Tag Archives: scottsdale

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Peggy Baze joins board of notMYkid

Scottsdale-based notMYkid, a  nationally focused non-profit organization focused on empowering and educating youth, families and communities with knowledge and courage to identify and prevent negative youth behavior, proudly announced that prominent artist and former Circle Roads Companies Executive Peggy Baze has joined its Board of Directors. 

“We’re thrilled that Ms. Baze has joined the Board of Directors for notMYkid and that she will share her experience and passion for helping youth to help our organization continue to blossom so that we can inspire even more teens in Arizona and across the U.S. to make positive life choices,” said Aimee Runyon, CEO of notMYkid. 

A native of Arizona, Peggy Baze has been active in the commercial real estate and investment industries for nearly 30 years. For the last 23 years she’s held various positions at Circle Road Companies and recently retired as Vice President. At Circle Road she was engaged in a myriad of real estate development projects as well as managing non real estate venture capital funding.

Peggy recently discovered a talent for art and in 2014 she founded the non-profit, Artful Giving, whose mission is to use art to help create sustainable revenue for charities focused on children and families in the community. Peggy’s original artwork has been replicated in notecard form in a campaign for UMOM, the largest homeless shelter in Arizona. Some of Peggy’s original artwork is also featured in the Governor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families.

Peggy is the mother of two grown children and now spends most of her time in her art studio painting and doing her philanthropic work. She and partner David Bruner enjoy traveling and spending time with their family.

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Scottsdale’s Studio B Smiles adds Colleen Murphy

Cosmetic dental office, Studio B Smiles, in Scottsdale announces Dr. Colleen Murphy as the office’s second dentist. Dr. Murphy will work alongside Dr. John Badolato, founder of Studio B Smiles, to offer patients high quality dental care. Dr. Badolato is the official team dentist for the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury, Phoenix Suns Dancers, Grand Canyon University as well as the official cosmetic dentist for ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition.

“I’m very excited to be bringing Dr. Murphy’s expertise to our patients,” said Badolato. “It’s great to see the practice growing and I’m confident Dr. Murphy’s education and experience will make her a great addition to our team.”

Dr. Murphy has 14 years of experience working in dentistry and enjoys using her talents to improve the lives of others. She has participated in the Scottsdale Boys and Girls Club Dental Outreach program and was involved with Christina’s Smile, a nonprofit dental care facility that provides free care to children in need.

Dr. Murphy graduated from Michigan State University, then went on to complete her doctorate at the University of Detroit Mercy. She then continued her education at the Lutheran Medical Center in New York, where she did a one-year advanced education program in general dentistry with a focus on restorative dentistry.

For more information please call (480) 860-0092 or visit www.studiobsmiles.com.

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Gobiquity mobile health moves to Scottsdale

This May, Gobiquity Mobile Health™, an award winning mobile health diagnostics company based originally in Aliso Viejo, CA, will relocate its headquarters to Scottsdale, where they will join the growing number of health and technology companies in the city’s “Cure Corridor.”

Gobiquity launched their flagship innovation, GoCheck Kids™, last year, the world’s first and only pediatric vision screener on a smartphone, incorporating a cloud-based HIPAA compliant platform that screens a child’s eyes for risk factors that lead to vision loss.

GoCheck Kids was created for use by pediatricians to facilitate the early detection of amblyopia risk factors (ARFs) for children aged 6 months to 6 years, the period when traditional vision testing is least effective.  Amblyopia is the leading cause of visual impairment and vision loss in children. Approximately 15% of children have risk factors for amblyopia and it is completely preventable with early diagnosis, yet less than 20% get their vision tested; a disparity that’s even greater worldwide.

“We are very pleased to be joining a business and tech community as vibrant as Scottsdale,” said Gobiquity CEO Andrew Burns.  “We intend to grow and thrive here, expanding our mobile suite of products and services to deliver significant benefit to physician practices and children locally and throughout the country.  Aligning our business goals with the resources afforded by Scottsdale is strategic and exciting.”  

Gobiquity designs and develops clinically efficacious mobile technologies and SAAS based services to increase practitioner efficiencies and improve clinical outcomes for patients. Gobiquity’s product suite and pipeline addresses pediatric diagnostics as well as adult primary care, collectively a multi-billion dollar market opportunity.

GoCheck Kids is making the process of testing young patients simpler and significantly more cost-effective. As a direct result, more kids are being efficiently tested and those at risk are readily identified, directly impacting and improving their lives and health. 

By joining DeskHub in Scottsdale’s rapidly growing “Cure Corridor,” Gobiquity will be in excellent company, helping to drive the region’s innovation economy while introducing new technologies and creating job opportunities. The company anticipates expanding their Scottsdale-based team, both in business operations as well as mobile and image science research and development.

“Gobiquity is a natural fit in the growing Scottsdale Cure Corridor,” said Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane. “The rise of the medical technology market sector in Scottsdale is directly related to the strength of the current companies which have created a vibrant and rich culture of healthcare, technology and bio-life science professionals in our community. Attracting top talent, Scottsdale’s Cure Corridor has over 28,000 bio-life science professionals working collaboratively to educate, research, conduct clinical trials while delivering world-class care to patients nationally and internationally.”

To learn more about Gobiquity, visit www.gobiquity.com.

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Postino WineCafé is coming to Scottsdale

Upward Projects, the Valley-based hospitality company known for cult-fav neighborhood restaurants like Joyride Taco House, Federal Pizza, Windsor & Churn, announced that Postino WineCafé is expanding to Scottsdale, with new locations coming to both downtown and north Scottsdale. Scheduled to open in October, Postino Highland (4821 N. Scottsdale Rd.) will be carved into the former 60’s-era Valley National Bank on the northeast corner of Scottsdale Rd. & Highland Ave., just east of Scottsdale Fashion Square. Tucked behind a towering wall of cast concrete fins, Postino Highland’s future home was co-designed by renowned local architect, Frank Henry of Weaver & Drover, best known for his landmark “Mushroom Bank” at the corner of 44th St. & Camelback Rd. in Phoenix, making this sleek 1960s space the perfect fit for Postino, says co-owners, Craig DeMarco & Lauren Bailey.

“From our first Postino inside the former Arcadia Post Office, Upward Projects is dedicated to finding, restoring and reusing historically relevant buildings in great local neighborhoods,” DeMarco says. “It’s somewhat spiritual for us that on Postino’s 15th anniversary, we’re able to find a proper home for our first Scottsdale location, and we couldn’t have done it without our partners Bill Levine and Andrew Cohn who helped bring this project to fruition.”  The 5,900-sq.-ft. Postino Highland will boast both front and back patios set amidst the verdant, grass-lined grounds, surrounded by original water fountains and mature ficus trees that provide a respite from bustling Scottsdale Rd. – all accessed via Postino’s signature yellow rollaway garage doors that blur the lines between indoors and out.

