Tag Archives: Meritage Homes

Meritage Homes

Meritage Homes to Acquire Legendary Communities

Meritage Homes Corporation, a leading U.S. homebuilder, announced its definitive agreement to acquire the homebuilding assets and operations of Atlanta-based Legendary Communities for a purchase price of approximately $130 million.

Legendary is one of the largest privately-held homebuilders operating along the I-85 corridor of the Southeastern U.S. with a significant presence in the Atlanta and Greenville-Spartanburg markets, and a position in Charlotte that is expected to bolster Meritage’s current operations there. Atlanta is the second largest and fastest growing housing market in the U.S. based on single-family permits activity in 2013, and the Greenville-Spartanburg market is expected to experience growth in single-family permits of approximately 20% from 2013 to 2015. Both Atlanta and Greenville-Spartanburg will be new markets for Meritage, while Legendary’s Charlotte operations will be combined into Meritage’s existing division there.

Legendary was founded in 2009 and builds homes primarily for first and second move-up buyers with base home prices ranging from approximately $120,000 to $550,000. The company closed approximately 500 homes and generated approximately $156 million of revenue in 2013. As of June 30, 2014, Legendary owned or controlled approximately 4,000 home sites.

“This is a strategic acquisition for Meritage, expanding our southeastern operations in a meaningful way by entering into two more growing housing markets in Atlanta and Greenville-Spartanburg, while also solidifying our position in the Charlotte market,” said Steven J. Hilton, chairman and CEO of Meritage Homes. “Legendary is a good fit for Meritage due to its customer base, land acquisition strategy, and positive culture based on trust, honesty and quality construction. They have a great team of people who can help us grow our business in the Southeast, and we are pleased to have them join the Meritage team.”

“We are excited about the opportunities this represents for both Meritage and Legendary through the combination of our community locations, beautiful homes and dedicated employees,” said Bo Means, chief executive officer of Legendary Communities.

Zelman Partners LLC served as exclusive financial advisor for Legendary Communities.

clear energy systems coming to tempe

TEP Recognizes Energy Efficiency Partnerships

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) has recognized customers and other community partners with TEP BrightEE Awards for energy savings achieved through the company’s successful energy efficiency (EE) programs.

The inaugural TEP BrightEE Awards were presented today to local nonprofit organizations, school districts, small businesses and homebuilders. Several BrightEE (pronounced ‘brighty’) recipients are customers who reduced their energy use and lowered their monthly electric bills by participating in TEP’s customer-funded EE programs.

“Energy efficiency programs give us a great opportunity to work directly with our customers in developing an important, low-cost energy resource,” said TEP President and Chief Operating Officer David G. Hutchens. “These EE partnerships produce savings for our customers, benefits for our environment, and help us to continue providing safe, reliable, and affordable service to the community.”

TEP’s EE programs provide incentives for customers to invest in high efficiency technologies such as compact fluorescent lighting, pumps, motors and HVAC equipment. Other programs offer incentives for builders to design and construct residential and commercial buildings based on EE construction standards.

The programs help TEP work toward achieving the goals in Arizona’s Energy Efficiency Standard. The standard requires electric utilities to increase energy savings each year through customer-funded EE programs until the cumulative usage reduction reaches 22 percent by 2020.

EE programs, which cost less than building new power plants, help reduce reliance on fossil fuels, resulting in reduced air emissions and water usage. TEP’s EE programs have already produced significant benefits. The TEP EE program measures enacted in 2013 alone will produce energy savings exceeding 168,000 megawatt hours – enough energy to power more than 14,000 Tucson homes for a year.

Here is the list of BrightEE categories and winners selected by TEP’s EE team:

  • Large Business – Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital: St. Mary’s most notable projects include retrofitting more than 20,000 florescent T12 tube lamp fixtures with more efficient lamps and thousands of electronic ballasts. The hospital also installed variable speed drives, which can raise or lower motor speeds used in HVAC and other systems. Installation of an automated energy management system is scheduled to be completed this summer.
  • Small Business – Vroom Engineering: This local engineering firm participated in the Small Business program to replace more than one hundred 1,000-Watt, metal halide light fixtures with energy efficient high bay fluorescent fixtures.
  • Contractor – Inline Electrical Resources: Inline was the first applicant to register as a contractor for TEP’s Small Business program. Since then, Inline has completed more than 200 energy efficiency projects.
  • Schools – Sunnyside Unified School District: Sunnyside has upgraded classroom lighting and mechanical equipment at the majority of its schools and several support facilities. In 2013, the company gave 17 EE classroom presentations and distributed more than 450 energy efficiency kits for Sunnyside students to use at home through TEP’s Outreach Program. Desert View High School also participates in TEP’s Direct Load Control program.
  • Schools – Marana Unified School District: Marana has upgraded lighting and HVAC equipment in several schools by combining TEP incentives with federal funding available through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. More than two dozen EE classroom presentations were given in 2013 alone, and TEP has distributed more than 550 EE kits to students.
  • Non-Profit – The Primavera Foundation: In 2013, Primavera completed construction of a new energy-efficient, 12-unit family complex that was built in South Tucson using sustainable principles. The project is designed to meet LEED and Net-Zero Energy Building standards through a mix of 2- and 3-bedroom patio units that are ADA compliant. (Note: This nonprofit organization, which administers affordable housing, workforce development and neighborhood revitalization programs, is a past recipient of TEP’s Grants That Make a Difference program, which is funded with shareholder dollars.)
  • Homebuilder – Meritage Homes: Meritage was the first national builder to construct every home using standards that meet or exceed ENERGY STAR® requirements. Meritage, which participates in TEP’s New Construction program, builds homes that are twice as energy efficient as a typical U.S. home of the same size.
  • Lifetime Contribution to Residential Energy Efficiency – John Wesley Miller: Miller, a national leader in energy conservation and green building practices, has received numerous industry honors and awards for energy conservation and building quality. He has consulted with Pima County to promote a program for energy-efficient homes and the use of solar energy, and with the University of Arizona’s Environmental Research Laboratory in developing new energy-saving products and technologies. Miller is one of four builders selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop highly-efficient “zero-energy use” homes. The second such home built by Miller costs an average of about $300 annually to heat and cool.
RJM_4CP_Coated

RJM Construction renovating office for Meritage Homes in Scottsdale

RJM Construction, a Phoenix general contractor, recently began renovations for the new corporate headquarters of Meritage Homes, the ninth-largest public homebuilder in the United States. Its new location will be at 8800 E. Raintree Drive, Scottsdale, in the Raintree Corporate Center, a three-story Class A office building. Renovation of the 55,000 SF space will be complete in February 2014, with a projected move-in date in March 2014.

The new office space for Meritage Homes will feature stylish designs, a large training room and a state-of-the-art conference room.

“We’re pleased to be working with RJM Construction and are excited to move into our new space early next year,” said Marie Muller, executive assistant to the CEO, Meritage Homes.

In addition to RJM Construction, project partners include architect Pinnacle Design, Inc., and broker and property manager CBRE.

homebuyers - Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012

Veteran receives brand-new, mortgage-free home

In partnership with Operation Homefront, Meritage Homes Corporation (NYSE: MTH) is handing over keys to three new homes to deserving military heroes and their families in time for Veterans Day. Located in the Phoenix, San Antonio and Raleigh metropolitan areas, the mortgage-free, energy-efficient homes are part of Meritage’s core purpose of enriching lives by satisfying the American Dream of home ownership for thousands of families across the nation.

“Every day, the brave men and women of our Armed Forces put their lives on hold and themselves into harm’s way to protect freedom and our way of life,” said Steven J. Hilton, chairman and CEO of Meritage Homes. “We are honored to express our appreciation to these exceptional families with a token of gratitude given the enormous sacrifices they have made for our country.”

In Goodyear, Army Sergeant Richard Neider II, his wife Kerry, and their two children will be moving into the first home that they have owned as a family. The 2,278-square-foot one-story home will provide the family of four a place to grow. The home includes some ADA-friendly features such as wider doors, roll in showers, roll under sinks and lower light switches that will allow Sgt. Neider to use his wheelchair inside the house. The Neider family will receive their key at Meritage’s Del Mar at Sedella community on Nov. 4.

Army Sergeant Aaron Kumamoto was selected to receive a new 1,508-square-foot home in Converse, Texas. The new home will keep Sgt. Kumamoto, his wife Erica and son Logan close to San Antonio Military Medical Center, where Kumamoto receives his medical treatment. The Kumamoto family will receive their key at Meritage’s MacArthur Park community on Nov. 6.

