Tag Archives: phoenix metro


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.


Treble in paradise: Paying for music in public spaces

Three performance rights organizations, or PROs, protect a majority of recording artists’ work from unauthorized use in public spaces. The two largest — ASCAP and BMI — are household names, but the smallest of the group, SESAC, is quickly becoming a well-known resident at multifamily properties. A third party working for SESAC has contacted multifamily property managers in Arizona about paying licensing fees for fitness centers, clubhouses and pool areas. These notices come monthly, unless requested to stop.

The notices claim the illegal use of one song can cost up to $750. At that rate, playing about an hour of illegal songs could cost a single property $7,500. SESAC doesn’t clearly call out apartment complexes among businesses that need licensing, according to its website’s FAQs.

Copyright owners have the right to control public performances of copyright materials. However, there are grey areas. As MEB Management Senior Vice President and Director of Operations Mark Schilling points out, when property owners apply for a swimming pool permit through Maricopa County, it’s considered a semi-private space.

This is the linchpin — the line between public and private space at apartment complexes, including the lobby, common areas and model apartments. Stephen Anderson, attorney at Anderson & Associates in California, says it’s difficult to make definitive calls on whether or not a property manger needs to invest in a music license until there’s a court case that sets the guidelines. However, he says this may not happen for a while and it may be cheaper for most of the smaller property managers to settle a case like this outside of court.

The National Apartment Association reports that annual license fees paid to PROs is priced by unit. It’s roughly $200 a year for every 300 units. While this doesn’t seem like a lot compared to paying $7,500 an hour for music, Schilling points out that property managers should conduct risk management analyses of properties.

“It’s a risk management scenario right now because we don’t know all the facts or which way it would go,” says Schilling, referring to unnecessarily buying licenses for properties.

Some of the requirements necessitating license, according to ASCAP’s website and MEB Management Project Manager Christy Alvarado, include having televisions that are not diagonally larger than 55 inches and having no more than six speakers in an establishment and no more than four in one room.

“This is a whole new arena for us,” says Alvarado, who added that in February MEB Management began an audit of its properties for the PROs’ licensing criteria.


Luhrs Int 2

Coolest incubators in Metro Phoenix

Incubators are spaces outfitted with support staff, equipment and made available at low rent to new, small businesses. From trendy digs to attractive benefits, here are the best places to put all your eggs in a basket.

Location: 2702 N. 3rd St., #3001, Phoenix
Dictum: “We help Arizona reach its potential by helping Arizona’s entrepreneurs reach their potential.”
Candidates: Early stage medical device companies
Unique features: BioAccel offers wrap-around support to early stage medical companies, including seed capital, technical assistance, access to a nationwide network of industry representatives and access to discounted lab and office space.


The Luhrs City Center

High Tide @ Luhrs City Center
Location: 11 W. Jefferson St., #100
Dictum: “High Tide is a startup commercialization program that enables entrepreneurs to build their products and take them to market…faster.”
Candidates: Digital/software/internet/mobile startups; idea stage to in-market
Unique features: High Tide is a partnership between venture company Tallwave and Hansji Corporation that will move accepted startups, rent-free, into a renovated third-floor office space at Luhrs City Center in March.


seedspotSEED SPOT
Location: 2828 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
Dictum: “We believe entrepreneurs can change the world.”
Candidates: Social entrepreneurs motivated by financial profit and community impact
Unique features: Entrepreneurs at nonprofit SEED SPOT are surrounded by a community of mentors, experts and corporate partners.


Ariz. economy demands new sense of place

Block by block, the Phoenix Metro is seeing reinvestment, redevelopment and repositioning of land, existing buildings and infrastructure. It may not be high tide across the submarkets and sectors, but a rising tide somewhere can still lift a decent number of ships.

