Tag Archives: Mesa

Photo courtesy of Mark-Taylor.com

Mark-Taylor to bring spacious multifamily concept to Mesa

The first Mark-Taylor-developed rental community in Mesa in almost two decades, San Posada, is well underway and promises to meet a need that is gradually diminishing with the proliferation of high-density communities: those with expansive living areas and wide, open, private spaces.

“Our communities are ideal for those who are testing the waters before finding a permanent place to establish roots, and with Mesa’s reputation as a great place to raise a family the timing is perfect to bring one of our signature concepts there,” said Mark-Taylor Executive Vice President Chris Brozina.

Mesa was recently named by Money Magazine as the “best big city in the Southwest,” based on criteria including jobs, the economy, housing affordability, education, health, crime, arts and leisure and ease of living.

Whereas the vast majority of multifamily developments underway in the metropolitan area today target dense, vertical living, Mark-Taylor’s San Posada is a drastic deviation from this, and mirrors other successful Mark-Taylor-built communities that stand the test of time with abundant space both within the individual units and throughout common areas.

Located at 2318 S. Country Club Drive (between Baseline and Guadalupe roads), Mark-Taylor is currently accepting reservations for San Posada’s one, two and three-bedroom homes averaging nearly 1,200 square feet, with some approaching 1,600 square feet in size. These apartment homes are more than 25 percent larger than the average being built today. The first phase of the community will be ready for occupancy in early October.

When completed, San Posada will have generated approximately $1.7 million in construction sales tax for the city, county and state.

San Posada is highly amenitized with some of the trademark Mark-Taylor features the Valley has come to know, reinforced by the company’s ongoing status as a top developer of multifamily properties: porte-cochere entry gate, poolside cabanas with barbeques and wet bars for entertaining, fire pits with cozy seating, and best of all, a more than 10,000-square-foot private resident facility that includes the industry’s largest gym, complete with a spinning studio, virtual personal trainers, and a luxurious clubhouse with a social lounge and cyber café.

Interior features include private garages, kitchen islands, custom wood cabinets, stainless steel appliances, distressed plank flooring, dual-vanity sinks, pendant lighting and oiled-bronze fixtures.


Environmental Excellence Awards honor state’s best

The Sun Link Tucson Streetcar earned the coveted President’s Award (Best of Show) in Arizona Forward’s 35th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards, held in partnership with SRP. The project is the first Made in America streetcar in nearly 60 years.

Arizona Forward celebrated its 35th milestone anniversary of this historic program, in addition to the competition’s statewide expansion. For the first time ever, all categories were open to submittals from anywhere throughout the Grand Canyon State.

“We’re breaking new ground by broadening the scope of our largest, most prominent event, which has become known as the Academy Awards of the environmental community,” Diane Brossart, president and CEO of Arizona Forward announced to nearly 600 business and civic leaders at the Sat., Sept. 12 gala. “It’s inspiring to see all the good work contributing to the environmental sustainability and economic vitality of Arizona cities and towns.” 

More than 120 entries were received in Arizona’s oldest and most prestigious awards competition focusing exclusively on sustainability. Submittals from 30 communities within the Grand Canyon State were represented, 18 of which were outside of Maricopa

County. The ceremony was held at an exclusive new venue, Chateau Luxe, and attended by a prominent audience of influencers representing state, county and municipal organizations, as well as the corporate sector. 

Arizona Forward and SRP presented 17 first-place Crescordia awards and 31 Awards of Merit. Projects were recognized in a range of streamlined categories, including two brand new ones – the Governor’s Award for Arizona’s Future and Healthy Communities. Other categories include: Buildings & Structures, Energy & Technology Innovation, Site Development, Art in Public Places, Environmental Education/Communication and the SRP Award for Environmental Stewardship. 

Jurists selected the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar for top honors because the iconic project is vital to improving the look and feel of downtown Tucson while providing a much-needed boost to the community’s infrastructure. The $196 million endeavor is the largest and most complex construction project the city of Tucson has ever undertaken. The project also earned a first-place Crescordia in the Healthy Communities Multimodal Transportation & Connectivity category. Crescordia is a Greek term meaning, “to grow in harmony,” and the President’s Award is selected from among all Crescordia recipients.

Running through the city’s largest activity centers, the Sun Link Streetcar connects more than 100,000 people who live and work in the vicinity. It provides affordable, clean and comfortable travel, connecting five of Tucson’s most unique districts along a 4-mile line with 23 stops along the way.

The construction of the streetcar generated more than 500 jobs and triggered six new housing projects along the corridor. Boasting about 4,000 riders per day, this innovative project is fostering and connecting a healthy, vibrant community in southern Arizona.

Five southern Arizona projects earned first-place Crescordia awards, including the notable Mariposa Land Port of Entry in Nogales. Northern Arizona yielded three Crescordia awards: the Museum of Northern Arizona Easton Collection, The Arizona National Scenic Trail, and Northern Arizona University’s multi-panel solar thermal hot air system. Central Arizona earned nine Crescordia awards. 

Steve Seleznow, president & CEO of the Arizona Community Foundation, served as lead judge for the competition. Other jurists include: William Auberle, senior consulting engineer of Pinyon Environmental Inc.; Klindt Breckenridge, president of Breckenridge Group Architects/

Planners; Robert Breunig, president emeritus for the Museum of Northern Arizona; Joseph Loverich, senior project manager for JE Fuller Hydrology and Geomorphology; Christopher McIsaac, policy advisor for energy and environment for the Office of the Arizona Governor; Suzanne Pfister, president & CEO of St. Luke’s Health Initiatives; Lori Singleton, director emerging customer programs – solar, sustainability and telecom at SRP; Stephanie Rowe, AIA, LEED AP, principal of Reece Angell Rowe Architects; Richard Underwood, owner & president at AAA Landscape; and Cree Zischke, director of philanthropy at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Since its inception in 1969 as Valley Forward, Arizona Forward has brought business and civic leaders together to convene thoughtful public dialogue on regional issues and to improve the sustainability of communities throughout the state. The organization operates with the belief that businesses must take a leadership role in solving the complex and sometimes controversial problems that confront growing population centers.

In addition to Sun Link Tucson Streetcar, Crescordia winners include:

TEAM ARIZONA COLORADO RIVER SHORTAGE AND DROUGHT PREPAREDNESS (City of Phoenix/Central Arizona Water Conservation District/ADWR Partnership) — Governor’s Award for Arizona’s Future

In response to dwindling supplies, Arizonans are forming strategic alliances and innovative water management strategies toward ensuring an adequate, safe and sustainable supply. Water providers and planners have stored nearly 3.4 million acre-feet of Colorado River water underground; partnered to store Central Arizona Project water in Tucson aquifers; aligned with irrigation districts in central Arizona and other partners to conserve and store water in Lake Mead; provided $5 million to help fund the pilot Colorado River System Conservation Program; and established the Northern Arizona Forest Fund to protect the state’s watersheds. These collaborative efforts have significantly increased the resiliency of Arizona’s water supplies.

TUCSON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT PIONEERING 11 MW SOLAR PROJECT (Natural Power and Energy)—Governor’s Award for Energy & Technology Innovation, Southern Arizona

At more than 11 megawatts, Tucson Unified School District’s groundbreaking solar generation project encompasses 42 schools and is the largest distributed school solar project in the nation without utility incentives. It represents TUSD’s commitment to renewable energy, reducing its carbon footprint, saving money and serving as a model of environmental stewardship to students and other school districts. The project will ultimately supply about 80 percent of the electricity needed at each site, save an estimated $170,000 in energy costs in its first year and more than $11 million over the 20-year term. Systems are now operational at 15 schools. 

MARIPOSA LAND PORT OF ENTRY (Jones Studio) — Buildings & Structures (Civic)

One of the busiest land ports in the U.S., the Mariposa Land Port of Entry in Nogales, Arizona, processes more than 2.8 million northbound vehicles each year. Built in the 1970s, the port demanded modernization and expansion due to growth in international trade and traffic volume. Completed in August 2014, the LEED Gold certified 55-acre site contains 270,000 gross square feet of buildings, inspection facilities and kennels for both southbound and northbound traffic. The central spine of the port is the oasis, a desert garden that runs the length of the main buildings.

THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA OLD MAIN RESTORATION (The University of Arizona) — Buildings & Structures (Historic Preservation)

Opening in 1891, Old Main was the first building on the University of Arizona campus. The approach to preserving this historical structure included bringing the exterior appearance and features back to their original grandeur while placing the functionality of a 21st-century university into a 19th-century shell. Old Main is the oldest LEED certified building in Arizona and a model for sustainable historical preservation. The existing building envelope was largely unaltered, yet new mechanical systems reduced energy use by 24 percent. Deteriorated masonry was restored instead of replaced. Subterranean water infiltration was addressed through concealed drainage systems that preserved the existing habitat comprising the Old Main “teardrop” site.

MUSEUM OF NORTHERN ARIZONA EASTON COLLECTION CENTER (Kinney Construction Services Inc.)— Buildings and Structures (Commercial & Institutional)

The Easton Collection Center is a 17,282-square-foot LEED Platinum certified facility. It provides an optimal environment for long-term storage of priceless museum collections and sets a high standard for environmental sustainability while reflecting the character of the region and its cultures. Features include a 14,000-square-foot living roof, a 22,000-gallon rain/snow water harvesting cistern, drought-tolerant native plants and bioswales to utilize surface runoff. The facility was designed around existing ponderosa pines, none of which were removed. Following recommendations from an American Indian Advisory Committee, the building has a number of symbolic and functional elements designed to make the Native community feel at home in the structure.