Born and raised in North Carolina, Army Sergeant Jeffrey Lynch was selected to receive a 2,066-square-foot home in Cary, N.C. The home is just half an hour away from Duke University, where Sgt. Lynch receives specialized medical treatment. Lynch and his wife Christy are parents of a four-year-old daughter. The Lynch family will receive their key at Meritage’s Park at Langston community on Nov. 8.

The key ceremonies will be held at 10:30 a.m. on each of their designated days, immediately followed by a Welcome Home barbecue hosted by each community to give local residents the opportunity to honor sacrifices made by men and women of the Armed Forces.

The three homes are being awarded through Operation Homefront’s Homes on the Homefront program which selects veterans based on a number of qualifications, including need and existing ties to the community. Since its inception, the program anticipates awarding 100 homes to deserving military families around the country this year. However, this is the first time the organization has provided newly built homes where recipients will be the first owners.

“These homes will provide three of our nation’s military families with an amazing opportunity,” said Tim Farrell, chief operating officer of Operation Homefront. “Every military family has sacrificed so much through their careers, and our Homes on the Homefront program is just one of the many ways that our organization shows its support to them. These three homes are the first newly built homes that we have been able to provide to veterans, and we are thankful to change the lives of the Neider, Kumamoto, and Lynch families.”

Meritage Homes

Meritage Homes earns Energy Star Honor

Meritage Homes earns Energy Star Honor

Meritage Homes has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 Energy Star Partner of the Year — Sustained Excellence Award. The award recognizes ongoing leadership across the Energy Star program, including energy-efficient products, services, new homes, and buildings in the commercial, industrial, and public sectors.

An innovator in production homebuilding, Meritage was recognized for its continued leadership in protecting the environment. Meritage received the EPA’s 2012 Energy Star Leadership in Housing Award, the 2011 Energy Star Builder of the Year award and the 2010 Department of Energy’s Building America Partner award. Meritage’s accomplishments in earning these awards include being the first 100% Energy Star production builder; offering the first fully EPA-certified home for Energy Star, Indoor airPLUS and WaterSense; and the first Net Zero Energy production builder in the U.S.

“Meritage has redefined the way homes can and should be built, setting a new standard in production homebuilding,” said Steve Hilton, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Through our work with customers, engineers and Energy Star, we’ve continually advanced our initiatives by giving specific consideration to all features, systems, materials and construction methods to bring homeowners unparalleled energy efficiency and both short- and long-term savings.”

With a variety of homes across the southern and western states, Meritage Homes integrates advanced technologies into their design and building from the ground up. Together, these technologies can save homeowners, on average, 50 percent on their home energy use, compared to standard homes. With optional upgrades, Meritage offers cost effective Net Zero Energy throughout its markets. In 2012, with more than 4,000 home sale closings, the company reduced homeowners’ utility bills by more than $3.5 million every year. These homes eliminate nearly 30 million kWh of electrical demand every year — the equivalent of a 60 watt light bulb being lit for 57,000 years or the emissions from over 4,000 cars.

“EPA is recognizing Meritage Homes for earning EPA’s highest Energy Star award – the 2013 Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award,” said Bob Perciasepe, acting administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Meritage leads the field with their commitment to energy efficiency and demonstrates how all Americans can save energy, save money, and create a healthier environment.”

With every home it builds, the company is focused on creating value and improving family lifestyles through dozens of features that work  together to provide improved home function. The results are homes that are quieter, cleaner, healthier, and have reduced pollution, allergens and dust in the indoor air. The energy-efficient features save money without sacrificing lifestyle or compromising design.

Meritage Homes is the only large national homebuilder to earn the EPA’s Energy Star seal of approval on every home it has built since 2009. These homes meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the EPA and be at least 20 percent more energy-efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC). A third-party certified home energy rater must perform an independent audit and verification to ensure that a home meets Energy Star guidelines.

Meritage will be honored at an awards ceremony on March 26 in Washington, D.C., with other award winners selected from the nearly 20,000 organizations that participate in the Energy Star program.

rsz_raintree_corp_ctr

CBRE Negotiates 57,784 SF Lease at Raintree Corporate Center

 

CBRE negotiated a 57,784 SF lease at Raintree Corporate Center, in a Class A office building at 8800 E. Raintree Dr. in Scottsdale.

Meritage Homes will move its corporate headquarters from office space near the SEC of 85th St. and Perimeter Dr. to Raintree Corporate Center early next year.

Brad Anderson, Bryan Taute and Michael Strittmatter of CBRE’s Phoenix office represented the landlord, iStar Financial, Inc. of New York in negotiating the long-term lease agreement. The tenant was represented by Tom Adelson, also in CBRE’s Phoenix office. The exact terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Scottsdale, Meritage Homes is the ninth-largest public homebuilder in the U.S. based on homes closed in 2011. Meritage builds a variety of homes across the Southern and Western states to appeal to a wide range of buyers, including first-time, move-up, luxury and active adults.

“We are extremely pleased to have such a strong, locally-based group in Meritage Homes join our fantastic project, and look forward to watching them grow throughout the country in the years to come,” said David Sotolov, senior vice president at iStar.

Raintree Corporate Center is located just off the Loop 101 and Raintree Drive, and surrounded by a rich amenity base of resorts, hotels, restaurants, retail and golf courses. The property’s corporate environment includes prominent freeway signage, expansive common areas with upgraded finishes and dramatic mountain views.

The addition of Meritage Homes brings the building to nearly 90% leased.

 

awhh_comm_wood_creek_reserve

Ashton Woods Tops List of Most Trusted Builders in America

Trust is the new currency by which customers evaluate the merits of new-home builders, according to ground-breaking national research of more than 21,500 new- home shoppers in the Lifestory Research Most Trusted Builders in America Study SM.

The study finds that three-fourths of customers (76 percent) report that trust is a critical criterion by which they evaluate the merits of a home builder before making a purchase decision, placing significant emphasis on the perceived trustworthiness of home builder brands. “Home builders need to begin to ask themselves how consumers see their brand in regards to trust if they wish to effectively compete in the current marketplace,” said Lifestory Research President and CEO Eric Snider. “We find that the trust held by a customer toward a home builder is playing a central role among home shoppers as they seek to reduce uncertainty in the high-risk decision of purchasing a new home.”

The Lifestory Research Most Trusted Builders in America Study tracks 133 home builder brands in the top 27 housing markets in the United States.  However, for purposes of examining builders at the national level for this release, a builder brand was included if a builder was in the top 30 builders in the United States and was selling homes in at least three markets.  Based on this, the following brands were included in the national study of the Most Trusted Builders in America: Ashton Woods, Beazer, Centex, DR Horton, David Weekley, Del Webb, Drees, Gehan, Highland (TX), KB Home, KHovnanian, Lennar, M/I, Meritage, Perry, Pulte, Richmond American, Ryan, Ryland, Shea, Standard Pacific, Taylor Morrison, Toll Brothers, Trilogy by Shea Homes, and Woodside.

The Most Trusted Builder in America was Ashton Woods, the nation’s 25th largest builder selling homes in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Orlando, Phoenix, Raleigh, San Antonio and Tampa.  Ashton Woods produced a Net Trust Quotient Score of 111, followed in order by David Weekley Homes (108.5), Trilogy by Shea Homes (106.9), Perry Homes (106.8), Drees Homes (106.8), Meritage Homes (104.2), Highland Homes of Texas (104.2), Taylor Morrison Homes (101.6), M/I Homes (100.8), and Woodside Homes (100.8). Trilogy by Shea Homes also was recognized as the Most Trusted Active Adult Builder in America.

In a shift away from product usage and satisfaction research, Lifestory Research’s investigation focuses on how brands influence the purchase behavior of home shoppers. “We have seen a fundamental shift in consumer psychology that has occurred in response to the massive social revolution that has taken place over the last several years,” Snider said.  “Consumers are referencing customer advocacy organizations less for product information; instead, people are turning to their peers, friends, and digital social networks to garner opinions.  Moreover, in the process of shopping for a home, consumers rely upon their direct experience they have with the multitude of builder brands in a given marketplace.  As a result, we have seen brands rise in importance in the consumer purchase process.”

