Tag Archives: phoenix

phoenix

Arizona economy rising, report shows

Phoenix and the broader Arizona economy are expanding again after an extremely difficult recession, although growth will be more modest than the boom times of a decade ago, according to a report released today by BMO Economics.

The labor market is a bright spot, with the city remaining consistent in its job growth performance.  “The city has been a consistent job growth outperformer so far during the recovery and, after a soft patch earlier in the year, growth has accelerated again,” said Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets.  “If the recent growth clip persists – and we believe that it should – the Phoenix economy should be able to add roughly 85,000 new jobs by the end of 2016.”

“It’s encouraging that the economic health of Arizona, and Phoenix in particular, continues to improve,” said Steve Zandpour, newly-appointed Arizona Regional President, BMO Harris Bank. “It’s nice to see construction activity again. Projects that had been on hold for quite a while have broken ground, adding another positive stimulus to the community.”

The Valley’s economic diversity will help it continue to recover at a solid pace.  “Phoenix boasts a diverse economy with exposure to a wide range of industries in high-tech manufacturing, construction, finance and professional services,” stated Kavcic. “Of the 250,000 jobs lost during the recession, nearly three-quarters of them have recovered.”

The finance and insurance sector employs more than 125,000 people – a record high, in the city.  The fast-growing biotechnology sector also has a strong presence in the region, with two new structures recently approved at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, including a $136 million investment by the University of Arizona.

On the housing side, the foreclosure rate across Arizona has tumbled to below 1 percent – now among the lowest in America – while higher home prices have reduced the share of mortgages in a negative equity position.  “Fundamentals support a continued, albeit more modest, housing market recovery in the city,” said Mr. Kavcic.

To view a full copy of the report, visit www.bmocm.com/economics.

housing.prices

Could Looser Lending Standards Boost Phoenix Market?

Will banks start to drop their standards and let people with slightly lower credit scores and much lower down payments buy homes? That’s the big question, after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and other agencies voted to approve new, looser lending rules this week. A well-known expert from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University says if the change happens, and the adjustments are reasonable, then it could be good for the Phoenix-area housing market, stimulating growth.

Here are the highlights of the school’s monthly housing-market report on Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of August:

• The median single-family-home sales price went up 11 percent from last August, but that’s largely just due to having fewer sales clustered at the bottom end of the market.
• Both supply and demand in the market remain relatively low.
• Lenders have been reluctant to expand the number of people eligible for home loans, which is helping to stunt market growth.

After the housing crash, the Phoenix area had a fast boost in home prices from September 2011 to last summer. This year, prices leveled off and then rose somewhat. The median single-family-home price went up 11 percent – from $192,000 to $213,500 — from last August to this August. The average price per square foot jumped 7 percent. The median townhouse/condominium price went up 10 percent. However, the report’s author explains the median gains are not reflective of higher home values across the board.

“The median went up largely just because we saw a big drop in sales clustered at the low end of the market,” explains Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The average price per square foot actually dropped last month. I expect prices to move sideways to slightly down over the next few months until supply and demand get back into balance.”

Both supply and demand are relatively low in the Phoenix-area housing market right now. Single-family-home sales activity dropped 15 percent from last August to this August. Investor interest, in particular, has dramatically fallen over the last year. The percentage of homes bought by investors in August was 14.4 percent, way down from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012. There aren’t a lot of cheap “distressed” homes to buy, with completed Phoenix-area foreclosures down 43 percent from last August to this August.

“Better bargains for investors can be found in other parts of the country,” says Orr. “Over the last three months, the percentages of homes bought by investors have been lower than we have seen for many years, confirming investors are no longer driving the market the way they did between early 2009 and mid-2013.”

Rental homes remain popular for those who don’t want to buy a house or who can’t qualify for a home loan. Fast turnover and low vacancy rates have already pushed rents up 5.8 percent over the last year in the Phoenix area.

Meantime, we’re seeing a lot of speculation about whether banks will lower their standards and start letting people with good – but not great – credit scores qualify for home loans. Also, conventional loan down payments could be dropped from 10 percent to as little as 3 percent. The chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Agency spoke in Las Vegas this week and indicated that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would likely still purchase and retain those loans, if the banks make them.

“Right now, funds are flowing only to a small proportion of potential buyers, who have excellent credit, which is contributing to weaker-than-normal demand for homes to purchase,” explains Orr. “Lenders are reluctant to take any unusual risks in an environment when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac might take negative, profit-damaging action against the banks on loans sold to them. It appears it will take a major move by Fannie and Freddie to limit those risks before mortgage availability can get back to a normal level and support the next stage in the housing recovery.”

Orr adds, “Banks have to walk the line on their lending standards. They went from the porridge being too hot (standards too lax) to the porridge being too cold (standards too tight). It’s still a while until we get to ‘just right,’ but striking the right balance could move the Phoenix-area housing market toward more sales and more demand.”

Those wanting more Phoenix-area housing data can subscribe to Orr’s monthly reports at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. The premium site includes statistics, charts, graphs and the ability to focus in on specific aspects of the market. More analysis is also available at the W. P. Carey School of Business “Research and Ideas” website at http://research.wpcarey.asu.edu.

land

Big Deals: Land, 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 Sales (June 1, 2014 to July 31, 2014) Source: Cassidy Turley Research Department, Colliers International and CoStar.

Land Sales

1. Lincoln Road and 56th Street, Paradise Valley
12 acres; $38.7M
BUYER: Cullum Homes
SELLER: Crown Realty & Development, Inc.
Listing BrokerAGE: Nathan & Associates

2. Signal Butte and Guadalupe, Mesa
128.76 acres; $21,623,412
BUYER: Blandford Homes
SELLER: Jerry Ivy Trust

3. N. 130th Ave., Surprise
160 acres; $14,065,413
BUYER: Vistancia West Construction LP
SELLER: TNT Boys LLC
Listing Brokerage: TNT Boys LLC

4. 1350 N. Priest Dr. — Rhythm Subdivision, Chandler
29.20 acres; $11,275,290
BUYER: Mattamy Homes
SELLER: Property Reserve, Inc.
Listing Brokerage: Property Reserve, Inc.

5. 708 S. Lindon Ln., Tempe
14.60 acres; $8.75M
BUYER: Capstone Properties Corp.
SELLER: Cook Native America Ministries
Listing Brokerage: Berkadia

Pecan Promenade, Tolleson

Big Deals: Retail, 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.