Tentatively scheduled to open in November, Postino Kierland is the second location arriving in 2015 and will come to life within the award-winning, pedestrian-friendly Kierland Commons’.  Drawn to the location because of its visionary mix of walkability and live/work/play sensibilities, Bailey says, “we love the north Scottsdale neighborhood, and Kierland offers the urban sense of community that we’re always looking for in a dynamic, mature neighborhood.” As with Postino Highland, final details of Postino Kierland are still being determined, however, expect a stylish indoor-outdoor layout, including rollaway garage doors, expansive patios, and the crave-worthy Postino menu packed full of bruschetta, big healthy salads, paninis and an award-winning wine and beer program.

“Postino WineCafé will be great a addition to Scottsdale, and we’re excited to have not one but two new locations coming in 2015.  Postino has figured out that perfect mix of elevated hospitality and sense of place for those in the community, and by restoring a 60-year old building, are perpetuating our history into the future,” says Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane.

Open daily for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, Postino Highland and Postino Kierland will also offer signature specials such as $5 Before 5pm, offered everyday on all wines by the glass and draft beer pitchers, and $20 Bottle & Board on Monday & Tuesday evenings.

Hotel Valley Ho Selfie Contest - Jeff Nelson Photography Copyright

Hotel Valley Ho offers summer 2015 specials

The Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale is making it easy to take a summer staycation by offering several summer specials.

Stay2Play Package

Take advantage of Hotel Valley Ho’s best package of the summer, starting at $139 nightly. Enjoy two welcome drinks, an arrival amenity, $30 in hotel gift cards nightly, upgraded Internet access (3MB), a free dessert in ZuZu with a dinner purchase, 10% off at the VH Spa Boutique, and $20 off a poolside cabana rental Sunday to Thursday. Stay between May 5 and September 7, and make your reservation at HotelValleyHo.com or 480.248.2000.

Gift cards can be used towards purchases at any hotel outlet, and for in-room movies and private bar (cannot be used for valet parking, room rate, taxes, or gratuities). Limit one dessert per table. Valid for reservations from May 5 to September 7, 2015. Room rate may vary based on dates of stay. Base rate is for Signature Guest Room; upgrades available at additional cost. Cannot be combined with other offers, subject to availability, some blackout dates apply. Based on single or double occupancy, extra persons fee may apply. Must be 21 or older to book.

Summer Selfie Special

Book this package and get a selfie stick you can use to enter the Me, My Selfie & I contest, along with two welcome drinks, and VH Spa Mojo pricing every day. Treat yourself to select 60-minute treatments for $60 or 90-minute treatments for $90, plus service charge. Stay between May 5 and September 7, and make your reservation at 480.248.2000.

Rates vary based on dates of stay. No purchase necessary to enter contest. Must be 21 or older to book. Cannot be combined with other offers. Subject to availability. Valid for reservations from May 5 to September 7, 2015.

Me, My Selfie & I Contest

Take your best selfie and enter to win a two-night stay! There’s a new winner every week. Post a selfie of you wearing Hotel Valley Ho apparel or at Hotel Valley Ho, to Instagram, Twitter, or the Hotel Valley Ho Facebook page. Be sure to use the hashtag #HVHSelfieContest. The contest runs May 5 to September 7.

Contest Rules: #HVHSelfieContest must be included in post with the photo to enter. Photo must be of a person either wearing a Hotel Valley Ho item or at Hotel Valley Ho, taken by that person. Winner will be selected by Hotel Valley Ho and notified via social media. Winner agrees to allow the hotel to repost the winning photo on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and must obtain consent from any other persons in the photo to enter the contest before doing so. Should the photo include multiple persons, only the person who takes the photo and posts it to their account may be eligible to win. On Twitter and Instagram, the user’s account must be public in order for the image to be viewable by Hotel Valley Ho; private accounts will not allow for contest entry. On Facebook, the photo must be posted to the Hotel Valley Ho Facebook page and not as a status update on the user’s page. Winners will be notified via social media on Mondays (May 11 – September 7), based on entries from the previous week (Monday to Sunday). Winner must claim prize within 30 days of being notified or prize is void. Prize is a two-night stay in a Signature Guest Room at Hotel Valley Ho, expires December 30, 2015, black-out dates apply. No purchase required. Must be at least 21 years old to enter. Contest Dates: May 5 – September 7, 2015.

Stay Longer for Less

Book a stay of three nights or more for the best deal. Book three nights for $299, four nights for $369, five nights for $439, or six nights for $499. Stay between May 5 and September 7, and make your reservation at 480.248.2000.

Stay must be fully pre-paid at time of booking and is non-cancellable, non-changeable. Valid for one stay only, consecutive nights. Cannot be combined with other offers. Base rate is for Signature Guest Room; upgrades available at additional cost. Subject to availability, some blackout dates apply. Must be 21 or older to book. Based on single or double occupancy, extra persons fee may apply. Rates do not include tax. Valid for reservations from May 5 to September 7, 2015.

Too Cool for Pool Package

This splendid summer special is perfect for lounging poolside. Enjoy a Pool View Guest Room with views of the OH Pool or OHasis Pool, two Hotel Valley Ho pool towels, and two drinks poolside. Stay between May 5 and September 7, and make your reservation at 480.248.2000. Rates vary based on dates of stay.

Cannot be combined with other offers, subject to availability, some blackout dates apply. Based on single or double occupancy, extra persons fee may apply. Must be 21 or older to book. Valid for reservations from May 5 to September 7, 2015.

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Gregg Allman at Talking Stick Resort

Legendary songwriter and founding member of The Allman Brothers Band Gregg Allman performed at the Showroom at Talking Stick Resort on Saturday, May 1. Seated at his B3 Hammond organ, Allman opened with “I’m No Angel” followed by “Sweet Melissa,” “Southbound,” “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More,” among other Allman Brothers standards and finished the performance with an encore of “Midnight Rider” and “Whipping Post.” The Gregg Allman Band features guitarist Scott Sharrard, Peter Levin on keyboards, drummer Steve Potts, percussionist Marc Quinones, Ron Johnson on bass and horn players Jay Collins, Art Edmaiston and Marc Franklin.

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Abbie Shindler joins Nussbaum Gillis & Dinner as partner

Nussbaum Gillis & Dinner P.C. is pleased to announce Abbie Shindler has joined the firm’s Scottsdale office as partner. Ms. Shindler is an experienced estate planning and corporate law attorney who assists individuals and families with their various estate planning needs and provides small and medium-size businesses with transactional legal services.