The study, in its first year, evaluates attitudes from thousands of consumers who are actively in the process of shopping for a new home in one of the top 27 housing markets in the United States.  Trust is measured through the Lifestory Research Net Trust Quotient Score.  This score is based on the fundamental perspective that every organization’s customer can be divided into three categories: “advocates” are customers who feel a significant trust toward a given brand; “neutrals” are customers who trust a specific brand, but they do not see a specific brand as standing on the shoulders of other brands in regards to trust; and “antagonists” are skeptics who have little, if any, trust in a specific brand.

The most effective way to gauge the trust of a brand is to take the percentage of customers who are trust advocates and subtract the percentage of people who are dis-trusters.  Scores are standardized (using z scores and t scores) with 100 being equal to the overall average.  Scores can array above and below the 100 point average.  Each Net Trust Quotient Score represents the net value of a brand on trust.  A brand with a high positive score is an indication that the brand is trusted by a large portion of the target market.  Conversely, a low score is an indication that the brand is not trusted by the consumer marketplace.

To qualify to participate in the study, participants must have met all of the following criteria:  Household located in the metro area of one of the 27 markets in the study (see link for list of markets), a household income in excess of $50,000, between the ages of 25 and 69, actively shopping for a home during the last 90 days, and with intentions of owning their next home (versus renting).

Detailed information about the study can be found at www.lifestoryresearch.com/builderrankings.

carrie_cover

Innovative CEO Martz offers advice on being an effective boss

Today is National Boss Day, so it’s the perfect time to get a business owner’s view on what it takes to be a successful and effective boss.

Carrie Martz founded the Martz Agency — the largest female-owned advertising and public relations firm in Arizona — in 1980 after spending a couple of years in the corporate world. Her client roster includes Chateau on Central, Pacific Links International, Mirabel, Yurbuds and dozens more.

Martz is known as a hands-on owner/CEO, a leader, an innovator, and a philanthropist whose Home of Miracles program has helped raise more than $8 million for Phoenix Children’s Hospital and other local charities. So, to celebrate National Boss Day, Az Business magazine asked one of the Valley’s most effective leaders to talk a little bit about being a great boss.

Az Business: What do you think your employees say about your management style behind your back?
Carrie Martz: I would imagine they would say the same to my face.  I am tough but fair and have a good memory for details.

AB: What qualities do you think an effective boss needs to have?
CM: Be upbeat, optimistic, set the tone for the business, be as transparent as you can. Never stop learning and always listen.

AB: Was there a significant lesson you learned early in your career that made you a more effective boss?  
CM: Don’t get too personally involved. Remember this is a business. It isn’t personal. If someone isn’t working out, help them find a better fit.

AB: How is being a boss in a creative industry different from being a boss in a more traditional business?
CM: You have to foster creativity and individualism.  A few more egos to manage and work with, but that comes with the territory. Plus, we must create a working environment that is fun and engaging.

AB: If you could give one piece of advice to women who aspire to be a boss like you, what would it be?
CM: Give up balance in life. You will never be everything to everyone all the time.  Just go for every opportunity you can with all you have. Make sure you have great back up in all aspects of your life.

To learn more about Martz Agency, visit http://www.martzagency.com/.

Spice It Up Food Truck

Valley’s Best Food Trucks All in One Place at Vistancia

Enjoy Vistancia’s Food Truck Experience from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27 featuring gourmet food samplings from 11 of the Valley’s best food trucks, tours of 11 model homes throughout the Vistancia community, Blackstone Country Club clubhouse tours and menu tastings.

The West Valley’s first food truck tour begins at the Vistancia Information Center, 12026 W. Lone Mountain Parkway in Peoria, where guests will receive a map of the gourmet food trucks located throughout the community’s builder model homes by K. Hovnanian Homes, Meritage Homes, Rosewood Homes, Shea Homes, Taylor Morrison and T.W. Lewis by David Weekley Homes. Complimentary food samplings will be available from all food trucks to the first 400 guests during this open to the public community event.

Located amongst a stunning backdrop of Sonoran desert mountain beauty, guests can rediscover Vistancia and all it has to offer as they enjoy 11 diverse gourmet food trucks featuring Carte Blanche, Hey Joe!, Filipino Street Food, Island Loco, Luncha Libre, Mojo Bowl, Pizza People, Q UP BBQ, Spice It Up!, Sweet Jonez Cupcakes, Tom’s BBQ Pig Rig and Torched Goodness.

Specialty food offerings will range from Chipotle mushroom and mozzarella  quesadillas, smoked beef brisket sliders, pulled pork on coleslaw, bacon mac and cheese bites and ancho chile braised steak tacos to vanilla, sea salt caramel and chocolate crème brulee; mini cupcakes, strawberry banana, orange and pineapple mango smoothies; with gluten free and vegetarian options.

Blackstone at Vistancia’s private Blackstone Country Club will feature tours of the club and menu tastings from an active Paella station featuring pork loin, chorizo, clams, mussels, shrimp and saffron rice, located in the courtyard of the stunning hacienda-style clubhouse.
In addition, The Village at Vistancia community will be offering tours of the 15,000-square-foot Mountain Vista Club and the Blackstone at Vistancia will feature previews of new custom homesites during the special event.

Vistancia offers the best in family life and neighborhood involvement among miles of open space away from the city and close to what’s especially important in life. The community offers a wide range of living choices and amenities for enjoying truly diverse experiences.

“We’ve created a community that offers a wide range of living choices and amenities for enjoying varied experiences at Vistancia,” said Mark Hammons, vice president/general manager of Vistancia. “From the playful spirit at The Village at Vistancia to a comfortable luxury found in Blackstone at Vistancia and the genuine, overall feeling of being connected by pure, unspoiled nature away from the bustle of the city, we do have the best of everything,” Hammons said.

“Master planned communities like Vistancia are very appealing to today’s homebuyers as they provide exceptional value with a variety of housing choices, architectural integrity, recreational amenities, multiple schools on site and magnificent nature trails such as the 3.5-mile Discovery Trail, all with respect for the natural beauty of the land and plenty of open space,” said Hammons.

A quicker access to metropolitan Phoenix with the opening of Vistancia’s second entrance off of the Loop 303 and Lone Mountain Parkway has accelerated the vibrancy of the Vistancia master plan.

Distant mountain ranges provide a perfect setting for Vistancia featuring dramatic views of White Peak, Twin Buttes and the Bradshaw Mountains in a pristine desert landscape.
Take Loop 303 to the new Lone Mountain Parkway (exit 127) to enter the Vistancia community. The Vistancia Information Center is located at the guard-gated entrance of Blackstone at Vistancia. For more information about Vistancia or the Food Truck Experience event Oct. 27 visit www.vistancia.com or call 623-933-6233.

Meritage Homes

Meritage Homes Announces Pricing Of Its Common Stock Offering

Meritage Homes Corporation, a leading U.S. homebuilder, announced that it has priced a registered public offering of 2,300,000 shares of its common stock at $34.75 per share, for net proceeds of approximately $75.7 million after underwriting discounts and estimated offering expenses. The offering was upsized from the original 2,000,000 shares.

As part of the offering, the company granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 345,000 additional shares, which, if exercised in full, would result in combined net proceeds of approximately $87.1 million. The offering is expected to close on July 13, 2012, subject to customary closing conditions. The company plans to use the proceeds received from the offering for working capital and other general corporate purposes.

Citigroup, JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank Securities acted as joint book-running managers for the offering. BofA Merrill Lynch acted as co-manager for the offering.

For more information on Meritage Homes, visit their website www.meritagehomes.com.

dmb associates

DMB Associates Names 7 Builders To Be Part Of Eastmark

The first phase of residential development at DMB Associates’ Eastmark includes seven of Arizona’s most respected homebuilders, adding more than 700 new homes in Mesa, Arizona. In keeping with Eastmark’s commitment to create a mix of residential options for its neighborhoods, the mix of builders includes national, publicly traded, regional and local homebuilders. The builder roster includes: Maracay Homes (NYSE: WY), Mattamy Homes, Taylor Morrison, Woodside Homes, Trend Homes, Standard Pacific Homes (NYSE: SPF) and Meritage Homes Corporation (NYSE: MTH).

“The commitment of these builders represents an unprecedented level of confidence in Arizona’s residential market backed by promising economic indicators,” said Dea McDonald, DMB Senior Vice President and Eastmark General Manager. “We are seeing a resurgence in homebuilding activity in Arizona and in the East Valley. These builders see the value in Eastmarks’ strategic location and integrated plan, which positions this community to be an economic and employment engine for the East Valley and greater region.”

