Tag Archives: Dea McDonald

A rendering of the ORange Monster, which will be added to Eastmark's 106-acre regional park in 2014.

Park Life: The Seen and Unseen Advances of Public Parks

Large curving pipes rising and falling in large sweeps across a field sounds more like a piece of abstract art parents would get red-faced about having to ask their kids to stop climbing up than it does a main play structure at a public park. However, that’s exactly what developer DMB Associates wants you to think.

The future of public parks lies in the appropriately dubbed orange monster — a cluster of giant, parallel pipes curving up and back into the grounds of Eastmark’s 106-acre park in Mesa.

The point is to attract adults to the park, says Dea McDonald, DMB’s Senior Vice President and Eastmark’s General Manager. Kids will always find a way to play on something, he says, but the adults have to want to be there too. A compelling environment is one way to ensure that happens.

The regional park finished its first phase of development in May 2013 will begin its second phase of construction in August 2014.

Public parks may be a setting of simpler times for many people, but their complexity is something Haydon Building Corp’s Fritz Behrhorst says is underestimated.

“It looks like grass and trees, but there’s a lot that goes into those,” says Haydon’s vice president of pre-construction. “They’re expensive to build.”

Public projects, such as libraries, were put on hold during the recession, but Behrhorst says cities were able to get more park for their pennies when construction prices dropped between 2008 and 2010.

Now that construction prices are on the rise, Behrhorst says he is an increase in repurposing of properties in dense environments.

Mesa passed a bond program in 2012 that proposed 18 park projects at the total cost of $70M, with $2.25M operational costs.

In Mesa, the now-closed Mesa Junior High and Powell/Mesa Education Center are being bought by the city and converted into parks — a $8.7M expense funded by a bond program passed in 2012. This is just $2M shy of the budgeted amount for building three new park systems.

The aforementioned Eastmark park is Mesa’s first Communities-Facilities District, which is a system that taxes Eastmark residents over a span of 30 years to pay for the infrastructure and is then reimbursed by the city as development is finished. The city will also manage and operate the park.

Outside of construction costs, one of the biggest concerns for park developers and the cities that maintain the properties is water. Behrhorst and Haydon have engaged in significant research in water usage and technology, which is applied to their park development.

Haydon just completed the 90-acre Pioneer Park in Peoria, which has what Behrhorst called a sophisticated irrigation system. The system makes use of water-monitoring technology that can save the city up to 40 percent in maintenance costs. Sprinkler heads in the park’s fields can detect how much water is needed in a certain area of the field and deliver just that amount from a single head. The use of effluent water to water the park’s fields or fill a lake is being explored by Haydon and DMB Associates alike.

Although Eastmark is not yet using reclaimed water, McDonald says Eastmark has an agreement with the City of Mesa that when it completes a water line with the CAP canal, the park will be irrigated by raw water. It’s deemed to be effluent and is exchange it with Gila community.

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Eastmark Grand Opening on June 1

The first new large-scale integrated community to launch in the Phoenix area in 10 years will hold a grand opening event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 1 to showcase its first phase of residential homes and the first phase of the Eastmark Great Park. Eastmark, located in the heart of the East Valley, is a vibrant new community focused on creating a connected life for its residents, employers and visitors.

To debut Eastmark to the public, DMB is planning a day of festivities that will include music throughout the parks system, family games and entertainment and activities for all ages to encourage the community to discover the lifestyle at Eastmark.

Tours of 20 new home models from seven homebuilders will be available to guests. Every home design in Eastmark features a new floorplan.

Eastmark’s phase one builders are:
Maracay Homes
Mattamy Homes
Taylor Morrison
Woodside Homes
Ryland Homes
Standard Pacific Homes
Meritage Homes Corporation

At the grand opening, visitors will be able to explore The ‘Mark, Eastmark’s Visitors and Community Center, enjoy the first 10 acres of the Eastmark Great Park, 11 neighborhood parks, piazzas and plazas and landscaped, tree-lined streets and parkways. Trollies and pedicabs will take guests around the community to enjoy outdoor concerts, kite flying and other demonstrations, food trucks and refreshments throughout the day.

