Tag Archives: valley partnership

Portland on the Park, Courtesy of DAVIS

Concentrated Culture: The symbiosis of new-build and adaptive reuse

There are undeniable truths in commercial real estate. For instance — retail follows rooftops. However, when the right variables come together, the presence of retail can create a demand for mixed-use communities.

This is a phenomenon Michelle Schwartz, associate at RSP Architects, has observed in her firm’s recent work.

“Arizona has such a short history when compared with the rest of the United States and as such, we have developed around a more vehicular centralized  society,” says Schwartz. “When we look at new communities — and the desire for connection in neighborhoods — creating mixed-use flexibility where residents can truly live-work-play is unique.”

The Row, Courtesy of RSP Architects

The Row, Courtesy of RSP Architects

RSP Architects has designed The Row in downtown Chandler, a 60KSF two-story mixed-use development in the city’s newly designated entertainment district. The project’s anchor is Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, an Austin, Texas-based dine-in theater expected to bring 700 people to downtown Chandler four times a day.

“Today’s retail focuses on experience, which is exactly what The Row will bring,” Schwartz says, adding that many restaurateurs’ interest in the area has been piqued by the project.

Another rooftop project that has sought out a vibrant area in which to incubate is Portland on the Park, a 14-story luxury condo development by Habitat Metro and Sunbelt Holdings, designed by DAVIS Architecture. This project, jokes Habitat’s Timothy Sprague, has a three-acre front yard and 32-acre backyard, referring to the Japanese Friendship Garden and Margaret T. Hance Park adjacent to the site.

“The big different between suburban and urban environments is we’re able to do our own placemaking,” says Sunbelt Holdings President and CEO John Graham. “It’s critical to be near meaningful open spaces and more interesting amenities.”

Sunbelt Holdings, largely known for its master planned communities throughout Arizona, is stepping off the golf courses and bringing its suburban sensibility to the urban environment of downtown Phoenix. The company’s 149-unit Portland on the Park is also being constructed near the evolving Roosevelt Arts District. The cultural developments of the parks and Roosevelt Row were “absolutely critical” to the identity of Portland on the Park, Graham says.

He’s been following the development of the area for almost five years, since his eldest son moved into Portland Place. Through his son, Graham says, he watched and learned to understand the dynamics of the area, which has evolved over the course of the project with light rail and the growth of ASU’s downtown campus.

Graham says he’s seeing similar trends in Chandler, Phoenix and Gilbert and he has his eyes on Mesa.

“I think there’s a direct correlation between Marina Heights and Portland on the Park, Tempe Town Lake and Margaret T. Hance Park,” Graham says. The urban energy and urban vibes they share, he says, “is because of ASU students and the really fun, cool gathering places like The Yard.”

The Yard in Tempe

The Yard in Tempe

The Yard on 7th Street and Camelback Road was the shot in the dark heard around the Valley.

A former motorcycle garage was turned into a multi-tenant restaurant space that shares a patio and yard area. The Fox Restaurant Concepts design has since been emulated in what is Sam Fox’s largest project to date, The Yard at Farmers Arts District.

“When The Yard opened, it opened everyone’ eyes,” says Dave Sellers, president of LGE Design Build.

“The first Yard was very much an exploratory mission to see how successful it’d be,” says Brian Frakes, who worked on the first Yard with WDP Partners, and the second Yard with Common Bond.

“The Tempe one was different because it was west of the rail,” explains Frakes. “It was a dense, urban area. State Farm hasn’t even opened up yet, but there were a lot of good things coming. One-thousand multifamily units around us, and we noticed a strong southeast Valley group at The Yard on 7th. We wanted to capture the southeast Valley (at the new Yard).”
There were a lot of State Farm and multifamily conversations in the planning stages of The Yard in Tempe, says Frakes.

Marina Heights

Marina Heights

“I think it’s the sum of all the parts that makes these places so dynamic and interesting. I think restaurant and retail is the big driver because employers are looking for that amenity base,” says Frakes.