Reclamation Department) — Buildings and Structures (Industrial & Public Works)

The Regional Optimization Master Plan is among the largest construction projects in southern Arizona. It significantly upgraded and modernized the metropolitan portion of the Pima County Regional Wastewater System, resulting in water clarity and quality improvements; reduction of nutrient pollution; declining effluent flow extent due to higher infiltration rates; and aquatic wildlife quantity and diversity showing signs of improvement. The entire program was completed in 2014 at a cost of $605 million. Design and construction followed two intensive years of planning and coordination with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, national engineering firms and local stakeholders.


Environmental Design) — Healthy Communities (Sustainable Communities)

The Downtown Tolleson Redevelopment Project was a 1-mile urban revitalization effort that set out to create a true sense of place for the city of Tolleson. It reflects the city’s history, culture and spirit while integrating sustainable design principles. The pedestrian-friendly destination environment serves as an economic driver for the community and provides a foundation for fostering private investment. Wide pedestrian sidewalk zones encourage restaurants to utilize on-street dining. Many of the themed custom-designed elements, including the award-winning art sculpture program, dynamic paving system, signage and custom tiled seat walls, reflect the cultural story of Tolleson and its proud heritage.

LOW IMPACT DEVELOPMENT TOOLKIT (City of Mesa) — Healthy Communities (Public Policy/Plans)

Like most communities spanning Arizona, the cities of Mesa and Glendale historically considered stormwater to be a nuisance that needed to be quickly eliminated through an expensive pipe and channel system. By developing and advancing Low Impact Development, these communities are shifting the stormwater paradigm and recognizing stormwater as a resource that can be used to promote healthy urban communities. LID is a stormwater management method that engages native materials and simple tools to reduce runoff and pollution. The toolkit provides a user-friendly menu of LID methods, best practices, technical requirements and construction details that help communities restore washes and enhance streetscapes or parks while cooling down cities at night.

HONEYWELL ARIZONA AEROSPACE – BEING THE DIFFERENCE! (Honeywell)— Healthy Communities (Sustainable Workplaces)

Employees at seven Honeywell Aerospace sites in Arizona are empowered and encouraged to carry out improvement ideas targeted at reducing the corporation’s environmental footprint.

Since 2007, projects have matured from implementing “Turn It Off” campaigns and installing occupancy sensors on lighting to larger and more impactful efforts, such as completing a Building Envelope Solutions initiative. The focus has also expanded to include water conservation and waste diversion. Since the program’s inception, 595 energy projects targeting energy and water conservation have been executed, resulting in energy savings of 202 billion British thermal units and water savings of 24.8 million gallons. In addition, more than 3.6 million pounds of waste has been diverted from local landfills in the last 18 months alone.

SOLAR THERMAL HOT AIR TECHNOLOGY (Northern Arizona University) — Energy and Technology Innovation

Northern Arizona University this year installed the first known multi-panel solar thermal hot air system in the country, demonstrating a long-standing commitment to decreasing its fossil fuel consumption. While renewable energy alternatives like solar and wind can reduce net electricity use, options for directly reducing fossil-based heating are more limited. Yet heat and hot water comprise nearly half the country’s energy demand so the opportunity for cost-effective solar thermal technology is massive. Technology utilized by NAU and developed by

Phoenix-based SolarThermiX is expected to pay for itself in a fraction of the time of campus solar and wind ventures. It holds promise for more than 650 major educational institutions that have signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment pledging to reduce long-term carbon emissions.

ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE AVENUE (SmithGroupJJR) — Site Development (Public Sector)

Conceived through a unique public-private partnership between ASU and the City of Tempe, the project transforms the existing multiuse transportation corridor into vital public realm space with a focus on walkability that encourages infill development and adaptive reuse of vacant land and buildings. Incorporating strategies from the National Complete Street Coalition, the project eliminates unused vehicular pavement by narrowing travel lanes to create dedicated bike lanes and shaded pedestrian walkways. A flexible urban plaza serves as a venue for events of all sizes. A unified, integral concrete paving design for the street, sidewalks and plaza spaces creates an extension of indoor and outdoor areas associated with nearby retail, including ASU’s College Avenue Commons. The use of bollards, lighting and street trees delineate traffic, creating separation for bicyclists and users while allowing for flexibility in event staging. The “new” people-focused College Avenue has transformed this district into a vital active space, providing a gateway to the city of Tempe and ASU that will serve generations to come.

VALLEY PARTNERSHIP COMMUNITY PROJECT (Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped) — Site Development (Private Sector)

Valley Partnership’s innovative annual Community Service Project this year benefited not only the Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped, a disability service provider, but also the community at large. This collaborative effort involved more than 92 different companies from throughout the Valley joining together to design/build a work site project using donated resources. Grounds of the facility, used daily by people with disabilities, were transformed into a therapeutic garden featuring desert plants and accessible space that serves the entire neighborhood. Landscaping enhances the area’s environmental quality and conserves natural resources, with catchment areas to harvest water for native plant irrigation. Raised gardens allow people with disabilities to grow herbs and vegetables for meals prepared daily. Adapted gaming areas and eco-friendly park furnishings promote health and well-being.

THE ARIZONA TRAIL ASSOCIATION’S GIFT TO ARIZONA (Arizona Trail Association)— Site Development (Parks and Trails)

The Arizona National Scenic Trail is one of the most innovative and unique approaches to fostering long term environmental sustainability throughout the state. This extraordinary project spotlights Arizona’s amazing biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, encouraging stewardship of our natural assets. The vison was conceived 30 years ago by Dale Shewalter, a Flagstaff sixth-grade teacher who sought a way to instill a spirit of conservation in Arizonans through experiential environmental education. It became the mission of the Arizona Trail Association, a nonprofit organization founded in 1994. Thousands of people were inspired by the concept and toiled tirelessly to establish an 800-mile sustainable pathway from Mexico to Utah. Today, the Arizona Trail links deserts, mountains, canyons, forests, communities and people in a pathway that is protected in perpetuity by an act of Congress.

PHOENIX SKY HARBOR AIRPORT TERMINAL 3, SKY TRAIN STATION PLATFORM AND BRIDGE (City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture) — Art in Public Places

Arizona artist Janelle Stanley merged her experience as a Diné (Navajo) weaver with contemporary design to create the terrazzo floors at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s Sky Train Bridge and Platform at Terminal 3. She relied on Diné weaving and basketry patterns to design the flowing shapes and intricate details in the floors’ winding paths of color, pattern and surprising textures. On the transfer bridge, the turquoise blue and black overlays represent the twisting and spinning that strengthens and elongates wool into yarn. The design of the station platform was inspired by details from Haak’u (Acoma) pottery and a piece of treasured family jewelry. Both designs convey the artist’s interest in expanding her cultural heritage to create vibrant new public spaces. The floors were fabricated by Corradini Corporation, using about 100,000 pounds of crushed aggregate, 20,000 linear feet of divider strip and 9,000 custom waterjet-cut pieces. This spectacular project will enhance the traveling experience for visitors and residents alike for years to come.

CITY OF PEORIA SUSTAINABLE U (City of Peoria) — Environmental Education/Communication

(Public and Private Sectors)

The City of Peoria’s Sustainable U program is open to all Arizona residents to educate, demonstrate and empower citizens to make responsible choices and lifestyle changes to reduce their environmental impact. By 2030, it is estimated that almost 5 billion of the world’s population will live in cities. The City of Peoria has a long history of educating its residents about water conservation, stormwater pollution and waste management. Recognizing the importance of education in changing behaviors, the city of Peoria created this new initiative to empower people to make a difference. Sustainable U offers a diverse list of workshops that utilize in-house experts, community partners and the Valley Permaculture Alliance. These engaging, interactive and fun workshops focus on topics such as: desert landscaping, edible landscapes, energy efficiency, composting, recycling, renewable energy, culinary classes, rainwater harvesting, and composting.


School of Architecture) — Environmental Education/Communication (Educators, Students and Nonprofit Organizations)

The University of Arizona School of Architecture has long held a reputation for teaching that fosters a respect and reverence for the environment. As topics of climate change and sustainability become increasingly urgent, UA felt it was necessary to develop ways to improve its curriculum to address the needs of the future. In surveying what peer universities were doing, UA discovered that single classes or lectures were becoming commonplace. Upon further research and discussion, its Sustainability Pedagogy Task Force proposed using the entire five-year Design Studio sequence, which is the backbone of the curriculum, as the armature for investigating and teaching the principals of sustainable design. Over the course of the five-year sequence, each area of focus is highlighted at least once, so it becomes evident to students how the entirety of the sustainability issue might be seen holistically.


Sustainability is core to all facets of operations at Arizona State University’s Facilities Management Grounds Services/Arboretum/Recycling departments on the Tempe campus.

The grounds team began analyzing operations about 10 years ago, making some easy changes such as leaving grass clippings on the turf and eliminating unneeded desk phones. Then they started sending all green landscape waste to Singh Farms to be converted to compost. The finished product was returned to campus for use in an organic fertilizer program, along with coffee grounds collected from university cafes. ASU’s recycling program now encompasses all

campuses and includes commingled blue bins, organics, a student “Ditch the Dumpster” initiative, construction debris recycling and special collection streams, all around a zero waste goal. This highly sustainable university also installed some of the Valley’s first solar-operated landfill and recycling compactors.