Retail Sales

1. Pecan Promenade, Tolleson
132,587 SF; $19M
BUYER: CIRE Equity
SELLER: Tate Capital Real Estate Solutions, LLC

2. Chandler Heights Village, Gilbert
50,763 SF; $12.65M
BUYER: West Valley Properties, Inc.
SELLER: Dr. Bradley A. Tinker
Listing Brokerage: Phoenix Commercial Advisors

3. South Mountain Crossing Shopping, Phoenix
132,314 SF; $11,172,825
BUYER: Lamar Companies
SELLER: Moreno Companies LLC
Listing Brokerage: Lee & Associates

4. The Shoppes at Highlands Village, Mesa
87,486 SF; $10.5M
BUYER: Glenwood Development Company, LLC
SELLER: Donahue Schriber Realty Group
Listing Brokerage: Cassidy Turley

5. Greenfield Gateway, Mesa
70,699 SF; $7,975,000
BUYER: Oakpoint Advisors
SELLER: Starwood Capital Group
Listing BrokerageS: CBRE/Colliers International

Retail Leases

Camelback Colonnade, Phoenix

Camelback Colonnade, Phoenix


1. Camelback Colonnade, Phoenix
80,328 SF
Landlord: The Macerich Company
Tenant: Food & Decor
Landlord Brokers: Mike Kallner, RED Development, LLC

2. Peoria Town Center, Glendale
56,875 SF
Landlord: SNS Investments
Tenant: State Trailer RV & Outdoor Supply
Landlord BrokerAGE: Rein & Grossoehme

3. The Village at Sun Lakes, Chandler
27,600 SF
Landlord: Arizona Partners Retail Investment Group
Tenant: Goodwill
Landlord BrokerAGE: Arizona Partners Retail Investment Group
TENANT BrokerAGE: Velocity Retail

4. Camelback Plaza, Phoenix
24KSF
Landlord: SAFCO Capital Corp.
Tenant: V&V Event Hall
Landlord BrokerAGE: ZELL Commercial Real Estate Services, Inc.
TENANT BrokerAGE: ZELL Commercial Real Estate Services, Inc.

5. Shea Scottsdale East, Scottsdale
22,450 SF
Landlord: Karlin Real Estate
Tenant: LA Fitness
Landlord BrokerAGE: Arizona Partners Retail Investment Group
TENANT BrokerAGE: Diversified Partners

Stapley Corporate Center, Mesa

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
150KSF
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
110KSF
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
70KSF
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
TENANT BrokerAGE: JLL

Broadstone on Camelback

Big Deals: Multifamily, 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 Sales (June 1, 2014 to July 31, 2014) Source: Cassidy Turley Research Department, Colliers International and CoStar.

Multifamily Sales

1. Broadstone Camelback, Phoenix
220,280 SF; 270 units; $74.75M
BUYER: Heitman LLC
SELLER: Alliance Residential Company
Listing BrokerS: Tyler Anderson, Sean Cunningham, Matt Pesch and Asher Gunter, CBRE

2. Parcland Crossing, Chandler
518,365 SF; 383 units; $65M
BUYER: Pillar Communities, LLC
SELLER: Mark-Taylor Residential, Inc.
Listing Brokerage: CBRE

3. The Station on Central, Phoenix
419,212 SF; 414 UNITS; $53M
BUYER: HSL Properties, Inc.
SELLER: Baron Properties
Listing Brokerage: Apartment Realty Advisors

4. Verano Townhomes, Phoenix
435,840 SF; 360 units; $49M
SELLER: Cornerstone Real Estate Funds
Listing Brokerage: CBRE

5. Block 1949, Tempe
264,555 SF; 225 units; $38.7M
BUYER: Consolidated Investment Group, LLC
SELLER: Situs Holdings, LLC
Listing Brokerage: JLL

Logistics 75, Phoenix

Big Deals: Industrial, 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.

Industrial Sales

1. Logistics 75, Phoenix
682,291 SF; $27.9M
Buyer: LBA Realty
Seller: Buzz Oates Enterprises
Listing and Buying BrokerS: Mark Detmer and Bo Mills, JLL

2. 1666 N. McClintock Dr., Tempe
146,142 SF; $16.05M
Buyer: Cole Credit Property Trust III, Inc.
Seller: Levine Properties, Inc.

3. Black Canyon Business Park, Phoenix
218,777 SF; $13.1M
Buyer: BKM Capital Partners, LP
Seller: Business Properties Management
Listing Brokerage: Cassidy Turley

4. Jabil Circuit, Tempe
193KSF; $11,415,000
Buyer: EverWest Real Estate Partners, LLC
Seller: Jabil Circuit, Inc.
Listing Brokerage: Cushman & Wakefield

5. 9235 S. McKemy St., Tempe
81,200 SF; $7.5M
Buyer: Development Services of America, Inc.
Seller: Atlas Development Corporation
Listing Brokerage: Cassidy Turley

Industrial Leases

Kyrene 202 Business Park

Kyrene 202 Business Park


1. Kyrene 202 Business Park – Building I, Chandler
50,544 SF
Landlord: EastGroup Properties
Tenant: CORT Business Service Corp
Landlord Brokers: Paul Sieczkowski and Rob Martensen, Colliers International
TENANT Brokers: Jim Wilson, Cushman & Wakefield

2. 3315 W. Buckeye Rd., North Building, Phoenix
43,357 SF
Landlord: The Blackstone Group LP
Tenant: DAT Cabinets
Landlord BrokerAGE: JLL
TENANT BrokerAGE: Southwest Commercial Brokerage

3. 4707 W. Van Buren St., Phoenix
40,541 SF
Landlord: William I & Patricia M. Grubman Trust
Tenant: Allied Packaging Corporation
Landlord BrokerAGE: Cassidy Turley
TENANT BrokerAGE: American Realty Brokers

4. 1502 E. Haldey St. – Bldg. 6, Phoenix
36,368 SF
Landlord: Phoenix Adobe Partners, LLC
Tenant: Allied Packaging Corporation
Landlord BrokerAGE: Harrison Properties
TENANT BrokerAGE: Cassidy Turley

5. 4445 E. Elwood St., Phoenix
37,552 SF
Landlord: ADOT;Prologis
Tenant: J & K Cabinetry, Inc.
Landlord BrokerAGE: ADOT
TENANT BrokerAGE: Colliers International

Trucks CrossingBorderat Nogales

4 big ideas shaking up Arizona-Mexico trade

While all of us have no doubt been busy getting enlightened by the endless stream of political TV ads, there have been lots of exciting things happening to grow Arizona’s cross-border trade profile with our neighbor Mexico.

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match Dennis Smith and the team at the Maricopa Association of Governments deserve applause for the launch of the new website, BIEN, which not only means “good” or “right” in Spanish and French, but is an acronym for Building an International Economic Network.

Via BIEN, businesses in Arizona can set up an online profile that can connect them with buyers and sellers beyond our borders. Users can search for a business by distance, industry type or name.

As MAG Chair and Youngtown Mayor Michael LeVault said, the site “allows companies in Arizona, Mexico and Canada to directly connect with each other using technology instead of travel to broaden their customer base.”