Sellers announced plans for The Colony, a similar concept nearby the original Yard development. He is also working in downtown Gilbert’s Heritage District on The Marketplace, which houses a Fox concept restaurant, among others, and office space. Since Gilbert doesn’t have the same kind of old buildings as downtown Phoenix, LGE Design Build built Marketplace to look like something that had been there much longer than it had.
“It is risky,” Sellers says. “It’s not your cookie cutter retailer. It’s not a power center where you have a Walmart. It’s not that. You’re developing what the clientele and customer kind of like, hoping the retailers believe in it.”

Retailers acclimate, he adds.

“What’s neat is we have projects that are larger retail, national users trying to fit into a space that isn’t a typical space,” he says. To Graham’s point, Sellers says his company is looking to develop before big projects come through the pipeline.

Rivulon, for example, is a $750M mixed-use business park that broke ground in 2014 on Gilbert Road and the Loop 202 in Gilbert.

Gilbert’s Economic Development Director Dan Henderson sees a symbiotic relationship between developments such as Nationwide Realty Investors’ Rivulon project and the Heritage District.

Zinburger at Heritage Marketplace

Zinburger at Heritage Marketplace

“Candidly, you need both (types of development),” says Henderson. “You can’t have one without the other. These things work with each other and are in some ways the defining element of opposites attract. People will be attracted to both areas for different reasons.”
He refers to Heritage District as the “living room” of the community and Rivulon as the “family room” of Gilbert.

“What we’ve found in (Nationwide Realty Investors President) Brian Ellis and his team is a partner that is not looking at today, but at 20 years from now,” says Henderson. “It’s a similar partnership in the Heritage District.”

“The $64,000 question is: Is it a blip or shallow market?” Graham asks. “It’s not a blip. It’s a trend. The market is deeper than (people) think it is. A lot of people are thinking there’s a slowdown in master planned communities and that’s what’s driving apartment development, but it’s a modified business and trend that’s going to stay.”

Courtesy of Valley Partnership

Valley Partnership releases community project short-list

It doesn’t get any easier.

The 2015 Valley Partnership Community Project planning process has officially begun.

Sixteen grant applications were received, reviewed and ranked by hard-working committee members. The committee short listed the applications to four potential charity recipients. Juliana Norvell of Marc Taylor Inc., led the charge as the charity recipient liaison for the community project committee. She set up visits for the committee to tour the four top sites who are finalists of the 2015 community project.

All four nonprofit organizations opened up their worlds to us and gave us an opportunity to learn more about them and those they serve. Over the course of two days, the committee toured:
•Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development

• Florence Crittenton Services of Arizona

• Fresh Start Women’s Foundation

• Save the Family, The Bridge Family Campus

The first day began at Tumbleweed’s new facility in Phoenix. Tumbleweed serves the homeless and forgotten youth in the Valley. It has done so since 1975. It offers multiple residential, day service center and outreach programs to meet the needs of more than 1,600 youth and young adults each year.

The committee members then toured the Florence Crittenton facility in Scottsdale. For more than 118 years, the organization has been dedicated to serving at-risk and underserved girls and young women. It provides them with safety, hope, and the opportunity to succeed. The Scottsdale facility has up to 15 teenage moms with their children who call the Scottsdale campus home.

The second day started at the Fresh Start facility in Phoenix. Women come to Fresh Start to thrive after facing huge personal and financial challenges. Fresh Start provides a safe place for them and offers education based supportive services to meet their needs. Many of the women who find Fresh Start are fleeing domestic violence.

The final stop was Save the Family, The Bridge Family Campus. The Bridge is a 15-unit gated campus that provides secure transitional housing for women with children who are fleeing dangerous domestic violence. Residents receive specialized programming that is targeted to their unique needs. Save the Family empowers families to conquer homelessness and achieve life-long inter-dependence.

All four finalists shared stories of inspiration and hope. They all provide wonderful services to the underserved, forgotten, and most important, they help children and young people in the Valley.

The annual community service project is a cornerstone for Valley Partnership. This is the second year that I have been involved in the entire process. Again I see the benefits of engaging with the committee early in the process.

“I am excited that the community project committee keeps growing,” says leadership chair Dena Jones of Fidelity National Title. “The membership of the committee is starting off the year with 77 active members and a leadership team of 14. We have more than 65 companies represented on the committee and 10 companies are new to the committee.