Name of Entry: Team Arizona Colorado River Shortage and Drought Preparedness

Submitted by: City of Phoenix/CAWCD/ADWR Partnership


Name of Entry: Central Arizona Conservation Alliance

Submitted by: Desert Botanical Garden


Name of Entry: NAU Solar Thermal Air Heating

Submitted by: Northern Arizona University




Name of Entry: Mariposa Land Port of Entry

Submitted by: Jones Studio



Submitted by: LEA Architects, LLC


Name of Entry: City of Maricopa City Hall

Submitted by: Gensler 


Historic Preservation


Name of Entry: The University of Arizona Old Main Restoration

Submitted by: Sundt Construction, Inc.


Name of Entry: The Newton

Submitted by: John Douglas Architects


Name of Entry: Silver King Marketplace / Padilla Park

Submitted by: EPG


Commercial & Institutional


Name of Entry: Museum of Northern Arizona Easton Collection Center

Submitted by: Kinney Construction Services, Inc. (KCS)


Name of Entry: Arizona State University Downtown – Sun Devil Fitness Complex

Submitted by: Gabor Lorant Architects, Inc.


Name of Entry: The VILLAGE at Prescott College

Submitted by: WEDDLE GILMORE black rock studio


Industrial & Public Works


Name of Entry: Regional Optimization Master Plan

Submitted by: Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department


Name of Entry: Clarkdale’s Broadway Water Reclamation Facility

Submitted by: Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona


Name of Entry: Cornell │ Cookson Industrial Door Manufacturing and Offices

Submitted by: Jones Studio


Sustainable Communities


Name of Entry: Downtown Tolleson Redevelopment Project: Paseo de Luces

Submitted by: J2 Engineering and Environmental Design


Name of Entry: Stepping Stone Place

Submitted by: Chasse Building Team


Name of Entry: Mountain Park Health Center

Submitted by: SmithGroupJJR


Multimodal Transportation & Connectivity


Name of Entry: Sun Link Tucson Streetcar

Submitted by: Engineering and Environmental Consultants


Name of Entry: Hardy and University Drives Streetscape Projects

Submitted by: City of Tempe


Name of Entry: GRID Bike Share

Submitted by: City of Phoenix


Public Policy/Plans


Name of Entry: Low-Impact Development Toolkit

Submitted by: City of Mesa, AZ


Name of Entry: ReinventPHX

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Planning and Development Department


Name of Entry: Northern Arizona Forest Fund

Submitted by: National Forest Foundation


Sustainable Workplaces


Name of Entry: Honeywell Arizona Aerospace – Being the Difference!

Submitted by: Honeywell


Name of Entry: Risk Recycling

Submitted by: Maricopa County, Risk Management Department


Name of Entry: Workplace Wellness Nurtures Work Well Done

Submitted by: U-Haul International



Name of Entry: Solar Thermal Hot Air Technology

Submitted by: Northern Arizona University


Name of Entry: IO Modular Deployment

Submitted by: IO


Name of Entry: InfinitPipe®

Submitted by: QuakeWrap, Inc.


Public Sector


Name of Entry: Arizona State University, College Avenue

Submitted by: SmithGroupJJR


Name of Entry: Phoenix Tennis Center

Submitted by: Hoskin Ryan Consultants, Inc.


Name of Entry: GateWay Community College Integrated Education Building

Submitted by: SmithGroupJJR


Private Sector


Name of Entry: Valley Partnership Community Project

Submitted by: Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped


Name of Entry: Airport I-10

Submitted by: Wespac Construction Inc.


Parks and Trails


Name of Entry: The Arizona Trail Association’s Gift to Arizona

Submitted by: Arizona Trail Association


Name of Entry: Echo Canyon Recreation Area Trailhead Improvements

Submitted by: EPG


Name of Entry: Riverview Park

Submitted by: City of Mesa



Name of Entry: Phoenix Sky Harbor Terminal Three Sky Train Station Platform and Bridge

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture


Name of Entry: Shade for Transit Series

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture


Name of Entry: Pinnacle Peak Water Reservoir Public Art Project

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture


Public and Private Sectors


Name of Entry: City of Peoria Sustainable U

Submitted by: City of Peoria 


Name of Entry: 7th Avenue @ Melrose Curve Recycling Awareness

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture


Name of Entry: Avondale – I Heart Environment

Submitted by: City of Avondale


Educators, Students, and Nonprofit Organizations


Name of Entry: Bachelor of Architecture Sustainability Pedagogy

Submitted by: University of Arizona School of Architecture


Name of Entry: Mrs. Green’s World

Submitted by: Mrs. Green’s World


Name of Entry: Water RAPIDS (Research and Planning Innovations in Dryland Systems) Program

Submitted by: Water Resources Research Center, University of Arizona



Name of Entry: Arizona State University Facilities Management Grounds/Recycling

Submitted by: Arizona State University


Name of Entry: Sun Link Tucson Streetcar

Submitted by: Engineering and Environmental Consultants

Photo by Mike Mertes, Az Big Media

Lynne King Smith is the Valley’s ticket queen

In 2010, Brad Smith did what a lot of entrepreneurs cannot do: he made his wife CEO of TicketForce, the Mesa-based company the couple co-founded in 2003.

“He felt that my planning and forecasting skills were what we needed to take the company to the next level,” said Lynne King Smith.

The move worked. Over the next four years, the company is projected to triple its revenue. Az Business talked with Smith about how she helped grow TicketForce.

Az Business: How did you get into the ticket business?

Lynne King Smith: It was a beautiful accident. We had a nonprofit corporation in the 1990s and built a mailing database for organizations that worked with youth and teens. When concert promoters would come in, they would utilize us to help get their word out. Little by little, we began doing more with events. At some point, somebody asked us to put tickets online so they could avoid TicketMaster fees. My husband came home and said, “I started a ticketing company today, and I’m putting 7,000 tickets on sale Saturday.” It just kind of grew from there.

AB: What separates TicketForce from your competition?

LKS: There are a lot of companies who consider themselves technology companies who happen to be in the event space. The way we promote ourselves is that we are event people who can also deliver technology.  We put ticketing software in box offices and venues across the country. We have a lot of one-time events that don’t need a ticketing system year-round, and we can run everything for them.

AB: How important is innovation to your success?

LKS: Innovation for me is finding solutions for people. It’s one thing to build technology; it’s another thing to be able to give people the tools they need to utilize the technology to their advantage.

AB: What has been your biggest challenge?

LKS: The space is very crowded, which is great because it brings competition and innovation, but there are companies that dilute the pricing. There is a lot of venture capital in this market. They have to get their business built up, and it doesn’t matter if it’s profitable. That’s a huge challenge for our sales team, but we keep doing what we do best and seek clients who are interested in a long-term, quality business relationship.

AB: What makes you an effective leader for TicketForce?

LKS: My life motto is to never, never, never give up, and I think that’s the only difference for entrepreneurs and business owners who are still in business versus those who are not.

AB: What are your goals for TicketForce over the next decade?

LKS: I think some of the other ticket companies are going to sell or fade away. They cannot keep going at non-profitability forever. Within the next decade, we feel there (are) going to be five or 10 solid ticket companies left and we want to be in the top five.

PB Bell

P.B. Bell celebrates anniversary of their largest acquisition

P.B. Bell, a leader in multi-family housing development and management, is marking the one-year anniversary of its biggest acquisition by celebrating improved occupancies stemming from the completion of major renovations within the seven-property portfolio. The acquisition, which closed in July of 2014, included nearly 2,800 apartment units in complexes throughout metropolitan Phoenix. The transaction represented the largest in company history and one of the largest sales in the Phoenix multi-family housing market since the economic downturn reset the real estate industry in 2008.

Since taking ownership of the seven properties in Chandler, Mesa, Phoenix and Glendale, occupancy rates have increased by up to 8 percent and have reached an overall average of 97 percent leased.  To date, P.B. Bell has renovated about 300 apartment units and invested nearly $9 million into community improvement projects, such as new paint and landscaping, remodeled clubhouses and fitness centers, and updated pool areas.

“This acquisition in particular, the improvements that have followed and the ones that are still planned, illustrates our desire to pinpoint targets that allow us as a company to deploy our management and construction expertise in a way that elevates the profile of a community,” Phil Lake, P.B. Bell’s director of acquisitions, said. “We have the ability to recognize the strengths of a certain asset and capitalize on them, while at the same time finding ways to introduce new design elements to older communities.”

Clubhouses and leasing offices have been remodeled and updated with lounges and entertainment areas, pool areas have been repaired and updated with modern furnishings and buildings have seen extensive paint, roofing repairs and maintenance. In addition, a number of outdoor sport-court areas have been transformed into lush common areas equipped with barbecues, dog parks and shade structures.  Hundreds of apartments have also been updated to include new flooring, plumbing fixtures, appliances, sinks, countertops and light fixtures.

In the coming years, P.B. Bell plans to extend similar interior renovations to about 900 additional apartment units within the portfolio.