“Eastmark is one of the most thoughtfully designed communities in the country. In our planning, we’ve artfully blended residential areas, employment cores, recreation and commerce to complement each other,” said Dea McDonald, DMB’s Senior Vice President and Eastmark’s General Manager. “Eastmark’s grand opening will give guests an opportunity to engage in ‘Life in Motion’ and enjoy fun, family-friendly activities and exciting looks at this community which is unlike anything else in Arizona.”

WHAT: Eastmark’s Grand Opening – Life in Motion
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, 2013
WHERE: Ray and Ellsworth Roads in Mesa
COST: Admission is Free

DETAILED SCHEDULE

Ongoing Fun
Star in the Eastmark Ad Campaign – 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Eastmark Great Park
DJ – 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Eastmark Great Park
Tillerman at Leisure World Yacht Club Demonstrations – 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Eastmark Great Park Lake
DMB Community Life Block Party – 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Kinetic Park
Summer Snowplay– 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Cambium Court
Face Painting – 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Cambium Court
Food Trucks Open – 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Eastmark Great Park
SuperTruck
Udder Delights
Aji Mobile Food
Sandra Dee’s Kitchen
Kinetic Point
Gourmet Command Center
Liberty Biscuit
Figueroa Green
Goodness Gracious Great Balls and Sliders
JG Superweenie

10:00 a.m.
Yoga in the Park – 10:00 a.m. – 10:40 a.m. – Selenium Park
Jodi Light and The Shining Star Band – 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – Cambium Court
Arizona Sport Coalition Soccer Demonstrations – 10:00 a.m. – 10:40 a.m. – Lincoln Square

10:30 a.m.
Change on Three Jazz Group – 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Lumiere Garden
White Crane Tai Chi Instruction – 10:30 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. – Radiant Grove

11:00 a.m.
Yoga in the Park – 11:00 a.m. – 11:40 a.m. – Selenium Park
Rock Lobster Band – 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Kinetic Point
Brad Zinn Magic Show – 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Cambium Court
Arizona Sports Coalition Soccer Demonstrations – 11:00 a.m. – 11:40 a.m. – Lincoln Square

11:30 a.m.
Jodi Light and The Shining Star Band – 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Cambium Court
Center for True Harmony Wellness – Stress Management – 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. –  Lumiere Garden
White Crane Tai Chi Instruction – 11:30 a.m. – 12:10 p.m. – Radiant Grove

12:00 p.m.
Yoga in the Park – 12:00 p.m. – 12:40 p.m. – Selenium Park
Arizona Sport Coalition Soccer Demonstrations – 12:00 p.m. – 12:40 p.m. – Lincoln Square
Change on Three Jazz Group – 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Lumiere Garden

12:30 p.m.
Rock Lobster Band- 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Kinetic Point
Brad Zinn Magic Show – 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Cambium Court
White Crane Tai Chi Instruction – 12:30 p.m. – 1:10 p.m. – Radiant Grove

1:00 p.m.
Yoga in the Park – 1:00 p.m. – 1:40 p.m. – Selenium Park
Jodi Light and The Shining Star Band– 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Cambium Court
Arizona Sport Coalition Soccer Demonstrations – 1:00 p.m. – 1:40 p.m. – Lincoln Square

1:30 p.m.
Sirocco Jazz Group – 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Lumiere Garden
White Crane Tai Chi Instruction- 1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Radiant Grove

2:00 p.m.
Rock Lobster Band– 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Kinetic Point

2:30 p.m.
Night Groove Band – 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Cambium Court
Center for True Harmony Wellness Relaxation Techniques – 2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Lumiere Garden

3:00 p.m.
Sirocco Jazz Group – 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Lumiere Garden

3:30 p.m.
Rock Lobster Band – 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Kinetic Point

4:00 p.m.
Night Groove Band — 4:00 p.m. – 5 :00 p.m. – Cambium Court

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BASIS Selects Eastmark for Its Next East Valley School

The nationally renowned charter school BASIS has selected Eastmark for its next East Valley campus. Construction on BASIS Mesa at Eastmark commences in March 2013.  The new school is set to open fall 2013.

“BASIS is our first 5-12 educational partner and a perfect fit for this community.  Eastmark’s central location in the East Valley will give hundreds of children more opportunities to earn a world-class education, which is a tremendous value for kids, their families and our region’s future workforce,” said Dea McDonald, Senior Vice President of DMB Associates and General Manager of Eastmark.