“The committee is comprised of some of the most outstanding industry professionals who I have had the privilege to work alongside,” Dena adds. “This group is committed to giving back and believes that ‘Together, We Build a Stronger Valley.’ ”

The real engagement comes Nov. 7 of this year when 200 or so volunteers come together and lend a lot of helping hands.

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Valley Partnership reveals reality of residential real estate

Valley Partnership has announced the topic for its upcoming monthly breakfast on Friday, April 17. The month’s program will feature an update on the Valley’s residential real estate market in 2014.

Panelists will discuss whether 2015 will be more of the same or if the industry will finally see the uptick many believe is around the corner.

The panel will feature residential analysts Mike Orr, Director of the Center for Real Estate Theory & Practice at Arizona State University, and Jim Belfiore, President of Belfiore Real Estate Consulting.

The panel will also feature Greg Abrams, Vice President of Land for Taylor Morrison’s Phoenix Division, and Tom Lemon, Vice President of Land Acquisitions and Development for Maracay Homes.

The strong return of single-family home development is essential to the Valley’s full economic recovery,” said Cheryl Lombard, CEO and President of Valley Partnership. “We keep hearing that full recovery is ‘right around the corner’ and first quarter numbers have been promising. This group of experts will unpack that data and give our partners an in-depth look at what they can expect this year and in coming years.”

In addition to the panel, this month’s Mayor’s Minute will feature Cathy Carlat of the City of Peoria. Mayor Carlat will speak on economic development policies, current projects in her community, as well as future opportunities for the commercial real estate and development community.

Registration begins at 7 a.m.; program begins at 7:45 a.m. To register, please visit www.valleypartnership.org and click on the “Monthly Breakfast” tab.

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Valley Partnership names new president, CEO

 © Erika Nortemann/TNC

© Erika Nortemann/TNC

Valley Partnership has named Cheryl Lombard as its new president and CEO.

In this role, Lombard will be responsible for leading and managing Valley Partnership, including developing and executing strategies, and managing the association’s resources, expertise, and leadership initiatives.

Cheryl is an ideal fit in terms of Valley Partnership’s mission and goals,” said Scott Nelson, chairman of the Valley Partnership Board. “Her 20-plus years of experience in politics, public affairs, media and community relations, and nonprofit management will serve her well as our new President and CEO.

With Cheryl at the helm, we know Valley Partnership will continue to serve the needs of the business, commercial real estate and development communities in Metro Phoenix at the highest level,” Nelson said. “Cheryl’s vision will be instrumental in our work towards the goals of furthering responsible development and creating sustainable economic opportunities for our communities.”

Lombard comes to Valley Partnership from The Nature Conservancy in Arizona. She served as the organization’s Government Relations Director. During her tenure with the Nature Conservancy she was named the Arizona Capitol Times Public Policy Leader of Year for the Environment in 2010. In 2014 she served as the co-chair of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s Transition Committee on State Lands. She previously served on then-Gov. Jan Brewer’s Transition Team.

I am thrilled to join Valley Partnership as President and CEO,” Lombard said. “In this role, I’ll be returning to my development roots, while also being able to utilize my expertise in navigating complex environmental and political issues as they pertain to development and economic growth.

I’ve long admired the organization’s mission of ‘responsible development,’ and I’m confident my skill set will bring much to the table in terms of working within that mission and serving our partner base,” she said.

Prior to her position with The Nature Conservancy, Lombard was a senior associate attorney with the political and election law firm of Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk in Santa Monica, Calif. In this role, she ensured clients were in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local election laws, rules, and regulations. Clients included then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver, The Walt Disney Company, Southwest Value Partners, and several statewide and local ballot measures.

Before practicing law, she was the director of public affairs with Davies Communications in Santa Barbara, Calif. She headed the Land Use/Real Estate Group and led several commercial and residential development clients successfully through the California land entitlement process.

Lombard holds a J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, Calif. She also has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from California State University, Northridge and a Bachelor’s degree from the American University in Washington, D.C. She is a member of the State Bar of California.