“We have received positive feedback from the residents living in these communities, which pleases us from a customer service standpoint, as well as from a leasing perspective,” Lake said. “While these improvements will attract new residents, improved amenities also help us add value to the area and retain current residents.”

Phoenix City Councilman Bill Gates, Arizona Organizing Committee Co-Chair Brad Wright, Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Tempe Vice Mayor Corey Woods, Mesa Vice Mayor Dennis Kavanaugh, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, Glendale City Councilman Sammy Chavira and Arizona Organizing Committee Co-Chair Win Holden.

Sky Harbor unveils football championship countdown clock

With 195 days and counting until the College Football Playoff National Championship, the Arizona Organizing Committee (AOC) and several Valley mayors and city leaders, unveiled a countdown clock at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. This clock will mark the days, hours and minutes until Arizona shines on center stage with the kick-off of the big game.

“The countdown for the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship has officially begun. This marks another milestone for the AOC and the community as we prepare for one of the most exciting times in Arizona’s sports history,” said Brad Wright, co-chair of the Arizona Organizing Committee. “Everyone traveling through Phoenix Sky Harbor will see the clock and know that Arizona is the destination for the biggest celebration of college football.”

Located in Terminal 4, which serves 80 percent of Sky Harbor’s passengers, the digital clock is illuminated on a 55 inch high-definition LED screen at the west end of Baggage Claim. An additional countdown clock will soon be illuminated on east end of Baggage Claim.

“The first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship was a major success, and we expect an even bigger and better experience for fans when the Valley hosts the second National Championship in 2016,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “That phenomenal fan experience begins at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which serves as the gateway to the Valley for the thousands of fans traveling in to attend the game. This clock is our way of showing how much we look forward to welcoming them and providing a world-class experience.”

The second ever College Football Playoff National Championship will be played on January 11, 2016, at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. This will be the Valley’s first time hosting the game which debuted in its new format last year in Arlington, Texas.

More than 85,000 people are expected to visit the Valley of the Sun for the game and surrounding festivities. Phoenix Sky Harbor will serve as the gateway to the events, and provide easy access to Valley-wide activities. The PHX Sky Train® connects with Valley Metro Rail to provide a quick, convenient, and seamless ride from the airport to downtown Phoenix, where a multi-day fan festival called Playoff Fan Central will be held, giving fans the opportunity to be a part of the national championship experience.

Valley leaders in attendance at the countdown clock unveiling included Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, Mesa Vice Mayor Dennis Kavanaugh, Tempe Vice Mayor Corey Woods, Phoenix City Councilman Bill Gates, Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski, and Glendale City Councilman Sammy Chavira.


Anthony Spano named president of DeVry in Phoenix

Anthony SpanoDeVry University recently announced the appointment of Anthony Spano as president of the Phoenix campus in Arizona. Spano will provide executive leadership at the university’s Phoenix, Glendale and Mesa locations (collectively known as the Phoenix metro).

Spano has more than 24 years of academic leadership experience and has served as the campus director of DeVry University’s campus in Oklahoma City since 2008.

“Anthony has demonstrated a propensity for leadership and has shown a focus on student needs since he joined DeVry University,” said Shelly C. DuBois, group vice president of DeVry University. “His strong rapport with students has helped many make the dream of college education a reality. Anthony’s personal knowledge and understanding of DeVry University’s mission and goals will be integral to leading the Phoenix area campuses as the new president.”

Spano began his career as a financial aid director at Oklahoma Junior College in Oklahoma City. Most recently, he served as the interim president of DeVry University’s Phoenix metro. Spano is a member of the Oklahoma, Southwest and National Associations of Student Financial Aid Administrators, which provide professional development for financial aid administrators and advocate for public policies that increase student access and success.

“During my time as campus director for the Oklahoma City campus, I had the privilege of meeting many students and administrators who exemplify the diverse success stories DeVry University has come to represent,” Spano said. “I look forward to making Phoenix my permanent home and deepening my relationships with DeVry University and the local community.”

Spano earned both his bachelor’s degree in business administration and master’s degree in adult education from the University of Central Oklahoma.

For more information about DeVry University, visit devry.edu.


Experts: Central sports commission would boost Arizona

The 2015 Super Bowl kicked off an unprecedented run for the Phoenix metro area as the host of mega-sporting events. But if the Valley is going to continue to lure Super Bowls, NCAA championship football games and Final Fours, leaders in the sports community say the current system needs to be improved.

“We’re playing with a bow and arrow and everybody else is playing with a howitzer,” said Jon Schmieder, founder and CEO of the Huddle Up Group that is based in Phoenix and consults with sports commissions across the country.

The howitzer belongs to cities like Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Miami that have deep pockets and one central sports commission with full-time staffers.

Phoenix, in conjunction with Glendale, Scottsdale, Tempe and Mesa, won bids for high-profile collegiate and professional events without the benefit of a unified sports commission to spearhead the effort. The successful bids were the results of hard work by dozens of people around the city, none of whom work together under one roof on a regular basis.

Phoenix might be in danger of falling behind other cities if it doesn’t update the system used to organize these events.

‘Herculean task’

In 2016, the College Football Playoff National Championship Game will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium. One year later, the Men’s Final Four rolls into the Valley.

These rotating events complement the annual large-scale sporting events that call the Greater Phoenix area home. For more than 40 years, college football pageantry has descended on the Valley with the Fiesta Bowl and, more recently, the Cactus Bowl. Phoenix International Raceway hosts two NASCAR races every year. The Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale is arguably the most raucous and fan-friendly tournament on the PGA Tour.

And the city hosted two Super Bowls in seven years.

When the pieces fit together, the picture seems clear: Phoenix has carved out a place among the major host cities of the nation’s biggest sporting events.

The question now becomes: Can the metro area maintain its hot streak?

David Rousseau, president of the Salt River Project and chairman of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, worries the current system of assembling a different committee each time a new event comes to town could hinder future attempts to secure and produce the events.

“That (system), at some point, is going to start to be this frayed, fragmented effort,” he said. “I think there’s some value in just continuing to improve upon and refine that effort and you can only do that if you have that one platform model as opposed to startup efforts every time a new bid opportunity comes by.”

Only one person served on both the 2008 and 2015 Super Bowl host committees. Several members of the 2015 committee have transitioned to the Arizona Organizing Committee that will produce the college football championship game. But the majority of the Super Bowl host committee members have taken other jobs and gone their separate ways.

Each loss means some institutional knowledge gained from valuable experience is siphoned off, but the lack of overall consistency in personnel from committee to committee doesn’t necessarily mean a drop in the quality of the event.

By all accounts, the 2015 Super Bowl was a major success for the Valley. Rousseau hopes the economic impact report being produced by Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business will show numbers that equal or exceed the half-billion dollars of direct-spend money he said was captured around the 2008 game.

“We’ve never been better in terms of customer satisfaction than we are right now but we don’t have a staff to go ahead and go forward and secure that commitment for future bids,” Rousseau said.

Tom Sadler, president of the Arizona Organizing Committee, shined a positive light on the current model but also acknowledged there might be a better way to operate.

“I wouldn’t say it puts us at a disadvantage when we are bidding head to head … because at the end of the day we’ll rise to the occasion,” he said. “Could it be more efficient to have an overarching commission overseeing this so we’re not reinventing the wheel every year? The answer is yes.”

Sadler is a busy man in the landscape of mega-events en route to the Valley. As president and CEO of the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, he is the head of the group that oversees the operation of University of Phoenix Stadium. He was also co-bid chair for the Final Four.

“I would like to see an organization that would respond to not just the big three mega events – Super Bowl, college champ, Final Four – but soccer events, entertainment events, to be an agency that’s nimble enough to be on the leading edge of competition with these other cities,” Sadler said.

Cities that perennially host major sporting events in the country are the competition: Miami, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, New Orleans, Houston, Dallas, San Diego, San Francisco and Indianapolis. The New York Super Bowl opened the door for so-calledcold-weather cities to host the game.

Minneapolis was awarded the game in 2018, to be played in a new domed stadium.

Those cities, as well as many others in the rotation for at least one of the big events, have one central sports commission to oversee the recruitment and coordination of events of all sizes. The size and scope of the commission varies from city to city.

Individual committees can be formed on an as-needed basis or the commission itself can double as the host committee, as is the case with the Dallas Sports Commission.

“The sports commission is the local organizing committee (for the 2017 Women’s Final Four),” said Larry Kelly, communications and marketing manager for the Dallas Sports Commission. “It varies event to event but on all the collegiate and amateur events that we bring in, we’re the local organizing committee. And then on the major professional events, depending on the event, there will be a larger committee involved.”

The oldest sports commission in the country is the Indianapolis Sports Corp. Founded in 1979, its website lists close to 30 full-time employees who run departments like business development, finance and events.

Miami’s sports commission is one of the smallest, though the city is obviously a prime destination. The staff is comprised of only two people but the commission’s large board of directors, which includes ESPN college football analyst Desmond Howard, helps bring in all types of events.

“We have a very wide array of board members so that helps bridge a lot of the gaps and helps bring everyone together,” said Miami-Dade Sports Commission Associate Executive Director Mathew Ratner.

Despite the size and duties of a specific commission, the NFL requires each host city to form a new stand-alone committee to oversee the production of a Super Bowl. Even with an all-hands-on-deck mentality, the effort required for success is enormous.

“It is a herculean task put together an effective bid,” Sadler said. “It’s beyond herculean to execute these events when they come out.”