Ms. Shindler assists her clients with their estate planning, which includes the preparation of comprehensive estate plans, wills and trusts; administration of trusts and estates; obtaining appointments of guardians or conservators for adults and minors; creating revocable living trusts, special needs trusts and irrevocable life insurance trusts; obtaining tax-exempt status for nonprofit organizations; as well as asset protection agreements, and probate. Through her corporate law practice, Ms. Shindler primarily assists small and medium-size businesses with business formation, contract review, operating agreements, buy-sell and gifting agreements as well as title transfers for real property. Ms. Shindler is also a trained mediator.

“We are very pleased to have Abbie Shindler joining the firm’s Scottsdale office,” says Randy Nussbaum, founding shareholder of Nussbaum Gillis & Dinner. “We are actively expanding the firm’s practices to provide clients with additional legal services, and adding Ms. Shindler to our firm is another step towards achieving this objective,” he added.

In 1999, Ms. Shindler earned her law degree from California Western School of Law in San Diego, California. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona in 1996, where she earned magna cum laude distinction. Ms. Shindler is a member of the State Bar of Arizona, the Maricopa County Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

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Plexus will randomly distribute roses to moms in Arizona

On Friday May 8, ten thousand (10,000) pink, long-stemmed roses will be delivered to Scottsdale-based Plexus Worldwide, a leading direct-marketing weight-loss and health-supplement seller.  The 10,000 roses will then be distributed in bunches of 50 to local Ambassadors (resellers) that agree to distribute the roses at random to mothers at public places such as shopping centers, youth sporting events, or other locations.  

The effort is part of its #PlexusThanksMoms campaign on social media.  Plexus Worldwide is encouraging its followers on several of its social media channels to post their story of why they are thankful for their mom and to use the hashtag #PlexusThanksMoms.  Twelve entries will be chosen and Plexus Worldwide will send a bouquet of flowers to the mother of the poster.  As part of the campaign, for each person that likes or shares the posts, Plexus Worldwide has agreed to give a rose to a mother in its home-state of Arizona.

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Sam Fox opens first Flower Child location in Scottsdale

Flower Child, Sam Fox’s healthy fast-casual restaurant opened its first Scottsdale location yesterday, Tuesday, May 5, at Shea Boulevard & 90th Street. The latest locale will serve farm-to-table fare that’s healthy and served in a happy, fast-casual kitchen. 

Situated in a bright 3,572-square-foot space and 1,223-square-foot patio, surrounded by windows on every side with sunshine beaming in, the restaurant has the energy of a buzzing farmer’s market. Artwork is hand-painted and whimsical, and the open kitchen lets you watch the Chefs prepping fresh vegetables all day long. Here, where happy is the culture, guests can expect fresh flowers on every table, yoga mat parking, a to-go waiting area equipped with a grab and go fridge filled with healthy beverages, and a menu offering a wide selection of clean, nutrient-dense items for lunch and dinner. 

Flower Child believes healthy food makes happy people. Each dish is created with simple, quality, ingredients that are responsibly grown and humanely raised. The organic produce used is guided by the Dirty Dozen list while proteins are naturally raised without additives. That means 100% grass-fed beef, all-natural chicken, sustainably raised salmon, and organic, nonGMO tofu. The menu offers many options for vegans, vegetarians or those with a gluten free diet. In fact, every dessert offered at Flower Child is gluten free. Plus, everything is made from scratch, so guests know exactly what is in their food and where it came from. 

The menu includes a variety of starters, such as Simple and Avocado Hummus and an array of salads like The Granola with organic greens, fuji apple, pomegranate, clementine, sprouted almond, fennel, gorgonzola and chia seed vinaigrette. The heart and soul of the menu includes “build-your-own” Protein Plates with 100% grass-fed beef, all-natural chicken, sustainably raised salmon, and organic, or nonGMO tofu and from the vegetable and grain sides such as the Red Chili Glazed Sweet Potatoes and Simple Steamed Broccoli. For more healthy options, there’s whole grain wraps, like the Flying Avocado with grilled chicken, smoked gouda, romaine, tomato and avocado hummus, that are made from scratch daily and Bowls such as the Mother Earth, a medley of ancient grains, sweet potato, portabella mushroom, avocado, cucumber, broccoli pesto, leafy greens, red pepper miso vinaigrette, and hemp seed, where guests may add their own protein. 
  
Flower Child is located at 10460 N. 90th Street in Scottsdale and open Monday – Sunday from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.iamaflowerchild.com or call 480-240-4400. Stay in the loop on Instagram at @EatFlowerChild #IAmAFlowerChild. 
 
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Population growth to drive healthcare demand

Screen shot 2015-05-01 at 11.52.41 AMTHE BROADER VIEW

The Greater Phoenix medical office market is being supported by demographic factors, with the expanding local population base fueling demand for healthcare services. These trends should continue in the years ahead, following a lull brought on by the recession. While the long-term sources of demand are in place, the healthcare industry continues to adjust to the changing regulatory climate. Mergers and acquisitions continue to impact the market, and a few large transactions by healthcare systems have made headlines to this point in 2015.

CURRENT CONDITIONS

The traditional sources of medical office space demand are on the rise in Greater Phoenix, as both population growth and employment expansion have resumed in the market. The latest population figures show annual growth of approximately 1.5 percent in 2014, representing the addition of more than 65,000 residents. Employment is on a similar upswing, with approximately 50,000 jobs added each year since 2012. Healthy performance continued in the first quarter; employment in Greater Phoenix has expanded by 3 percent in the past 12 months, with 54,700 jobs having been added.

The return of population growth is sparking employment gains in population-serving sectors including healthcare. In 2014, more than 9,000 healthcare positions were added in the Phoenix metro area, the strongest year of growth in the sector since 2007. The pace of expansion slowed somewhat in the first quarter, but over the past 12 months, healthcare employment has expanded by 3.6 percent with the addition of 7,900 positions.

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Vacancy in the Greater Phoenix medical office market ticked higher in the first quarter, rising 10 basis points from the end of 2014 to 18.2 percent. Despite the slight uptick to start the year, the vacancy rate has improved by 150 basis points during the past 12 months. Net absorption in that time has been more than 283,000 square feet, outpacing the delivery of new space by more than 250,000 square feet.

After trending higher over the past two years, vacancy in on-campus medical office buildings reversed course and improved during the first quarter. The rate retreated 110 basis points to 11.9 percent in the first quarter, with net absorption totaling nearly 30,000 square feet.

In off-campus buildings, vacancy inched up 20 basis points in the first quarter, but at 19.2 percent, the rate has still improved 170 basis points during the past 12 months. Net absorption in off-campus buildings over the past year has totaled more than 268,000 square feet, led by nearly 110,000 square feet in Scottsdale and more than 90,000 square feet in the Southeast Valley. Vacancy in these two regions of the market averages approximately 19 percent, but there has been rapid improvement over

the past 12 months. A year ago, medical office vacancy in Scottsdale was over 23 percent, and the rate in the Southeast Valley was over 21 percent. These areas both feature sizable inventories of medical office space, but are also home to some of the strongest population and employment growth in metro Phoenix. While construction of new space has been modest in recent years, there are some projects in the development pipeline. Two medical office projects totaling nearly 120,000 square feet in the West Valley are under way, which could cause vacancy to tick higher as the buildings come online over the next 12-18 months.