An active member of the community, both professionally and personally, Lombard is actively involved in Urban Land Institute and is a member of the Arizona Department of Water Resources Director’s Advisory Group, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director’s Advisory Group, Colorado River Advisory Commission for Arizona. Most recently she was a member of the Arizona Governor’s Regulatory Review Council from 2008 to 2014.

Valley Partnership opens community project grant submissions

Founded in 1987, Valley Partnership is the real estate industry leader advocating for responsible growth policies through public private partnerships that positively impact expansion and economic development.

One of its cornerstones is community service. Each year, Valley Partnership selects a nonprofit organization that can benefit from the skills, efforts and supplies provided by its partners. Valley Partnership’s objective is to renovate and enhance a facility for children and those in need. Over the past 25 years, Valley Partnership has contributed more than $3.8 million to the community.

Valley Partnership is currently accepting applications for our 2015 Community Project recipient. Interested parties can apply or nominate an organization that would benefit from the community service of Valley Partnership and its members. The application can be found at 2015 COMMUNITY PROJECT- GRANT OPPORTUNITY Application Form and supplementary information will be accepted.

The deadline to submit completed applications for the 2015 Community Project is Monday, March 16, 2015.

Past Valley Partnership Community Projects

2014 Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped

2013 Save the Family – Escobedo at Verde Vista

2012 SARRC

2011 Maggie’s Place

2010 Phoenix Day

2009 Tempe Salvation Army Corps

2008 Foundation for Blind Children

2007 Salvation Army Chandler Youth Center

2006 Herbert Kieckhefer Branch Boys and Girls Clubs

2005 IG Holmes Branch Boys and Girls Clubs

2004 Las Fuentes Health Clinic of Guadalupe

2003 Starshine Academy

2002 Improving Chandler Area Neighborhoods

2001 Salvation Army Maryvale

2000 Booker T. Washington Child Development Center

1999 Glendale Drug Elimination Family Awareness Program

1998 Phoenix Youth at Risk

1997 Glendale Family Development Center

1996 CASS: Horace Steele House

1995 Tumbleweed Youth Crisis Center

1994 Rosenzweig Boys & Girls Club

1993 Tempe Boys & Girls Club

1992 Schoolhouse Foundation

1991 La Alianza Project – Phoenix

1989-90 US Desert Botanical Garden

1988-89 CasaTeresa Women’s Shelter

Downtown_Phoenix_Aerial_Sketch-on

Public, private sector bend communication challenges

It’s a story everyone has experienced to some degree since 2007: When the economy was healthy, cities were doing everything possible to keep up with the growth. When the recession hit, everything slowed — some projects were stopped in their tracks. Cities were no longer able to build the infrastructure necessary for rapid growth due to the slowdown as well as restrictions on impact fee-related funding. Belts tightened on public and private sectors alike.

As the recovery shakes its way fully to the surface over the next few years, cities are beginning to see dirt pushed around, projects come off drawing boards and economic development efforts in full force. Communities are waking up, stretching for their full potential. “Every city wants to see healthy development, wants to create a welcoming community and wants to meet the demands of its residents. The private partners are essential in building those beautiful communities,” says Ken Strobeck, executive director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. That said, there is no one size fits all approach to development. The only common denominator is the importance of communication.

“Arizona is full of cities that have decades of growth ahead of them,” says Strobeck. “In order for us to continue growing and build sustainable communities, it is essential that developers and cities work very closely together to be creative, form partnerships and find ways to meet the needs of growth, while not creating an extreme burden on existing residents.” These partnerships are something Curt Johnson, senior vice president at CVL Consultants, helps facilitate on a daily basis between his clients and the public sector. “A lot of cities have the same passion as we do when it comes to design,” he says, noting that while it sometimes takes “trial and error” to figure out what makes a city tick, it’s ultimately about a balance of needs.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

“Private developers don’t like surprises, so having things approved or mocked up with city’s conditions is starting on the right footing,” says Johnson. Developers “owe the public sector the details they need to make a decision,” he says, adding that the city should return that courtesy. He notes one example of when communication between parties broke down. In Buckeye, he says, fire trucks require larger culde- sac loops with a 60-foot radius to accommodate their size. However, this fact wasn’t brought up by the city to one of his clients until late in the design process. Other things, like city street and sidewalk width restrictions can sometimes be changed to lower overall construction price as well as reduce heat island effects. It’s a city’s openness to these types of changes that can bring balance to developers and the public sector alike.