State fund

Two themes run through the discussion when the word “fundraising” comes up among metro-area leaders of the sports community: Arizona could benefit from a state fund for mega-events similar to the one used in Texas. Fundraising on an event-by-event basis is not a sustainable model for the future if Phoenix wants to remain competitive with other markets.

“Our fundraising focus was on largely (the) business community and I think we probably raised on the order of 70 percent of our dollars of the $30 million that it took to host the game from our business community,” Rousseau said.

With three mega-events landing in the Valley in consecutive years, the concern is each host committee must try to raise money from the same small pool of potential donors.

“We just can’t year in and year out count on the support from the private sector,” Sadler said. “I think it’s possible to do it for a few years in the short run, but year after year would be very difficult, and that’s why we need the state’s help.”

Texas has adjusted and amended its model over the years, but the concept has remained the same. If an event hosted in the state can prove a certain level of revenue was generated during its run, the state will reimburse the host committee for a percentage of its operating budget on par with the money earned.

The host committee can then pass some of those savings on to the rights holder of the event to hopefully ensure the event returns in the future and also roll some of the money over to pursue subsequent events.

Said Kelly: “The Texas Major Event Trust Fund program has been a tremendous success story for the city of Dallas and its ability to attract and retain major sporting events and certain citywide conventions to the state of Texas, and to Dallas.”

Texas has $50 million authorized for the fund for the 2015 fiscal year.

While many sports leaders in Phoenix agree a state fund would be beneficial, if not necessary, they also agree the $50 million figure is probably too high for Arizona.

“I frankly think that’s too rich of a model,” Rousseau said.

The exact dollar amount feasible in Arizona is debatable, but attempts to create such a fund have already begun.

In 2014, former state Rep. Tom Forese, R-Gilbert, introduced a bill that would have created a $10 million fund, though he and others were quick to say the fund must be carefully regulated.

“It’s a very competitive environment when you’re chasing opportunities like this, so you want to give the state every competitive advantage and yet you don’t want to be throwing money blindly at anything,” said Forese, now a member of the Arizona Corporation Commission. “So the model that we had was a revolving fund, and it was a fund that could be used in order to provide that competitive edge and then be reimbursed by the proceeds of the event.”

The bill did not make it through the Legislature, but Sadler, who helped promote the bill, hopes to keep the issue alive.

“Given the state’s current economic status, it wasn’t a great time to enter into that conversation, but we’re going to keep it on the front burner and see if we can get something enacted,” he said.

The challenges of raising money in the Valley can be daunting, and proponents of the fund say it would help ease the burden on both the host committees and local businesses.

The Phoenix metro area is home to only four Fortune 500 companies, according to the 2014 list compiled by Fortune magazine. By comparison, Dallas and Minneapolis both have 18 and Atlanta has 16.

Steve Moore, president and CEO of Visit Phoenix, has the unique experience of having worked with the Texas fund during his 14 years at the Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau and 14 years at the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau. He has overseen Visit Phoenix for 13 years and sees the need for some kind of state fund for events.

“Those states that enjoy mega-event funding have clearly placed us at a disadvantage. It’s no longer just that our good weather is going to bring mega events here. It has to be an organized, consistent, well-funded effort that is a great business model, that is inclusive and aware, and abides by the sunshine (law) of open government.”

Questions without answers

The reason for a central sports commission, which would recruit and coordinate major sporting events in the Valley, seem plentiful. However, the idea is rife with questions.

Alan Young, COO of the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission, which primarily organizes youth and amateur events, sees several outstanding issues that would need to be addressed.

“I think the main question to ask is, what do the citizens believe?” he said. “What is the overall concept of this? Is building stadiums a drain on the economic impact of the community or is it a positive, is it a plus? Investing in these events – is it a drain on the citizens, the taxation, or is it a good investment? Is it a good business decision or not?”

Despite numerous questions, Young is in favor of a unified sports commission and a state fund.

“I certainly believe and our commission believes it’s a great business decision to invest in these types of events but getting the Legislature, getting the citizens, to buy into this has always been a difficult task,” he said.

Steve Moore speculated about the uses of a potential state fund for event production.

“Is this (state fund) something you’d use for a national political convention?” he asked. “That’s a partisan event. Would you use that for it? Is there an answer to that? That’s not a sports commission issue, but it’s a mega-event issue.”

Tom Sadler raised the issue of the year-round responsibilities of the prospective commission.

“What does this commission do between bids and between executing these bids?”
Opinions and theories are abundant in the sports community, and the discussion is ongoing. The goal, though, is the same for all.

“When we have these national sporting events … they’re massive economic drivers and so it’s much more than just sports,” said Commissioner Forese. “This is a way to put Arizona’s best foot forward, and also it’s a way to have people come and take a look at Arizona and consider moving here or moving their business here.”

Off-road truck design firm leases 62KSF in Mesa

A Mesa-based off-road truck and SUV design and parts manufacturing company has signed for a 3-plus year lease at 308 S. Extension Rd. in Mesa. The property is comprised of a 44,004 SF and a 22,706 SF building.

Matt McDougall and Matt Fredrick, Principals with Lee & Associates represented both sides of the transaction. The lessor is Presson Corp. of Phoenix. The lessee, Addictive Desert Designs is expanding into this space from their current 40,000 SF Mesa location.

Addictive Desert Designs manufacturers and designs aftermarket products for offroad enthusiasts. They produce products for Truck, SUV and Jeeps.

The connected buildings feature 6 grade level and four truckwell doors and has a large fenced yard.

Autoline Industries announces site acquisition for new manufacturing facility

Autoline Industries, LLC, a manufacturer and distributor of high performance aftermarket automotive parts, announced plans for a new 70,000 square foot manufacturing facility and corporate headquarters at the northeast corner of Broadway Road and Country Club Drive in Mesa, Arizona. 

“After carefully evaluating a number of prospective locations, Autoline Industries elected to purchase the site which offered a unique opportunity to triple the size of their facility in order to keep up with the growing global demand for their product line.  The new facility will allow Autoline Industries to migrate the manufacturing process from Asia, back to the United States; specifically to the City of Mesa.  The benefits of this transition include increased quality control with a highly skilled American workforce, lower transportation costs, faster delivery to vendors, and greater flexibility to develop new products to stay at the leading edge of their field in the high performance auto parts industry,” said Gabe Ortega with NAI Horizon, the real estate broker who represented Autoline Industries in the property acquisition. The property, located at 254 W Broadway, sits on ±4.15 acres and boasts over 1,000 feet of frontage on Broadway.

In addition to boosting Autoline Industries’ manufacturing and distribution efficiency, the new facility will also benefit the surrounding community.  Autoline Industries is projected to grow its workforce to nine times its current size, adding skilled labor positions such as product development engineers, CNC machinists, and CNC machine programmers; as well as additional positions in shipping and receiving.  Autoline Industries recognized the talented workforce in the surrounding area with the many aerospace contractors and tech firms that are headquartered in Mesa, and will look to that caliber of talent to take the company to the next level.  The local City of Mesa government officials recognized the long term employment opportunity and were instrumental in assisting Autoline Industries throughout the acquisition process. 

The building was originally built in the 1930’s and received a number of additions in the 70’s and 90’s, while operating as a citrus packing plant by Sunkist / Mesa Citrus Growers (cooperative).  In 2010 the citrus packing plant shut down and the building has remained vacant ever since.  The citrus packing plant building once stood for the economic vitality that the native citrus fruit brought to the area for the past 75 years.  After the renovation to convert the building to a state of the art manufacturing facility is complete, the 70,000 square foot property will symbolize the economic vitality of the downtown Mesa community for the next 75 years. “Mesa has what global companies like Autoline Industries need to expand their businesses,” Mayor John Giles said. “We are always excited to help growing companies bring their manufacturing and jobs back to the United States. Autoline Industries will be a great addition to the area and I wish them the best of success.”

Autoline Industries has engaged local architect and creative dynamo, Jack Debartolo for the multi-million dollar renovation of the property.  Autoline Industries intends to retain the historical character of the building, with the exterior to be renewed and revitalized upon completion.  The interior will undergo a significant renovation to handle the high tech machinery that will be utilized in the manufacturing of their parts.  Construction on the facility is slated to start in April.

Matt Likens - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

$600M sale of Ulthera named Deal of the Year for 2014

The $600 million purchase of Mesa-based Ulthera, Inc. by German company Merz Pharma was selected as the 2014 Deal of the Year Award by the Association for Corporate Growth-Arizona Chapter.

The “Deal of the Year” is an award given by the Arizona Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) to recognize a company or private equity firm for their accomplishments regarding a merger, acquisition or capital market transaction.  The award recognizes a deal/transaction in the Arizona marketplace involving established businesses with between $10 million and $750 million of revenue that closed in calendar year 2014.

The Deal of the Year Award was given Tuesday night at a dinner at the Arizona Biltmore. Vonage’s purchase of Scottsdale-based Telesphere Networks in a $114 million transaction was the runner-up for the award.

“This is an example of a merger and acquisition that was truly a win for the companies involved and for Arizona’s economy,” said Sanat Patel, Board President for ACG-Arizona. “We congratulate the team behind the Ulthera purchase for their hard work in creating a transaction that has helped an Arizona company expand its global presence.”

