applaud their support of the next captains of industry.”


Scottsdale Builder Wins 4th straight Eliant Award

Eliant recently announced Rosewood Homes as winner of the 2013 “Homebuyers’ Choice Award” for providing the “Best Overall Purchase and Ownership Experience” in North America. Rosewood was also recognized again for having the highest “First Year Quality” rating. This is the first time a homebuilder has been honored in four consecutive years and Rosewood Homes is the only Arizona builder to ever receive this prestigious award. The 2013 winners were chosen based on the results of surveys completed by more than 76,000 recent home buyers from across the United States and Canada.

For more than 27 years, David Kitnick and his team have been recognized for providing exceptional quality, customer satisfaction and design excellence. Generous standard features, innovative floor plans and rich architecture combine with high quality construction and energy efficient features to make Rosewood Homes the top choice when purchasing a luxury home.

“There is no better honor than to have actual homeowners vote based on their personal experience with their builder,” said David Kitnick, President of Rosewood Homes. “At Rosewood, there’s only one way to do things: the right way. That’s why throughout the building process you’ll find our rigorous Rosewood Quality Assurance Program and our Rosewood Signature Construction, where we go above and beyond the industry standard for quality and craftsmanship,” said Kitnick. “Everyone affiliated with Rosewood is committed to providing industry leading customer satisfaction, quality and design with each new Rosewood home,” said Kitnick.

Rosewood Homes has neighborhoods in three prestigious locations in Arizona – DC Ranch, Vistancia and Estrella, and is in various stages of planning and development of four new neighborhoods opening in 2013 and 2014 including 33 Campbell Place in the Camelback Corridor. The exclusive, 18-home private gated 33 Campbell Place is slated to grand open late April with well-appointed homes ranging from over 2,340 square-feet to nearly 3,400 square-feet and providing authentic architectural detailing as well as highly sought after features such as: home offices, guest casitas, bonus rooms, courtyards and wine closets. Homes start in the $470s.

“Once again, Rosewood Homes is the undisputed leader in the delivery of an extraordinary customer experience,” said Bob Mirman, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Eliant.

The Eliant awards are presented annually by California-based Eliant, a customer experience management company that has been surveying buyers of new homes for 29 years. Eliant has earned an international reputation by providing a wide range of sophisticated customer experience management strategies for home builders, lenders, escrow firms, design firms and other companies interested in improving their customers’ loyalty.

Drybar Phoenix

Drybar Opens Second Location In Phoenix, With 50-60 Positions Open

Who doesn’t love Zooey Deschanel’s signature hair? Or, Jennifer Garner’s always-luscious, flowing locks? And women in Scottsdale have been following their lead, trusting one blowout salon in particular with their hair — Drybar. Due to the shop’s success at the Scottsdale Quarter, Drybar is opening a second location in Phoenix on the Camelback Corridor.

“We are thrilled to be opening our second Drybar in Arizona,” says Alli Webb, Drybar founder and longtime stylist. “Our existing Scottsdale shop in the Scottsdale Quarter has been warmly embraced by the lovely ladies in Arizona, and we are ecstatic to open Drybar in Phoenix.”

With the opening of the Phoenix location scheduled for the end of October, the blow dry bar is also looking to hire 50 to 60 people. Positions include stylists and front desk personnel.

Drybar has locations open in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, San Diego and Atlanta, and the concept — offering no cuts, no color, just blowouts — has a following of more than 200,000 loyal clients nationwide.

DrybarAnd it isn’t the shop’s customer service that’s over-the-top (in a positive way, of course); its design is, too with custom Italian chairs, tufted fabric walls, marble bar with built-in iPhone docking stations, and flat screens featuring your favorite chick flicks.

Drybar has also recently added some high-profile names to its Board, including Paul Pressler, former CEO of Gap, Inc. and a president at The Walt Disney Company; and Janet Gurwitch, founder and former CEO of Laura Mercier Cosmetics and executive vice president at Neiman Marcus.

“Drybar has created an incredibly cool and innovative experience for the consumer,” says Gurwitch. “I am excited to be joining this impressive team to further expand the Drybar brand.”

For more information about Drybar, its services and/or to apply for one of the open positions, visit thedrybar.com.

Drybar Phoenix
Where: 3172 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
Contact: (480) 607-5064
Online: thedrybar.com
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Camelback Arboleda

Jones Lang LaSalle Completes Sale of Camelback Arboleda

The Phoenix office of Jones Lang LaSalle completed the sale of Camelback Arboleda, a 179,751 SF, multi-tenant office building located at 16th St. and Camelback Rd., in the heart of Phoenix’s Camelback Corridor.