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Sales of medical office condos were fairly steady in the first quarter. Half of the transaction activity during the first quarter occurred in the West Valley, with transactions in Glendale, Peoria and Surprise. The median price in these West Valley transactions was $207 per square foot, up from $148 per square foot last year. Transactions in the Southeast Valley accounted for 25 percent of the total activity in the first quarter, with properties trading at a median price of $86 per square foot, while fewer condos sold in Scottsdale, where the median price was $141 per square foot, compared to a median price of $165 per square foot in 2014.

Sales activity for non-condo medical office buildings accelerated by approximately 10 percent in the first quarter, and sales velocity has been fairly consistent since the beginning of last year. The median price in transactions during the first quarter was $95 per square foot, down from $121 per square foot in 2014. The median price has been dragged down somewhat by the mix of properties changing hands, with a few high- vacancy buildings selling. Cap rates have risen slightly over the past 12 months, averaging in the mid- to high-7 percent range.

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Colliers: Scottsdale Airpark report details steady growth

James Keeley, SIOR, CCIM, founding partner and managing broker at Colliers International’s Scottsdale office recently released a 2030 Report for the Greater Scottsdale Airpark detailing commercial market changes in the past 30 years to the present.

The Greater Scottsdale Airpark has seen continued growth between 1981 and 2014 in the areas of available square footage and number of employees, with the exception of a slight drop in jobs from 2009 to 2011. Businesses moving into the area also steadily increased.

“The large supply of space has been absorbed since 2011, with virtually little to no new construction over the last five years,” wrote Keeley, a senior executive vice president with Colliers. He defines the Greater Scottsdale Airpark as the approximate 3,300 acres bounded by Loop 101 to the north, Thunderbird Road at the south, 64th Street to the west and 90th Street to the east.

In December of last year, office vacancy dropped to 18 percent, compared to the 30 percent vacancy rate that topped out in 2009. Despite a lack of construction, office space remains available.

Industrial, flex and retail use reached an equilibrium in late 2014. The number of buildings for sale is down dramatically, and the price has increased for buildings that become available, according to the report.

In 2014 new residential units were opened or planned. These include Liv North Scottsdale Apartment Community which opened with 240 units, Crescent Communities which began construction on 275 units and Sunrise Commons with 282 units planned to open in 2016. Optima Kierland Center in December 2014 received zoning permission to build a $300 million, 660-unit condo development project.

Last year, businesses in the area added jobs and leased more space accordingly. Keeley noted that Vanguard Mutual Fund Company added 500 employees. Accolade, the Pennsylvania-based healthcare company, announced plans to hire 300-plus employees.

Companies that moved to the Scottsdale Airpark in 2014 include Scottsdale Association of Realtors, Russo & Steel, HomeSmart and South Hills Design Corporation. They purchased or leased spaces ranging from 23,000 square feet to 38,806 square feet.

Keeley’s report averages the prices of land during the past 10 years. The lowest came in 2011 at $13.43 per square foot, while the highest was $37.40 per square foot in 2008. Prices began increasing from 2006 to 2007, at which point the price per square foot hit a high of $25.09. In 2014 land prices settled at $24 per square foot.

The end of 2014 realized 75 new sales for office, industrial and retail spaces with a sales volume of $169,544,000 for 1,433,380 square feet.

“The trend for 2015 is slow but steady absorption of space and a new three-story office building is under construction at the Loop 101 and Bahia Drive,” Keeley said.

 

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Rents spike as vacancy continues to tighten

Screen shot 2015-05-01 at 10.21.10 AMMarket report supplied by Colliers International

THE BROADER VIEW

The Greater Phoenix multifamily market continued to ride a wave of momentum to start 2015. Robust renter demand for units fueled another vacancy improvement, rents surged and sales prices posted additional gains. Healthy employment growth is the driving force behind renter demand, and the new units that are being delivered to the market are being leased quickly. The supply side remains the primary uncertainty going forward, particularly as permitting for new units slowed in late-2014 and again in the first few months of this year.

CURRENT CONDITIONS

After ending 2014 at a 17-year low, the Greater Phoenix multifamily vacancy rate continued to improve in the first three months of 2015. The rate fell 50 basis points in the first quarter to 5.7 percent, and over the past 12 months, vacancy has dipped 80 basis points. The ongoing vacancy tightening has been dynamic; as recently as the end of 2010, metrowide vacancy was over 10 percent, and the rate peaked at more than 13 percent in 2009.

While the market rate was over 10 percent a few years ago, currently, only one submarket in all of Greater Phoenix currently has a vacancy rate in the double digits. A dozen submarkets in the Valley feature vacancy rates of 5 percent or lower, with some of the tightest vacancies in the Ahwatukee Foothills, Chandler and Gilbert submarkets. Year-over-year vacancy declines have been recorded in more than 70 percent of the submarkets in the metro area, and in the areas where the rate is improving, the average decline is approximately 150 basis points.

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After renters moved into a net of more than 5,800 units in 2014, another surge in demand was recorded in the first quarter. Net absorption hit a five-year high in the first quarter, totaling more than 2,800 units, up nearly 15 percent from the first quarter 2014. While absorption was strongest in Scottsdale and Chandler/Gilbert, it was positive in nearly every submarket in the Valley during the first quarter, with healthy performance in the Glendale, Union Hills/Cave Creek and Ahwatukee Foothills submarkets.

Persistent renter demand for units and tightening vacancy are fueling robust rent growth. Asking rents surged 2.2 percent in the first quarter—the strongest single quarterly increase on record—and have jumped 5.4 percent over the past 12 months.This comes following a 1.5 percent rent gain to close 2014, which at the time was the largest rent spike since 2006. At $837 per month, current asking rents are 9 percent above the post-recession low, and average increases in the 4.0 percent to 6.5 percent range are forecast over the next few years.

Sales velocity in the first three months of 2015 lagged activity levels from the preceding quarter by approximately 20 percent, but declines in the first quarter are common. When compared to other starts to the year, however, activity was quite robust, with more properties changing hands to start 2015 than in any first quarter since 2007. When compared to the same period one year ago, sales activity thus far in 2015 has more than doubled.