Ulthera, Inc. is a venture capital-funded start-up company that was established in Mesa in January, 2004. Ulthera has developed a focused ultrasound approach to creating reliable and significant firming, tightening and lifting of facial skin tissue in one-hour non-invasive procedures.

Matt Likens, President & CEO with Ulthera, said that the transaction has strengthened Ulthera’s position in the marketplace significantly.

“Ulthera represents the only medical device within the Merz Pharma product portfolio,” Likens said. “Since the deal closed six months ago, our presence in Mesa has continued to expand. We are now positioned as the medical device center of innovation and excellence for Merz Pharma globally.”

The award criteria for the Deal of the Year included:

·       Deal-making that either created or demonstrates a real potential for substantial return on investment

·       Deal-making that evidences the unlocking of value and/or contribution to the strategic development of the business

·       Deal-making that produces a wider business impact, such as the development of new markets, products, services and/or technologies and the creation or retention of quality employment opportunities in Arizona

·       Deal-making that reflects a high level of professional expertise in the design of the transaction and tested creativity and deal-making skills in completing the transaction

·       At least one company involved in the transaction must be headquartered or have a majority of its operations in Arizona

Founded in 1954, the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) is a global association for professionals involved in corporate growth, corporate development, and mergers and acquisitions. Today ACG stands at more than 14,000 members from corporations, private equity, finance, and professional service firms representing Fortune 500, Fortune 1000, FTSE 100, and mid-market companies in 56 chapters in North America, Europe, and Asia. The Arizona chapter of ACG includes representatives from corporate investment and private equity groups, financiers, venture capitalists and supporting consultant services. For more information, visit www.acg.org/arizona.


ACG names finalists for ‘Deal of the Year’

Three finalists have been named for an award recognizing the most significant mergers and acquisitions transactions in Arizona.

The “Deal of the Year” is an award given by the Arizona Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) to recognize a company or private equity firm for their accomplishments regarding a merger, acquisition or capital market transaction.  The award will recognize a deal/transaction in the Arizona marketplace involving established businesses with between $10 million and $750 million of revenue that closed in calendar year 2014.

The three finalists for the award are:

• Vonage’s purchase of Scottsdale-based Telesphere Networks in a $114 million transaction. 

• Merz Pharma’s purchase of Mesa-based Ulthera, Inc. in a $600 million transaction. 

• Evergreen Pacific Partners’ purchase of Phoenix-based Vantage Mobility in a transaction valued between $50 million and $100 million (exact amount not disclosed for confidentiality reasons).

The Deal of the Year Award will be given out on March 10 at a dinner at the Arizona Biltmore. The ACG signature event begins with a networking session at 5 p.m. and culminates with the award presentation starting at 6:45 p.m.

“The three transactions nominated for Deal of the Year are ones that helped drive Arizona’s economy in 2014,” said Sanat Patel, Board President for ACG-Arizona. “These transactions have a profound effect on our economy, and this award is a recognition of the individuals and companies that were involved in helping move our state and our region forward.”


The award criteria are:

·       Deal-making that either created or demonstrates a real potential for substantial return on investment

·       Deal-making that evidences the unlocking of value and/or contribution to the strategic development of the business

·       Deal-making that produces a wider business impact, such as the development of new markets, products, services and/or technologies and the creation or retention of quality employment opportunities in Arizona

·       Deal-making that reflects a high level of professional expertise in the design of the transaction and tested creativity and deal-making skills in completing the transaction

·       At least one company involved in the transaction must be headquartered or have a majority of its operations in Arizona

Tickets for the March 10 event are available for $135 for ACG members and $155 for ACG non-members if purchased by midnight on March 3, and $155 for members and $175 for non-members after the 3rd. They may be purchased by visiting www.acg.org/arizona or calling 602-448-3981 or e-mailing acgarizona@acg.org

Founded in 1954, the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) is a global association for professionals involved in corporate growth, corporate development, and mergers and acquisitions. Today ACG stands at more than 14,000 members from corporations, private equity, finance, and professional service firms representing Fortune 500, Fortune 1000, FTSE 100, and mid-market companies in 56 chapters in North America, Europe, and Asia. The Arizona chapter of ACG includes representatives from corporate investment and private equity groups, financiers, venture capitalists and supporting consultant services. For more information, visit www.acg.org/arizona


Wells Fargo awards paid volunteer leave

Hamp, Ian 2014Wells Fargo Community Affairs Representative Iain Hamp of Mesa has been awarded a Volunteer Leave Award from Wells Fargo, and will receive his full pay while volunteering at Phoenix Community ToolBank.  Volunteer Leave Awards are presented to selected Wells Fargo team members, enabling them to take up to three months of paid leave to focus on a community-based volunteer project of their choice.  Hamp is one of 11 Wells Fargo team members across the country to receive an award so far in 2015.  He will begin his five week long project at Phoenix Community ToolBank on March 2.

The Phoenix Community ToolBank stewards an inventory of tools for lending to charitable organizations to increase the impact of their mission-related efforts in the community. The organization also provides the staging area for all of the equipment and coordinates efforts with the nonprofits. Hamp witnessed first-hand the power of a local market ToolBank while in Charlotte, N.C. in June 2011. When he returned to Phoenix, he called ToolBank USA to begin the process of bringing a ToolBank to the Phoenix area.

“Every day, Wells Fargo team members like Iain are out in our communities making a difference in the lives of others,” said Pamela Conboy, Lead Region President for Wells Fargo in Arizona.  “Each year thousands of our team members volunteer their time and talent in communities across the country, helping thousands of individuals, families, and nonprofit groups. Our Volunteer Leave Program is one way that we honor this community involvement, and recognize our most exceptional team member volunteers.”

Wells Fargo’s Volunteer Leave Program was established in 1976 and is open to team members who have been with the company for five years among other criteria. Winners are chosen annually based on their personal commitment to the organization, their proposed project, and the potential impact that their project goals will have on addressing a specific social issue. In addition to being paid their full salary during the volunteer leave, recipients also receive full benefits as well.

Wells Fargo encourages team members to get involved in the communities where they live and work. More than 50,000 team members volunteer annually on projects such as Habitat for Humanity builds, restoring parks and public land, helping to collect and sort food to be provided to the homeless or those with low incomes, and delivering financial education to individuals and families using Wells Fargo’s Hands on Banking® program.

Special Devices Inc. buys 20 acres for manufacturing facility

DTZ announced that Mesa-based Special Devices, Incorporated (SDI) purchased ±19.59-acres at Greenfield Road and Loop 202 for $5.5 million. The company purchased the land for a build-to-suit facility to meet its expansion needs for its air bag components division.

DTZ Vice President Kent Hanson represented the seller, RD Greenfield, LLC, during the transaction. The buyers represented themselves.

The land is located just south of the Loop 202 at Greenfield Road. The company has proposed multiple buildings, including a ±64,000 square foot assembly area for Phase One, which it hopes to break ground on in 2016. SDI produces high reliability pyrotechnic products and energetic devices for both external customers and divisions of the Daicel Group.

Country Inn & Suites Mesa brings $10.9M

Marcus & Millichap announced the sale of the Country Inn & Suites Mesa, a 126-unit, interior corridor, mid-rise hotel in Mesa, Ariz. The $10,910,000 sales price equates to $86,500 per room and represents more than 98 percent of the list price.

The property is located at the crossroads of U.S. Route 60 and East Superstition Springs Boulevard, five miles west of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and 22 miles east of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Gordon Allred, first vice president investments in Marcus & Millichap’s Ontario, Calif. office, David Greenberg, vice president investments in Fort Lauderdale, and James Meng, an associate agent in the firm’s Phoenix office, represented the seller, Suites of Arizona, and the buyer, KCS Investment.

“This hospitality investment real estate asset is Carlson’s Country Inn & Suites best performer in Arizona,” says Allred. “We marketed the asset through our national platform of hospitality property investment specialists and a Seattle-based investor in a 1031 exchange recognized the value of owning in the growing Mesa, Ariz. market.”

“This is another great example of the power of the firm’s collaborative platform,” adds Gregory A. LaBerge, national director of the firm’s National Hospitality Group.  “Sourcing out-of-area 1031-exchange capital created maximum results for both parties. The sales price met the seller’s expectations and the buyer acquired an asset that suits its strategic growth plan.”

The Country Inn & Suites Mesa was constructed in 1998 and is located at 6650 East Superstition Springs Blvd. in Mesa, less than a mile from the Superstition Springs Center shopping mall, which includes more than 150 stores and restaurants, a double-decker carousel, an indoor children’s play area, a multiplex movie theater and an outdoor amphitheater. Other nearby companies and local attractions include The Boeing Co., Arizona School of Health Sciences, Arizona State University at the Polytechnic campus, Big League Dreams Park, Falcon Field, Golfland Sunsplash amusement park, Gold Field Ghost Town, Canyon Lake and Hohokam Stadium, the longtime baseball spring training facility for the Chicago Cubs.

ade statewide data system

Apple plans $2B expansion in Arizona, Ducey says

Governor Doug Ducey announced Monday that Apple will be expanding in Arizona, with a $2 billion investment in Mesa on a command center for the company’s global networks — representing one of the company’s largest investments in history.

Apple said it will invest $2 billion over 10 years to open a data center in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa that will be the company’s fifth in the U.S. and serve as a control facility for its global networks.