BIEN is a great new tool in Arizona’s trade toolbox. Kudos to MAG for making it happen.

Down Mexico way Years since it was shuttered, Arizona once again has an official presence in Mexico’s political and economic capital city.

I was proud to join recently a delegation of about 70 business, academic and political leaders led by Arizona Commerce Authority CEO Sandra Watson, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and House Speaker Andy Tobin, for the official ribbon-cutting in Mexico City of the state’s new trade office, a joint project with the city of Phoenix. U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Wayne, the consummate diplomat and an outstanding representative our country’s interests, was on hand to mark the special occasion.

Before the new office’s opening, not only was Arizona falling behind border state competitors like Texas and California, but even states like Iowa maintained a presence in Mexico City. Meanwhile, Arizona was nowhere to be found in Mexico’s largest city, despite Mexico being our state’s largest export market.

Re-opening the office is the right move at the right time. We have seized on this unique moment in Mexico’s history. Reform-minded President Enrique Peña Nieto has positioned his country to grow rapidly by opening Mexico’s energy sector to foreign investment. With a new trade office, Arizona and Mexico businesses alike now have a one-stop shop to start making the connections that will remind folks on both sides of the border of what an incredible asset our international border is to our economy.

As Gov. Brewer said, “As long as we continue to pursue and capitalize on important business and investment opportunities, we will enjoy a strong, continually thriving and mutually-beneficial partnership with Mexico long into the future.”

A port of opportunity The newly redesigned Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales is open for business just as the busy produce season is ready to kick into high gear.

The Chamber’s Garrick Taylor blogged about the new port last week, but the big takeaway is that while a redesigned Mariposa is great for Arizona-Mexico trade, its value will be diminished if the feds don’t adequately staff the inspection booths. Even the most modern port of entry can’t efficiently move cargo if there’s not enough personnel to carry out the inspections.

Kudos to the entire Arizona congressional delegation, which last week sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson making clear that Arizona’s land border ports have real staffing needs that need to be addressed.

Expand the travel zone When former Mexico President Vicente Fox was in town a few weeks ago, the MAG team touted the effort it’s leading to expand Arizona’s travel zone statewide to Mexico visitors. The idea makes a lot of sense, and it’s something the Chamber supports.

Under current law, Mexican nationals with a valid Border Crossing Card (BCC) entering Arizona at certain land border ports can travel only as far north as Tucson before being required to secure further documentation and pay an extra fee. Traveling to places like Phoenix or Flagstaff requires an extra step and increased hassle in what should be a more seamless process. After all, the travelers who have valid BCCs have already been vetted at a U.S. consulate in Mexico, they still undergo inspection at the port of entry and, if the inspecting officer desires, the traveler can still be referred for more involved secondary screening or even be denied entry.

Doing paperwork with travelers who want to visit the Grand Canyon or go shopping in Scottsdale is not a good use of limited Customs and Border Protection personnel resources. Arizona’s travel zone has been expanded once before. It’s time to open up the whole state to Mexican tourism.

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is committed to advancing Arizona’s competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans.

Traffic Congestion, Ways to Reduce in Phoenix, AZ

State ready to buy homes for Loop 202 extension

Plans to extend the Loop 202 freeway around the Phoenix area’s southern edge are nearing final approval, and owners of approximately 200 homes are being told they’ll soon have to find new places to live.

The proposed South Mountain Freeway would extend from Interstate 10 near the Ahwatukee section of southeast Phoenix with I-10 on the metro area’s west side.

The project has been on the drawing boards for decades, but the state Department of Transportation recently sent letters to people whose property lies in the path of the freeway.

ADOT spokesman Tom Tait says appraisal of homes is about to start but that ADOT won’t begin purchasing properties until the Federal Highway Administration approves the project.

ADOT expects that approval early next year. Construction could begin early as 2016.

Leasing the sun

Mark Covington Executive Director Building Owners Management Association of Greater Phoenix

Mark Covington
Executive Director
Building Owners
Management Association of Greater Phoenix


BOMA Greater Phoenix has been working toward the efficiency and sustainability of its members and other commercial buildings for many years.

Its Kilowatt Krackdown energy benchmarking and tuning program has engaged almost 500 commercial buildings in the Valley of the Sun since 2009 and has helped Phoenix to grow from No. 23 on the list of Energy Star Certified buildings to No. 12 last year. That’s one of the reasons BOMA is so concerned to see the decision by the Arizona Department of Revenue (DOR) to tax leased rooftop solar systems.

According to the Department of Revenue’s own figures, the proposed tax on leasing systems would more than offset the utility savings for homeowners for at least the first several years of the lease and cost commercial property owners a large chunk of anticipated savings.

BOMA Phoenix’s membership and our Advocacy Committee actively supported a bill introduced in the state Senate last session to make leased solar energy devices or systems designed to serve on site electricity needs considered to have no value, and to add no value to the property for tax purposes. Unfortunately, this bill did not advance.

The DOR has recently begun sending valuation notices to Arizona companies that are involved in these solar leases. Two of the companies are now challenging the DOR in court. While BOMA hopes the lawsuit progresses successfully and the state reverses its plan to tax these systems, it is also encouraging legislators to revisit this issue in the next session.

Making efficient use of the abundant Valley sunlight is the right thing to do from a business and sustainability standpoint.

lawyer

Bryan Cave Elects Kyle Hirsch to Partnership

Hirsch.K.0224.P150_CroppedBy a vote of the partnership, the international law firm Bryan Cave LLP has elected 14 new lawyers to partnership in the firm, effective Jan. 1, 2015, including one new partner in Phoenix.

Kyle Hirsch practices with the Bankruptcy, Restructuring & Creditors’ Rights and Commercial Litigation Client Service Groups. Hirsch’s practice primarily focuses on defending and asserting creditors’ rights in state, federal and bankruptcy court.

As a complement to his work on behalf of the firm’s clients, Hirsch uses his Spanish language fluency to provide pro bono legal assistance to members of the Phoenix community. He was named the Children’s Law Center Attorney of the Year for 2009 by the Volunteer Lawyer’s Project and one of the Top 50 Pro Bono Attorneys in Arizona for 2007 by The Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education. Hirsch is an active member of the Maricopa County Bar Association, presently serving as treasurer of the Association and previously serving as chair of the Bankruptcy Section. He received his J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, from Arizona State University in 2005 and a B.A. from Middlebury College in 1996.

“We are pleased to welcome Kyle into partnership. He has demonstrated an ability to provide superior legal services to our clients as well as a strong commitment to be a leader and contributor in our community,” said Jay Zweig, managing partner of the Bryan Cave Phoenix office.

lanning

Lanning Receives Economic Development Leadership Award

Kimber Lanning, Executive Director of Local First Arizona, was awarded the Citizen Leadership Award by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) for her extraordinary commitment in promoting economic development.  The honor was presented on Tuesday, October 21, during IEDC’s Annual Conference in Fort Worth, TX.