“Every DMB community features education and lifelong learning among its Community Life pillars, which are empowered by partnerships that extend far beyond the classroom.  We’re delighted to bring to future residents and neighbors this charter school option in the early phase of Eastmark,” added McDonald.

The new BASIS Mesa at Eastmark will complement the East Valley BASIS programs.  Because of the strong interest by parents and students, the BASIS Board of Directors agreed there was enough demand to develop another school in the East Valley, explained Craig Barrett, retired Chairman/CEO of Intel Corporation and Chairman of the Board for BASIS Schools Inc.

“Our BASIS Chandler School has had a waiting list since we opened.  DMB brought us the opportunity to develop in their new community, in an early phase of the development, where we could be a true partner.  Its location, easy access to transportation and vision for the future made Eastmark the right choice for us.  We’re eager to grow another top performing school for the region,” Barrett said.

The BASIS Mesa at Eastmark will open with grades 5-10, adding grade 11 by 2014 and grade 12 by 2015. BASIS Mesa may also add K through 4thgrades in ensuing years.  The design and size of the new school will be similar to its Chandler and Phoenix campuses. The campus will be located adjacent to the Eastmark Great Park situated on approximately 4.5 acres. DMB is advancing the development and construction of Eastmark Parkway to meet the timelines of the opening of the charter school.

Families can sign up for the BASIS Mesa at Eastmark interest list at www.basislink.org.

The first phase of Eastmark’s residential development is in the Queen Creek School District.  The district does not have plans to build another campus in Eastmark in the immediate future.

Eastmark will host its grand opening on June 1, 2013 with seven builders offering homes in the first phase of residential development.

BASIS is the top performing school in Arizona with BASIS students ranked highest in Stanford 10 national test scores in both math and reading in 2012.
All BASIS schools are “A” rated by the Arizona Department of Education (“AZEd”).

Approximately 5,000 students attend BASIS schools with campuses in Tucson, Oro Valley, Scottsdale, Chandler, Flagstaff, Peoria and Washington, D.C.  BASIS is also opening new schools in Ahwatukee, San Antonio, and a new K-4 program in Tucson.

Eastmark - DMB Associates Break Ground

DMB Breaks Ground On Its Newest Valley Economic Engine – Eastmark

DMB Associates broke ground on what is being touted as one of the next biggest economic engines for the Valley – its newest community, Eastmark.

The ceremony, held near the intersection of Ray and Ellsworth roads in Mesa, was attended by about 50 people, including partners, DMB Associates executives and East Valley leaders, including Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and Councilman Scott Somers.

“This is not only the start of a community, but decades of meaningful development,” said Dea McDonald, DMB senior vice president and Eastmark general manager. “Today’s event represents the culmination of years of planning and preparation for the property, which spans five square miles.

“For years, DMB has been reclaiming and recycling materials from the former proving grounds, including miles of track and tons of building materials. Now, we’re building Eastmark’s community infrastructure – the streets, utilities and early amenities to prepare for future businesses and the homebuilders who will debut their newest homes at Eastmark early next year.”

Added DMB President Charley Freericks: “The groundbreaking of our first phase is an important milestone for DMB and a positive indicator for Arizona’s recovering real estate market. The sounds of construction equipment signifies the start of the new heart and hub of the East Valley.

The first residential phase of Eastmark includes an interactive welcome center/community center, approximately 700 single-family homes and the initial phase of the 100-acre Great Park. This central amenity will provide recreation opportunities for residents and visitors and will ultimately connect the residential phase to schools and businesses. Eastmark’s first homes are scheduled for opening in the spring of 2013.

While much has been done to set the framework for development, DMB envisions an evolving community that earns the designation as the cultural, educational and economic core of the region. Eastmark will integrate residential areas, resort components, employment cores and commerce.

“Eastmark represents an incredible and unique opportunity for large-scale community development. Its strategic location and existing healthcare, education and transportation infrastructure align to make Eastmark the most desirable place in the region,” said Drew Brown, DMB’s chairman and founder. “These important amenities, along with our unique brand of placemaking, will create a quality of life that transforms Eastmark into a sought-after community for families and a nationally competitive location for employers.”

Eastmark is Arizona’s newest planned community situated on 3,200 acres in the center of the Gateway area, connected to the larger Southeast Valley, and anchored by the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, businesses and educational institutions. DMB acquired the property, which formerly served as the General Motors Proving Grounds, in 2006.