Tag Archives: Elaine Scruggs

The Offices at Reems.

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

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

desert peaks awards

Desert Peaks Awards Honor Regional Efforts

During a ceremony attended by nearly 300 people, the Maricopa Association of Governments honored nine partnerships and individuals in six categories who were selected to receive the 2012 Desert Peaks Awards. The awards are presented to those agencies and individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to promoting, recognizing, and attaining the ideals of regionalism. In addition, the first-ever “Lifetime Achievement Award for Regional Planning” was bestowed upon Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs, in recognition for her 22 years of service exemplifying regional cooperation.

“Even before she took office, Mayor Scruggs was involved in the ‘get out the vote’ campaign for proposition 300, which implemented the half-cent sales tax that built the regional freeway system we are driving on today,” stated MAG Chair and Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman in conferring the award. “She was a charter member and driving force in creating the Transportation Policy Committee and a primary champion of Proposition 400 to extend the tax another 20 years. She was instrumental in accelerating the regional freeway system completion by seven years. Mayor Scruggs continues to work closely with citizens, and is noted for being visible, accessible and approachable,” he said.

Desert Peaks Awards were distributed in six categories: Public Partnership, Public-Private Partnership, Professional Service (two recipients were selected for this honor), Regional Partnership (two recipients were selected for this honor), Regional Excellence (two recipients were selected for this honor), and a new category added this year, Outstanding Economic Development Champion. See the list of projects below, as well as the partners in the project in the attached page. (Photos available on request.)

This year, two individuals were selected to receive the program’s highest honor for Regional Excellence, Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers and Tempe Councilmember Shana Ellis. Mayor Rogers was nominated “for her regional leadership in guiding the transformation of not only Avondale but the entire region through her direct engagement to ensure its economic, social and cultural vitality.” Councilmember Shana Ellis was cited for being instrumental in having the Regional Public Transportation Authority (Valley Metro) and METRO light rail work in tandem to realize significant efficiencies through a combined, streamlined regional agency.

Public Partnership:

  • Regional Emergency Transportation Service

Public-Private Partnership:

  • Gangplank Avondale

Professional Service:

  • Mr. Ed Beasley, former City Manager, City of Glendale
  • Mr. David Smith, former County Manager, Maricopa County

Regional Partnership:

  • Domestic Violence Protocol Evaluation Project
  • Regional Wireless Cooperative/Topaz Regional Wireless Cooperative

Regional Excellence:

  • Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers, City of Avondale
  • Councilmember Shana Ellis, City of Tempe

Outstanding Economic Development Champion

  • The Flinn Foundation

Regional Emergency Transportation Service

  • Apache Junction Fire District
  • Town of Gilbert
  • City of Mesa
  • Town of Queen Creek

Public-Private Partnership: Gangplank Avondale

  • City of Avondale
  • Gangplank Collective

Professional Service: Ed Beasley, former Glendale City Manager

Professional Service: David Smith, former Maricopa County Manager

Regional Partnership: Domestic Violence Protocol Evaluation Project

  • City of Apache Junction Police Department
  • City of Avondale Police Department
  • Town of Buckeye Police Department
  • City of El Mirage Police Department
  • Town of Gilbert Police Department
  • City of Glendale
  • City of Goodyear Police Department
  • Maricopa Association of Governments
  • Maricopa County Attorney’s Office
  • City of Mesa Prosecutor’s Office
  • City of Peoria Police Department
  • City of Phoenix Family Advocacy Center
  • City of Phoenix Police Department
  • City of Phoenix Prosecutor’s Office
  • City of Scottsdale Prosecutor’s Office
  • City of Tolleson Police Department

Regional Partnership: Regional Wireless Cooperative/Topaz Regional Wireless Cooperative

  • Apache Junction Fire District
  • City of Apache Junction
  • City of Avondale
  • Town of Buckeye
  • City of Chandler
  • City of El Mirage
  • Town of Gilbert
  • City of Glendale
  • City of Goodyear
  • Town of Guadalupe
  • City of Mesa
  • City of Peoria
  • City of Phoenix
  • Town of Queen Creek
  •  City of Scottsdale
  • City of Surprise
  • City of Tempe
  • City of Tolleson

Regional Excellence: Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers, City of Avondale

Regional Excellence: Councilmember Shana Ellis, City of Tempe

Outstanding Economic Development Champion: Flinn Foundation

Lifetime Achievement Award for Regional Planning: Mayor Elaine M. Scruggs, City of Glendale

For more information on the Desert Peaks Awards, visit azmag.gov.

Janet Napolitano

Gov. Janet Napolitano Is The Public Face Of Super Bowl XLII

Head Coach

New governors often inherit their predecessors’ programs and initiatives — the good and the bad — when they take office. So it was when Gov. Janet Napolitano officially took the state’s helm in 2003. But at least one of those programs already had her stamp of approval.