“The Citizen Leadership Award celebrates a community or business leader, or an individual who is not an economic development specialist, but who plays a major leadership role in economic development pursuits,” said William C. Sproull, IEDC chair. “Ms. Lanning is a fine example of such an individual.”

A longtime leader in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Kimber Lanning began her career as a successful entrepreneur and currently serves as Executive Director of Local First Arizona. Her enthusiasm in supporting local businesses and community culture has shaped her career and helped transform the city.

“This award is a milestone in a changing economy, one that is now recognizing the work of Local First Arizona and other Local First initiatives as a viable part of economic development.” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “Kimber can proudly accept this award on behalf of everyone working to create sustainable, resilient, diverse, and vibrant local economies in their own communities.”

Witnessing the adverse effects of local businesses departing from her community, Ms. Lanning took a different approach towards economic development when she opened an art gallery in a blighted area in central Phoenix. Her dedication to her business and neighborhood attracted other small business owners to the area and inspired a neighborhood transformation. Lanning’s willingness to contribute energy, creative event planning, and economic development strategies led to the reduction of crime in the area by 62 percent, created over 135 full time jobs, and provided immeasurable community pride.

In 2003, Ms. Lanning launched Local First Arizona in an effort to inspire others to stay in Phoenix to help build a world-class city.  She knew that in order to encourage residents to feel connected and rooted to the area, a climate needed to be cultivated so that local businesses could compete against chain stores and large companies. Ms. Lanning developed a specific strategy to gain the traction needed to move the needle on Arizona’s economy. She streamlined the City of Phoenix’s Adaptive Reuse program, which was so cumbersome that it was preventing small businesses from opening. Ms. Lanning’s pilot program was a success and is now encouraged citywide. Because of her persistence, Phoenix’s overall economic strategy now includes small businesses that have important connections to the community.

Ms. Lanning’s innovative small business and entrepreneurial programs have proven to be highly successful. She went to work on the state’s procurement procedures, transforming them from a “low-bid wins” policy to a focus on selecting local contracts. She also created a Spanish language initiative and the Fuerza Local Accelerator Program to assist and encourage low-income Latinos in entrepreneurial endeavors.

Because of Ms. Lanning’s leadership of Local First Arizona, the organization is now the largest locally owned business coalition in North America with over 2,600 business members large and small. Most importantly, the local business community reported sales were up 8.1% in 2013, almost twice the national average. In 2013, Ms. Lanning shared Local First Arizona’s success with rural communities surrounding Phoenix by incorporating the Arizona Rural Development Council and encouraging sustainable development in rural communities through an annual Rural Policy Forum.

Kimber Lanning is actively and enthusiastically involved in fostering cultural diversity, economic self-reliance, and responsible growth for the Phoenix metropolitan area. She has come to economic development via unconventional means but quickly demonstrated to her community that her ideas and programs work.

“The successes of Local First Arizona over the last decade have underscored the broad range of strategies that Arizona needs to pursue for sustainable economic development,” said Ms. Lanning. “Through supporting entrepreneurs and locally owned enterprises—both large and small—we are maximizing the ecosystem of a healthy economy that builds widespread prosperity and supports more jobs. Local First Arizona is creating healthy local economies across the state that will in turn draw further economic development opportunities.”

insurance

Lovitt & Touché Rebrands After 100 Years in Arizona

Lovitt & Touché, an Arizona-based insurance brokerage and benefits solutions provider, announced today a rebranding of the agency that emphasizes its local roots and commitment to the community.

“Business Focused, Community Minded” will now serve as the slogan, which Chief Operating Officer Charlie Touché says speaks to the heart of the company’s history and values. “We have roots that reach back more than a century in Arizona, and we have become fixtures in the Phoenix and Tucson communities. Despite our growth, however, we have always considered our business to be family-run and community-focused. We pride ourselves on these traits, and we want to be known for them.”

Founded in 1911, Lovitt & Touché is one of the largest insurance agencies in the United States with nearly 200 employees and more than $300 million in total annual premiums. It offers comprehensive employee benefits solutions, property and casualty insurance, bonds and surety, specialty insurance and risk solutions for businesses along with personal insurance for key individuals of those companies. It has offices in Tempe, Tucson and Las Vegas, and primarily serves businesses and individuals in Arizona and throughout the Southwest.

Lovitt & Touché is a major contributor to community causes and initiatives statewide, donating hundreds of thousands to local charities annually.

“Arizona is our home, and we are committed to making it a better place for our team, our clients and our neighbors. The next phase of our branding efforts will better reflect this,” said Dave Wilder, executive vice president of Lovitt & Touché.

Along with the slogan, Lovitt & Touché is set to launch an updated logo and advertising campaign with a fresh and modern look. They will be officially unveiled at a rebrand launch party on Oct. 23, held at US Airways Center from 4 to 7 p.m.

To learn more about Lovitt & Touché, visit www.lovitt-touche.com.

Palmcroft Pic, WEB

Historic apartment complex in Phoenix sells for $1.2M

ORION Investment Real Estate announced the sale of Palmcroft Apartments, a 12-unit apartment complex in Phoenix, for $1,200,000.  The property was built in 1940 and was 90% occupied at the time of sale.  It consists of three studios, eight one-bedroom and one two-bedroom units and is located in the Encanto Palmcroft Historic District. The Arizona-based sellers have owned the property for 22 years.

“Palmcroft is a premiere multifamily asset loaded with charm and character and has a historic designation, noted Jackie Allen, Vice President of Multifamily Investments at ORION.  Allen brokered the transaction and was part of purchasing entity.

Jackie Allen focuses on investment sales of multifamily properties.

Luhrs Building: Iconic building towers over important adaptive reuse project in downtown Phoenix

The Luhrs Endures

Nestled among the steel and glass high rises in downtown Phoenix, the Luhrs Building stands as a symbol of the iconic brick-and-mortar structures that once graced the inner city.

As the City of Phoenix embraces the concept of adaptive reuse, the Luhrs Building, constructed in 1924 at a cost of $553,000, is part of this trend to repurpose existing buildings with retail or office additions.

According to the City of Phoenix website, the number of adaptive reuse projects – renovating buildings and turning them into new spaces – has increased since it started its adaptive reuse program in 2008. There were 17 projects in the first year. That number jumped to 48 in 2013.

“Historic, unique buildings are excellent prospects for adaptive reuse,” says Summer Jackson, associate director with the retail services division at Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona, the brokerage firm handling the retail leasing assignment for the Luhrs Building.