Strengthening property performance and favorable market sentiment are pushing prices higher. The median price per unit rose approximately 10 percent in 2014 and continued to gain momentum to start this year. The median price in the first quarter was $73,100 per unit, the highest median price since 2008. Part of the recent rise is explained by activity at the high-end of the market.Sales of properties for more than $100,000 per unit accounted for 38 percent of all transaction volume in the first quarter, up from 30 percent of all sales in 2014. These higher-priced properties are typically newer construction, averaging 10 years old at the time of sale. With developers increasing deliveries in recent years, and investment demand healthy, there could be additional volume among newer properties in the years ahead.

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224 Apparel uses referral-based business to grow

With a vibrant room full of inspirational artwork and a sensational woman sitting behind the desk, the feeling of thrill cannot help but overwhelm a client that walks into the 224 Apparel office of Chief Creative Officer Ali Matthews Radow.

224 may seem like an unorthodox name for an apparel company, but a name with special meaning behind it.

On Feb. 24, 2010 two young entrepreneurs met over coffee to discuss and create a new apparel division of the existing BMSS, Business Management and Strategic Solutions, a referral only lifestyle management company for professionals.

Not only was this the start of a business venture, but the day that Radow met her future husband-CEO of BMSS Jonathan Radow.

“We complement each other very well as a team,” Radow said. “He’s the business and logistics side and I just want to dig my hands into everything creative. The pairing together is what really makes the company function at its core.”

224 Apparel is referral-based business that provides custom apparel to everyone from corporate businesses to collegians and everyone in between, according to Radow.

“We like to stick to our goal of referral- based business and not knocking on any doors,” Radow said. “ Knowing that people are coming here because they want to work with us is what we love and that’s what’s important.”

By word of mouth 224 has taken over the collegiate market of apparel, now working in over 300 campuses nationwide and Canada with growing numbers every single day.

“The collegiate market is something that just has kind of taken off on its own,” Radow said. “With the ability to share everything across the board with social media platforms and pictures it has just kind of organically spread virally through the collegiate market on its own.”

Radow’s passion for creativity, art and her experience in Greek life at Arizona State University attributes to the success the company has had in the collegiate market. With their innovative designs and out-of-the-box thinking, 224 has the ability to push the envelope and create something unique for each and everyone one of their clients, according to Radow.

“The best part of working with Ali and 224 is the ability to meet face-to-face and bounce off each other’s ideas,” ASU Delta Gamma’s Director of Apparel and 224 Apparel Client Katie Stewart said. “We have the ability to truly get to know Ali and the company not just through emails but meetings, and create more of a connection than just simply looking at products and purchasing.”

With 224’s genuine care and the quality they provide their clientele, it is no wonder the company has grown significantly in the last year. Radow anticipates big growth in the upcoming year but intends to stay true to the values that distinguish them apart from any other company. From the design, to customer service, to receiving the product at your door, 224 is there every step of the way.

From her early years in Greek life to her passion of all things creative, Radow and 224 Apparel have been able to transform a young entrepreneur’s dream into a successful business owner’s reality.

“We are so excited to be designing a new generation of clothing for our collegiate clients,” 224 Apparel’s Account Executive Holly Haro said. “It doesn’t matter if you are a Kappa in Washington or a Phi Mu from Georgia, 224 has something for you.”

224 Apparel is much more than a T-shirt company, it is a brand that represents who a client is, where they come from and their identity.

football

Experts: Central sports commission would boost Arizona

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

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

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

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

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

‘Herculean task’

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

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

And the city hosted two Super Bowls in seven years.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State fund

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions without answers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Phoenician resort is nestled in the Sonoran Desert, with the breathtaking Camelback Mountain its backdrop. Photo: The Phoenician

The Phoenician offers family-friendly summer luxury

The Phoenician, Arizona’s premier AAA Five Diamond resort destination, and its boutique hotel, The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician, are welcoming summer with sizzling rates and signature activities.

Beginning Monday, May 25 through Monday, September 7, 2015, guests of the 250-acre Phoenician can take advantage of the best rates of the year, starting from just $159 per night.  At The Canyon Suites — Arizona’s only Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond hotel — a more personalized, intimate experience is available, with guestrooms starting at $219 and suites at $329 per night.  

Visitors to both properties will discover a diverse collection of activities, including Smartphone photography classes, special wine tastings with Arizona’s only Master Sommelier, dive-in movies, Glo at the Pho neon pool parties, Pop! Up movies, animal encounters and the Flight of the Phoenix, a mythological bird of prey show.  Exclusive Canyon Suites offerings are highlighted by culinary and cocktail demonstrations, complimentary Electra bicycles for touring the resort grounds or nearby communities, and a library presenting the latest New York Times best sellers.  

In addition, the two properties combined feature a total of eight spacious pools, full-service cabanas, a 165-foot water slide, the interactive “sprayground,” SURGE, a championship golf course, renowned spa and numerous award-winning restaurants offering select dining specials.

For more information and to make reservations, please call (800) 888-8234 and mention rate plan SUMMER, or visit www.thephoenician.com/offers  or www.canyonsuites.com/offers.

“We had a tremendous response to our summer programming last year, which has translated into even more events, activities and special offerings for 2015,” said Mark Vinciguerra, managing director.  “We look forward to sharing these many memorable experiences with staycationers and visitors alike in the coming months.”

During the summer holiday weekends, entertaining, themed programming and activities will be offered, sponsored by Infiniti on Camelback.   Memorial Day Weekend kicks things off with a Surf’s Up!  Block Party featuring the band Southwest Surfers; along with face painting; a sidewalk chalk art competition; and a Hawaiian shirt contest.  Following a Father’s Day “Weekend Off” event showcasing all things Dads like to do, the Independence Weekend gets under way with – IGNITE.  On Friday, July 3, fireworks on the Casita Lawn will be preceded by a live performance from the band Young Country.   An indoor carnival featuring a Shock Wave Obstacle Course, mechanical bull, a basketball shootout and football throw skill game will highlight the Saturday, July 4, activities.  To wrap up the season, The Phoenician will host “On the Boardwalk” during the Labor Day Weekend with food trucks, rides, a magician and a special concert.

New Spring menu comes to Paul Martin’s American Grill

Paul Martin’s American Grill is celebrating its one-year anniversary in Scottsdale with the rollout of a fresh, new springtime-inspired menu. With a focus on seasonal ingredients, Paul Martin’s is committed to using local produce, sustainable fisheries, free-range and natural meats, artisanal cheeses, and house-infused spirits. To welcome warmer weather, Paul Martin’s has added a dozen new, lighter menu items for lunch, dinner and happy hour, as well as several refreshing cocktail selections.

Paul Martin's Vegetable PastaFor a starter, go for the Salt and Pepper Shrimp ($17) featuring crispy Pacific wild prawns, served with a pesto aioli; or the Chicken Tortilla Soup ($10) topped with avocado, poblano salsa, crispy tortillas and cilantro. Veggie lovers will enjoy the Spring Vegetable Pasta ($19) made with fresh lemon fettuccine tossed with white wine, parmesan and garlic, then topped with a toasted walnut pesto; or the Seared Ahi Salad ($18) accented with snow peas, red onion, daikon sprouts, red peppers and mint in a sesame ginger dressing.