Governor Janet Napolitano

Proposition 302, which provided funding for the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, other sports-related programs and authorized the creation of the Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority, was passed by voters two years before Napolitano took office. She says it has been money well spent.

“The voters decided to spend the money on the stadium and I think it’s proven to be a good decision,” she says. “We’ve been able to attract a lot of different events to Arizona because of that new venue and the Super Bowl is a great way to showcase Arizona.”

Napolitano, along with Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs, then-bid committee chairman Gregg Holmes and retired ABC newscaster Hugh Downs, presented the bid to host Super Bowl XLII to National Football League team owners in 2003.

“They had already put together a good presentation. I just added my two cents worth as governor of the state that we were very supportive of the bid and we would do everything we could to support the Super Bowl,” she says.

The team’s efforts paid off, as did Prop. 302’s goal. And, Napolitano points out, other items funded by Prop. 302 have been successful as well.

“It’s not just the Super Bowl and the stadium, but the Cactus League venues, which are growing by leaps and bounds, the playing fields for young people and their teams, and all the other things that got wrapped into that funding for 302,” she says.

Short term, she says the Super Bowl will produce a lot of fun activities for the state and will generate an estimated $400 million in revenue. Long term, she expects the Super Bowl will generate interest among developers and investors to support Arizona.

“I’m hopeful that we can use this as an opportunity to show this state as a growing, vibrant economy,” Napolitano says. “A state that has a lot of things going on beyond sports and beyond some of the common stereotypes about Arizona.”

That includes construction, new laboratories, high-tech companies and medical schools, all of which she describes as the “foundation for our economy as we move forward.”

In 2008, Napolitano will focus on improving education, dealing with growth and transportation issues and protecting open space.

Arizona Business Magazine December-January 2008“We’re really looking to enrich, grow and diversify the economic performance here,” she says. “We’re going to have a good, fiscally sound budget that keeps investment where it needs to be, so that when we come out of the housing downturn, we haven’t cut off our nose to spite our face with respect to the state budget. Long term, the key thing is going to be education. None of this happens in terms of economic performance, generation of wealth … unless you have a sound education system underlying it, so we need to continue to keep our focus there.

“Being governor is a great honor. It’s the ability to try to set the agenda for the state — to try to enunciate our vision for this new Arizona we’re building and strategies on how to get there that are pragmatic and fit within our pocketbooks that keep us moving forward. I’m proud to say that I think we’ve done that over the past five years and we’re going to continue to.”



AZ Business Magazine Dec-Jan 2008 | Next: Pampered Pooches…

Photography by Cassandra Tomei

Cover Story – Into the Blue

Into the Blue

Decades later Luke Air Force Base continues its mission


Most would agree they get a thrill watching jets take off and perform maneuvers with Kenny Loggins’ vocals in the background, right out of a movie like Top Gun. Arizonans can experience that thrill first-hand just by driving to the West Valley.

Into the BlueMore than 60 years ago, the city of Phoenix leased 1,440 acres to the federal government for the establishment of an Army Air Corps training field, known today as Luke Air Force Base. Nestled in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by miles of desert, the base enjoyed years of solitude as it trained fighter pilots. However, Phoenix and surrounding communities grew at an astonishing rate, and the base found its once quiet location surrounded by a bustling metropolis. In an effort to stem the tide of urban encroachment, the base established the Community Initiatives Team (CIT) in June 2003, led by Director Rusty Mitchell in conjunction with the base’s commander, Brig. Gen. Noel T. Jones.

While Jones just joined Luke AFB in June 2006, he is no stranger to the Air Force and its goals. A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1980, Jones has served on Air Force bases across the country and around the world, including California, Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, South Carolina, Spain and South Korea. He also commanded the 332nd Expeditionary Wing in southwest Asia during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In regard to urban encroachment, Jones says Luke AFB sets a standard for other military bases to follow. “I would propose that Luke AFB is the model for how to deal with encroachment concerns,” he says. “Over the last several years, Luke AFB has proactively provided the surrounding cities, county and state staffs with the information they need to zone for compatible land uses around the base. As you know, Maricopa County is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation, and as such, it is in Luke’s best interest to provide the information they need to ensure our capability to perform the mission is preserved.”

Mitchell, who has led CIT since its inception, agrees that the program is one of a kind. “The Air Force has identified us as a ‘best practice’ for the Air Force—something that works, something that’s good and for other bases to emulate. My staff and myself travel to other bases at their request to assist them in addressing encroachment issues and in some cases, setting up an office similar to ours.”