The Great Recession has left its mark on the Metro, tasking developers and public entities to do whatever is necessary to meet the demands of Arizona’s present and foreseeable future. Whether that means looking at the Millennial workforce, the K-12 and higher education system, urbanization or infill or attracting large businesses to the state, one thing remains constant — Arizona needs to have a sense of “place.”

Right now, that place is being largely defined by submarkets in the Phoenix Metro. From the largest office development in the Valley — the 2MSF Marina Heights in Tempe — to the comparatively small infill and adaptive reuse projects coming into downtown Phoenix, the commercial real estate industry is developing job corridors, cultural hubs and the multifamily living and transit to connect it all.

A sentiment for responsible development runs through the projects in Arizona’s pipeline; More projects than Ryan Companies Vice President of Development Molly Ryan Carson can reference.

“Responsible development to me is a project that is self sustaining and provides positive attributes to the community in which it resides (employment opportunities, gathering space or amenities that fill a void in that area, green aspects in both the construction/redevelopment and management),” she says.

Industrial and office sectors are seeing large speculative developments come online and multifamily opportunities continue to wait in the wings while thousands of units make their way through the pipeline. One of the leading trends out of nowhereville is adaptive reuse and infill.

Scott Nelson, vice chair of Valley Partnership and vice president of development for Westcor, rattles off a list of projects revitalizing established neighborhoods — Vintage Partners’ redevelopment of Uptown Plaza, Sam Fox’s Yard Concept, Upward Project’s Central Corridor restaurant cluster and similar efforts in downtown Chandler and Gilbert. He calls these catalysts for growth.

“I firmly believe infill development and redevelopment will be a big part of the Valley’s development activity in the coming decades,” says Nelson. “The reinventing and repurposing of land and buildings throughout the region will be an important element to the evolution and maturation of Metropolitan Phoenix. Leveraging and reinvesting in our existing infrastructure – whether it be freeways, light rail, water, waste water, fiber, etc. – along with strategic investment in new and in-place infrastructure will help to ensure smart growth, sustainable economic development, and quality of life.”

Areas where this is taking place, Nelson notes, is downtown Phoenix — through CityScape, the BioSciences Campus — and Tempe — with Discovery Business Campus and Marina Heights.

Phoenix Market President for FirstBank Bryce Lloyd notes that, while this is nothing new, the money will always favor well-located projects, regardless of sector.

“There has been a move toward infill projects, which is a healthy development for the Metro area,” he says. “Everyone can look around and see the success of several of the infill retail/restaurant developments. These projects are having a positive impact on investment and redevelopment activities in the surrounding neighborhoods.”

There is an empty side of infill, though. While municipalities look at ways to reel back unnecessary spending, roads, sewer and water lines have not had the kind of financing and building at prerecession levels.

“One of the most challenging aspects of development today is the creation and maintenance of infrastructure,” says Nelson, adding, “This can be complicated further as we start to see more ‘infill’ developments.”

For infill, developers are reinvesting in existing infrastructure to build a new project. That can be especially expensive, he notes, adding, “I would encourage the state and municipalities to consider alternative financing mechanisms, such as tax increment financing, to be able to successfully maintain existing infrastructure and build new public assets.”


The future of Arizona’s economic recovery is less ephemeral than first believed. In 2013, economists touted 2015 as a year for recovery. Now, they’re saying 2017.

There are a few strains on recovery for Arizona, including a less than favorable reputation, slumping housing market and a strong need for Millennial attraction. Economic development departments are tasked with attracting new businesses to the state and helping existing ones to expand into new spaces. However, even this has been affected by a changing attitude among new and expanding companies, notes Valley Partnership’s Immediate Past Chair and DMB Associates’ Executive Vice President and Chief Entitlements Officer, Karrin Taylor.

“Companies don’t build new offices or lease larger space when they are planning for growth anymore,” she says. “The economic climate has forced businesses to wait until they need the space to make a move. Then, landowners, brokers and cities have to move quickly to respond and take advantage of opportunities.”