“Many restaurateurs are taking advantage of these spaces to create new concepts that cater to the demand in the area. It’s an opportunity to do something innovative – something different,” Jackson adds.

One such establishment that has taken advantage of the opportunity is the Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour, 1 W. Jefferson. Owner Ross Simon says he was looking for a space with a great history and some genuine “wow factor.” A space, he says, that had a real city feel for a concept that would be at home in any major city around the world.

“Also something that could lend itself well to the cocktail-centric concept,” Simon adds.

Adaptive reuse is evident elsewhere around Phoenix. Some of the more notable examples include:
» Culinary Dropout at the Yard, a former motorcycle dealership built in the 1950s on 7th Street.
» Taco Guild at Old School O7, the former Bethel Methodist church on Osborn Road.
» Southern Rail and Changing Hands bookstore at the Newtown Phx, the former Beef Eaters restaurant built in 1961 on Camelback Road.
» Windsor and Churn, which share a restored 1940s building on Central Ave.

“Consumers are looking for an experience,” says Courtney Auther Van Loo, Associate Director with the Retail Services Division at Cushman & Wakefield. “While maintaining historical architecture styles and a building’s unique iconography, developers and tenants have created one-of-a-kind experiences and breathed new life into these landmarks. This style of reuse combines a contemporary feel with a touch of the classic.”

When he was selecting a site, Simon says he wasn’t necessarily looking for a space in an adaptive reuse project. “But after I revisited the space and thought about the layout a bit more to know it would work, I was sold on it,” he says.

Bitter & Twisted, as well as Subway sandwich shop have become retail tenants at the Luhrs Building. “I had a real idea of what I wanted the overall place to look and feel like from an operational standpoint and from a guest experience point of view,” says Simon, who adds that Bar Napkins Production worked on the initial layout and all the architectural plans. Southwest Architectural Builders was the general contractor.

As the light rail whizzes by the Luhrs Building on Jefferson, it’s evident a sense of “newness” is also being felt downtown. An $80 million, 19-story hotel – the 320-room Luhrs City Center Marriott – breaks ground later this year at the northwest corner of Madison Street and Central Avenue.

The project is being developed by the Hansji Corporation of Anaheim, Calif. It’s the same family-owned company that purchased the “Luhrs Block” in 2007. For the past 38 years, Hansji Corp. has developed more than 2MSF of office, retail and hotel space.

coutney-summer-ross-rajan

“It (the Luhrs Block, which also includes the Luhrs Tower) was really our first historical building,” says company President Rajan Hansji. “We knew it was something special. You can’t recreate this. It’s history. It gave me a new appreciation (for historical properties).”

Hansji says he is pleased with the outcome of Bitter & Twisted and its historical feel, including exposed original walls and beams.

“That corner is going to define the block,” Hansji says. “It (Bitter & Twisted) will be the catalyst for the rest of the block. It’s an amazing and unique space. The hotel’s exterior will utilize different brick colors and utilize the Luhrs’ history.”

A Guide to Applying for a Bank Loan

BMO Private Bank Boosts AZ Senior Staff

BMO Private Bank announced new senior staff additions and promotions at the wealth management firm’s Arizona offices, which serve high-net-worth individuals, family-owned businesses, endowments and foundations throughout the Western United States.

• Ashley Ober is now serving as managing director of the greater Phoenix market, overseeing strategic development and delivery of wealth management services provided by a team of financial professionals. He was previously the firm’s regional director of private banking.
• Paul Tees was hired as the Tucson managing director. He will be responsible for the overall growth and management of the Private Bank for all of Southern Arizona, with a team of bankers reporting to him.
• Jason Miller, CFP®, was promoted to market manager for Greater Phoenix. In addition to his responsibilities as Director, Financial Planning – Western U.S., he will now have management responsibilities for the Arizona team of financial planners.
• Lindsey Jackson, an estate planning attorney, joined the firm as senior trust administrator. She will oversee trust administration for high-net-worth clientele.
• Tony Tanner was hired as a senior client advisor. This newly created position is designed to assist clients who have more complex financial planning and advising needs.
• Craig Shelley has been hired as a wealth advisor. He will serve as an advisor to high-net-worth individuals, families and organizations, including closely-held and family-owned business, endowments and foundations. He will assemble the appropriate team of professionals to provide a full range of wealth services as part of an overall personal wealth management strategy.

“The caliber of our team is second to none,” said BMO Private Bank Western U.S. President Matt Miller. “As we continue to expand our presence in the U.S., we are adding top-notch professionals who are truly committed to our clients and possess the skills necessary to help high-net-worth individuals and families navigate complex financial decisions to achieve their goals.”

New business in the Western U.S. region has increased significantly over the past year. To further support the influx, Miller says BMO Private Bank is increasing staffing to focus on positions that enhance the client experience.

For more information about services and operations, visit www.bmoprivatebank.com.

same.sex

Marriage Equality Coming to Arizona

Today U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick ruled against Arizona’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, making Arizona the latest state to see such a ban struck down in court since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its historic marriage rulings last June.

“This is a wonderful day for Arizona,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “Today’s ruling confirms what we have known for so long: that same-sex couples have a right to equal protection under the law.  This did not happen on its own — many people across our country have worked tirelessly to demand justice for all, and we owe a debt of gratitude to those in Arizona who have fought to overturn Arizona’s ban.  Now that a federal court has ruled Arizona’s ban unconstitutional, there is no justifiable reason for the state Attorney General and county clerks to delay issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples who want to marry.”

In Connolly v. Jeanes, brought by private counsel, and Majors v. Horne, brought by Lambda Legal, on behalf of same-sex couples, Judge Sedwick rejected Arizona’s ban on marriage equality saying it violated the U.S. Constitution. Judge Sedwick was nominated by President George H.W. Bush.

“Yet again, today’s court rulings affirm there is no justifiable reason to keep these discriminatory marriage bans on the books,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Laws prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying serve no purpose other than to harm Americans who simply want to protect and provide for themselves and their families. Ultimately the U.S. Constitution does not allow states to continue discriminating against committed and loving gay and lesbian couples.”

Judge Sedwick declined to issue stays in the rulings pending appeal.

A full feature map on the current state of marriage equality can be found here.

On Monday, October 6th, the nine justices of the Supreme Court announced they had declined to hear any of the cases pending before them challenging state bans on marriage for same-sex couples.  This allowed the circuit court decisions striking down the bans to stand, meaning same-sex couples in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin and Indiana could legally marry.  In addition, it left in place the circuit court rulings striking down same-sex marriage bans from the Fourth, Seventh and Tenth Circuits.