 

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For a heartier lunch option, try the Turkey Sandwich ($15), with house-smoked turkey, Havarti, tomato, arugula, and pesto aioli on whole wheat. For lunch or dinner, the Hanger Steak ($22 lunch/$24 dinner) is served chimichurri style with fries.

 

PMAG_222 (2)Additional new dinner selections include the Grilled Lamb Sirloin ($32), served with wild mushroom farro, Bloomsdale spinach and cipolline onions; or the St. Lois-style BBQ Pork Ribs ($25) with slaw and fries. For seafood dishes, try the Linguine and Clams pasta ($24), tossed with la quercia prosciutto and chile flakes, in a white wine, garlic butter sauce; or the Seared Ahi Tuna ($28), served with a salad of bok choy, watermelon radishes and snow peas, in a sesame ginger vinaigrette. Finish the meal with Lemon Crème Brulee ($10) with lemon infused vanilla bean crème, with shortbread cookies.

To complement the new menu items, several craft cocktails were added to the bar menu. A simple, yet powerful cocktail, the Woodford Reserve Spring Splash ($11) features Woodford Reserve Bourbon, and fresh lemon juice on the rocks, garnished with toybox tomatoes and fresh basil. The Fresh Berry Cooler ($11) is a mix of Absolut Vodka, Cointreau, muddled blackberries, fresh lime juice, and sparkling water. A twist on a classic, the American Mule ($11) is shaken with Tito’s Vodka and fresh lime juice, topped with Fever Tree Ginger Beer. A refreshing cocktail for two, the St. Germain Cocktail ($15) features Piper Sonoma Sparkling Wine, St. Germain, and fresh fruit. Explore Paul Martin’s extensive spirits menu with a new Rum Flight ($15) of Pusser’s British Navy 5 year, Appleton Reserve 8 year, and Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva 12 year.

PMAG_244 (2)Paul Martin’s has a generous happy hour daily from 3 to 8 p.m. that features a variety of appetizers and entrees exclusive to this menu. New $9 happy hour options include a Butcher’s Board featuring a selection of local cheeses and artisan salumes; and the Fresh Ahi Poke with cucumber, lime, avocado, onion, cilantro, and crispy wontons. The Fresh Berry Cooler, American Mule, and Woodford Reserve Spring Splash are also offered for $9.

Sonoran Corporate Center Building 5

Helix acquires new Sonoran Corporate Center

Helix, an Arizona-based commercial real estate Investment, Development, Brokerage and Management Company, recently acquired another Scottsdale commercial property, Sonoran Corporate Center Building 5, for $3.93 million.

Located at Princess and Hartford Drive, in Scottsdale, Sonoran Corporate Center includes a 21,064 square foot building. Helix will be converting much of the building to medical and corporate offices for Freedom Pain Hospital who will occupy the entire building. Freedom Pain Hospital operates a 35,000 square foot hospital adjacent to this parcel.

Helix Properties will manage the new acquisition. The property was purchased from CRE Ventures XIX, LLC. The broker for the seller was Brennan Watkins with Realty One Group and the broker for the buyer was Mitchell Stravitz with CBRE Inc.

This marks Helix’ second Scottsdale-area medical/office acquisition in four months.

With expertise in acquisition, construction, development and disposition of millions of square feet of real estate in Arizona and throughout the Southwest, the Helix team has worked in nearly every segment of the commercial real estate industry: office, retail, industrial, land, self-storage multi-family housing, assisted living and medical.

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Scottsdale’s Airware Labs expands sales into India

Scottsdale-based Airware Labs Corporation announced 37 Apollo Hospitals and 250 Apollo pharmacy retail outlets across India will now sell Airware Labs’ innovative AIR ALLERGY product. Apollo Pharmacy is the largest retail pharmacy chain in India. Apollo Hospitals, based in Chennai, India, encompass over 10,000 beds across the country. A number of Apollo Hospitals have been among the first in India to receive international healthcare accreditation. Apollo hospitals and pharmacies are a part of the Apollo Group.

Airware Labs’ AIR ALLERGY will be available in retail and hospital-based outlets in the Hyderabad Region, Chennai Region, Mumbai Region, Delhi Region, Kolkata Region and Bangalore Region. According to Airware Labs CEO Jeffrey Rassas, “We are very excited about the opportunity to partner with an organization that is dedicated to giving every citizen in India access to the highest quality of healthcare. Airborne pollutants remain a devastating problem across India. Many people may not realize that New Delhi is now the most polluted city in the world. With air pollution cited as the 5th largest killer in India and more than 30 percent of the population suffering from one or more allergens, our AIR ALLERGY product offers an effective, affordable choice in addressing serious health challenges.”

AIR ALLERGY is a discreet personal filter that features a 3M filtration media to stop allergens as well as a blend of proven, therapeutic premium oils to provide additional antimicrobial protection and symptomatic relief. AIR ALLERGY is part of the line of Airware Labs’ healthcare products that are marketed under the brand name of AIR and include pioneering, over-the-counter consumer products that address airborne bacteria and viruses, allergies, congestion, snoring, insomnia, nausea, headaches, and enhanced sports performance. Unlike external products such as strips, these soft, comfortable, and discreet, latex- and drug-free products fit just inside the nose, utilizing an FDA-approved medical-grade material. Nearly invisible for use anytime and anywhere, the AIR products’ microstructure enhances normal nasal airflow with every breath and is clinically proven to deliver up to 40 percent more oxygen.

The sale of Airware Labs’ AIR ALLERGY product in India marks another step forward in the successful execution of the company’s plan to rapidly grow its domestic and international market penetration through partnerships with leading retail and health locations. “With the ongoing interest in preventive healthcare, our leading-edge products represent effective, affordable choices for consumers. We are delighted by the growth in consumer awareness and adoption of our pioneering products, which we expect will fuel continued growth going forward,” commented Rassas.

Recently, Airware Labs announced a new domestic partnership with Winn Dixie and BI-LO stores across the country. Airware Labs’ products are also available in the U.S. through a number of brick and mortar retail locations including Walgreens, Albertsons, Acme, Shoppers, Shop n’ Save, ACME, and Farm Fresh along with individual distributors in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Online the products are available at a variety of retail sites including Walmart, Walgreen’s, Target, Drugstore.com, CVS, Amazon and Airware Labs.

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Angel-inspired artist opens gallery in Scottsdale

Angel-inspired jewelry artist Cheryl Senkfor and dichroic glass artisan Bobby Harr are pooling their creative resources to open The Creating Spot, a contemporary art studio-gallery in Old Town Scottsdale, on Thursday, April 23.