According to a report by Arizona State University’s Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W.P. Carey School of Business, the inventory of previously owned houses for sale in the metro Phoenix area dropped 54 percent in April 2012 from a year earlier. This lack of supply is driving the demand of new homes, sales of which surged 43 percent from April 2011.

“As the first large-scale community to launch in Arizona in nearly a decade, Eastmark is being closely watched,” said Charley Freericks, DMB President. “We are designing the community with the ‘new normal’ in mind. People are putting higher values on a sense of community, proximity to employment and environmental stewardship. Each building partner is creating designs specifically for Eastmark and all are equally committed to the vision of this community.”

Homebuilders are accredited at the Energy Star 3 level for constructing energy efficient homes. They will soon break ground in preparation for Eastmark’s grand opening in May 2013. The seven builders’ combined investment in land and improvements is nearly $50 million and hundreds of jobs are expected across the ten neighborhoods within this first phase.

Each neighborhood will take advantage of the planned 100-acre Great Park and their own community parks, while also encouraging connections to the planned employment and retail centers. The first phase of development features 12 parks throughout Eastmark, providing gathering points for neighborhoods and enhancing the sense of community.

DMB’s Eastmark Phase One Builders and Number of Homesites:

  • Maracay Homes (NYSE: WY) – 165
  • Mattamy Homes – 163
  • Taylor Morrison – 103
  • Woodside Homes – 96
  • Trend Homes – 84
  • Standard Pacific Homes (NYSE: SPF) – 58
  • Meritage Homes Corporation (NYSE: MTH) – 40

At five square miles (3,200 acres), Eastmark is a vibrant, integrated and evolving regional community poised as “The Heart and Hub of the East Valley.” Eastmark sits at the center of a major transportation hub anchored by the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, three major freeways, numerous businesses and acclaimed educational institutions. An expansive 100-acre Great Park connects residential areas, resort components, employment cores, recreational spaces and commerce. Eastmark is the largest privately held, contiguous property in the Southeast Valley.

To learn more about Eastmark, visit www.Eastmark.com. Visit DMB Associates at dmbinc.com.

Future of Technology - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

The Future of Technology In Arizona: Where Do We Go From Here?

The future of technology: Science and engineering turned Arizona’s first 100 years upside down, so where do we go from here?


Think about the achievements in technology that came during Arizona’s first 100 years.

  • The first transcontinental telephone service between New York and San Francisco (1915).
  • The world’s first radio broadcasting station goes on the air  (1920).
  • Television has its first successful demonstration in the United States (1927).
  • James Watson and Francis Crick at Cambridge University describe the structure of the DNA molecule (1953).
  • The microchip is invented (1959).
  • The first test-tube baby is born (1978).
  • IBM introduces its first personal computer (1981).
  • Cellular telephones are introduced to consumers (1982).
  • Development of the World Wide Web begins (1989).
  • Dolly the sheep becomes the first mammal cloned from an adult cell (1996).
  • Apple introduces the iPod (2001).
  • Facebook is launched (2004).
  • Scientists discover how to use human skin cells to create embryonic stem cells (2007).

They are all innovations that have changes the way we lives our lives and do business.

Where will technology take us as Arizona enters its second century? How will it affect our lives? Here are technologies and scenarios that some of Arizona’s best and brightest minds see playing out in the state’s next 100 years.


The Future of Technology In Arizona


Future of TechnologyMark Bonsall
General manager and CEO
SRP

If I had to pick one technology with the potential to truly revolutionize the industry it would be finding affordable ways to store energy on a very large scale.  This would increase the value of intermittent renewable resources like wind and solar and could transform electricity into a more common commodity.  It isn’t clear that this is possible, but with the growing focus on electric vehicles and other storage technologies, it is certain there will be significant gains over the next century.


Future of TechnologyMark Edwards
Vice president of corporate development and marketing
Algae Biosciences, Inc.

Algae-based food, fiber, feed, fertilizer, fuels, and advanced medicines will transform those industries, as we know them today. The current serious problems of waste and pollution will be solved with sustainable algae-based production that recycles and reuses nutrients, water, and energy while regenerating air, water and soils. Our children’s children will have sufficient natural resources to produce the food, energy and transportation they will need.

Algae Biosciences is Scottsdale-based and focused on discovering and unlocking the powers of algae to resolve critical human issues – nutrition, health, energy and environment.


Future of TechnologySteve Sanghi
President and CEO
Microchip Technology Inc.

If I had to pick one (technology that will have biggest impact on Arizona’s next 100 years) it would be the renewable-energy complex of technologies. For Arizona, the primary renewable-energy opportunities can be broken into three categories—measurement, conservation and harvesting.  The world’s oil supply will eventually run out, and Arizona has more days of sun than most areas.  We must continue working to tap into this ever-present energy source.  At the same time, we must focus on developing the technologies that will enable individuals and companies to both measure and conserve their energy usage.  For example, Arizona has the potential to play a key role in developing the technologies that will be employed at the home, industrial and utility levels to make the burgeoning “smart grid” work.


Future of TechnologyJohn Lefebvre
President
Suntech America

The amount of energy generated through renewable sources like solar power has the potential to surpass that derived from fossil fuels in the next 50 years. We’ve already seen remarkable technological innovations in the solar field to increase efficiency, develop solutions for energy storage, and further reduce costs, with further improvements on the horizon. With over 300 days of sunshine, Arizona is naturally poised to take advantage of these advancements and its abundant resource by generating clean electricity without carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.


Future of TechnologyDiane Brossart
President
Valley Forward Association

The biggest issues facing Arizona over the next 100 years are managing a finite water supply and transitioning to a clean energy economy. Green technology and innovation will create economic and environmentally sound solutions, making Arizona the leading destination for living wisely and sustainably in a desert.

Valley Forward Association promotes cooperative efforts to improve the environment and livability of Valley communities.


Future of TechnologyKelly Mott Lacroix
Graduate research associate
Water Resources Research Center in Tucson

We do not have a silver bullet to solve our water supply and demand challenges The state and its water issues are too diverse.  Rather, there are many smaller pieces from the simple and small scale, such as rainwater harvesting, to the large and complex, such as increased reclaimed water use, that when taken together will constitute a solution.


Future of TechnologyBill Hubert
President and founder
Cology, Inc.

Universal, personal-application based technology in general, and highly-sophisticated, profile-driven applications that help consumers (students and parents in our industry) not only gain access to a broader spectrum of programs and services available – but an interactive relationship with providers that will help both sides of the “economic equation” benefit from the transaction.

Scottsdale-based Cology, Inc. is a leading provider of end-to-end private student loan origination and repayment servicing solutions for lenders.


Future of TechnologyCR Herro
Vice president of environmental affairs
Meritage Homes

In the next century, climate will take the lead role in transforming Arizona and its buildings into energy-producing solar collectors. Arizona has the ability to become the largest producer of renewable, clean energy nationwide. In residential construction, that has already started.  The first cost-effective solar communities debuted in Arizona. Meritage Homes introduced the nation’s first net-zero homes in Arizona, saving owners both energy and money. And Arizona utilities lead the country in sponsoring energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.  Arizona is shaping up to be a state powered by the sun in every way imaginable.


Future of TechnologyCatherine Niemiec
President
Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine & Acupuncture, College & Clinic

Technology will be used to not only focus on the tiny gene, but to see the bigger picture of the bio-energetic field of the body. Not unlike what you would see in a Star Trek movie, technology would be used to assess and heal both the body and mind, taking into account the bio-electric system. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine has been focused on individualized medicine for thousands of years, with each treatment and formula specifically adapted to an individual, changing as the person changes and moves toward health. Thus, this dynamic medicine is the forefather of modern “individualized medicine” and can work well to make modern biotechnology more effective.


Future of TechnologyDanny Murphy
Airport director
Sky Harbor International Airport

With the explosion of mobile devices, coupled with high speed wireless networks, there is a new generation that will live their lives on mobile technology, using smartphones, touchpads and other mobile devices.
In the past we used to print so many information pieces about the airport. And while we still provide printed materials to an extent, our focus is on providing information via the web and for mobile units.


Future of TechnologyDr. Grace Caputo
Director
Phoenix Children’s Hospital/Maricopa Medical Center Pediatric Residency

Moving to a system where we utilize electronic medical records will really give us the ability to shape and improve health care across the board. Pediatric healthcare will be heavily impacted as we have just started to unravel genetic bases diseases. In the future, we hope to understand the genetic process of diseases so we can treat them and ultimately prevent diseases with wellness and lifestyle changes.


