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Tom Simplot

Q & A with Tom Simplot, President and CEO of the Arizona Multihousing Association

Tom Simplot was named president and CEO of the Arizona Multihousing Association (AMA) in July 2008. The longtime Phoenix resident has served on the Phoenix City Council, president of the Maricopa County Board of Health, Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority, as chair of the Phoenix Historic Preservation Committee and was a member of the Phoenix Housing Commission. He has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and a law degree from the University of Iowa.

The industry is seeing a cultural paradigm shift in the multihousing sector. How is that manifesting in Arizona?
The Great Recession created a cultural shift in consumer attitudes about a lot of things: saving money, spending within your means and being flexible to move when needed. Many home buyers discovered that owning a home was not a cash machine and that ownership can be an anchor on your lifestyle and a drain on your wallet. Very few apartment units were built in Arizona between 2009 and 2011, and we actually lost rental units during that time period (due to obsolescence and condo conversions, etc.). To keep up with this change in lifestyle and future growth, apartment developers are building at a pace not seen since the early 2000s, and occupancy rates are near their highest ever.

I’ve heard some people are concerned that with the increased interest in multihousing living preferences that the single-family home/residential market will be hurt and the rest of the real estate industry will be harmed in the process. How is the industry currently adapting to accommodate these changes?
Developers adapt to market conditions or they go out of business. A large number of foreclosed single-family homes were put into the rental market, and we have a large number of rental condominiums. Developers who turned to condo-conversions 10 years ago might now be building apartments. If anything, home builders learned that it was not prudent to have so much land in inventory and to build far fewer speculative homes. There will always be a large market for single-family homes, and what we are now building are lifestyle choices for the consumer.

The way Phoenix manages its apartments (through REITs, investment firms) differs from other major cities, such as L.A. How is that to our advantage/disadvantage given the market right now?
Metro Phoenix is a large market, and therefore has a large number of national and international apartment management companies. Just 20 years ago, most apartments in Arizona were locally owned and managed by small companies. The presence of REITS and publicly traded companies translates into more equity for future development, and has also transformed residential property management into a profession. As the industry has become more sophisticated, our residents have felt the difference in a positive way.

What kind of legislative decisions have affected the AMA and its members? Are there any issues that will need to be addressed in the near future?
In recent years, the legislature has addressed several key issues for the apartment industry. This past year was the expansion of the Arizona Department of Real Estate Advisory Board to include a multi-family representative. The legislature has also addressed property rights issues, and even the recent sales tax reform will provide a tremendous regulatory improvement for the industry, and ultimately, residents.

Managing hundreds, if not thousands, of apartment units across the state requires consistent laws, a transparent bureaucracy and uniform enforcement. When one city or justice of the peace interprets an ordinance in a unique manner, it causes confusion to residents and owners alike. Successful businesses want to play by the rules, and our goal is to help create a level playing field.

What kind of trends are you seeing within the sector (in what ways is Arizona still leading the way in recovery)?
It seems that Baby Boomers and Millennials both love freedom of choice and living in a more urban environment. Walkability is important as are nearby restaurants, nightlife choices and amenities within the community. Even our suburban cities have adopted this lifestyle choice, and we see new apartments in areas that historically only wanted single-family homes. The day of living in a “McMansion” is over for many people, and downsizing is key. New apartment communities reflect this as do older communities which have upgraded to “retro chic.” In Central Phoenix, communities built mid-century are now as popular as mid-century homes. Residents want something unique yet comfortable, and they don’t need excess square footage to accomplish that.
Liv Avenida, IPA Management, which won the Developer’s Award for Best Community built in 2012-2013.

AMA honors communities, leaders at annual Tribute Awards

The multihousing industry has had a remarkable year of renewed optimism in the housing and rental markets. The Arizona Multihousing Association brings apartment industry leaders together for one night a year at its annual Tribute Gala to celebrate the successes of the teams, individuals, volunteers and communities that are best in class.

On Thursday night, a sold out crowd of more than 1,200 apartment industry leaders from around Arizona gathered for the annual Tribute Gala to learn who would be honored as the best individuals, teams, and communities from the list of finalists. These winners were judged in a competitive judging process and the 22 winners were selected from the more than 400 statewide nominations.

This year, the AMA added a few new categories including one for best renovated property and affordable community.

“As the apartment industry continues to grow in Arizona, we are seeing large investments in renovations and in affordable housing for workers. It’s important for our industry to recognize these new housing options and the influence these communities have on the greater community,” said Tom Simplot, President and CEO of the Arizona Multihousing Association.