The announcement comes four months after an earlier Apple plan for the 1.3 million-square-foot facility it bought in 2013 failed. The tech giant had a deal with Merrimack, New Hampshire-based GT Advanced to use the plant to make sapphire glass for its products, but the company declared bankruptcy in October after production issues developed. GT openly accused Apple of using a “classic bait-and-switch strategy” with a deal that he called “massively one-sided.”

After the GT failure, Apple said it would work to find another use for the plant. It also has been working to help more than 600 GT employees who lost their jobs.

“This multi-billion dollar project is one of the largest investments we’ve ever made, and when completed it will add over 600 engineering and construction jobs to the more than one million jobs Apple has already created in the U.S.,” Apple said in a statement. “Like all Apple data centers, it will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy, much of which will come from a new local solar farm.”

An Apple spokesman said construction on the new data center should start late next year, if not earlier. GT is storing advanced furnaces it planned to use in its Apple venture at the plant while the furnaces are being liquidated, delaying the immediate use of the plant.

Apple company expects 150 permanent workers at the site, in addition to construction crews and contractors.

Apple also has committed to building and financing 70 megawatts of new solar power generation, enough to power more than 14,500 homes.

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who took office last month, said the quick work to seal the deal with Apple showed that Arizona is the best state in the country to work and do business and works quickly to makes deals happen.

“Apple is exactly the kind of high-tech innovative company we want in the state of Arizona and we showed them that Arizona is the place to be,” Ducey said.

He declined to say what additional incentives Apple was offered beyond a large package offered by previous Gov. Jan Brewer in 2013 and a $5 million tax credit for building solar generation the Legislature passed last year.

Ducey was joined at a press conference announcing the deal by Republican House and Senate leaders, who touted the agreement.

Minority Democrats who watched the press conference said they worried that Ducey’s proposed cuts to schools, universities and the state commerce authority’s incentive funds may hamper efforts to attract business.

“Economic development isn’t just having a low-tax climate,” said Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson. “Economic development means you have the people who are trained properly to actually be able to do the jobs that you’re encouraging companies to come here and take advantage of.”

GT’s October bankruptcy and ensuing effort to shut down the factory marked a surprising turn after state, local and business leaders previously bragged that the plant would be a major boost to the Arizona economy.

Then-Gov. Brewer had hailed Apple’s decision to open the plant in Mesa in November 2013, calling it a sign that the Arizona’s efforts to provide a pro-business climate were paying off. The state has cut business taxes and created several incentives designed to lure new manufacturing businesses in the past several years.

Apple’s data centers provide the computer muscle for the company’s iCloud, ITunes, Siri and other products.




Boulders brings craft beer to Fiesta District

Downtown Mesa and its rejuvenated Fiesta District joins Arizona’s growing craft beer community with the grand opening of Boulders on Southern.

The celebration of the neighborhood craft beer bar and restaurant is Thursday, February 5 at 4pm and will include an official ribbon cutting with the Mesa Chamber of Commerce, along with food and drink specials.

Located at 1010 W. Southern on the Northeast corner of Alma School and Southern, the pub and restaurant is the third craft beer bar concept from owner Erick Geyrol. It’s named for Geryol’s love of rock climbing and the outdoors. It features 20 rotating taps, 20 bottled beers and the same popular menu as the original Boulders on Broadway in Tempe.

General Manager Justin Bucknell playful refers to the Southern location as “Boulders 2.0.”

“We’ve got all the elements of Boulders – the wood walls and tables, the climbing photos, the outdoor feel and of course all the beer and food people love. But it also takes advantage of the openness and natural lighting of the space itself,” he says. “It’s just a great, comfortable place to hang out with your friends and family.”

Boulders is known for its outstanding selection of craft beers from Arizona and beyond, and Bucknell looks forward to bringing knowledge of craft beers to the Mesa community.

“We love sharing what we know of beer with our customers and we are especially excited to being a place for Mesa to discover new beers,” he says. “There are so many styles out there that expand on the taste and flavors of mass produced beers that we think our new guests will really enjoy.”

The Boulders menu of pizzas, burgers and pub foods with a special take also follows to the new location. The Moose Drool Burger for example, is made with the brown ale of the same name from Big Sky Brewing and topped with spicy jalapeño cream cheese and crispy onion strings.The California Carver Specialty Pizza comes with oven roasted turkey breast, pepper jack and mozzarella cheeses then topped with pico de gallo, avocado and onion strings after it’s baked.
Bucknell emphasizes that there are also choices for vegetarians like the Pesto Sandwich, Quesadillas, and Fish Tacos.

All of Boulders specials are available at Boulders on Southern as well, including $6 Saturdays where all burgers and sandwiches are only $6 and drinks are at happy hour prices all day.

Boulders on Southern is part of Mesa’s renovated Fiesta District that surrounds the Fiesta Mall, Mesa Community College and Banner Desert Hospital. Boulders brings 24 new jobs to the area. Bucknell says that as they location gains popularity in the coming months, they hope to hire an additional 3-5 more servers and 2 cooks.

The ribbon cutting and grand opening take place on Thursday, February 5 at 4pm and is open to the public. Find Boulders on Southern at 1010 W. Southern Avenue, Mesa, Arizona or online at bouldersonsouthern.com. It is open daily from 11 am – 2 am.

The area developer of Orangetheory Fitness and her husband decided to give back by taking a trip led by Return Hope International and opening a water well in the slums of Africa. Photo by Robin Sendele, AZ Big Media

Renner’s hustle pays off with Orangetheory

Looking back at her college bio, Becky Renner recollects writing, “I want to run a fitness facility with my husband.” Renner’s enthusiasm for the world of fitness gave her the determination needed to reach her dream career as an area developer of Orangetheory Fitness.

Renner married her college sweetheart, Travis Renner, and had four children. Travis worked in sales at a local gym and Renner owned a daycare service as she raised her children, but the couple wanted more.

In 2012, Renner founded a fitness studio based on group personal training and she made the decision to buy the Arizona area of Orangetheory Fitness. At first, business was slow and the process was stalled until her first location at Dana Park in Mesa was opened.

“We had literally, absolutely nothing in the beginning of this,” she said. “We had four kids, no job, no money, and making maybe $400 a month. We had nothing. What I learned was you just have to keep working, even when you know two years down the road there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Renner’s hardwork and commitment kicked into high gear as she and her husband sold all 24 Orangetheory licenses within six months.

“As area developers, we find people who want to invest and start their own Orangetheory Fitness studios (in Arizona),” she said. “You take the concept and you open it up.”

By the end of 2014, Renner had overseen the opening of 14 locations in Gilbert, Mesa, Chandler and Leawood, Kansas.

“Our goal is to really help people lose weight, get in shape, enjoy their workouts, and hopefully fight obesity,” Renner said. “Highest on my priority list are the things I love. I love fitness, I love my family, and I love being an owner and being in the business world.”


Big Deals: Office, June 2014 – July 2014

azre_big_dealsThere’s no such thing as a “small” deal in this industry, coming out of a recession. However, it’s the big deals, and the brokers who make them, that make the market an interesting one to watch. In every issue, AZRE publishes the top five notable sales and leases for a period of 60 days (one month out from publication) based on research compiled by Cassidy Turley and Colliers International with CoStar.

Top 5 Notable Leases and Sales (June 1, 2014 to July 31, 2014) Source: Cassidy Turley Research Department, Colliers International and CoStar.

Office Sales

1. Stapley Corporate Center, Mesa
180,083 SF; $32.5M
Buyer: Buchanan Street Partners
Seller: DESCO Southwest
Listing BrokerS: Chris Toci and Chad Littell, Cushman & Wakefield
BUYING BrokerS: Mark Gustin, JLL

2. 92 Mountain View, Scottsdale
115,200 SF; $24.1M
Buyer: Equus Capital Partners, LTD
Seller: Teachers Retirement System of Illinois
Listing Brokerage: CBRE

3. Scottsdale Gateway I, Scottsdale
106,931 SF; $20M
Buyer: Equus Capital Partners, LTD
Seller: Teachers Retirement System of Illinois
Listing Brokerage: CBRE

4. Chandler Corporate Center, Chandler
67,561 SF; $13,914,000
Buyer: Palisades Capital Realty Advisors
Seller: Held Properties
Listing Brokerage: JLL

5. Zanjero Falls, Glendale
147,405 SF; $9.1M
Buyer: Select Healthcare Solutions
Seller: Pacific Coast Capital Partners
Listing Brokerage: Cassidy Turley

Office Leases

Rivulon, Gilbert

Rivulon, Gilbert

1. Rivulon, Gilbert
Landlord: Nationwide Realty Investors
Tenant: Isagenix International LLC
Landlord Brokers: Fred Darche and John Cerchiai, Lee & Associates
Tenant Brokers: Pat Williams and Andrew Medley, JLL

2. ASU Research Park, Tempe
Landlord: Arizona State University
Tenant: Amkor
Landlord BrokerAGE: Cassidy Turley

3. City North, Phoenix
77,391 SF
Landlord: ScanlanKemperBard Companies
Tenant: Sprouts Farmers Market
Landlord BrokerAGE: JLL
TENANT BrokerAGE: Cresa

4. First Chandler Business Park, Chandler
Landlord: MJA Investments
Tenant: Crown Castle
Landlord BrokerAGE: Lee & Associates
TENANT BrokerAGE: Colliers International

5. Black Canyon Tower, Phoenix
33,373 SF
Landlord: The Koll Company
Tenant: Homesite
Landlord BrokerAGE: Colliers International

T Mobile IPhone

Deal between Apple, glass maker will stay secret

Apple Inc. has reached a deal with a synthetic sapphire glass maker that will allow details of contracts between the companies and the business problems that led GT Advanced Technologies to a financial crisis to remain secret.