Jones Lang LaSalle’s Senior Managing Director Dennis Desmond and Senior Vice President Brian Ackerman managed the sale to El Segundo, Calif.-based Westport Capital Partners LLC, a real estate investment firm specializing in distressed and opportunistic real estate assets.

Camelback Arboleda is currently 81% occupied by tenants including Stanley Consultants, Telesoft Corp., and a Starbucks administrative office. It is also the third large, opportunistic office building that Jones Lang LaSalle’s capital markets team has sold in suburban Phoenix since mid-2011. The sale price was reportedly more than $16M.

“All of these buildings are in very sought-after locations and provide great upside opportunity,” Desmond said. “They are the value-add combination that buyers have been waiting for.”

In addition to Camelback Arboleda, the capital markets team recently brokered the sale of Scottsdale Financial Center II— a 150,892 SF building at Indian School and Scottsdale roads that was purchased in late 2011 by Westport Capital Partners, and Scottsdale Centre — a 164,300 SF building located on Scottsdale Rd. near Indian Bend Rd. that was purchased in mid-2011 by Newport Beach, California-based MIG Real Estate.

According to Jones Lang LaSalle research, the Camelback Corridor was 87% occupied five years ago and rental rates averaged $30 per-square-foot. Today, occupancy has dropped to 69% and rental rates average approximately $24 per square foot.

“As local office occupancy levels improve, so do rental rates,” Ackerman said. “We are seeing signs of significant increased leasing activity now on the Camelback Corridor and that’s what is attracting investors.”

best of the best awards, AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011

Best of the Best Awards 2011: Entertainment

Winner: Donovan’s Steak & Chop House

Donovan's Steak & Chop House - AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011Located in the heart of the Camelback Corridor, Donovan’s sets the standard of fine dining excellence. A classic steakhouse. A stylish, lively atmosphere. Cordially friendly. Donovan’s is a place where you can celebrate with friends, family and associates. Delectable market seafood is available for those non-steak moments, as well as mouth-watering steakhouse fare. A depth of wine variety has earned the prestigious Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. Uniquely designed private dining rooms that may accommodate 10-120 guests are the perfect venue for business events and personal celebrations. Donovan’s dedicated sales manager will help you plan a most memorable occasion.
Year Est: 2005
Principal(s): WND
Exec Chef: Robert Nixon
Donovan's Logo - AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 20113101 E. Camelback Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85016

Finalist: Vincent’s on Camelback

Vincent's on Camelback - AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011For 25 years, Vincent Guerithault has been combining his expertise in classic French cooking with Southwestern ingredients to create his signature blend of flavors. Guerithault’s career began in France. In 1976, he came to the U.S. to work at Chicago’s Le Français, and within 10 years opened his own restaurant that helped put Phoenix on the culinary map. Guerithault was the first chef ever to receive a Citation of Excellence from the International Food & Wine Society. He has received a James Beard award and the prestigious Chevalier de L’Ordre du Merite Agricole on behalf of the Republic of France.Zagat, Gourmet, Conde Nast Traveler and Travel Holiday all have lauded Guerithault and his restaurant.
Year Est: 1986
Principal(s): Vincent Guerithault
Exec Chef: Vincent Guerithault
Vincent logo - AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 20113930 E. Camelback Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85018

Finalist: T. Cook’s at Royal Palms

T. Cooks at Royal Palms - AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011Under the direction of Executive Chef Lee Hillson, Royal Palms offers the award-winning T. Cook’s restaurant. T. Cook’s boasts rustic and tempting menus featuring an array of artistic and intriguing dishes from the Mediterranean and exotic surrounding regions, with rotisserie specialties prepared at the restaurant’s centerpiece 1930s fireplace. Pastry creations are exquisitely prepared by a T. Cook’s Pastry Shop. T. Cook’s location in the original 1929 mansion creates a residential dining experience — comfortable yet elegant. Lending to the unique ambience and intimate surroundings, T. Cook’s Lounge, located just off the courtyard, is marked by rich cherry wood and hand-painted Italian frescos.
Year Est: 1997
Principal(s): Pete Ells
Exec Chef: Lee Hillson
T. Cook's Logo - AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 20115200 E. Camelback Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85018

Arizona Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011

Urban Living

Urban Living Trends and Design

Urban Living Trends
and Design

What do the experts say on the Valley’s latest housing fad?

By David M. Brown

Developers are investing billions of dollars into urban-living newbuilds and renovations. Lofts, condos, townhomes in a variety of configurations and high-rises are attracting an array of buyers, from Millennials and Gen Xers to Baby Boomer empty-nesters. As the homesteading paradigm changes, Phoenix is distancing itself from the Wagon out West, put up your fence and enjoy the rural lifestyle mentality. Reporter David M. Brown brought together a group of experts to discuss this and the burning issues surrounding Valley urban living.