Future of TechnologyCatherine Anaya
Anchor
CBS 5 News

I think the internet technology we currently use to help in our news gathering will become a bigger factor in how we do things. Smart phones  (or whatever replaces them in the next 100 years) will replace cameras and studios creating more intimacy and accessibility. That accessibility will make it much easier to hold those in power more accountable for their actions which I hope will have a positive impact on how the state’s laws are created, shaped and enforced.


Future of TechnologyMahesh Seetharam, M.D.
Medical oncologist and hematologist
Arizona Oncology

Personalized medicine through whole genome sequencing (genomics), proteomics and noninvasive imaging will pave the way for the future.  Current research to evaluate for circulating cancer cells, and evaluation for cancer in urine samples are already being studied, and holds promise for the future.


Kenneth J. Biehl, M.D.
Radiation oncologist
Arizona Oncology

Immensely precise and conformal radiation treatments in the form of stereotactic radiation, high dose-rate radiation and molecularly targeted radiation will allow radiation oncologists surgical precision in assisting the people of Arizona to improve cancer cure and control. Just as the technological advances in the past have allowed women diagnosed with breast cancer to pursue breast conservation therapy rather than mastectomy, and have allowed men to preserve erectile function with prostate cancer, future advances will allow more Arizonans diagnosed with cancer to enjoy a better quality of life along with improved cure rates.


Michael Crow
President
Arizona State University

The biggest single technology to impact the future of Arizona will be individualized learning technologies that allow individuals to master subjects in ways customized to their particular types of intelligence and learning modalities.  This technology will allow people to learn more quickly and more deeply and more broadly. Those places, hopefully like Arizona, that enable and empower this kind of learning will see tremendous positive impacts from this technological development.


Where to invest in technology

Patricia Ternes, a financial advisor with RBC Wealth Management in Scottsdale says these are the four technology sectors to invest in going into Arizona’s next century:

1. Water 
Growing imbalances in global water supply and demand are well documented. Within that heading, the companies involved with water fall into four categories: (1) activities and technologies that increase supply; (2) the building of the necessary water structure; (3) processes that help reduce demand; and (4) water management.

2. Agriculture
When you look at the growth of the world’s population companies that are involved in agriculture and food production will continue to be attractive and important.

3. Health
Another important sector will be health care services and life sciences tools and services that provide better quality of life for the aging population.

4. The unknown
The fourth sector doesn’t exist yet.  Advances are happening so fast that something new will be created that will change our lives.


Arizona Business Magazine January/February 2012

Arizona Centennial Series - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

Arizona Centennial Series: Looking Ahead At The State’s Next Century

Arizona Centennial — Forward thinking: Algae, solar, personalized medicine or none of the above? Some of Arizona’s greatest minds look ahead at the state’s next century

A century ago, Arizonans with an entrepreneurial spirit ventured deep into the deserts and mountains in search of gold and copper. Today, as Arizona celebrates its 100th birthday, their counterparts are exploring the unknown frontiers of biotechnology and renewable energy.

“Imagine the technologies of 100 years ago,” says Steven Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “Now, think about how far we have come. Only a very few science fiction writers even envisioned the technologies that are now a part of our everyday lives. It is very likely that (100 years from now), the mix of industries and companies will be very different. There will be subsectors that don’t even exist yet. One thing is sure, there will be more technology than ever to drive our economy and improve our quality of life.”

So with 100 years in the history books, what’s in store for Arizona’s next century? One expert says algae will be Arizona’s 21st-century gold rush. Will Arizona’s yet-to-be-written history prove him to be right?

As part of the Arizona Centennial Series, Arizona Business Magazine asks some of the state’s greatest minds how they see Arizona taking shape over the next decade and beyond.


Economy

Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University

The next 5 years will be a period of agonizingly slow recovery from the Great Recession. Arizona employment will return to post-recession levels within two to three years, but new, more frugal spending habits will put a damper on growth. The next 25 years has the potential to be a period of strong growth. Under historical growth assumptions, Arizona’s population will almost double within 25 years, as the state grows to more than 10 million residents.  Phoenix will have a population between 7 and 8 million, larger than the entire state today.  Immigration will exceed 125,000 every year by 2030.  Over the next 25 years, to accommodate growth, more than 1 million single-family homes will be needed, a seemingly impossible pace of building compared to conditions today.In the next 100 years, the gap between those with education, training and skills and those without will grow even greater as technology will benefit those who develop, control and use it.

Lee Vikre, senior vice president, organizational development and consulting, BestCompaniesAZ, LLC

In the next 10 years, the Arizona workforce will be more diverse than ever before, with wide spans in age ranges of workers and greater cultural diversity. White males may become the minority. Entrepreneurship will be ingrained in workers of all ages who were affected by the recession. This entrepreneurial, independent atmosphere will continue to define Arizona. Homegrown, innovative businesses in the fields of technology, manufacturing, healthcare, and sustainable energy will prosper. The movement towards creating great workplaces will move from a novelty to mainstream as both workers and management discover the competitive advantage of a culture of trust.

Patricia Ternes, financial advisor, RBC Wealth Management, Scottsdale

For the next 100 years, we need to address the concept that the world is flat.  Right now, we have multiple currencies and multiple stock markets. The financial services industry needs to better integrate the products and services we offer our clients worldwide. In 100 years, there will probably be huge, world-wide investment markets that are available to everyone 24/7.  This will increase the complexity of planning one’s financial future.


Technology

Steven Zylstra, president and CEO, Arizona Technology Council

In the next 10 years, the biosciences and renewable energy (and even the broader clean tech) sectors will become significant components of our economy.  Aerospace and defense, semiconductor and electronics, ITC, and optics will continue to grow.  The technology sector will be an ever-increasing component of our economic landscape, leading to more diversity.

Mark Edwards, PhD., vice president of corporate development and marketing, Algae Biosciences, Inc., Scottsdale

Arizona has the critical elements for algae production including lots of sunshine, waste and brine water for nutrients, CO2, and cheap land.  The state has a competitive advantage for algae production and will become the algae capital world. Arizona will go from two firms producing algae in 2011 to 200 algae firms in 2020. Arizona producers will cultivate algae for food, feed, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, cosmeceuticals, nutraceuticals, functional foods, medicines and advance compounds. In the next 100 years, Algae will become the leading industry in Arizona, eclipsing tourism; more than 80 percent of all medicines, vaccines and pharmaceuticals will be made predominately from advanced compounds derived from algae; our fossil-based transportation system will transform to a sustainable algae-based transportation system.

Steve Sanghi, president and CEO, Microchip Technology Inc., Chandler

Given this expansion and the number of semiconductor players that have operations in Arizona, the semiconductor industry is likely to have a significant impact in this state over the next 10 years. This expansion will lead to a sharp increase in the growth of well-paying, high-tech jobs in our state. Take the case of medical advancements.  Over the next 10 years, we will see a significant expansion in the use of semiconductors for surgical and analysis equipment; in portable, wearable and implantable medical devices; and in the cost-cutting use of remote medicine, where patients will be monitored by medical professionals in lower-cost regions.

I will, however, add one cautionary note to the optimistic picture I have just painted.  The formation of new start-up companies is driven by the availability of venture-capital funding. Arizona continues to be plagued by a scarcity of risk capital, as most venture-capital firms are located in California, Texas and Massachusetts. The result is that those states continue to attract the bulk of VC-backed startups.  While Arizona has been a technology hotbed in recent years, we must fix this problem if we are to remain the “Silicon Desert.”


Environment

Diane Brossart, president, Valley Forward Association

In the next 10 years, Arizona will diversify its economy through green jobs and technology. Renewable energy sectors will proliferate with solar leading the way. In the next 100 years, we will become the solar capitol of the world. Light rail connects Valley cities. Commuter rail takes us across the nation. Arizona is a burgeoning hub of economic activity. Parks and open space dot the landscape. Innovation and technology abound. Our legislature is enlightened and the green revolution leads to new water sources in our vibrant desert oasis, now free of particulate pollution.

Kelly Mott Lacroix, graduate research associate, Water Resources Research Center, Tucson

Over the next 100 years, our water management will need to be flexible and progressive enough to allow us to prosper in the face of supply uncertainty from changes in climate and the continuing growth of our economy.  Arizonans will have to make decisions about what we value most about this state and those decisions will dictate how the water issue changes Arizona.