When a handful of developers were asked which sectors would see the largest growth over the next 12 months, their answers spanned from medical office buildings to class-A and -B office buildings, low price-point retail, fastcasual restaurants, multifamily, assisted living and industrial.

“As long as there is uncertainty and a sluggish national economy, Arizona’s growth will be restrained,” says Lloyd. “We will probably need to remain patient.”

Lloyd mentions, then, that FirstBank recently closed one of its largest loans to date with fellow Valley Partnership member P.B. Bell on a multifamily property.

“It has taken a little longer than some expected to absorb the commercial space that was overbuilt during the years leading up to the pre-recession, but things are steadily improving,” says Nelson. “The recovery cannot come fast enough for all of us.”

“The slower than anticipated rebound in new home construction permits, a perceived stalling out of the housing recovery and net-new job creation” are strains on Arizona’s economy, says Valley Partnership Board Chair and Evergreen Devco Principal and Chief Operating Officer Doug Leventhal. “Commercial development, particularly retail, lags behind residential growth, so once housing gets back on solid footing, look for an overall improvement in the volume of new commercial development projects.”

So, how do you make Arizona look attractive in a residential slouch?

Make a place appeal to a younger workforce that’s buying into multifamily. That can mean attracting companies where Millennials would like to work, as well as having urban cores that cater to popular and versatile lifestyles.

“The psychological shift of younger workers toward apartment living and renting will continue to impact Phoenix’s market for a while,” adds Taylor. “There’s a generation who saw their friends and parents lose their homes in the downturn and it’s affected their buying decisions. Those multifamily communities are bringing renewed life to downtowns and urban areas around the Valley, especially those areas with a higher concentration of retail and restaurants.”


The bones of Arizona’s recovery are jobs.

“Community wide, our No. 1 focus should be employment,” says Nelson. Employment bases are what drive the need for housing, office and industrial facilities and bring more income to support retail.

“If we are unable to support additional employment and are not competitive to bring additional companies to the state, we are missing a significant pillar to support additional commercial development,” Nelson says.

Broader than employment, Carson adds, Arizona’s economy and the commercial real estate industry is being held back by bad branding.

“Negative press has seemed to rear its head all too frequently in Arizona,” she says. “Any aspect of the economy that is not functioning with all cylinders is at risk for slowing growth; this is the time to band further together and unite around our state’s strengths, and focus on improving in the areas of greatest need.”

DMB Associates’ Taylor agrees.

“Arizona must improve its image nationally to attract and retain businesses. Younger tech workers, engineers, and entrepreneurs want to live in a state where all people are respected and the state projects a positive image,” she says. “As a parent, I want my kids to stay in Arizona and that means that we have great jobs for them when they graduate college and that this is a thriving place of culture and opportunity. Changing our education system requires everyone pulling in the same direction. No more politicizing the process or the conversation; we need to demand results and hold our legislators, teachers, administrators and parents accountable for Arizona’s future.”

Kitchen designed by Faizi Urban Design

Have A Small Kitchen? Learn How To Make It Look Larger

Phoenix Metro is the 5th largest city in the United States, and we are seeing that more urban living optionsKitchen designed by Faizi Urban Design are growing. Unfortunately, these new smaller, urban living options — like lofts, condos and townhouses — are not as roomy as a traditional single-family home in the suburbs.

So, we end up compromising on some things — two bedrooms instead of three, tiny bathrooms, no wall space for your 32-inch plasma, and/or just enough room for a sink in the kitchen.

The kitchen is the heart of our home. Candlelit dinners, family brunches and birthday parties – they all begin here. A well laid out kitchen allows us to spend more time with loved ones; and a beautiful kitchen turns the cooking and baking hours into an enjoyable, warm experience.

Making the best use of a small space is tough, but it’s definitely achievable and well worth the initial planning you put into it. Smaller spaces just mean that you need to think a bit more creatively.