2014 Arizona Multihousing Association Tribute Award Winners

COMMUNITY AWARDS

Developer’s Award for Best Community Built 2012-2013:
Liv Avenida, IPA Management

Renovated Community of the Year:
Camden San Marcos, Camden Property Trust

Affordable Community of the Year:
Escala Central City, Allison-Shelton Real Estate Services, Inc.

Best Team & Community of the Year Built Prior to 1995:
The Place at Forest Ridge, MC Residential

Best Team & Community of the Year Built Between 1995-2005:
Mirabella Village, Greystar Real Estate Partners, LLC

Best Team & Community of the Year Built Between 2006-2013:
Serafina, Fairfield Properties, L.P.

Best Team & Community of the Year Outside the Valley:
The Woods, Nicolosi & Fitch, Inc.

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

Industry Partner of the Year:
Adam Greco, Burns Pest Elimination

Industry Partner of the Year Tucson:
Tim Furnas, Valley Protective Services

Volunteer of the Year:
Greg Morehead, Fairfield Properties, L.P.

Volunteer of the Year Tucson:
Elizabeth Beaulieu, Nicolosi & Fitch, Inc.

Hamer - June 2011-fornewsletter

The 2012 Hammer Awards

It’s that time of year to hand out some honors for the year’s best. So it is without further ado that I bring you the Third Annual Hammer Awards.
Impact Player of the Year: State Treasurer Doug Ducey
The keeper of the state’s checkbook took down Proposition 204 in a rout, and for that Doug Ducey wins a Hammer. Before he arrived on the scene, the tax measure was poised to coast to victory with no opposition. Ducey rallied opponents to make a clear case to voters why Arizona could do better by its education system than to saddle the state with a permanent tax increase that wouldn’t advance proven reforms. Ducey hit the exacta when Proposition 118, which would help create a more reliable funding stream into the K-12 system, also passed.
Best Public Policy Effort of the Year: (tie) Personnel Reform and Competitiveness Package 2.0
Two major policy efforts in 2012 deserve Hammers.
Gov. Jan Brewer and the Legislature, led by Senate President Steve Pierce and House Speaker Andy Tobin, were firing on all cylinders in 2012 with their passage of a sweeping personnel reform package that injects a new and much needed level of accountability and professionalism into the state’s employment system. Newly appointed Brewer chief of staff Scott Smith deserves kudos for shepherding the package through the Legislature with the help of two of  the state House ’s brightest rising stars, Justin Olson and Justin Pierce.
As if that weren’t enough, though, the governor and Legislature also passed a major economic competitiveness package in 2012 that built on the gains passed in 2011. Who says you can’t have back-to-back once-in-a-generation job creation bills? This year’s wins included the state’s first ever reduction in the tax on investment income (capital gains), and it now makes Arizona more attractive from a tax standpoint to service providers who sell their services beyond the state’s borders, bringing the service sector into alignment with manufacturers. Gov. Brewer’s lead policy adviser and tax guru Michael Hunter, state Rep. J.D. Mesnard, who was honored as the Arizona Chamber’s Representative of the Year, and Arizona Commerce Authority CEO Sandra Watson all deserve a Hammer for a job well done.
Comeback Player of the Year: Matt Salmon
The Hammer goes to former and now Congressman-once-again Matt Salmon for his return to the U.S. House 12 years after he stayed faithful to his term limits pledge that he made when he was a member of the class of 1994. As someone who had the honor of spending a good chunk of his professional life working for Matt, the East Valley will be well served by its incoming congressman who, by having served three terms in the 1990s, brings to his job a perspective (and seniority) few have.
Expect Big Things: Steve Chucri
Maricopa County Supervisor-elect Steve Chucri is one to watch, so he earns the Expect Big Things Hammer. Steve is one of the most affable guys you’ll ever meet. Adding his voice to the Board of Supervisors will ensure that the needs of Maricopa County will always come before any personal political agenda. Drawing on his experience as the chief of the Arizona Restaurant Association, I expect he’ll inject a pro-business point of view into the Board’s work that will help Maricopa County grow more jobs.
Southern Arizona Star: Lea Marquez-Peterson
Lea Marquez-Peterson, the president and CEO of the fast-growing Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, wins the Hammer for her groundbreaking work to illuminate business issues for southern Arizona’s Hispanic and Spanish-speaking community. Through her work on votaaz.org, an online guide to candidates and election information, Lea is ensuring that more people than ever understand public policy’s impact on business.
I’ll Be Back: Kirk Adams
Former state House Speaker Kirk Adams may have come up short in his bid for Congress, but he’s simply too talented a leader and respected as a conservative voice to be gone from the scene long. Here’s hoping it’s won’t be too long until Kirk returns to a position of influence.
Emerging Mayor: Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton
If I were pressed, I might be able rattle off the names of a dozen or so big city mayors around the country. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton gets the Hammer Award for now having clearly joined that small list of mayors whose influence exceeds the borders of his or her city. Mayor Stanton and his colleagues on the Council are doing great things in Phoenix. The Mayor has taken the lead in advancing trade with Mexico, developing a biotech hub, education and pension reform. Because of Stanton and City Manager David Cavazos, when cities around the country are looking for best practices, they’ll look to Phoenix.
Councilmen of the Year:  Sal DiCiccio and Tom Simplot
Phoenix has dramatically reduced the time it takes to get a project through the permitting process, an initiative headed up by Councilmen Sal DiCiccio and Tom Simplot.  This effort has received national attention, including from columnist George Will.
Buy this Stock: Danny Seiden
Danny Seiden, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery’s political adviser, wins the Hammer for being a stock to watch in 2013. He was on the inside of two big wins in the 2012 election cycle: the defeat of Props 204 and 121, the so-called open primary measure, all while working with Montgomery to return the office of county attorney to respectability. And to boot, he’s married to one of Arizona’s most talented women, Southwest Gas executive Ann Seiden. Buy this stock!
The Next Generation: Martinez and Romero
They’re barely old enough to rent a car, but Gretchen Martinez (formerly Conger) and Lorna Romero each wins a Hammer for representing the next generation of Arizona politics. Martinez was the successful No on 204 campaign manager while doing her day job directing advocacy efforts at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Romero last month was named Gov. Brewer’s director of legislative affairs, where she helps shepherd the governor’s priorities through the legislative process.
Serious Work for a Funny Man: Chris Bliss and the Bill of Rights Memorial
Professional juggler and comedian Chris Bliss wins a Hammer for his dogged determination to install monuments to the Bill of Rights in civic spaces across America. Thanks to Bliss’ work and legislation introduced by U.S. Rep.-elect Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona last week became the first state to dedicate a monument. The limestone pieces with the words of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution can be found at Wesley Bolin Plaza at the state Capitol.
Former Roommate of the Year: Steve Voeller
This is no slight to anyone else who split the rent check with me during my 20s, but Steve Voeller wins the Hammer for Former Roommate of the Year for his tireless and effective tax policy work at the state Capitol as head of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club. Steve is now headed off to serve as Sen.-elect Jeff Flake’s chief of staff. A trusted adviser for years to the senator-elect, Steve will be an excellent leader for the Flake office as he shuttles between D.C. and Arizona. The Chamber wishes him the best of luck in his new post.