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Cheryl Senkfor

Senkfor says her hand-woven metal jewelry line was inspired by angels after she suffered a traumatic brain hemorrhage in 2003. “I saw three angels,” Senkfor recalled, “who told me I would survive and touch as many people as possible with my creativity.”

She not only survived, but developed fine motor skills that allow her to weave precious metals using the lost art of Viking Knit which dates back to 8th Century Ireland. Last year, she won the Ornamental Jewelry Award at Tempe Festival of the Arts.

“I wasn’t inspired by angels,” admitted Harr, “but do share Cheryl’s desire to teach and give back to the community.” A portion of their proceeds from The Creating Spot will benefit the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona.

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Bobby Harr bobby pin

Harr is self-taught and began his journey into the world of fused and kiln-formed glass art in 1998. His work has been displayed in more than 160 galleries and shops across the U.S. and Canada.

Located between Stetson Drive & Scottsdale Road at 7127 E. 6th Avenue (across the street from Geisha A Go Go and directly behind Photo Fusion), The Creating Spot will offer a variety of hands-on classes including  wire and epoxy-clay jewelry, fused glass art objects and silk painting to “stir souls, ignite minds and open hearts to boldly create,” said Harr.

Senkfor and Harr, who have taught fine arts and crafts to hundreds of students at remote locations across the Valley, will now teach group or private lessons in their own studio.

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5 things to do now to get ready for bikini season

Spring break has come and gone and summer now looms on the horizon…and with it that dreaded moment when you’ll find yourself shopping for a bathing suit. Don’t fret, if you act now there’s still time to tighten up before hitting the beach.

Do these 5 things NOW to quickly get yourself into bikini shape…

1. Eat more Veggies: Your mom was right, eating vegetables really is a good idea, especially when preparing to shimmy into a bathing suit. Why? There are a couple of reasons. First, veggies are low in calories and high in fiber, which means that you’re filling up without packing on pounds. Second, the vitamins and minerals in fresh vegetables nourish your body and cut down on cravings.

2. Add five Minutes: Each week, between now and your beach debut, I want you to add 5 minutes to your workouts. Just five more minutes. The slight increase from week to week will hardly be noticeable, but the extra fat burn will pay off nicely. Use these extra five minutes to do intense burst of exercise, such as burpees, squat to presses and walking lunges.

3. Double up on Water: Not only will staying extra hydrated help your skin to have a healthy glow, it will also speed up your fat loss efforts. Most of us are walking around in a state of chronic dehydration, which contributes to fatigue, stubborn weight gain and constipation. By drinking more water throughout the day, and by limiting your intake of caffeinated beverages, you’ll become healthier, more radiant, and sexier in that bikini.

4. Eat low Carb (after 4pm): One of the easiest ways to drop a few inches around your waist before the warm weather hits is to eat low carb after 4pm each day. This means eating dinners that are centered around salads and vegetables rather than breads and pastas. If you simply must have your oatmeal or whole grain bread each day, then eat it for breakfast or lunch and give low carb dinners a try. Don’t forget that sugar counts as carbs, so skip that sugary dessert and try a grapefruit for dessert.

5. Train with Me: If you’re not yet one of my beloved clients, then now is the time. I’d love to get you into beach season shape, and to give you the foundation that will keep you lean and healthy for life. Call or email today and we will get you started this week on an exercise program that will get you back in control of your body.

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The 37th annual Scottsdale Culinary Festival winners

The forks and knives were clamoring during a busy week at the latest Scottsdale Culinary Festival, with more than 35,000 people attending this year’s fun food events. But for a select few, they’re leaving with another tasty takeaway: bragging rights, and for some, donations made to their charity of choice. Without further ado, here is the complete list of winners from the 2015 SCF.

Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame

Since 1992, the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame has been tasked with identifying and awarding the state’s best chefs, restaurateurs and beverage masters. Winners receive an Ed Mell-designed trophy, plus a $500 donation to the charitable organization of their choosing.

·       Beverage Master of the Year: Travis Nass (Last Drop at the Hermosa)
·       Chef of the Year: Gio Osso (Virtu)
·       Restaurateur of the Year: Sam Fox (Fox Restaurant Concepts)
·       Lifetime Achievement: In memoriam of Glenn Humphrey (Arizona Culinary Institute)
·       Alex Simons Lifetime Achievement Award: Judy Wolf (Young Arts Arizona)

Burger Battle

In its fourth year, the Burger Battle presented by Leinenkugel was fought in front of a large crowd at Hotel Valley Ho.

zinJudge’s Choice

·       1st Place: Hopdoddy (Primetime Burger: Akaushi Beef patty topped with Brie cheese, truffle aioli, arugula, caramelized onions and steak sauce)
·       2nd Place: Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar (The Mel Brooks: Snake River Farms Kobe beef patty topped with pastrami, shredded cabbage, pickle and a spicy stone ground mustard)
·       3rd Place:  ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho  (Gala Burger with freshly-ground chuck, ménage cheese and baco bacon – Gala apple jam)

People’s Choice

·       1st Place: Aioli Gourmet Burgers (Signature Italiano Slider with fresh mozzarella cheese, tomato, balsamic reduction, crispy pancetta and basil garlic aioli)
·       2nd Place:  ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho (Gala Burger with freshly-ground chuck, ménage cheese and bacon – Gala apple jam)
·       3rd Place: Bootleggers Modern American Smokehouse (Bootastic Burger with house-ground beef, smoked bacon and onion jam, artisanal American cheese, dill pickles and secret sauce on a Chompie’s rye bread bun)

m_8X50mJ5F80PMVCSfPFZiXiRC5VLNPngcZTYzhn4KMGreat Arizona Picnic

A lucky group of Great Arizona Picnic judges ate their way through the booths to determine the best food, dessert and booth display at the Great Arizona Picnic.

·       Best Food: Sushi Roku, Pork Belly Hanabi
·       Best Dessert: Angelo’s Italian Ice & Gelato, Tiramisu Gelato
·       Best Booth: Blasted Barley “Fun Zone”

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Crowdfunding law gives Arizona startups a boost

A bill was introduced at the Arizona State Legislature during the 2015 session and signed by Gov. Doug Ducey that allows entrepreneurs to raise equity for their company from the general public.

The passage of HB2591 allows people to invest and potentially hold stock in companies that raise money through crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

“It’s basically the idea that companies shouldn’t be limited to having just rich people be their investors, and individuals shouldn’t be restricted from investing small amounts of money in companies that they know and love,” said Jonathan Frutkin, a Scottsdale attorney and author of “Equity Crowdfunding: Transforming Customers into Loyal Owners.”

Crowdfunding has become a popular method used by up-start businesses to raise money for product launches or other business ventures. It works by allowing anyone to funnel money into thousands of projects you can find online.