  • Think about choice of color.
  • Keeping walls and ceilings light and bright is always a top tip, especially if you have no windows.
  • Pay attention to the right type of flooring.
  • Sticking to the basics, choosing light cabinetry and opting for a darker bench top will create a flow between the walls, flooring and bench space and create an illusion of space.
  • The most expensive aspect of the kitchen is the appliances; try to stick with stainless steel or stainless steel finish products.
  • Think simple. Avoid cluttering this small space with too many counter-top appliances and accessories.

The exterior appearance of a small and well functioning kitchen is important. It is also just as important to feel happy in the space. The essentials to a kitchen are sometimes minimal, but without things like adequate bench space and the correct placement of appliances, you can become fairly dissatisfied pretty quickly.

Kitchen designed by Faizi Urban Design

Keep things simple and functional through cabinetry that has multi-leveled capabilities. Choose a trim-lined fridge and freezer systems, or chic, well-designed ovens and gas tops. Or, try open shelving with space for hooks and pot racks; these ideas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to selecting the fun stuff for your small kitchen.

So, if you don’t have the imagination or time to lay out your smaller kitchen, let an interior designer do the work so you can save, enjoy and have endless family meals in your new kitchen space.

For more articles by Omer, please visit www.faiziurbandesign.com/blog


Arizona’s Unemployment Rate Drops in November

The state’s unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percent to 9.4 percent in November, as the economy added 12,800 jobs. The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) reports today that the private sector generated 9,300 jobs, while government added 3,500. Traditional holiday hiring boosted the November job gains.

Nov. ’10 Oct. ’10 Nov. ’09
United States 9.8% 9.6% 10%
Arizona 9.4% 9.5% 9.3%

This is the fourth consecutive month of over-the-year gains in total nonfarm employment. The state’s 1 percent year-over-year gain in November was higher than the nation’s gain of 0.6 percent. Arizona’s 1 percent gain totals about 24,900 jobs added since the previous November.

“Overall, Arizona’s employment situation continues to improve,” according to the ACA employment report.

Nov. ’10
Oct. ’10
Nov. ’09
Overall 2,448 2,435.2 2,423.1
Monthly Change 0.5% 1.3% 0.6%
Annual Change 1% 1.1% -6.5%

Over the month, six out of the state’s 11 major sectors saw job gains. The sector that had the most gains for the month was trade, transportation and utilities, with 9,900, mostly due to the 8,700 jobs gained in the retail sector.

Gains were reported in: professional and business services (2,300); educational and health services (1,700); government (3,500); manufacturing (600); and information (400).

Losses were reported in: construction (-3,000); financial activities (-900); leisure and hospitality (-900); other services (-700); and natural resources and mining (-100).

Construction lost the most jobs of any sector in November, but it still is recording net job gains for 2010.

The unemployment rates climbed in almost all of the state’s largest metro areas.

Nov. ’10
Oct. ’10
Nov. ’09
Phoenix Metro 8.9% 8.4% 8.7%
Tucson Metro 8.8% 8.3% 8.5%
Yuma Metro 26.8% 25.7% 22.4%
Flagstaff Metro 8.1% 7.8% 8.1%
Prescott Metro 10.2% 9.7% 9.8%
LHC-Kingman Metro 10.9% 10.9% 9.8%
Mill Ave in Tempe, Arizona

2 Valley Treasures Will Receive A Little TLC

Phoenix (November 29, 2010) – The Tempe City Council recently voted unanimously to move forward with plans to restore Papago Park and Mill Avenue. The Papago Park restoration plans focus on improvements to marketing and park amenities while Mill Avenue will receive some much needed clean-up and landscaping.