Larry Howell, CEO and president of KEBAWK Response Technologies, a Scottsdale-based engineering company that responds immediately to hazardous or catastrophic disasters

Environmentally-conscious companies like KEBAWK are going to continue to grow and have a much more pivotal role in growing the economy in the next 10 years as businesses strive to be as sustainable as possible. What was once a trendy, cottage industry is now a must for businesses.


Health

Dr. Grace Caputo, director, Phoenix Children’s Hospital/Maricopa Medical Center Pediatric Residency

I see medical education as a dominant force in Arizona, especially with the growth of the University of Arizona campus downtown. Innovative pediatric care will continue to be a highlight at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, but healthcare overall will continue to improve our community as birth to age 5 is the fastest growing population in Arizona.

Catherine Niemiec, president, Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine & Acupuncture, College & Clinic

In the future, acupuncture and oriental medicine (AOM) will fill the gaps created by high insurance rates, fewer primary care physicians, and seemingly incurable or chronic conditions. Acupuncture can be available for the same cost as a co-payment, supporting the need of those who have no insurance or who need to seek different care beyond what their insurance will cover. A report on “Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States” cites widespread use of CAM, with more future visits to CAM providers than to primary care physicians (with most of these visits paid out-of-pocket).

Kenneth J. Biehl, M.D., radiation oncologist, Arizona Oncology

Long-term changes for the use of radiation in cancer care will involve a combination of treatment directed at the molecular level and immense precision with external radiation. Targeting cancer with radiation at the molecular level has been developed for only a handful of cancers to date. The struggle to find and develop cures at the molecular level will be one of the determining factors in how the people of Arizona will receive cancer treatment for the next hundred years.

Mahesh Seetharam, M.D., medical oncologist and hematologist, Arizona Oncology

In the next decade, electronic medical records will continue to evolve to help coordinate care between the various providers to optimize outcomes. It is very difficult to predict given the current labile healthcare environment.  The concept of universal healthcare is very possible, but with that comes the need for additional providers and resources to provide the necessary care.  Personalized medicine could be a reality in the next decade or two, and this will certainly improve outcomes.


Banking

Lynn Crane, executive vice president, bank operations and services, Mutual of Omaha Bank in Arizona

Mobile devices will replace plastic cards.  This will completely change the “check out” experience at retailers. Arizona shoppers will be able to scan merchandise as they pick it up off the shelf and make payment without stopping at a checkout counter when they leave the store. On the negative side, this transition to non-traditional delivery channels will make bank branches less relevant. Online financial consultants will replace branch employees and a trip to the bank will become a thing of the past for Arizonans. Some branches will close and the industry will require a smaller workforce. The future value of currency will not rely on paper, but on digital data, so heightened security concerns and demand for data protection will prevail.  As a trusted source of security, banks will play a much larger role in helping Arizonans secure their valuables and their future.

Craig Doyle, Arizona market president, Comerica Bank

Some of the industry segments critical to our future are aerospace and defense, semi-conductor manufacturing, business services technology, health care and renewable energy.  Effectively supporting their growth requires a deep understanding of supply chains and related capital markets.  It will take time, but the Arizona banking industry should help facilitate the appropriate capital markets so that Arizona is competitive with other major economic regions in helping companies, form, grow and mature.


Education

Michael M. Crow, president, Arizona State University

Within 10 years, ASU will be America’s finest example of a widely accessible research intensive public university and in this mode it will be capable of operating at a very rapid and large scale for educational competitiveness for Arizona.  In this mode, the university will have deployed its assets to maximize the competitive position of Arizona through its role as a comprehensive knowledge enterprise producing fantastic graduates, ideas and new technologies. ASU will be a critical asset for Arizona going forward over the next 100 years as the knowledge based economy or at least knowledge driven adaptation and innovation to the uncertainties and the complexities that lie ahead in the areas of global finance, economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability and so forth will be such that what universities like ASU do will be more important than ever.  This is true specifically for ASU in the context of Arizona as Arizona in the next 100 years grows and matures into America’s preeminent example of a free enterprise driven innovation catalyzed state.

Bill Hubert, president and founder of Scottsdale-based Cology, Inc., which helps lenders enter the student loan market

At some point, the cost of education is going to have to “normalize” within the overall economy.  For decades, cost of attendance, whether private or public, traditional or trade-based, has increased at much higher than normal rate.  Our business of providing financial services that connect students and families with a broad spectrum of relationship based funding sources will certainly help increase access and drive down overall costs – of program administration, funding sources, and even institutional administrative costs.

Deanna Salazar, senior vice president and general counsel of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

I believe that by supporting community outreach efforts similar to the Green Schoolhouse Series, which makes schools healthy and green “inside and out” through the development of an integrated health and wellness curriculum and green gardens to promote nutrition and wellness in disadvantaged schools, BCBSAZ will continue to be positioned as a leader who is genuinely taking care of the health of Arizonans, in both traditional and non-traditional ways that create a better future for all. For years to come, it’s BCBSAZ’s hope for the green gardens to teach children about healthy eating and physical activity by allowing them to use and maintain the garden.


Marketing

Kristin Bloomquist, executive vice president, general manager, Cramer-Krasselt

As I look into a crystal ball, the marketing world as we know it will change dramatically in the next 100 years. It will be forever changed even in the next 10 years. However, brands will not go away. In fact, they will be even more valuable both in the next decade and in the next century if they can evolve as we evolve, as our technology evolves. Those brands that increase in value over time will have very different ways of communicating with consumers. Everything will be personalized. Everything will happen in real time. There’s a good chance that 100 years from now, as far as commercial messaging and targeting goes, “Minority Report” will be seen as an amazingly accurate forward-looking documentary rather than a work of fiction.

Rob Davidson, co-owner of Phoenix-based Advertising firm Davidson & Belluso

Think of how social media has drastically impacted communications with customers and prospects in recent years. Marketing and advertising will keep changing at an even faster rate as new technology becomes available. Smart phones and tablets have already become standard channels of any marketing plan. Companies who stay on top of the latest marketing tools and learn about their customers changing behaviors are the ones who will be successful in reaching their target markets.


Energy

Mark Bonsall, general manager and CEO, SRP

In the next decade, the growth in wind and solar will continue to be strong, but will still provide a relatively small portion of the needed energy just because the scale of what is needed is so large. It is likely most of the new baseload resources will be fueled by natural gas.  New drilling and recovery technology is providing access to vast quantities of natural gas within the U.S. at relatively low costs, at least so far.  This provides a good bridge to develop systems that can improve the efficiency of solar systems, address the intermittent nature of most renewable resources, find safe and more cost-effective ways to deploy nuclear power, and provide the time for innovative new ideas we aren’t even aware of now.

John Lefebvre, president, Suntech America

With supportive policies, the solar industry will continue to grow and flourish, creating a major employment sector for the state. Additionally, every year the cost of solar is driven down, getting closer and closer to achieving grid parity in the U.S. As solar becomes a market-driven industry, Arizona is poised to be a major global solar industry hub, particularly with the continued development of large-scale solar projects. Ultimately, I hope to see energy generated from solar grow to a significant percent of the U.S. energy supply portfolio and eliminate our dependence on foreign oil, providing a low-cost solution to power our homes and cars. With solar, the sky’s the limit.


Housing

Rachel Lang and Marcy Briggs, loan officers for the Briggs-Lang team of Cobalt Mortgage

The rental market will continue to strengthen with long-term renters. We also see a stabilization within the Arizona real estate market due to the mortgage underwriting guidelines remaining more conservative than they were five years ago, and slightly less conservative five years from now.

Alan Boughton, director of commercial operations, W.J. Maloney Plumbing

As the population in the West increases and the demand for water intensifies by a seemingly unpredictable water supply and snow pack, innovation in low-flow plumbing fixtures could be our industry’s greatest impact on Arizona as more people are forced to live with less water.

CR Herro, vice president, environmental affairs, Meritage Homes

Homes will be built to work better, use fewer resources, be healthier, and adjust to the needs of owners. On the fringe of the market today are homes that can adjust the transparency of windows, extend and retract solar shades, turn on lights, change thermostat settings over a smart phone, and achieve net-zero energy demand. These changes allow homes to adapt to the unique needs of its occupants, offer more control, and waste less energy and resources (money) in their operation.


