Tag Archives: pima county

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Reconnecting Tucson

While Phoenix is in the throes of commercial recovery, Tucson is, comparably, about 18 to 24 months behind. The city’s proximity to the border is touted as a draw for investors, but the player with the best hand remains the University of Arizona (UA), which is not only the largest employer in southern Arizona but also the nucleus to an otherwise stagnant city.

As development stands, experts point out Tucson has added 1,900 student housing units in the last year and the retail and office sectors in proximity to UA and Pima Community College show promise. In April, Colliers closed the largest office sale in Tucson since 2008.

“Multifamily has led the recovery in almost all markets,” says Cindy Cooke, who heads the Cooke Multifamily Investment Team at Colliers. “Since so much of Tucson is UA and the medical school, I think you only see that continue to be strong. The growth will be fantastic.” The first sign in recovery, she says, is when vacancy increases. Right now, Tucson’s multifamily vacancy is at 7.9 percent. In 2009, it exceeded 11 percent.

The UA is working to spin its innovation to the private sector and create small firms offering high-paying jobs in many areas of core competency, says President and Managing Shareholder of Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR, Mike Hammond. “The UA more than ever drives our community in a positive direction,” he says.

Kurt Wadington, Sundt Construction’s Tucson building group leader agrees. He adds that “apart from downtown and other isolated projects, Tucson’s market continues its softness in the shadow of a very slow economic recovery.”

Tucson’s streetcar project, Sun Link, aims to strengthen those existing assets and ignite future development. “With the recent infusion of student housing and corporate offices, downtown has become a desirable location for restaurants and bars as more people live and work in the area,” says Wadington. “This increased day and nighttime activity, that is expected to increase when Tucson’s new streetcar becomes operational on July 25, has numerous developers considering additional retail, office and housing projects.”

Though pens are to drawing boards, and the Sun Link has generated a “flurry of land sales,” there is some hesitation in development. Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR called Tucson a market in search of demand in its Q1 2014 reports. “One-liners are always a little true and at the same time false,” says Hammond. “Tucson says it wants good jobs but it acts differently when they appear.

Tucsonans tend to like the environment and object to nearly any attempt to develop on the land. This depresses demand as the process to develop anything is cumbersome and expensive with very little certainty of success, so we grow slower and some would say that is good. The right balance is tough to achieve.

“As government indebtedness drops, it is anticipated Pima County, followed by other jurisdictions, will pursue bonding authorizations for badly needed capital projects. Other needs may be met through public-private partnerships as public infrastructure needs continue to mount.”

UA is closely followed by Raytheon Missile Systems, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the State of Arizona as top employers. Simply, southern Arizona relies on government funding.“I think the big rock the southern Arizona market is waiting for is some resolution at the national level on debt and how government goes forward at the federal spending level,” says Hammond.

“Much of our area is dependent of spending at the federal level and that has been decreasing, whether for infrastructure, military in general — the A10 fighter specifically — and Raytheon. No one expects funding to increase in these areas and these are very good jobs that bring new money into the area. The multiplier effect is real in the creation of jobs or the loss of jobs as the case may be.”

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Glendale OKs casino near Westgate

After months of diligent negotiation, the Tohono O’odham Nation and the City of Glendale have finalized an agreement ensuring that the West Valley Resort project provides significant mutual benefits to both communities for years to come.

In taking this step, the City of Glendale confirms its full support of the Nation’s project, which will include construction of a $400 million resort and casino on its West Valley property. The agreement conveys Glendale’s desire that the Nation constructs and opens the West Valley Resort as expeditiously as possible in order to create jobs and positive economic opportunity in the community.

Under the agreement, Glendale also recognizes that the Nation’s project has never been within its corporate limits or the boundaries of any other city or town. The City supports taking the entirety of the Nation’s West Valley property into federal trust as reservation land, as had been originally requested. Glendale will also withdraw from any litigation against the project.

In return, the Nation has committed to providing Glendale with annual funding in excess of $26 million during a 20-year agreement, including a one-time payment of $500,000 within the next ten days. As promised from day one, the Nation will pay for construction of the facility, as well as municipal services and all infrastructure costs in and around the project site. The Nation will then pay Glendale’s monthly standard fees and service charge rates for commercial customers. This support is in addition to the economic benefits the project will bring to Glendale and the region.

Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris, Jr. said, “This agreement marks a major step forward for the Nation, Glendale, and the entire West Valley, one that will lead to greater prosperity for all our communities. The Nation looks forward to continued partnership with Glendale as we work together to create jobs and a world-class entertainment destination.”

In March 2014 the Glendale City Council also joined with other cities in the West Valley in opposing HR 1410, special interest legislation designed to stop the West Valley Resort and the thousands of jobs and economic development it would create.