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

fundraising - turning dirt lots green

Fundraising Event – Help Turn Brown Lots In Phoenix Green

On Monday, May 21st from 5:30- 8:30pm hundreds of people who prefer beautiful views over dirt lots will gather for a fundraising event, Turning Brown Lots Green benefiting the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation. The Roosevelt Row CDC is a mostly volunteer organization that works to beautify and promote downtown Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row neighborhood.

Phoenix City Councilman Tom Simplot says, “An area like Roosevelt Row makes a city unique. The Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation does a great deal to support the artists, businesses and residents of the area.”

Roosevelt Row is a walkable, creative district in the urban core of downtown Phoenix that is nationally known for its arts and cultural events, award-winning restaurants, galleries, boutiques and live music. The Roosevelt Row CDC is fostering an urban renewal with rehabilitated bungalows and new infill projects.

Councilman Simplot says, “The fundraising event, Turning Brown Lots Green, is one of my favorite events of the year! I can get involved and be part of an organization that does a lot to create a buzz about what’s unique and special about downtown Phoenix.”

All proceeds from Roosevelt Row’s annual fundraising event will support A.R.T.S (Adaptive Reuse of Temporary Space), Valley of the Sunflowers, and volunteer community art projects.

All are invited to attend Turning Brown Lots Green Monday, Monday, May 21st from 5:30pm-8:30pm at Bliss/Rebar – 901 N. 4th St., Phoenix, AZ 85004.  Tickets are $30 in advance and include appetizers and two drinks.

Buy tickets online at: rooseveltrow2012.eventbrite.com