On Tuesday, October 7th, a three-judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (which covers Arizona) unanimously ruled that state bans on marriage for same-sex couples are unconstitutional in Idaho and Nevada. That same day, the stay on the court ruling in Colorado was lifted, allowing same-sex marriage to proceed. On Thursday, October 9th, West Virginia’s Attorney General agreed to stop defending the state’s ban, bringing the total number of states with marriage equality to 28, plus Washington, DC.

On Friday, October 10th, a federal district judge ruled against North Carolina’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, and on Sunday, October 12th, a federal district judge ruled Alaska’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional. The Ninth Circuit’s temporary stay of Alaska’s marriage equality decision is due to expire later today. These decisions bring the total number of states with marriage equality to 31, plus Washington, DC.

With today’s decision, same-sex couples are now able to marry in 31 states and Washington, DC, including: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin.

Gallup puts support for marriage equality at 55 percent – an astonishing 15 point increase from just 5 years ago – with other polls showing support at even higher margins.  And support for same-sex marriage rights continues to grow in virtually every demographic group.  According to ABC News / Washington Post, 77 percent of adults under age 30 favor marriage equality.  40 percent of Republicans – an all-time high and jump of 16 points in under two years – now support marriage for gay and lesbian couples, while the number of Catholics supporting marriage has grown to 62 percent,according to the New York Times.  These numbers continue to grow, with no indication that support will slow down.

Crossroads Corporate Center

Crossroads Corporate Center sells for $7.18M

CBRE has completed the sale of Crossroads Corporate Center located at the northwest corner of I-17 and Bell Road in metropolitan Phoenix. The ±105,107-square-foot office/flex building commanded a sale price of $7.18 million.

Barry Gabel, Chris Marchildon, Ashley Brooks, Jim Bayless and Jenny Aust with CBRE’s Phoenix office negotiated the sale between the buyer, a joint venture between Scottsdale-based Everest Holdings and Chicago-based Walton Street Capital, and the seller, Pittsburgh, Penn.-based Kossman-Phoenix Limited Partnership. Brooks, Bayless and Aust will also handle the marketing and leasing of the property, which is currently vacant.

“Crossroads Corporate Center offers a significant opportunity for additonal value,” said CBRE’s Gabel. “With 105,107 square feet of contiguous space and the possiblity of a second level, the property has excellent lease-up potential and should be met with much demand from users in the market.”

Crossroads Corporate Center was built in 1987 and renovated in 2009. The property sits on ±11 acres and features multiple points of ingress and egress. With ±24’ clear height, abundant glass-line, a large floor plate and eight per 1000 parking ratio, Crossroads Corporate Center is an ideal option for employers with heavy parking needs who are also looking for the open-concept, modern work space today’s employees demand.

“Crossroads Corporate Center offers potential tenants an excellent opportunity for customization of the space; the property is a blank slate,” said CBRE’s Brooks. “The space could be leased to a number of different user-types with a variety of needs. It has excellent potential for a traditional corporate user or could be utilized by a company looking to create modern, flexible workspace with a mix of collaborate and private office space and common/recreation areas for employees.”

The property benefits from proximity to the intersection at the I-17 and Loop-101 Freeways as well as full visibility from I-17 and two access points to the frontage road, which allows for easy access to labor markets, amenities, and residential developments. The property is accessible to 1.49 million people within a 30 minute drive and offers 1.5 million square feet of retail and restaurant amenities within a five-mile radius.

 

HFF OM - Camelback Center

HFF arranges acquisition financing for Camelback Center

HFF announced it has arranged acquisition financing for Camelback Center, a 32,963-square-foot, CVS-anchored retail center in Phoenix.

HFF worked on behalf of a private real estate fund advised by Crow Holdings Capital- Real Estate to secure the fixed-rate loan through Guggenheim Commercial Real Estate Finance, LLC.  Loan proceeds were used to acquire the property.

Camelback Center is situated on 3.85 acres at the intersection of Camelback Road and 16th Street in Phoenix’s Camelback Corridor, an area that contains some of the city’s most upscale neighborhoods.  North of the property is access to the Piestewa Freeway, the main north-south route through the middle of the city.  Built in 2003, the center is 100 percent leased to CVS, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Jimmy Johns, H&R Block, Tropical Smoothie Café, European Wax Center and Massage Envy.  The center is shadow-anchored by Total Wine & More.

The HFF team representing the borrower was led by senior managing director Paul Brindley and associate director Jeff Sause.  Douglas Mueller of Mueller & Associates Realty Advisors in Phoenix served as co-broker on the transaction.

Biosciences_Partnership_Building_poster

UofA breaks ground on 245KSF Biosciences Partnership Building

With a shovel of dirt, construction began Thursday on the 10-story Biosciences Partnership Building; the latest development in downtown Phoenix.

 

University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton tilled the soil ceremoniously marking the beginning of the 2-year design and construction for the 245,000-square foot research building on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus.

 

“This building will foster collaborations with scientists that will lead to more cures, better treatments and bring more federal and private dollars to the state,” said President Hart. “We will pursue expanded partnerships with industry that we hope will lead to groundbreaking discoveries in the areas of neuroscience, cardiovascular and thoracic science. This building will allow us to further these efforts and, ultimately, improve lives.”

 

As announced earlier this year by the university and the City of Phoenix, plans are in place to construct the 10-story, 245,000-square-foot research building just north of the Health Sciences Education Building on the downtown campus.

 

“This building will serve the medical school and beyond with important research and faculty to teach the next generation of health professionals,” Stanton said. “Of course, this just adds to the economic vibrancy of downtown. The research facility initially will bring construction jobs, and then high-paying, research-related jobs, including specialized technicians and other support staff for faculty and scientists.”

 

The 2-year construction on the $136 million building is expected to translate into nearly 500 jobs initially and another 360 permanent jobs at build out.

 

“The Bioscience Partnership Building represents yet another milestone as the city and the university develop a major academic medical center in downtown Phoenix,” said Stuart D. Flynn, MD, dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. “Research in this building, in collaboration with our partners, will advance healthcare for all and expand our role as an economic driver for the city, valley, and state.”

 

The building is the latest development in the steady expansion of the downtown Phoenix Biomedical Campus and expanding academic medical center. In 2012, the award-winning Health Sciences Education Building opened, housing health education for both the UA and Northern Arizona University. Construction continues on The University of Arizona Cancer Center at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s. The cancer center, a 220,000-square foot outpatient and research facility, is scheduled to be completed in 2015.

 

The Phoenix Biomedical Campus plays host to four UA health science colleges – the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health as well as the colleges of nursing and pharmacy. Also on campus are three NAU programs – physician’s assistant, physical therapy and occupational therapy as part of the university’s College of Health and Human Services. Arizona State University’s School of Nutrition and Health Innovation is housed in the Arizona Biomedical Collaborative 1 building just southwest of the education building and immediately south of the Translational Genomic Research Institute (TGen).