Glendale is the fifth largest city in Arizona with more than 234,000 residents and four distinct areas: the Historic Downtown, the Sports and Entertainment District, the Arrowhead area and the Loop 303 expansion. The city is home to Luke Air Force Base, professional sports teams from the NFL, NHL and MLB and several higher education facilities. Visit www.glendaleaz.com for more information.

The Tohono O’odham Nation is a federally-recognized Indian tribe, with existing reservation lands in Maricopa County, Pinal County, and Pima County, Arizona. According to the Nation, the West Valley Resort will be located at 95th and Northern avenues and will generate thousands of new jobs and more than $300 million in annual economic impact. For more information, visit www.westvalleyopportunity.com.

Virtual Schools, Online Education

Pima Community College gets interim director

The retired president of a New Mexico community college has been named the interim director of a two-year college campus in Arizona.

Former Santa Fe Community College President Sheila Ortega said she starts her job at Pima Community College on Monday.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Ortega will be paid $173,000 a year as interim president of the college’s Community Campus, which focuses on adult basic education, workforce training and online learning.

Ortega is under contract to serve in the job through June 2014.

The college in Tucson has six locations throughout Pima County.

Ortega retired as president of the community college in Santa Fe in 2012, after a nearly 30-year career at the two-year school.

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Sundt Awarded Contract Expansion on Pima County Court Complex

Sundt Construction, Inc. has begun the second phase of construction on the new Pima County Downtown Court Complex. Originally contracted in February 2012 to complete the core and shell of the 290,000 SF facility, Sundt was recently granted a contract expansion to make tenant improvements, construct a parking structure and complete landscape and hardscape updates.
Sundt is serving as the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) for the $37M in improvements, $22M of which includes improvements on floors two, three, four, five and seven. In addition, Sundt will build an adjacent seven-level, 700-car parking structure with an 8,400 SF retail shell fronting the new Stone Avenue public plaza, which is budgeted at $15M.
“The Pima County Downtown Court Complex has required detailed and specific planning, starting with the complex foundation pour from the first phase of the project,” said Sundt Project Director Kurt Wadlington. “This second phase requires careful coordination of interior build-out, adjacent foundation systems and multiple utilities that cross the site.”
Housing the Pima County Justice Courts and Pima County public service offices, the seven-level complex includes a distinctive dichromic glass mural on the south wall that was paid for using a separate public art budget. The mural will be illuminated at night for an attractive addition to the Tucson skyline. Sundt anticipates this second phase will be completed in early 2015.

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Carlson helps Polsinelli Expand Cybersecurity Capabilities

Polsinelli has added attorney Kris Carlson to the firm, where he will focus on cybersecurity matters for corporate clients and law firms.

Carlson, formerly with Special Forces, has extensive operational knowledge of cybersecurity that will bring value to the firm’s clients. Carlson counsels corporate clients on compliance matters arising from the duty to protect electronic data and assists companies in establishing proper security protocols, including effective data breach responses at both the federal and state levels. He also works with law firms to assist them in protecting their client data in compliance with the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

“Kris brings to the firm a unique combination of practical cybersecurity experience coupled with the legal knowledge to guide companies through the complexities of protecting themselves from electronic data theft and it’s far reaching implications,” said Life Science & Technology Division Chair Patrick Woolley. “We are excited to have him join our team and strengthen our cybersecurity law capabilities, an area that very few firms in the country offer.”

Carlson will assist in identifying weaknesses in current e-data security and develop processes/protocols to help clients protect against theft of data and guard against hacking. He will also work with companies and law firms to make certain they have protocols in place for responding to government regulations in the event of a breach, assist board of director members with information security compliance issues particular to public companies and help attorneys ensure that they are satisfying their ethical obligations to safeguard client information.

“Businesses, healthcare organizations, utility companies, banks and law firms need to be proactively protecting their confidential information,” stated Carlson. “It’s my goal to understand the clients’ needs, and working with my colleagues, strive to ensure systems are in place to protect their confidential information.”

A graduate of the University of Arizona in Near Eastern Studies, Carlson earned his law degree from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law where he was the recipient of the CALI Award in National Security Litigation. He was the founder and supervising attorney of the Veterans Advocacy Clinic at the James E. Rogers College of Law, a clinic that was created to provide pro bono legal services in the Veterans Treatment Courts of the City of Tucson and Pima County.

Carlson currently serves as a subject matter expert on veterans’ legal issues for the Army OneSource Legal Resource Center. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona Rogers College of Law where he taught issues in national security law such as computer security, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and government response to public health emergencies.

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Valley Forward Exands its horizon

Timing is everything, even when it comes to Mother Nature.

