Tag Archives: Maricopa County Court Tower

The Maricopa County Court Tower in Downtown Phoenix exceeds the OEI criteria by more than 25 feet.

NAIOP Arizona urges FAA to retract proposed OEI procedures

The Arizona Chapter of NAIOP has urged the Federal Aviation Administration to retract the proposed One Engine Inoperative (OEI) Procedures in the Obstruction Evaluation Studies published in the Federal Register on April 28.

“While  NAIOP-AZ fully supports the FAA’s role to oversee aviation safety, we oppose this proposed OEI policy, note that it does not address safety, does not contain adequate justification, penalizes unfairly communities surrounding airports by impeding much needed economic development, and lacks rigorous cost-benefit analyses,” Tim Lawless, President of NAIOP Arizona, said in a letter to John Speckin, Airport Obstruction Standards Committee, Region and Center Operations, Office of Finance and Management in Washington, D.C.

The FAA is considering a substantial reduction in the maximum height limit of buildings near U.S. airports to ensure aircraft have clearance to continue an ascent should an engine fail at takeoff. The proposed policy would limit building heights of new commercial projects within 10,000 feet of the end of the runway to no more than 160 feet tall.

NAIOP Arizona is the largest commercial real estate trade association in the state and one of the 10 largest business trade associations in Metro Phoenix. It also represents the economic interests of those who construct commercial office and industrial buildings and advocates for policies that bring high-wage jobs to Arizona.

“We especially have a keen interest around one of the largest airports in the U.S., Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix where a number of our members have existing and planned buildings in multiple communities in relatively close proximity to the airport,” Lawless said in the letter. “In short, we are of the belief that if the policy determination outlined recently in the Federal Register is driven by economic considerations, we believe the policy will have a chilling effect on developers constructing new facilities and on firms and tenants who may want to own existing facilities for investment purposes should a facility be close to or exceed the lower height requirements.”

An independent study released  last year by New York-based real estate consulting firm Weitzman Group determined that a new FAA policy would impact existing and future developments around  almost 400 private and public airports across the country. About 4,000 proposed projects would be affected, the study said.

NAIOP Arizona’s letter states the proposed OEI policy would have significant impact on Tempe and Phoenix. According to an article on the Phoenix Business Journal’s website, about 60 projects Valley wide would be affected.

>> In Downtown Phoenix, the recently completed, $341 million Maricopa County Court Tower exceeds the OEI criteria by more than 25 feet, and the recently completed Virginia G. Piper Sports and Fitness Center at the Arizona Bridge to Independent Living would also be grandfathered-in under the policy, unable to add any height with roof-top equipment or signage without a new determination.

>> In Tempe, Zaremba Group’s West 6th apartments comprise two towers that exceed the policy’s limitation by 209 feet at maximum.

“We recommend that the FAA withdraw its proposed OEI policy,” Lawless said in the letter. “This is a proposed solution in search of a problem.  If it intends to move forward with such a fundamental change, the FAA should only so if it has conducted the necessary economic and efficiency analysis that would (a) justify shifting the economic burden from airlines to communities, and (b) justify a change in the underlying rule, with an adequate opportunity for the public to provide meaningful comments on the FAA’s justification for the proposed policy.

“Should the FAA move forward, any OEI policy should, at a minimum, provide for certainty to developers and communities who engage in long-term planning, take into account the impacts and views of all stakeholders – not just in the aviation community, and be subjected to robust legislative rulemaking requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act, including a full cost- benefit and Federalism analysis.”

Comments are due by July 28.

Maricopa County Court Tower Garners Awards

Maricopa County Court Tower Garners Awards

Good things come in pairs. The Maricopa County Downtown Court Tower (MCDCT) team, comprised of Gilbane Building Company in association with Ryan Companies US, Inc., can attest to that.

After winning the 2011 Best of NAIOP Economic Project of the Year Award, the MCDCT team also received a RED Award honorable mention in AZRE for Best Public Project. The tower was recognized for outstanding industrial or office economic projects that impact the county and the construction community in a beneficial way.

“The Economic Project of the Year Award is proof of the wisdom of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and Department of Public Works,” said Todd McMillen, Gilbane’s project executive.

The 700,000 SF tower opened on Arizona’s 100th birthday, Feb.14, with its long-awaited debut and a dedication by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Designed by Gould Evans Associates, the tower sits in the heart of Phoenix and houses more than 200 courtrooms. Not only is the tower Maricopa County’s first LEED Silver certified project, it has benefitted the economy through creating more than two million hours for employment opportunities.

Due to infrastructure improvements, and a land exchange between the city and the county, hundreds of thousands of dollars of annual deferred maintenance were omitted. The project created more than 1,600 jobs; 1,200 in the construction trades, 300 in professional, and 100 service jobs in such things as printing, delivering, and other areas.

Over the life of the project, the estimated local payroll benefit will be $110M in taxable income. In addition to local businesses benefiting, the vast majority of the tower was completed using Arizona businesses and Arizona workers, even more proof of the economic impact.

Local materials were purchased whenever possible: Schuff Steel provided the steel and fabrication; Coreslab provided the precast facade.

“This project was a major economic engine for construction in the greater Phoenix area for over three years,” said Steve Jordan, Ryan Companies director of construction. “Not only did it provide for a consistent source of income for many workers and their families, but because the project was paid for in cash, it also saved the citizens of Maricopa County nearly $200 million in financing charges that will never need to be collected in higher taxes.”