Papago Park Master PlanPapago Park Master Plan – The cities of Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale together with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC) joined forces to conduct a public planning process to develop a vision and series of recommendations to guide the future of Papago Park as a premier regional park serving these cities and the larger region. Papago Park is situated in the heart of the greater Phoenix Metropolitan area at the intersection of the municipal boundaries of Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale.

master plan is to protect, preserve and enhance the physical, social, recreational and cultural resources the park provides to the regionThe park’s 2,000 acres include recreational open space and a wide variety of privately owned and leased facilities which serve a myriad of users. The intent of the master plan is to protect, preserve and enhance the physical, social, recreational and cultural resources the park provides to the region which will hopefully provide the ingredients necessary to achieve ‘Great American Park’ status.

Papago Park Regional master planThe Tempe City Council recently approved their City’s part of the Papago Park Regional master plan. The comprehensive planning process, embarked upon jointly by the cities and SRPMIC, resulted in a plan that includes measures aimed at restoring key areas of the park and promoting it as a single attraction. The master plan addresses the deficiencies in marketing efforts for the Park, which includes such tourist attractions as the Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Garden which are self-promoted. The Council’s approval includes a plan that proposes signage, advertising and better connections between trails in the park to encourage visitors to see more than one attraction during day trips. Mayor Hugh Hallman focused on the promotion of some of the park’s Native American ruins, which include art and landmarks used by the Hohokam, who settled the Salt River Valley in the 400s. He feels very strongly about the interest of visitors in such sites as Hole in the Rock.

plans to improve Mill AvenueMill Avenue – City Council also approved plans to improve Mill Avenue with the collaboration of the Downtown Tempe Community. A private company that helps businesses on Mill with marketing and outreach, the DTC will soon begin employing crews to clean up trash on the street and remove graffiti six days a week. The DTC crews will double as ambassadors who can answer visitors’ questions and distribute district maps. The City will provide landscape improvements in the medians.

Through this process, DTC and the City have also worked together to address the issues of business owners in the district. Their efforts include distributing a flyer to better illustrate the problems that business owners have with damage, litter, graffiti etc. in order to connect the business owners with the various City or DTC departments that can help resolve those issues which have long been a source of confusion.


Falling Prices, More Foreclosures Plague The Valley’s Housing Market

The housing market in the Phoenix metro area continues to tread through troubled waters.

According to a new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, the median price for an existing home in the Valley fell for the third straight month. Making matters worse, foreclosures continue to weigh down activity in the existing-home market.

The median home-resale price for last month was $135,000 — $3,000 less than August 2009. In fact, existing-home prices have been falling steadily since May, when the median price was $144,000. The median price was at $143,000 in June, and $137,500 in July.

“Although current interest rates and home prices are very attractive, homeowners don’t seem to be motivated to buy,” says Jay Butler, an associate professor of real estate at ASU. “This lack of motivation can be attributed to anemic economic and job recovery, low consumer confidence and stricter underwriting guidelines, among other factors.”

Home sales last month were particularly sluggish, with 4,800 homes re-sold. That’s down from almost 5,100 in July. In August 2009, almost 6,000 homes were re-sold. The numbers aren’t expected to improve anytime soon as home sales traditionally slow down after the summer season.

“As the year comes to an end, median prices often decline in response to holiday and school activities that allow little time or desire to buy a home,” Butler says. “Beyond the impact of foreclosure activity, the absence of a strong move-up market, will also limit any growth in home prices.”

The other barometer of the Valley’s existing home market — foreclosures — fared just as badly in August. Foreclosures accounted for 45 percent of the existing-home market last month, the highest percentage since January.

“When you add in re-sales of previously foreclosed-on homes, all of this foreclosure-related activity represents a full two-thirds of the market’s transactions in August,” Butler says.

About 4,000 foreclosures were recorded in Maricopa County in August, up slightly from about 3,900 in July. In August 2009, 3,100 foreclosures were reported.

The Worst May Be Past, But The Valley’s Housing Troubles Are Far From Over

When the final tally is concluded and the numbers checked and double-checked, the surprising result will show an almost record year for Phoenix-metro home purchases in 2009. That should produce a sigh of relief to the many who sense the Valley’s residential market has hit bottom and it’s time to look ahead to recovery.