 

The funding for the Biosciences Partnership Building comes from the Stimulus Plan for Economic and Educational Development bonds approved by the legislature in 2008that paid for construction of the Health Sciences Education Building and related campus improvements. Research focus areas include neurosciences, healthcare outcomes, cancer and precision medicine.

Frank Lect 08

Arizona Humanities Announces 2014 Humanities Awards

Arizona Humanities has announced the recipients of the 2014 Humanities Awards. The public is invited to attend the awards reception on Thursday, November 13, 2014 from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Cutler-Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center in downtown Phoenix, Arizona.

Arizona Humanities Board Member and host of PBS’ “History Detectives,” Dr. Eduardo Pagán, will present the awards to the recipients. There will also be a special poetry performance by last year’s Rising Star awardee, Myrlin Hepworth. Guests can enjoy appetizers, drinks, a silent auction and live music. Tickets are $40 and available here or by calling 602-257-0335.

For more than 20 years, the Arizona Humanities Awards have recognized community members and organizations that have made significant contributions to Arizona’s civic and cultural vitality through the humanities. Carrie Gustavson, Director of the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum and Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Arizona Humanities announced, “We are thrilled to introduce the winners for the 2014 Arizona Humanities Award, and we couldn’t be more proud of David William Foster, ASU’s Project Humanities, and Tyler Wayne Vertrees for their achievements as humanities champions. We invite the public to join us and celebrate these fantastic individuals and organizations who have provided scholarship and research, enhanced public knowledge, and cultivated the humanities in their communities. They have reached people from all walks of life, and taught us to appreciate the richness of arts and culture in our state.”

The recipients of this year’s Humanities Awards are:

Dan Shilling Public Humanities Scholar Award
David William Foster Ph.D.

David William Foster (Ph.D., University of Washington, 1964 [BA, 1961; MA, 1963 University of Washington]) Regents’ Professor of Spanish, Humanities, and Women’s Studies at Arizona State University. He served as Chair of the Department of Languages and Literatures from 1997-2001. In Spring 2009, he served as the Ednagene and Jordan Davidson Eminent Scholar in the Humanities at Florida International University. His research interests focus on urban culture in Latin America, with emphasis on issues of gender construction and sexual identity, as well as Jewish culture. He has written extensively on Argentine narrative and theater, and he has held Fulbright teaching appointments in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. He has also served as an Inter-American Development Bank Professor in Chile.

Juliana Yoder Friend Of The Humanities Award
Project Humanities

Project Humanities is an award-winning initiative at Arizona State University that promotes and showcases the range, relevance, and diversity of faculty and student humanities programming and community outreach. With both a national and international presence in conversations about the role, impact, and importance of humanities study and humanist thinking through multidisciplinary collaboration, Project Humanities highlights the value of humanist perspectives through talking, listening, and connecting.

Humanities Rising Star Award
Tyler Wayne Vertrees  

Tyler Vertrees was born and raised in Bisbee Arizona. In high school he was a top ten student that participated in numerous extracurricular activities including Student Council, National Honors Society, Thespian Society, and Football. Tyler also volunteered much of his time at the local radio station KBRP where he produced a number of original pieces, including the national award winning radio drama “Fallen Angels.” He is currently studying at the University of Arizona where he is majoring in Film and Television with a minor in Creative Writing. Afterwards he hopes to pursue a career in film.

The recipients were chosen by the Awards Committee from amongst a competitive field of nominees showcasing the best and brightest of the humanities in Arizona.

Dan Shilling Public Humanities Scholar Award Nominees: Paul Espinosa, James Garcia, Ann-Mary Lutzick, Brooks Simpson, Michelle Tellez

Juliana Yoder Friend of the Humanities Award Nominees: Karen Applewhite, Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry, Frontdoors, Bjorn Krondorfer, Flagstaff Library

Humanities Rising Star Nominee: Johnny Martin

Fiesta Park

The value-add play in Phoenix’s multifamily market

By:  Steve Jaffe, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, BH Properties

 

Steve Jaffe is the executive vice president and general counsel for BH Properties, a Los Angeles-based commercial real estate investment company that acquires and maximizes the value of under-performing properties located throughout the country. The firm also has regional offices in Dallas, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Steve Jaffe is the executive vice president and general counsel for BH Properties, a Los Angeles-based commercial real estate investment company that acquires and maximizes the value of under-performing properties located throughout the country. The firm also has regional offices in Dallas, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah.

During the most recent Great Recession, Phoenix saw property values drastically decrease and apartment owners lose tenants due to lost jobs. The domino effect resulted in owners dropping rents to maintain occupancy, which, in turn, caused them to lose out on money they would have spent to reinvest in and improve their properties, leading to further tenant loses. For many of the multifamily properties in the B- to C classes, this downward cycle was fatal.

In 2010, BH Properties stepped back into the apartment business with Arizona as its target market. The Los Angeles-based company brought its proven strategy of purchasing undermanaged or distressed assets at the appropriate price and turning the properties around in one of the markets that had been hit the hardest by the recession.

Fiesta Park in Mesa, Arizona was one such multifamily property suffering from long-term neglect and in need of BH Properties’ value-add approach. Recognizing its upside potential and believing the Phoenix market was (or would soon be) on the upswing, BH Properties purchased the complex in a short sale, making it the first purchase made by BH Properties after the market crashed almost three years earlier.

After purchasing the complex, BH Properties identified areas that needed to be restored and repaired in order for the asset to function properly and to draw new tenants. The 320-unit complex was 54 percent occupied at the time BH Properties went under contract to purchase the property and required extensive renovations to both the exteriors and interiors. Expenses were then prioritized in order to keep rents within reason to fit within the constraints of the C class property.  

To add value without losing sight of investment goals, the firm focused the majority of the renovations on improving common areas and individual units. The exterior of each building within the complex was painted with a fresh color scheme, the fence around the swimming pool was repaired and new furnishings were added, and outdoor lighting was installed throughout the complex illuminating areas that may not have seemed safe before. An archway was also built in front of the leasing office to increase its visibility and provide a welcoming entrance to the complex. The leasing office interior was updated and made more inviting. Individual apartment units were refurbished with better flooring, upgraded light fixtures and resurfaced countertops. For safety, walkways and staircases were improved.

With more than $1 million in renovations completed over an eight-month-time-period, BH Properties turned the neglected complex into a clean, safe, family-oriented living space. Shortly after the final touches were made to enhance the curb appeal, the complex saw occupancy grow to 90 percent from 54 percent at the time of purchase. Gradually, BH Properties was able to increase rents and improve the overall tenant profile.