The wing commander at that time, Brig. Gen. Phil Breedlove, recognized the increasing pressure from developers in the West Valley and wanted to set up a full-time office that could provide a faster response to those needs.

“One of the common complaints of the cities was they wanted to help, but they just didn’t know what our requirements were,” Mitchell explains. Mitchell and his staff meet with state representatives on a regular basis to review past legislation and discuss the possibility of future protections for the base. They also monitor city council agendas and attend city council meetings when land, close to the base’s border, or noise lines is called into question. He stresses that CIT has no zoning or veto authority on any development. All his staff can do is share with the public and government authorities the bases’ compatibility issues and hope everyone’s best interests can be met.

Luke AFB hasn’t always had problems with development though. In fact, Mitchell can remember when the location was thought of as the most remote in the area.

“I went to flight school at Williams Air Force Base in the ‘70s and nobody wanted to be assigned to Luke AFB because it was so far away from anything,” he says. “It’s just incredible—30 years ago, Luke wasn’t just on the outskirts, it was out of town.”

But now, the base is surrounded by cities like El Mirage, Glendale and Litchfield Park. Mitchell and his staff have established solid relationships with the surrounding communities’ leaders and he feels they have encroachment issues under control.

“Whenever there’s development, there are issues, but we feel confident that we have stabilized incompatible growth in the West Valley as far as our mission is concerned,” he says. “The danger is there, but it’s certainly not getting worse. It’s refreshing and heartwarming, really, to see the support of all the cities.”

Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs gives the base her full support and says the personnel are like family. “Luke personnel are really members of our community,” she says. “They are involved in every aspect of our community—they are boy scout and girl scout leaders in schools, [they] volunteer hours to nonprofits. Too many times the personnel are thought of as being remote when in fact they are our neighbors…and they contribute a tremendous amount to make [the community] stronger and better.”

El Mirage Mayor Fred Waterman also supports Luke’s mission but admits his city struggles to find appropriate space for development, especially for schools. “One-third of our city is under their noise zone, so we’ve had to change the zoning immensely,” he says. “We can’t build certain things in different areas because of the potential impact on Luke.”

Mitchell says he’s aware of this dilemma and is working with the school board in El Mirage to find an appropriate location. “The attorney general has historically ruled that no school can be built inside our 65 decibel noise line, and that’s the problem El Mirage has,” he explains. “As you get closer to the runway, it becomes a safety issue and the state has determined that the risk is too high to allow schools inside that area.”

Financially, Luke AFB is a huge asset to Arizona. In fact, the base contributes in excess of $1.4 billion a year to the state’s economy.

“It’s like its own city,” Scruggs says. “They contract for a large amount of services and goods and those contracts are through cities throughout the state. Also, the personnel spend money here and many people come to visit, so it contributes to tourism dollars. Their impact is within all reaches of the state, but first and foremost, they are a key part of our nation’s security system.”

“We don’t focus on that as our main purpose of being here,” Mitchell says in regard to their financial impact. “We are the only active duty F-16 training base in the world, which is critical to our nation’s defense.”

In fact, pilots trained at Luke will often times be in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan within 30 days of his or her completed training. The base also trains F-16 maintenance personnel, whose expertise is crucial to pilots’ success.

“A big change at Luke over the last 10 years has been our requirement to deploy mission-ready war fighters into the war. We probably average close to 1,000 personnel a year deploying over to the war and we don’t get backfill for those. We’re a 10-man football team—everybody steps up and does the job.”

With the ongoing war, Luke is unlikely to be closed any time soon. Mitchell explains the base was only closed once, temporarily, in the late 1940s due to inactivity. After a recent reevaluation, Luke’s grades on military value and other issues are high enough to ensure it will not be closed. But, Mitchell and his team must continue to keep a close eye on development to ensure encroachment does not jeopardize the base’s mission, Jones says.

“I don’t like to deal in hypotheticals,” Jones explains when asked if development would cause a base closure. “I will say that based on the great support we receive from the surrounding communities, county and state, I do not foresee encroachment growing to the point where we would be unable to conduct our training mission. It does require constant vigilance and monitoring, and that’s why we have committed a full-time staff to ensure the community has the information required to make sure the developments surrounding the base are compatible.”

Mitchell agrees with Jones’ assessment and says it takes a group effort between CIT and the surrounding communities.

AZ Business Magazine February March 2007“As long as the state of Arizona and surrounding communities continue to do the outstanding job they’re doing now, recognizing the mission requirements of Luke, there’s no reason at all that Luke cannot exist,” Mitchell says. “If it wasn’t for the support of Gen. Breedlove and the subsequent wing commanders (Gen. Rand and Gen. Jones), we would meld away into the wing and I think the base would be in danger. [CIT] has been accepted throughout the Air Force as, really, the way it needs to go in the future.”