Not so fast, interject the naysayers. There are so many problems that still need to be overcome, the local housing market could end up bouncing along the bottom of the cycle for years, if not suffer a secondary bout of recession.

The sticking points deflating the recovery bubble are numerous: more Americans falling behind on mortgage payments, intractable unemployment, a shadow inventory of homes and another wave of exotic adjustable-rate mortgages coming due over the next two years. All that could overwhelm the strong gains seen in the housing market in 2009.

The residential housing resale market in Phoenix has experienced a substantial uptick, reports RL Brown, who publishes the RL Brown Housing Reports. In October 2009, resales totaled 8,167 units as compared to 5,697 units for the same month the year before — a 43 percent increase in resale activity.

“At 8,000 homes a month, that comes wonderfully close to the important 100,000-unit-a-year market, which the Phoenix market first crossed back in 2004, when 112,000 units were sold,” Brown says. “That number took a surprisingly long time to attain, with resales at 75,000 in 2002 and 87,000 in 2003, and then just as difficult to maintain. In 2006, resales fell to 90,000 units and by 2007 hit 58,000 units.

“We are selling inventory above historical levels,” Brown avers. “That’s a demonstration of recovery.”

However, Jay Butler, an associate professor of real estate at Arizona State University, unearths some underlying problems in all that activity, in particular the fact that the resale of foreclosed properties, which had been running at about 60 percent of the resales, is what’s boosting the market.

In that hot-hot-hot October 2009, 30 percent of the recorded sales activity was foreclosures and another 30 percent to 35 percent was due to investors or lenders selling REO (bank-owned real estate) property back into the marketplace, which indicates that more than 60 percent of the resales were due to failed mortgages. When asked what the historical level of resales due to foreclosure activity was, Butler answered 3 percent to 5 percent.

The Buyers
Still, with all those homes being bought, whether they were foreclosed upon, new or simply the result of a straightforward transaction between a healthy seller and healthy buyer, the important point is the inventory of homes for sale was heading in the right direction in October.

“Unfortunately, there’s a negative interpretation to that phenomenon as well. Probably a third of all resale units being purchased are by investors,” explains Elliot Pollack, founder of the economic consulting firm Elliott D. Pollack & Co. “And investors tend to purchase homes they can fix up and resell. In fact, about 50 percent of all fix-up homes are bought by investors as compared to 25 percent of all move-in homes. Many of those homes bought by investors will come back into the marketplace.”

The other large group that has been buying up single-family properties has been the first-time homebuyers lured into the market by affordability, low interest rates and the Obama administration’s $8,000 tax credit. The target of this demographic group, in a sense, is not much different from the investor hordes — cheap homes. Since inventory in this category has been whittled down, that leaves an inventory of more expensive properties.

With the lower tier of homes moving to new buyers and investors, in a normal market this trend line would eventually result in average home prices increasing as home purchasers start moving up to bigger, more expensive homes. The trouble is, the Phoenix residential market remains wildly out of sync.

Earlier in 2009, Pollack predicted the Valley would end the year with an extraordinary number of vacant properties, perhaps totaling 50,000. By November, Pollack was quickly re-tabulating, and now expects 80,000 vacant properties, or about 9.8 percent of the market. Historically, vacant homes only made up 2.3 percent of the market.

“This is a big, continuing supply of properties,” Pollack says.

“Phoenix is still a long way from getting back to a market that is structurally normal.” – Jay Butler, Arizona State University

Bad Options
That number could get even bigger in 2010 due to resets on adjustable-rate mortgages.

Earlier in the last decade, during the heyday of exotic mortgages, one of the more popular loans was the Option-ARM, which initially offered the borrower four monthly payment options all with low teaser rates that would eventually reset. The borrower generally made payments less than the accruing interest, which resulted in negative amortization, or the unpaid portion of the interest added to the principal balance.