The keys to success with value-add plays are patience and a true understanding of the market and not “over improving” an asset. Phoenix, like other major cities in the Sunbelt, held all the fundamentals for a great economy and continues to strengthen along with the recovery. In addition to the area’s unemployment rate coming in at almost one percent lower than the national average, recent reports  indicate a slight uptick in the median asking price per unit in the Phoenix market with an increase of 10.7 percent compared to last year’s prices.

BH Properties recognized the potential this business and family friendly environment had for a strong recovery across all sectors, especially the housing market, and employed its quick closing business model to take advantage of the primed opportunity. Purchasing Fiesta Park at the right price allowed the firm time and capital to make the necessary repairs in order to bring the complex back up to par, while the market gradually made a comeback.

 

 

latte

Independent shops create Coffee Culture in Phoenix

It doesn’t take an investigative panel to notice the smattering of new coffee shops in Phoenix. In the past few years, vacant lots and empty buildings have transformed into Cartel Coffee Lab, Songbird Tea and Coffeehouse, JoBot Coffee and Nami.

The culture of local shops have more to offer to Phoenix than a just a latte. The journey from coffee bean to customer tells a story of sustainability and community. These ideas merged together to form Coffee Culture, a downtown Phoenix collective of local coffee shops.

A green coffee bean travels from a plantation in Costa Rica to a roaster in Tempe to a coffee shop in Phoenix to a shared moment between two strangers to in the story of Coffee Culture.

Coffee

Ron Cortez began roasting coffee in the mid-1990s. The backroom of his store front in Tempe, Arizona, smelled of freshly roasted coffee beans. His two young daughters played hide-and-seek as he poured two samples of highly-caffeinated cold brew coffee.

Cortez grew up among the coffee plantations of Costa Rica. He left his career as a banker to found Cortez Coffee Company.

“I remember seeing an 80 kilogram bag of coffee and thinking, ‘How are we going to sell all of this?’” he said. “Now we sell over 120,000 pounds of coffee a year.”

After researching sustainability, Cortez decided he wanted to go beyond Fair Trade and organic. He joined More Than Fair, an organization that buys directly from farmers for a fair price.

Thirty cafes across the valley brew Cortez Coffee. Online sales and social media are revolutionary to the local movement.

“You can now reach out to customers directly,” he said. “People care about the story behind their coffee.”

Cafe

Songbird Coffee and Tea is one of the valley businesses that brews Cortez Coffee. A rotating board lists two roasts with details about the coffee’s origin and roast. The skilled baristas serve the coffee pour over style and swirl steamed milk into latte art. The cafe also offers loose leaf tea and iced espresso-based drinks.

“Songbird is one of the strongest coffee houses in the area,” Cortez said. “They are a true success story.”

Husband and wife team, Jonathan and Erin Carroll, started Songbird in July 2012.

“If we didn’t have a loyal customer base, we wouldn’t be here,” Jonathan Carroll said. “We wouldn’t be thriving.”

A few months ago, he decided to create a community of downtown cafes. He said wanted to create a group where coffee shops could promote not just themselves but also other small businesses and the local movement.

“If you’re going to spend your hard earned money, keep it local,” he said. “Small businesses care about the customers more and listen to their feedback.”

Each coffee shop has something different to offer, he said. Jobot Coffee keeps late night hours and whips up crepes and burritos. Nami serves vegan pastries and brunch. Lola Coffee offers fresh roasted beans and a lively ambiance. Coffee lovers tend to support several different shops.

Community

Quinn Whissen and Ryan Tempest, cofounders of This Could Be PHX, helped Carroll mobilize his mission. Together they formed Coffee Culture

“Jonathan approached us with the idea of promoting all the coffee shops around downtown,” Whissen said. “Even though he’s a coffee shop owner, he doesn’t see them as competitors. He sees them as part of a culture.”

The project consists of a graphic art poster by Whissen highlighting 13 uptown and downtown coffee shops. An interactive map on Coffee Culture’s website lists unique features of each shop and includes biking, walking, driving and light rail directions.

Also included is a collection of people’s story on how the coffee community has transformed their lives “one coffee and one conversation at a time.”

“You go into a coffee shop and you see people working, reading, studying and meeting friends,” Tempest said. “It’s a great way to make connections.”

Those connections has proven to be pivotal in Whissen’s and Tempest’s lives. The pair met at a Phoenix coffee shop, and Whissen, a marketing and design consultant, works and meet clients at cafes.

“Coffee Culture highlights all the great local coffee shops in downtown, the community they create and the culture they foster,” Tempest said.

The movement fell in line with This Could Be PHX’s philosophy of urban revival and sustainability.

Downtown Phoenix has had a bad reputation for such a longtime, Whissen said. People think it’s dangerous or there’s no local business or nightlife. Coffee Culture seeks to change that, latte by latte.

Del Frisco 077

It’s mushroom mania at Del Frisco’s Grille

Del Frisco’s Grille can help you celebrate National Mushroom Day on October 15. Enjoy everybody’s favorite fungi with a Wild Mushroom Flatbread or Veal Meatloaf served with earthy, pan-braised wild mushrooms and bordelaise sauce.

Here are the details:

Who: Mushroom lovers, fungus fiends, and anyone else looking to celebrate National Mushroom Day offered at Del Frisco’s Grille.

What: Fungi lovers unite! This October 15 is National Mushroom Day, and there’s no better place to celebrate mushroom mania than at Del Frisco’s Grille in Phoenix, where earthy, irresistible Wild Mushrooms are always on the menu. Kick off the spore soiree with one of DFG’s signature Wild Mushroom Flatbreads, topped with creamy fontina cheese, caramelized onions and peppery baby arugula. Or go all out with a Knife & Fork entrée, such as the Veal Meatloaf paired with hand-mashed potatoes, braised wild mushrooms and bordelaise sauce. Finally, for those looking for just a scooch more ’srooms can order a side of hearty Braised Wild Mushrooms a la carte or paired with any entrée.

And don’t forget, all football season long, DFG offers the new Burgers and Brews combo, featuring the Grille’s Prime Cheeseburger – two flavorful patties made of a mouthwatering blend of USDA Prime short rib, brisket and chuck topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and sloppy sauce between a brioche bun. Pair it with your choice of Original, Sea Salt & Parmesan or Sweet Potato Frites, plus your choice of a draft beer pint, all for only $17.50.

When:  National Mushroom Day is on October 15, 2014, but Del Frisco’s Grille’s wild mushroom specialty dishes are available daily!

Where:  Del Frisco’s Grille (at The Camelback Esplanade), 2425 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85016, 602-466-2890,  www.delfriscosgrille.com

Del Frisco’s Grille is modern, inviting, stylish and fun. Taking the classic bar and grill to new heights, Del Frisco’s Grille draws inspiration from bold flavors and market-fresh ingredients. The energetic bar, a destination in itself, creates a buzz throughout the restaurant and sets the stage for an amazing night out.