AZ Business Magazine Feb Mar ’07 |   Next: Trojan Horse


West Valley Looks To Improve Transportation Efforts

Finding Solutions to Gridlock

West Valley looks to improve transportation efforts

By Debra Gelbart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Arizona Business Magazine Aug/Sept 2006

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


Home Run

Playing The Economics Of Sports In The West Valley

Home Run

Playing the economics of sports in the West Valley


It’s not so much a case of “if you build it, they will come” that is turning the West Valley into a sports mecca. Rather, it’s the other way around. People have come to the West Valley in droves, setting the stage for an economic explosion and a sports megalopolis. The Arizona Cardinals stadium opens this month, the NHL Phoenix Coyotes play in adjacent Glendale Arena, five Major League Baseball teams conduct spring training at West Valley sites with two cities avidly seeking other teams to call their own and Phoenix International Raceway stages two major NASCAR races a year.

home_runEconomist Elliott Pollack says population growth came to the West Valley first. Contrary to the view of some, Pollack says, “The Phoenix area grows like a balloon in a very orderly manner, at its periphery. Growth got to the west side and the area was looking for an image.”

He calls Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs “a very smart lady,” who took advantage of the situation—a population explosion and an abundance of available land. The growth is happening not only in Glendale but in Peoria, Surprise, Goodyear, Avondale and Buckeye as well.

Cardinals Stadium and Glendale Arena essentially created a focal point for that area. “It gave the media something to focus on,” Pollack says. “The area would have grown anyway, but now with a much better image than before.”

Julie Frisoni, marketing and communication director for the city of Glendale, agrees. “Growth is driving the West Valley expansion,” she says. “Much of the East Valley is built up and developed. In the next 15 to 20 years, 40 percent of all growth will be west of the 101 (Agua Fria Freeway).”
People moving to the West Valley expect good housing, quality jobs, entertainment and sporting options, restaurants and shopping opportunities, Frisoni says. “Glendale always has been a bedroom community, a place where people lived and went somewhere else to work and for entertainment. Growth demands the amenities you’re seeing spring up.”

With growth comes soaring land prices. When the deal for the Glendale Arena was struck in 2001, agricultural land there was selling for $2 a square foot. Today, commercial land at the Westgate City Center in Glendale carries a price tag of as much as $25 a square foot. In seven to 10 years, Westgate will have 6 million square feet of retail and restaurants.

Jack Lunsford, president and CEO of WESTMARC, a West Valley economic development organization, says the sports explosion is having a huge dual impact—direct and indirect—on the West Valley economy. The direct impact is fairly easy to calculate. For example, Lunsford says, each of the two NASCAR races are worth $200 million to $250 million to the local economy, and the 2008 NFL Super Bowl, $250 million to $300 million. Add to the mix the Fiesta Bowl and the NCAA Bowl Championship games, plus the hundreds of events, concerts and meetings to be held in the Arizona Cardinals stadium and Glendale Arena and the economic impact is huge, he says.

Spring training is yet another economic engine. The Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers train in Surprise, the Milwaukee Brewers are in the Maryvale area of Phoenix and the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners share a stadium in Peoria. Glendale and Goodyear are on the hunt for Major League teams and appear serious about building their own stadiums. “In two years we could end up with eight teams in the West Valley,” Lunsford says.

Frisoni says Glendale has entered into an exclusive agreement with teams to discuss a potential spring training site. She won’t say how many or which teams the city is targeting or where a stadium site would be. “We are continuing to move forward,” Frisoni says. “We expect a resolution very soon.”
Meanwhile, the Goodyear City Council in March approved a site for a new spring training complex and gave the City Manager’s Office authority to seek Major League teams. Goodyear Mayor Jim Cavanaugh says the complex would be located on the Woods’ Family property east of Estrella Parkway near Yuma Road. The ballpark complex would include commercial, office, hospitality and residential uses.

AZ Business MagazineLunsford notes the indirect impact of the West Valley’s sports explosion is the retail and service development that those kinds of activities spawn.
Economist Pollack sees a change overtaking the West Valley, particularly in the Westgate City Center complex. “There was a lot of economic development going on during construction of the stadium and arena, bringing in retail and more revenues,” he says. “Hopefully the concept will be that people will go there, eat, shop, go to a game or a concert and then go home. Now, they go to a Coyotes game, get out of their car, see the game, get back in their car, and go home. There are not a lot of places to eat on the west side, and that will change.

“It’s not that the arenas created the growth, they created a focal point for growth. It’s going to be a sports and retail mecca that people from other parts of the Valley will go to see games and concerts.”




Arizona Business Magazine Aug/Sept 2006


AZ Business Magazine Aug-Sept 2006 | Previous: Gridlock Solutions | Next: Growing…