Transportation

Danny Murphy, Airport director, Sky Harbor International Airport

The biggest evolution our industry will experience is a transformation of the entire national air transportation system to avoid gridlock in air travel, called “NextGen.” This means moving from ground-based technologies to a new and more dynamic satellite-based technology.  While airport delays are minimal in Arizona, our passengers are impacted most when traveling to and from other locations and this technology will greatly improve that. Over the next 100 years, continental investment and enhancements to the state’s main airports will be critical to serve the needs of Arizona’s growing population.


Entertainment

Brad Casper, president, Phoenix Suns

In continuing to operate at the forefront of innovation, the Suns will offer fans the most technologically advanced atmosphere in professional sports, while emerging as the most winning franchise in NBA history. Through strategic partnerships, the Suns will act as a catalyst towards creating a sustainable entertainment and business environment, unmatched by any NBA/WNBA organization.

Catherine Anaya, chief journalist, KPHO CBS 5 News

I think in the next 100 years the marriage between television and computers will be such that we will be doing everything we do on a computer. There will still be a place for television news. However, I don’t think we’ll see it in the studio format we’ve been accustomed to seeing. I think we’ll end up shooting and broadcasting our news via our smart phones or whatever those evolve into in time. As a result, I think it will create more intimacy and interaction among Arizonans. That may or may not be a good thing as familiarity lines will get blurred.

Teri Agosta, general manager, Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort

The hospitality industry will continue to drive revenue into the Arizona market through increased travelers, due to the aging demographic, who will have more leisure time and money to spend. Also business travel will continue to grow as corporations realize people need direct contact with team members and clients to build a successful business, and webinars and teleconferencing do not meet these needs.  Also, our consistent weather will become more valuable to travelers, who will scrutinize their travel spending even more.

Melody Hudson, public relations manager, Gila River Gaming Enterprises

The opportunity for new job creation will become more prevalent than ever before with potential capital expansion opportunities which could result in not only new construction positions, but new positions within the Enterprises’ casinos as well. This potential growth could also result in an increase of revenues for both local and national businesses that supply goods and services to the Enterprise. Additionally, potential growth from not only Gila River Gaming  Enterprises, but the gaming industry in general in Arizona,  would result in larger amounts of funding going to the state for education, tourism, wildlife conservation and emergency services.

Carey Pena, co-anchor, 3TV News at 10 p.m.

There is a generally accepted theory of human knowledge that says:  today, we know 5 percent of what we will know in 50 years. In other words, in 50 years, 95 percent of what we will know will have been discovered in the past 50 years.  That makes it hard to imagine what 100 years will look like.

Arizona Business Magazine January/February 2012

 

Valley Forward's Crescordia Awards Winners

Crescordia Awards Spotlight Those Making A Difference In Our Communities

Crescordia Awards spotlight those making a difference in our communities

The U.S. 60 Gonzales Pass widening project has earned the coveted President’s Award (Best of Show) in Valley Forward’s 31st annual Environmental Excellence Awards program, held in partnership with SRP for the tenth consecutive year. Designated the Pinal-Gila Scenic Road, the 10-mile scenic stretch of highway is the Valley’s eastern gateway to the Superstition Wilderness and the Tonto National Forest, which plays host to 5.8 million visitors each year.

While freeways are inherently considered detrimental to environmental quality, this significant project was recognized for exemplifying sensitivity and responsiveness to site conditions, balancing human-made elements with the natural desert landscape to conserve and protect precious resources. The project team made environmental sensitivity a key priority in efforts to improve safety and capacity of the narrow, two-lane roadway by widening it to a four-lane facility.

More than 130 entries were received in Arizona’s oldest and most prestigious awards competition focusing exclusively on environmental initiatives. Winners were announced Sept. 17, at Valley Forward’s awards gala attended by more than 600 community leaders at The Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale.

Valley Forward and SRP presented 19 first-place Crescordia winners and 30 Awards of Merit. The awards set standards for achieving a balance between the built and natural environment in the region’s physical, technical, social and aesthetic development.

In presenting the top award, Valley Forward recognized three civil engineering companies and two landscape architectural firms that teamed with the USDA Forest Service and Arizona Department of Transportation. The project was lauded for reducing environmental impacts, conserving and protecting natural resources and integrating engineering and aesthetic considerations into each phase of the development process.

In addition to the President’s Award, the U.S. Gonzales Pass won a first-place Crescordia Award in the Site Development and Landscape (Public Sector) category. Crescordia is a Greek term meaning, “to grow in harmony,” and the President’s Award is selected from among all Crescordia recipients.

This year Valley Forward unveiled a newly designed Crescordia award created by Vernon Swaback and Nicholas Markwardt of Two Worlds Community Foundation. The prestigious award’s glass, copper and wood design exemplifies a balance between the natural and built environment, incorporating natural materials and local resources.

The breadth and depth of entries in this year’s program spotlights the high priority sustainability has in our growing metropolex,” said Diane Brossart, president of Valley Forward. “These awards have become powerful vehicles in advocating for the preservation of natural resources – air, water, open space and our unique desert environment.”

Two projects received two Crescordia awards each this year – Soleri Bridge and Plaza in Scottsdale and the Intel Ocotillo Campus. The Soleri Bridge and Plaza by renowned artist and architect Paolo Soleri was awarded first-place honors in the Site Development and Landscape (Trails) and Art in Public Places categories. A pedestrian passage, solar calendar and gathering space along the Scottsdale Waterfront, the striking bridge provides a scenic viewpoint over the 60-foot-wide water conveyance channel and includes a 22,000-square-foot plaza, providing a pleasing natural environment within the high-energy atmosphere of downtown Scottsdale.

Intel Corporation’s Ocotillo Semiconductor Manufacturing Campus in Chandler received the Crescordia for Buildings and Structures (Industrial & Public Works) along with the Environmental Stewardship – SRP Award. The four-million-square-foot campus is the first of its kind in the world to receive Silver Certification under the LEED Existing Building: Operations & Maintenance green building rating system. The impressive facility minimizes energy and water use, conserving natural resources and reducing its environmental impact.

“It’s inspiring to see the corporate sector leading the way in environmental stewardship,” said Richard Hayslip, associate general manager of Environmental Management, Policy and Compliance at SRP. “Working with the City of Chandler to achieve aggressive water reuse results, Intel Corporation has significantly reduced its environmental impact in the manufacturing process, demonstrating the potential of public/private partnerships.”

Christine Ten Eyck, founder and principal of Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, served as lead judge for the program. Other jurists include: Kristin Bloomquist, general manager, Cramer-Krasselt; Robert Booker, executive director, Arizona Commission on the Arts; Tamara Caraway, principal project development, Adolfson & Peterson Construction Company; Eddie Jones, principal, Jones Studio Inc., Jerry Meek, president, Desert Star Construction; Marty Sedler, director of Global Utilities and Infrastructure, Intel; Victor Vidales, board member, National and Arizona Audubon; and Dave Wilson, senior landscape architect, EPG.

Valley Forward is a non-profit public interest organization that brings business and civic leaders together to convene thoughtful public dialogue on regional issues and to improve the environment and livability of Valley communities. The organization operates with the belief that business must take a leadership role in solving the complex and sometimes controversial problems that confront growing population centers.

In addition to the U.S. Gonzales Pass, Soleri Bridge and Plaza and Intel’s Ocotillo Campus, Crescordia winners include:

Meritage Homes Launches Net-Zero Revolution (Meritage Homes)

Arizona-based Meritage Homes not only builds homes that cut energy usage by up to 80 percent but introduced the first “net-zero” production home in the state – one that could ultimately produce as much energy as it consumes.

Chandler City Hall (SmithGroup)

This modern, environmentally efficient building seeking LEED Gold Certification is located in the city’s historic downtown and encompasses 137,700 square feet of office space, a public TV studio, art gallery and 330-space parking structure, as well as Council Chambers. Open space and shaded walkways welcome visitors to the complex, which features an array of sustainable design elements.

Santa Fe Freight Depot (Arrington Watkins Architects)

Originally opened in 1929, this historic Phoenix building sat vacant for more than 50 years before being revived in a sensitive and thoughtful preservation project that now serves as headquarters for the Maricopa County Assessor’s Office and is currently seeking LEED Gold Certification.

U-Haul Contributions to Phoenix Metro Area Built Environment (U-Haul International)

Demonstrating a longstanding and strong commitment to sustainability, U-Haul routinely implements building and site improvements that benefit the environment from energy-efficient practices and water-saving techniques to permeable ground cover initiatives and adaptive reuse building conversions.