A Tuesday filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Hampshire shows a settlement that will allow sealed documents filed by GT’s chief operating officer and Apple last week to be withdrawn and all copies destroyed.

Apple hasn’t commented beyond saying it was surprised by the bankruptcy filings and was working to retain jobs at the plant.

GT is shutting down a new sapphire plant in Mesa and laying off 724 workers.

Apple advanced GT $429 million to outfit the plant under a contract announced last November.


iPhone glass manufacturer wants to close Mesa plant

A manufacturer of sapphire glass that Apple Inc. uses in iPhones told a bankruptcy court Friday that it wants to shut down a Mesa factory that was once touted as a big job creator for Arizona.

GT Advanced Technologies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week. In a bankruptcy court filing Friday, the company outlined its plans to wind down operations at the Mesa factory by the end of the year along with a second facility in Salem, Massachusetts — a move that would leave hundreds of people out of work.

“This drastic step is necessitated by GTAT’s liquidity crisis and the ongoing cash burn from its operations at these locations,” the company said in a court filing.

The request to wind down operations at the locations is contingent on the court’s approval. GT Advanced Technologies’ stock was down about 35 percent Friday, trading at 84 cents. The stock’s 52-week high is $20.54.

The bankruptcy and ensuing effort to shut down the factory mark surprising turn after state, local and business leaders previously bragged that the plant would be a major boost to the Arizona economy.

Gov. Jan Brewer had hailed Apple’s decision to open the plant in Mesa, calling it a sign that the Arizona’s efforts to provide a pro-business climate were paying off. The state has cut business taxes and created several incentives designed to lure new manufacturing businesses in the past several years.

At full production the companies expected 700 workers to run the plant.

Now, GT wants to begin winding down operations. In a statement, GT said it realizes the difficulties caused by a plant closing but needs to make the right financial decisions following the bankruptcy action.

“While we continue to explore all options with regards to our Mesa and Salem facilities, we recognize and regret the impact that the actions outlined in our bankruptcy court filings of this morning may have on valued GT employees,” the company said.

Melissa Ethridge

Etheridge’s U.S. tour includes stop in Mesa

Academy Award® and Grammy® winning artist Melissa Etheridge will take the stage for the Melissa Etheridge: This Is M.E. U.S. tour to perform songs from her new album, This is M.E., which is being released by ME Records on September 30. She will also be singing some of her greatest hits like “Come to My Window”, “I’m The Only One” and “I Want to Come Over”. The tour will include a performance in Mesa Arts Center’s Ikeda Theater on Tuesday, December 9 at 7:30 p.m.

“I am so thrilled to be playing the new songs from This Is M.E. along with the hits on this tour,” said Melissa. She continues, “Be prepared for a high voltage show with nonstop energy.”

Known for her iconic voice, profound lyrics and riveting stage presence, Melissa will share personal stories about her remarkable journey through life and the inspiration behind some of her most beloved songs. Etheridge loves to tell stories through her music; she included old home movies, career highlights and memorabilia in her video for “Take My Number,” the first single off of This Is M.E. Click the following link to watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zX5UO4lYsxA.

The Melissa Etheridge: This Is M.E. tour kicks off at the Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, CT, on November 2 and continues through December where she wraps up at home in Los Angeles. Alexander Cardinale will be the opening act.

Tickets for the Mesa Arts Center date go on sale to the general public on Saturday, September 27 at 10 a.m., and will be available through the Mesa Arts Center Box Office at MesaArtsCenter.com or by calling 480-644-6500.


Last Comic Standing comes to Mesa Arts Center

America’s favorite summer comedy and NBC’s top-rated television comedy competition show, Last Comic Standing, is launching a live tour, Last Coming Standing Live, on Tuesday, September 16. The tour arrives at Mesa Arts Center on September 16 for a 7:30 p.m. performance in the Ikeda Theater.  Last Coming Standing Live, will feature Season 8’s winner as well as the top four finalists in live performances locally as well as more than 49 other cities throughout the U.S.

Last Comic Standing began with the top 100 comics in the country, who were chosen to audition by invitation only.  The five chosen by judges Roseanne Barr, Keenen Ivory Wayans and Russell Peters as the funniest and going on tour are Nikki Carr, Rocky Laporte, Joe Machi, Rod Man and Lachlan Patterson.

Tickets are on sale now as well as a limited number of VIP Packages will be available, including premium seats, meet & greet opportunities, autographed merchandise and more.

Mesa Arts Center is located at One East Main Street in downtown Mesa. Tickets are available through the Mesa Arts Center Box Office at MesaArtsCenter.com or by calling 480-644-6500.

Final Rendering

Ronald McDonald House Completes $2.1M Capital Campaign

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Phoenix has completed a two-year, $2.1 million fund-raising campaign to cover all construction, furnishing and decorating expenses for the Valley’s third Ronald McDonald House and the first in the East Valley.

Renovation has begun on the 12,600 square foot former health care facility on the campus of Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa, which is expected to open in November. The 248-bed Cardon Children’s Medical Center is operated by Banner Health.

The new facility will feature 16 bedrooms, including 2 apartments with kitchens for families with children with suppressed immune systems; a community kitchen, living and dining room; play area for children and outdoor area for adults and children. When completed, and in combination with the other two Ronald McDonald Houses, up to 79 families will have a home-away-from home every night. The new House will provide 5,840 nights a year.

“We now know it’s possible to be relieved and thrilled at the same time,” said Executive Director Nancy Roach, who has been at the helm of the organization for 14 years and has overseen fundraising and construction of two of the three Ronald McDonald Houses in the Valley. “Being able to serve families in the East Valley has been a longtime goal of ours. The community fully understood that by helping to fund this project, they ensure that families traveling to Cardon Children’s Medical Center can stay close to their children.”

The original Ronald McDonald House is located at 501 E. Roanoke Ave. A second House opened in 2008 on the campus of Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

The $2.1 million was secured primarily through private donations from individuals, foundations, corporate supporters and Valley-based McDonald’s owner/operators, who have committed to provide up to $150,000 of required operating expenses for the first three years. The Ronald McDonald House does not receive direct funding from the McDonald’s Corporation, but is generously supported by McDonald’s restaurant owner/operators in Central and Northern Arizona.

Among the largest donors to the project are the Gila River Indian Community, The Kemper Marley Foundation, The Halle Family Foundation, SRP, The Thunderbirds, Ronald McDonald House Charities Global and other generous community donors.

Plans for opening celebrations are underway and details will be announced later this summer.

HKS Architects of Phoenix designed the new house. UEB Builders is the general contractor.

For more information about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Phoenix, visit www.rmhcphoenix.com. For more information about Cardon Children’s Medical Center, visit www.bannerhealth.com/CardonChildrens.

Matt Likens - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

Merz acquires Mesa-based medical company Ulthera

Merz and Ulthera, Inc. today announced that they have entered a definitive merger agreement, pursuant to which Merz will acquire global medical device company Ulthera, a deal which will accelerate Merz’s growth in the aesthetics area and expand the company’s portfolio of treatment options in facial aesthetics.

Merz and Ulthera have entered a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which Merz will acquire Ulthera, Inc, a global medical device company focused on developing and commercializing technologies for aesthetic and medical applications using its therapeutic ultrasound platform technology. Valued at up to $600 million in upfront cash and milestone payments, the acquisition is the largest in Merz’s history.

“This acquisition represents an important strategic milestone for Merz,” said Philip Burchard, CEO of Merz Pharma Group, which has affiliates in 18 countries around the world. “We have a vision to be the most innovative company in aesthetics, and expanding into the rapidly growing field of energy devices will position us for long-term success in this area. The addition of Ulthera’s energy device technology complements and expands our global presence in the aesthetics space.”

Founded in 2004, Ulthera is a leader in non-surgical lifting and tightening treatments. Using therapeutic ultrasound technology, the Ulthera® System is the first and only ultrasound platform device to receive FDA clearance for lifting skin on the eyebrow, the neck and under the chin. Ulthera expects sales of more than $100 million in 2014.

“The aesthetic lift indication differentiates Ulthera from every other energy device available in the market today,” said Bill Humphries, President and CEO of Merz North America, Inc. “It is truly innovative technology, and we expect to leverage our in-house clinical expertise to develop further aesthetic and medical applications and bring them to the international marketplace.”

Merz and Ulthera have a shared mission: to bring innovations to market that meet the needs of physicians and improve the well-being of patients. This shared long-term vision provides a solid foundation for the combined company. “Joining with a like-minded, growing global healthcare company is a major milestone in the life of our company,” said Ulthera CEO Matt Likens. “Through our collaboration with Merz, we hope to introduce the Ulthera® System to new customers and markets around the world.”

“Building on this important new partnership, Merz will continue to seek innovative M&A and licensing opportunities on a global scale,” said Hans-Jörg Bergler, Head of Corporate Development for Merz Pharma Group.

The transaction has been approved by the boards of both companies and is subject to customary closing conditions, including the expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2014.