“In 2010, we got an $85,000 grant to look at some federal issues on sustainability,” says Diane Brossart, president and CEO of Valley Forward, which brings business and civic leaders together to improve the environment and livability of Valley communities. “We were asked to target Arizona’s Congressional delegation and get them up to speed in regards to understanding a sustainability agenda for Arizona and what that meant.”

What grew from that seed was an initiative that had actually been germinating for more than a decade, Brossart says: taking the successful Marocopa County-centric Valley Forward and giving is a statewide focus. In August, Valley Forward’s board voted unanimously to to move forward with a business plan that will transition Valley Forward into Arizona Forward in January.

Brossart says the state is facing some serious issues related to the environment and the livability and vitality of Arizona’s cities and towns will be impacted by upcoming decisions related to:
* Land use planning and open space,
* A balanced multi-modal transportation system,
* Improving and maintaining healthy air quality,
* Solar and renewable energy technology,
*  Managing our water resources, and
* Protecting wilderness, parks, national monuments and other natural areas for Arizona’s tourism economy.

“As Arizona and the country recover from the Great Recession, a statewide dialogue is more important than ever,” says William F. Allison, a shareholder at Gallagher & Kennedy. “The issues impacting us – water, energy, transportation, land use – involve the entire state rather than only the Valley. Arizona Forward will provide a forum to think outside the box and beyond the Valley.”

To get Arizona Forward to have its greatest statewide impact, Brossart and her staff connected with nine companies that had influence on communities along the Sun Corridor — the stretch of freeway that connects Tucson, Phoenix, Prescott and Flagstaff — to become charter members of Arizona Forward.

“The leaders of those companies have become our tour guides as we go into Pima County and Northern Arizona,” Brossart says. She points to Kurt Wadlington, employee-owner of Sundt Construction in Tucson, for opening doors for Arizona Forward to spread its wings into Southern Arizona.

“Southern Arizona already has a very strong environmental focus, but struggles with areas that are dependent on statewide engagement from both a funding and advocacy perspective,” Wadlington says. “(Valley Forward’s) shift (to a statewide focus) will provide Southern Arizona with added resources to coordinate its future growth in the larger context of the Sun Corridor.”

Experts agree that now is the perfect time for Valley Forward to shift to a statewide focus statewide because Arizona is at a turning point, economically and environmentally.

“There are major issues that affect the state like transportation; managing resources; and protecting the wilderness, parks, and national monuments,” says Alfie Gallegos, area sales manager for Republic Services. “These are not just environmental issues, but are issues that have an effect on Arizona’s economy statewide. I think Arizona is ready to start having more positive statewide conversations about finding ways to grow our economy in a manner that can be sustained and is environmentally friendly.”

Brossart says that while Arizona has had countless groups that have focused on making their communities better, Arizona Forward will be looking to help educate legislators become the glue that brings those regional organizations together in a spirit of cooperation and unity.

“So much of our goal is to drive a political agenda to the middle and bring folks on both sides of the aisle together,” Brossart says. “The issues that we focus on are sustainability and environmental. Everybody needs clean air, clean water, open space and parks. Those are the things that make a community viable, healthy and liveable. We all want that. Those aren’t political issues. But they do fall into a political arena that sometimes clouds the issues. But if we can be a reasoning voice of balance like we have been successfully in Maricopa County, if we can bring that statewide, it will be really good for Arizona — economically and environmentally.”

Valley Forward members expect the transition to Arizona Forward to foster additional collaboration and conversation on statewide issues, bring additional viewpoints on key issues and allow for a more global conversation.

“My hope is that we can, over time, have a collective vision that regardless of our own regional filters, we’re all in this together and need to find ways to move forward as one sustainable, economically successful state,” says Iain Hamp, community affairs representative, Wells Fargo Team Member Philanthropy Group.

Brossart says one of the biggest messages Arizona Forward will be trying to communicate is that making sound decisions about issues surrounding sustainability and the environment are good for business.

“If we make a case that shows the economic impact of parks and open space on the tourism industry, the business community will take notice and they are uniquely poised to deliver of that message and be heard,” Brossart says. “Parks groupies are great and they are important. But when the business community gets involved, people listen.”

Where Arizona Forward could have its biggest economic impact is on growth industries that rely on the state’s amazing natural resources.

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of solar energy, as the clean, renewable energy source is experiencing massive growth and helping the state and country achieve greater energy independence,” says Patricia Browne, director of marketing and communications for SOLON Corporation in Tucson. “And Arizona has been at the center of this growth. This has been made possible not only by the companies developing the solutions, but by the state and local officials, Arizona-based businesses and individual residents who recognize the importance that solar plays in a number of ways such as a cleaner environment, economic development, and energy price stability. However, there are still challenges in making the adoption viable on a large scale, and Arizona Forward helps bring together the right players to help make this happen on a state level.”