Urban LivingDMB: Let’s start with some of the larger issues of urban living. Why the proliferation of urban living spaces in an area whose tendencies have been almost anti-urban?
BG: One of the major drivers is that people who live here didn’t grow up in Phoenix and they’re used to a different type of living. We have a large part of the population coming in from the Chicago area, and that’s the way they’re use to living. The reasons? For one, people like to be around people. The hallways become the front porches, you run into your neighbors in the elevators.

DMB: Car dependency: How is that driving the demand for urban living?
SB: We’re working on several sites on the light rail route in downtown Phoenix, so developers are banking on having close access to that. Indeed, these developments would decrease our dependency on the automobile. Another reason is that people are tired of the daily commute, the sprawl. They’re starting to focus where the activities are.

DMB: But that’s a paradigm shift. People traditionally moved West for open space, not for urban space.
JB: Yes. The development patterns of the past have changed. In the past it was the developers rolling out the red carpet, grabbing up land because that was the most cost effective way to go. But what’s happening now is that there’s an influx of people and a demand for urban redevelopment. Right now, there may be 2,000—some developers say 5,000—of these units in construction. That will shake out in time. Traditionally the Valley developed in a variety of nodes, such as Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe. And, of all of them, where you can work and play, the one that I think has the best chance is Tempe, which has so many of the components for success in place. Kierland is a great place, and will be a great model and successful, but it’s still car dependent and I think it always will be…For downtown Phoenix, I am not yet sure as to how it will sustain itself in terms of the urban living model. There are a lot of condos being built or on the boards.

DMB: Hasn’t the urban living component been the element that has been missing there for so many years. The stadium is good, the entertainment venues, but the city needed people down there 24/7 to support the restaurants, the shops?
SB: And a grocery store!
JB: Yes. We will see how that plays out.

DMB: How about demographics? Is youth is a factor for the rise of urban living? We are one of the youngest big cities in the country.
BG: I think older people are getting younger, too. They’re looking at the same kind of fashions as the younger generation.
JB: It’s a lifestyle decision. Across the board, there’s a choice being made, whether you’re a Baby Boomer or a young professional or a young couple. They’re making a choice whether to live out on the fringe or near the mix of what’s going on.

DMB: How about the spaces themselves? They are various in terms of design—high rises, lofts, condos—but similar perhaps in terms of flexibility. That is, they are performing the functions of the white picket-fence home.
DL: We’ve been doing towers and townhomes, too, with equal interest by the buying public. What draws them together is that they must be part of the urban fabric. The townhomes, with a front door, open up to the street with a front yard. The high rises also engage the city as well.
SB: The Esplanade on the Camelback Corridor is a high-end area, with an average size of about 2,800 square feet. Those buyers want something totally different than what the loft product buyers want—more toward downtown and Tempe. The finish levels are different, the prices are different.

DMB: Much of this urban living market is enabled by the wealthy. What about overall affordability? Can the urban living model provide a variety for students and young couples?
DL: Yes, I think so. Let’s look at the markets that we’ve identified: First, the retirees; then the empty-nesters; dual-income, no children; investors; and those who are buying a second home.
BG: I think we can throw in a new category of the newly divorced . . .
SB: Then there’s another category, such as the W Hotel going downtown: the hotel, with a major portion of condominiums.

DMB: So because of the many markets, there are opportunities for affordable urban living spaces?
SB: Yes, that’s what’s driving the smaller units in downtown Phoenix. The goal our developer has on the downtown projects is a price point under $400 a square foot. That’s difficult to do on high-rise construction because of the requirements of that mode of construction. So, if you can keep the price under $500,000, that’s a good entry level price point.

DMB: What about the design itself?
JB: You mentioned flexibility and that’s a big part of those spaces. Say it’s a studio or a one-bedroom: Our challenge is how to make that one-bedroom feel as if it’s the biggest one bedroom you can get? Well, you get floor-to-ceiling glass. You have a balcony with doors, so the room expands when they’re open and you get additional space. Say the balcony is 180 square feet and the unit is 640 or so; you’re entertaining and you open up those doors, so now you have an 800-square-foot unit.

DMB: This is a different way of thinking. The luxury single home opens out toward more space; these require the designer’s capacity to, in essence, create space?
JB: You become as efficient as you can; you use every inch.
SB: You want the greatest floor-to-ceiling height these units can afford. At the same, time, you have a fixed envelope for high-rise projects. What we will often do is provide the lower floor-to-ceiling heights on the lower floors and greater on the upper. It would be nice if we didn’t have to fight the limit on every project.
BG: Getting back to the matter of space, I guess I would call it “rigid flexibility” because you want to move things around inside the units. Certain matters are fixed, like the plumbing; but you can change the interior, too, with items like furnishings.