However, concerns over fraud loom over the different crowdfunding websites. Although many remain hesitant to give money to companies electronically, concerns over fraud and embezzlement may be unfounded, Frutkin said.

“When an organization may ask ‘hey, you want to raise money online?’ Give me a copy of your articles of organization, your lease, intellectual properties.’ When you ask those question the fraudsters say, ‘there’s a lot easier ways to steal money that this,’ ” Frutkin explained.

HB2591 was originally introduced to the legislature by Rep. Jeff Weninger, R-Phoenix. The Arizona Small Businesses Association helped write it.

Besides Arizona, 17 other states have passed crowdfunding bills. Frutkin said he expects at least 25 states total to have passed similar bills to HB2591 by the end of 2015.

Only Arizona residents would be allowed to invest in Arizona companies, according to the bill. Investors can donate up to $10,000, while companies can raise up to $2.5 million through crowdfunding campaigns.

Arik Tasa-Bennett, a finance major at Arizona State University, has run his own phone-resale business for several years. Tasa-Bennett said he hopes to become a successful entrepreneur, and sees the potential for future businesses to grow through crowdfunding.

“I think this system could be more efficient than traditional ways of financing a product,” Tasa-Bennett said. “With this idea, where the public can see the product and get an opportunity to invest in it, the advantage is that it brings the product closer to the end-user. That’s the whole goal of marketing. You want to know your consumer as well as possible.”

Said Frutkin: “The ability for the small investors, regular people, to invest $100, $200 in a company they love, a night club or restaurant they go to, that really doesn’t exist now. That’s what the Arizona crowdfunding bill will allow. It will allow Arizona people to invest in Arizona businesses.”

The 2015 DSN Awards Ceremony in Dallas, Texas.

Plexus Worldwide ranked among top direct-selling firms

Scottsdale-based Plexus Worldwide, a leading direct-marketing weight-loss and health-supplement seller that was recently named No. 8 on the 2014 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies, announced it was named No. 30 on the Direct Selling News (DSN) List of Top 50 Revenue-Generating Companies in Direct Selling within the United States, and No. 56 on its Global 100 list.

The 2015 lists, featured in the June issue of Direct Selling News magazine, represents aggregate revenue of more than $82 billion from companies based in 14 countries. This is the first year where DSN’s Global 100 was also broken out to show the top 50 in North America. 

Last year, Plexus Worldwide rankedNo. 76 on the Global list, again indicating Plexus Worldwide continues its rapid growth within the Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) and direct selling industry as demonstrated by its rise toNo. 56.   The list states that Plexus Worldwide showed revenues of $310 Million in 2014, compared to $160 Million in 2013. 

“Plexus Worldwide continues to grow at an exceptional rate, and we’re excited to make such a significant jump, up 20 spots, in this year’s DSN Global 100 list top revenue-generating companies,” said Tarl Robinson, CEO of Plexus Worldwide. “Just four years ago, Plexus had revenues of less than one million and in 2014 Plexus surpassed $310 Million. Our growth numbers so far this year in 2015 show even more impressive figures, which we attribute directly to our amazing Ambassadors who continually share their personal success stories leading to our rapid growth.”

“The DSN Global 100 ranking is more than a list of who’s who and what was accomplished in terms of revenue for the prior year,” said John Fleming, Publisher and Editor in Chief of Direct Selling News within its website announcing this year’s winners. “By doing the research and publishing such a list, we spotlight the contributions that the top direct selling companies are making in communities and economies around the world.”

“We continue to see increased numbers each month as more people learn about our incredible products like Plexus Slim, ProBio5, Accelerator+ and many others,” said Alec Clark, Chief Marketing Officer of Plexus Worldwide. “The personal testimonial stories we hear daily from our product users and Ambassadors are awe inspiring, and I couldn’t be more proud to be part of this company that is helping improve lives.”

For the third consecutive year, Ada, Michigan-based Amway claimed the No. 1 rank in the DSN Global 100, with $10.8 billion in revenue. Avon, Herbalife, Mary Kay and Vorwerk rounded out the top five on this year’s list.

Plexus recently broke ground on a 70,000 SF national headquarters office building in Scottsdale, which is adjacent to its 30,000 SF warehouse operations center.  Plexus Worldwide currently has more than 200 employees in Arizona and more than 200,000 associates, which it calls Ambassadors, across the United States and Internationally. 

Karen Anderson, a researcher at the Biodesign Institute, started out with about 10,000 possible biomarkers for ovarian cancer.

ASU researchers find potential clues to ovarian cancer

Arizona State University researchers said they have identified three promising biological signals that could help detect ovarian cancer before patients display any symptoms.

Researchers from the Biodesign Institute said identifying the biomarkers – a type of blood-born signal – is another step toward early detection.

ASU’s new study is the first use of high density microarray technology that uses a sample of the patient’s blood to identify biomarkers for ovarian cancer, researchers said.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths for women, according to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

Doctors generally don’t diagnose the cancer until it’s in the advanced stages, and only 15 percent of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed early, according to the alliance.

In the U.S., ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological cancer “with over 15,000 deaths per year,” said Dr. Kristina Butler, a gynecological oncology specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.

“Ovarian cancer is often detected late in its course, and by the time it is detected, it is too late to really have a big impact,” said Dr. Josh LaBaer, director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Personalized Diagnostics.

Researchers said the biomarkers can combat that late detection.

Biomarkers are autoantibodies, a type of protein produced by the immune system. These autoantibodies don’t cause the disease. Rather, they act as an early warning system that abnormal proteins produced by cancer are present in the body.

Physicians already use biomarkers to diagnose other diseases. For example, cholesterol tests are biomarkers for heart disease, and blood pressure can indicate hypertension.

The institute, which focuses its research on finding natural solutions to address global challenges in health care, also is researching biomarkers in other cancers, including breast cancer.

Karen Anderson, a researcher at the institute, and LaBaer started out with about 10,000 possible biomarkers for ovarian cancer and after about 10 years of research, they narrowed it down to about a dozen biomarkers.

The institute used the microarray technology to identify three of these autoantibodies as promising biomarker candidates in the new study.

“Now it is time to come up with more serious validation studies to figure out how to put them together in a panel to get a better test,” LaBear said.

Some of the biomarkers discovered by ASU are in the clinical studies phase, and researchers must validate and vet the findings in national studies, Anderson said.

The current tests used for screening for other types of cancer ¬– like mammograms or colonoscopy – are great tools, but they are expensive.

“If we use that as a benchmark for what these tests usually cost,” blood tests can be more cost effective, Anderson said.

Diagnostic tests similar to what the researchers are trying to develop are relatively inexpensive, Anderson said. The molecular test for colon cancer only runs in the several hundred-dollar range.