Richard Mayol, communications and government relations director for Grand Canyon Trust in Flagstaff, says Arizona Forward will give members in northern Arizona the opportunity to not only have a voice in discussions that affect the state today, but in decisions that impact what Arizona will be like 20 years from now.

“We hope it will help create an economy that provides the opportunity for prosperity without sacrificing the environment,” he says, “and makes northern Arizona an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

And that is what Arizona Forward’s mission is all about: bringing business and civic leaders together in order to convene thoughtful public dialogue on statewide issues and to improve the environment and sustainability of Arizona.

“All areas of the state will benefit, from urban to rural and suburban areas in between due to a coordinated and planned strategy for such essential elements as affordable energy, water, transportation, affordable housing, and a wide band of employment opportunities,” says Janice Cervelli, dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona. “All geographic, economic, and environmental sectors of the state will increasingly become part of a larger, interdependent, connected system.”

GOALS OF ARIZONA FORWARD

* Establish cooperative relationships with like-minded Arizona conservation organizations and facilitate collaboration on sustainability initiatives.
* Bring business and civic leaders together to convene thoughtful public dialogue on regional issues and to improve the environment and sustainability of Arizona.
* Increase awareness of and interest in environmental issues initially in the Sun Corridor and then beyond, statewide, building on an agenda of land use and open space planning, transportation, air quality, water, and energy.
* Support efforts to promote the Sun Corridor as an economic development area incorporating sustainability and smart growth principles.
* Serve as a technical resource on environmental issues through Arizona Forward’s and Valley Forward’s diverse membership of large corporations, small businesses, municipal governments, state agencies, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations.

ARIZONA FORWARD CHARTER MEMBERS
Arizona Community Foundation
First Solar
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold
National Bank of Arizona
SOLON Corporation
Sundt Construction
The Nature Conservancy
Total Transit
Wells Fargo

FOUNDING MEMBERS: Access Geographic, LLC; Adolfson & Peterson Construction Company; APS; Arizona Conservation Partnership; Arizona Department of Transportation; Arizona Heritage Alliance; Arizona Investment Council; Arizona State Parks Foundation; Arizona State University, Global Institute of Sustainability; Aubudon Arizona; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona; Breckenridge Group Architects/Planners; Caliber Group; City of Tucson; Environmental Fund of Arizona; Fennemore Craig; Gabor Lorant Architects; Gammage & Burnham; Godec Randall & Associates; Grand Canyon Trust; Guided Therapy Systems; Haley & Aldrich; Intellectual Energy, LLC; John Douglas Architects; Jones Studio; Kinney Construction Services, Inc.; Lewis and Roca LLP; Logan Halperin Landscape Architecture; Pima County; RSP Architects; Southwest Gas Corporation; SRP; University of Phoenix; TEP / UNS Energy Corp.; The Greenleaf Group

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Sundt Begins Work On 1st Of 2 Massive Concrete Pours For Tucson Courthouse Foundation

Beginning at midnight on Friday, June 8, Sundt Construction executed the first of two massive concrete pours that will form the foundation of the new 290,000 SF courthouse shared by Pima County and the City of Tucson.

Construction at the site, located at Toole and Stone avenues in Downtown Tucson, began Feb. 1 and is scheduled for completion in August 2013. The first seven to nine months of the job are being spent on the foundation, just getting to grade level.

Some facts about the project:

  • The concrete mat slab is divided into two parts: A and B. Section A was poured June 8. The second pour happens on June 29.
  • The pours must be performed at night because of the lower temperatures and the traffic impacts. The ideal temperature for pouring concrete is about 70 degrees. Sundt uses chilled water and spray bars to keep the concrete cool.
  • Pour A took approximately eight hours to complete:
    • 440 cubic yards of concrete placed per hour
    • 3,553 cubic yards total
    • 20,000 SF, approximately
    • 70 trucks per hour for a total of 380 truckloads
  • Pour B is expected to encompass:
    • 700 cubic yards of concrete placed per hour
    • 4,000 cubic yards total
    • 24,000 SF, approximately
  • The two sections of the foundation (A and B) will be joined with a construction joint. The weeks between pours gives the project team a jump on the construction schedule in order to begin the concrete foundation walls.
  • The foundation is 25 feet below grade and will measure approximately one acre.
  • The steel-frame building will have seven floors above grade. Its exterior skin is unitized curtain wall and precast concrete.
  • The concrete has to be placed within 90 minutes of leaving the batch plant. Beyond that, it can’t be used because it will set up too quickly and may not cure to the specified design strength of 5,000 psi.
  • Two redi-mix companies are supplying the concrete. One is located at I-10 and Tangerine; the other is in Vail.
  • Continuous on-site testing during and after the pour ensures the mix is accurate and cures to the required strength.
  • Sundt’s contract for the core and shell: $48.2M.