DMB: You might speak a little to that, Janelle? You coordinated the models at the Landmark on Central, originally built in 1964 as a luxury apartment complex. What were your challenges to convert these to 21st century condos?
JS: You want to retain functionality yet fit it into a very small space. You’re dealing with a market that wants to work at home, wants a place to dine, a view, all of that. But you have a small space. You have a kitchen that opens onto a living area, which is very good. But the developer was creative, too. The company took a studio and connected it with a one bedroom and made a two bedroom. This allowed them to use the entrance to the studio as a larger plaza and an office space. So, we were able to pull lines in there and utilize this space for their computer or laptop. We were also able to develop usable space from some of the closets, while still maintaining closet space in the bedrooms.

DMB: That seems to be a theme here. Maximize, utilize to the fullest. How about furnishings?
JS: Well, we had to custom design a lot of the furniture there. We made tables lower, for example, which makes the ceilings appear higher. And, the developer also did some unique features to reawaken those existing hallways.

DMB: How is the market dictating what you are building?
BG: Technology is key. We need to make sure the units are wired for everything. The work-from-home trend is a big deal, and wireless technology is certainly important.
JB: It’s an always-on environment. We have people constantly walking around with their PDAs and constant inputs.
SB: Well, we’re doing media rooms in some of our spaces—places that collect all of these inputs. Big-screen TV, computer, that sort of thing.
JB: So many of these places have concierge services where you can check in through a media center to see what’s going on in downtown Phoenix tonight.

DMB: And this is also good for empty-nesters, too?
JS: Allied with this is that so many of these buyers don’t want to do anything. They just want to turn the key, get their car, which has been brought up by the valet service and drive away.

DMB: Are we becoming more cosmopolitan with our living needs?
DL: We talked about Tempe, that it has so many of these components for urban living in place. For one, they have to be safe. And, there have to be schools in place. You have to have services and, fourth, you have to have things to do. That’s what we’re doing in the warehouse district of Phoenix, to make a segue into an entertainment strip they are working on. If you’re missing one, that’s not good. Tempe has it all.

DMB: At Centerpoint in Tempe, you are actually trying to embrace the street.
JB: Yes, the front plaza of the project is the front yard.
BG: Of course, it’s not for everybody. When we were developing Kierland, we actually looked at Mill Avenue.
JB: Tempe is its own model and Kierland is a different and very successful model. Each can be successful in its own way. What it all comes back to is location. You can build a small unit because you have all of the other amenities around you. These young people coming out of school, they are used to spending time in an urban environment, so that they can go out shopping, sitting at the street café. It’s an extension of their living space.
JS: I have two questions. As the economy levels off, will the excitement level off about these spaces? And, the lifestyle issue. I may walk down the hall and run into people I may not want to see. I think one of the high rises, perhaps the Esplanade, advertised that someone may knock on your door for a cocktail party. Well, maybe that’s too much. Where’s my privacy?
BG: To the question of are we overbuilt: I think we can all name the projects that are going, which are working. Most developers are not going to get building until they have a substantial number of presales, so it’s not going forward if it’s not going to work.
JS: I don’t think we are quite there yet. I would be concerned about the ones on the boards.
SB: We’ve got 10 or 12 towers on the boards and not all of them are going to happen. It depends who pulls the trigger first. The developers all seem to be waiting there on the next guy.

DMB: More for the high rises or the lofts?
SB: I see it more for the high rises because of the costs involved.
DL: We have two things that are happening in this state that are not happening elsewhere. One is population. As long as we are getting more people at the rate that we are getting them, I am not sure that we will have this sort of bust. If population levels off, then something else may happen. The other part of this is that the mayor in his recent “State of the Downtown” address said that the goal is to have 10,000 people downtown. So, align that with housing, and go and find 50 or so available pieces of land for the new developments. The answer is that you have to go up. And with high rises, as you know, there are often years of the entitlement process to go through.

AZ Business MagazineDMB: We have to sum up. Let’s go around the room for some closing thoughts.
SB: As an architect, I like these projects because they come with a program, rather than just a series of specs and spaces. I think this kind of project is gong to continue to happen more and more in Phoenix. My only concern involves construction costs and their escalation: These projects could become both unaffordable to build and also to sell.
BG: I think we also need to revisit how buildings are built. Over the next 10 years, I think there will be a lot of changes coming on line.
JB: I’ve been here for 10 years now, from Chicago. I came out here for school, but I stayed out here because I thought the opportunity here was greater than it was in Chicago. When I first came out, from a younger generation’s perspective, Phoenix was a stop to somewhere else; now it’s become a place to go. These projects are part of that evolution. These monumental buildings help to create urban density and a city. This is why we are all here, to execute these kinds of projects. They contribute to the vitality of the economy, of the city.



Arizona Business Magazine Aug/Sept 2006

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