Most of these loans were written in 2005 and 2006, with five-year resets. Starting this year and going into next year, these mortgages will reset with higher rates and at a range unaffordable to most holders of Option-ARMs.

Securitzed Option-ARMS (about 70 percent of all Option-ARMs are securitized) total $189 billion, and of that $134 billion will be recast in 2010 and 2011, reports Alla Sirotic a senior managing director at Fitch Ratings.

“This is a product that will see one of the highest default rates,” she adds.

And Butler maintains: “This will be another subprime-type trampling of the mortgage market. Some people say this is where a lot of the foreclosures are. Some say it won’t be as big an issue because a lot of people will be able to refinance. It depends on what they reset to and interest rates are low right now.”

Arizona Business Magazine

February 2010

Kilowatt Krackdown - AZRE Magazine November/December 2009

BOMA Greater Phoenix Launches Kilowatt Krackdown Initiative

BOMA Greater Phoenix launches Kilowatt Krackdown initiative to reduce energy consumption marketwide.

Last year, BOMA International announced its 7-Point Challenge, encouraging local chapter members to reduce the carbon footprint of their buildings. BOMA Greater Phoenix embraced the opportunity and formed the Green Buildings Committee to further this goal, and in the process, pursued LEED certification for one of their member’s existing buildings. This year, the committee extends the sustainability challenge to the commercial real estate community.

What is Kilowatt Krackdown

Kilowatt Krackdown, an initiative launched by the committee in July 2009, challenges the industry to take on the first 2 steps of the 7-Point Challenge:

  • Decrease building energy consumption by 30% by 2012
  • Benchmark energy performance through the EPA’s ENERGY STAR tool


Phoenix Metro ranks 22nd in the country for the number of ENERGY STAR-qualified buildings in 2008, points out Dave Munn, principal and chief technical officer at Chelsea Group Ltd. and co-chair of the Green Buildings Committee. “Given that we are No. 5 in the country in population … we need to bolster efforts here to get more facilities to participate in this program, and show the country that we are indeed committed to energy efficiency.”


Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon was the first mayor in the United States to endorse BOMA International’s 7-point Challenge, and to begin benchmarking energy performance of municipal buildings. The committee continues to work on recruiting mayors of other cities to accept the challenge.


APS and SRP have partnered with the committee on the Kilowatt Krackdown initiative to sponsor an energy efficient training series for building management and maintenance staff. In a 4-hour, interactive workshop, participants learn how to use the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager benchmarking program, which provides ENERGY STAR ratings on buildings, makes comparisons to similar facilities in the geographic area, tracks energy performance over time and pinpoints specific ways to save energy in the future. The online tracking system provides a print-out of kilowatt usage and a new ENERGY STAR rating every 4 to 6 weeks.

“People need tangible results,” says Susan Engstrom, senior real estate manager at Tiarna Real Estate Services and president of BOMA Greater Phoenix. “I think it’s encouraging to see a piece of paper comparing your energy usage month-to-month and year-to-year, and to get an ENERGY STAR rating each time. This gives an incentive to improve.”

The workshops also explain how to take advantage of the power companies’ resources and incentive programs. According to Jerry Ufnal, new construction liaison for the APS Solutions for Business Program and BOMA Green Buildings Committee member, the power company offers the next step to the benchmarking program.

APS and SRP can evaluate each of their customer’s facilities to identify areas in need of improvement. They can also train building operators on how to run equipment more efficiently, give rebates for energy studies and energy-efficient upgrades, and provide information on current renewable energy resources available in Arizona, such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and bio-gas.

“I consider energy efficiency to be one of the strongest things you can do from a green perspective,” Ufnal says. “It has tremendous advantages for building owners because they reduce the cost of operations and maintenance of their buildings, which makes them more profitable. And at the same time they are saving energy and resources. It just makes good, logical sense.”

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AZRE Magazine November/December 2009