Paradise Valley Community College – Life Sciences Building (Marlene Imirzian & Associates LLC, Architects)

The innovative Paradise Valley Community College Life Sciences Building uses a diverse pallet of sustainable materials, including concrete floors and masonry, high recycle-content carpet and tack boards, bamboo doors and millwork, providing an environmentally friendly home for its growing anatomy, physiology and biology programs.

Sustainable Landscape Management: Standards for Landscape Care In the Desert Southwest (Arizona Landscape Contractors’ Association)

The Arizona Landscape Contractors’ Association has taken important steps to promote higher industry standards by adopting best recommended practices published in “Sustainable Landscape Management: Standards for Landscape Care in the Desert Southwest.”

Downtown Chandler Redevelopment (City of Chandler)

City officials and private partners joined forces to redevelop downtown Chandler, which had fallen into disrepair with boarded up buildings and high crime rates, into a walkable, lively core utilizing principles of environmental and economic sustainability.

Arcadia Residence (colwell:shelor Landscape Architecture)

This one-acre site in Arcadia features a home and landscape renovation that honors the historic essence of the unique neighborhood, creating a seamless transition between interior and exterior living spaces that take advantage of existing lush citrus groves and maximizes views to the mountains.

W.L. Gore & Associates Phoenix Campus (LVA Urban Design Studio)

Situated in the commercial core of the Sonoran Foothills Master Planned Community in North Phoenix, W.L. Gore & Associates’ 40-acre campus is a model of responsible development, featuring only low-water use plants including many native species. Salvaging efforts saved 82 mature trees and 158 specimen cacti, all of which were replanted on site.

White Tank Branch Library and Nature Center (Maricopa County Library District)

Surrounded entirely by desert, the 29,000-square-foot library and nature center is located at the entrance to White Tank Mountain Regional Park and is only the third library in the U.S. to earn LEED Platinum Certification. Energy efficiency, water conservation, passive solar design and returning the site to its native appearance were cornerstone to the project.

Ikea Tempe Solar Energy Project (IKEA Tempe)

IKEA has installed a 75,000-square-foot solar array at its store in Tempe consisting of two 300-kilowatt systems, each built with approximately 1,300 panels. The solar program will produce approximately one million kWh of electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing at least 760 tons of carbon dioxide (equal to the emissions of 133 cars or powering 84 homes yearly).

Conservation and Sustainable Living Programs (City of Glendale)

The newly created office of Conservation and Sustainable Living for the City of Glendale is educating residents, businesses and neighborhoods on sound environmental practices, giving away energy saving devices, providing teaching materials to schools and promoting sustainable landscaping.

Sonoran Sustainable Building Advisor Program (Sonoran SBAP, Inc.)

Designed to advance education and expertise in sustainable solutions for the built environment in Arizona, this nine-month program for professionals teaches best practices in sustainability sciences. It does not require the commitment of an advanced degree but provides more depth than short courses or online programs.

Valley Permaculture Alliance’s Education Program (Valley Permaculture Alliance)

The Valley Permaculture Alliance inspires sustainable urban living through education, community involvement and creative cooperation. Its programs include weekly sustainable living classes, monthly tours of local sustainable homes, ongoing hands-on training opportunities and special events.

[stextbox id="grey"]For a complete list of 2011 Environmental Excellence Award Winners and categories, visit 2011 Environmental Excellence Awards Winners.[/stextbox]

 

Cov1

Cover Story – Subprime Shake Out

Subprime Shake Out

Will a house of cards trump Arizona’s economy?

 

Fallout from the subprime mortgage lending mess is roiling Wall Street and roughing up the national economy. But in Arizona, at least so far, experts say its impact has been mostly psychological. “There is a perspective that we are in a crisis due to foreclosures of subprime mortgages and this is leading to gloom and doom, if not total doomsday,” says Lee McPheters, economics professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “The numbers simply don’t back that up.”

subprime_shake_out

McPheters says as of Sept. 30, according to the most recent numbers available from the Mortgage Bankers Association, Arizona was well below the national rate for seriously delinquent subprime mortgages (delinquent 90 days or in foreclosure). Arizona’s rate was 7.47 percent compared to 11.38 percent nationally.

“Arizona is not among the troubled states,” McPheters says. “However, there are troubled areas, particularly newly developed communities such as Maricopa, where there are many foreclosed properties for sale and prices have been affected.”

John Finnegan with Colliers International says there is an emotional aspect to subprime.

“The psychological effect subprime is having on our market is more damaging than the problem itself,” Finnegan says.

Homebuyers see eye-popping foreclosure headlines and then discover home prices aren’t as low as they expect, Finnegan says. Confused, they wait.

“I’ve heard subprime has knocked out 20 to 25 percent of the buying pool for homes,” Finnegan notes.

Although home construction and sales have dramatically slowed and prices are falling, Arizona’s housing market is relatively strong.

“It’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing, which is correcting itself,” Finnegan says.

Arizona last endured a significant housing downturn in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but experts say that was a true real estate depression. Today, the residential real estate sector is returning to a normal pace after years of hyperactivity, they say.

Larry Seay with Meritage Homes says most Arizonans with subprime mortgages can qualify for traditional mortgages and also can afford higher interest rates that kick in when lower introductory rates expire.

Subprime psychology also trickled into the commercial real estate market. Last summer, investors in Arizona commercial real estate were rattled by residential subprime problems nationally and pulled back from the market. Lenders tightened their credit standards and offers to buy property dropped by half, says Bob Young with CB Richard Ellis.

“We’re seeing some investors returning to the marketplace because they sense things are settling down,” Young says. He expects investor activity will pick up this year.

But there’s more than psychology at play. The dampened housing market has impacted office leasing and industrial space absorption in Phoenix. Relaxed mortgage lending standards were availed to borrowers of all types, and lenders have tightened their criteria, says Joe Biondo of Sunwest Mortgage. Now, Arizona’s mortgage brokers and title companies are consolidating or closing as loans default and business slows, he says.

“There has been a lot of office space leased by those companies over the years and we’re hearing that a good portion of it is coming back to the marketplace or being subleased,” says Rick Danis with Grubb & Ellis/BRE Commercial.

Most of the Valley’s leased industrial space is occupied by companies with ties to residential construction and Danis says that by third quarter 2007, industrial space absorption dropped by more than half from a record 7.8 million square feet in 2005. Housing is a catalyst for retail development and Danis says retail construction will slow.

However, Paul Boyle with Grubb & Ellis expects the commercial real estate market to do well this year.

“We may not be as vibrant as we have been in the past, but I look for things in commercial to continue to stay active,” he says.

But Arizona’s economy is cooling faster than expected, McPheters concedes. He cites four factors — the slow housing market; a loss of 20,000 residential construction jobs from third quarter 2006 to third quarter 2007; significantly declining consumer spending, particularly in areas that depend on a strong housing market; and the fact that Arizona is not benefiting from a national export boom fueled by the weak dollar.

“Arizona is no longer a top 10 growth state,” McPheters says.

Possibly making matters worse is the toll the subprime collapse is having on other parts of the nation. Arizona is accustomed to, indeed dependent on, having a large number of people move here from other states. McPheters says the inflow of new residents to Arizona could slow and have a negative impact on Arizona’s economy if people living in states with serious housing market slumps can’t sell their homes. If they can’t sell their homes, they probably won’t move to Arizona as planned. That’s one less potential buyer to help reduce the glut of homes in the Arizona market and one less person living, working and spending money in the state.

But, there are bright spots.

The state’s population is still growing and unemployment is lower than the national average. Arizona ranks first nationally in growth of personal-services jobs, second in tourism-related jobs and fourth in retail and wholesale trade jobs. Nonresidential construction remains strong. The state’s banking sector is weathering subprime, as well.

Tanya Wheeless, president of the Arizona Bankers Association, says Arizona banks are “healthy and certainly not near crisis.”

Arizona Business Magazine February 2008More good news: Arizona State Treasurer Dean Martin says the state government has no investments in subprime mortgages. Plus, Arizona’s economy is diversified with wealthy retirees and service, high-tech, health care, manufacturing, communications and knowledge-oriented employment. Nevertheless,McPheters says there is a “specter of recession and a cloud of uncertainty” about the state’s economy.

“Arizona would not be immune to a national recession,” McPheters says. “If there is a national recession, theeconomic outlooks for Arizona would have to be recalibrated.”

www.brephoenix.com
www.cbre.com/phoenix
www.colliers.com
www.meritagehomes.com
www.thesunwestgroup.com

 

 

AZ Business Magazine February 2008 | Next: Baby Bust