That said, all it takes is enough residents to file a legal protest at the city council level for a project to be stalled for about a year unless a super majority vote is reached. A recent example happened last May, when Mesa property owners near the location of a proposed medical marijuana dispensary development triggered a failed majority vote to rezone the property, despite the General Plan approval.

“Some owners may never be satisfied, as I have encountered adjacent owners that do not want any development on the privately owned land next to them,” he says. “This puts a tremendous burden on the land owner, who may not be able to entitle their land appropriately and for the developer, who may not have the time or financial resources to fund a long drawn out entitlement process. In that case, the developer would move on to another project someplace else.”

Often, developers have thrown so much money at a project they won’t just pack up and leave if it’s protested. One such developer and client who wishes to remain anonymous, he notes, was working on a five-acre infill piece in Scottsdale. Infill is particularly difficult as it usually has neighbors on multiple sides that must be appeased. It took the developer more than two years to get the design approved by council and even then the developer had to compromise a design of 22 housing units per acre to 10 units per acre.

“Most of my clients are gritty and willing to stick it out and do what they need to develop that piece,” Johnson says. Since the downturn, he adds, the mood toward development has changed.

“We need each other,” he says.

According to Strobeck, for city growth to come into fruition, zoning and general plans may need to see minor changes or amendments. City leaders. Strobeck adds, always need to consider economic conditions and market needs as they grow.

“Whether it is a recession or economic boom, sometimes the initial zoning is a hindrance to growth and needs to be adjusted. This is common and healthy exercise,” says Strobeck, adding it’s important for residents and developers alike to pay attention to public rezoning hearings so all parties can voice concerns and stay in touch with what the other wants.

When Bell Lexus wanted to move into a space among the core of auto dealerships along north Scottsdale Road, the City of Scottsdale and Arizona State Land Department (ASLD) had to reevaluate the existing zoning to the Crossroads East Planned Community District. The partnership turned into a win for the respective parties. The dealership was able to relocate to one of the highest traffic intersections in the city, the land reaped the highest value achieved for State Trust Land at auction and the sale also resolved long-standing drainage and infrastructure repayment issues while ensuring Scottsdale received high-value sales tax revenue.

“The successful development of Bell Lexus not only was an example of a productive private-public partnership, but will pave the way for additional success stories on the hundreds of remaining undeveloped Trust acres adjacent and proximate to the dealership,” says Arizona State Land Commissioner Vanessa Hickman.

Cities are responsible for regulating the general plan, even if it is beyond their direct control. Many development regulations are imposed on cities by state and federal laws. Cities are also obligated to its residents.

“Each city has its own unique character and wants to form a community that is responsive to its local residents,” says Strobeck. “When approving plans, cities want to make sure that development plans fall in line with that vision.”

If residents feel a development plan doesn’t align with the city’s character or their lifestyle, they can stall or block plans from being approved at council. The most important thing a land owner and developer can do is work with the city staff, educate residents and make sure all respective voices are heard, recommends Strobeck.

“Early and constant communications with the planning department and the office of economic development helps lead to success for both the developer and the city,” says Strobeck. “Many items can be resolved when more time is spent with residents and there is lots of communication. Residents have great investments in their communities and they take their pride of ownership seriously.”

BLURRED LINES

The approach in some cities is to do less regulating and more facilitating in order to help developers’ plans meet the vision of the city.

One such city is Mesa.

Whether holding special zoning meetings to accommodate developer’s timelines or developing a new zoning code, as the city did for DMB Associates’ 3200-acre, master planned development of Eastmark, Mesa has made a conscious push to go the extra mile with developers who return the favor. For the First Solar building acquisition by Apple and GTAT in the city, staff sat down with Apple and discussed the timeline and expectations. What would normally require 18-day turnarounds were whittled down to five, says Mesa’s Director of Development and Sustainability Department, Christine Zielonka.

“We flexed the system to allow for a rapid development,” she says. This is a trend Carolyn Oberholtzer, attorney at Bergin, Frakes, Smalley & Oberholtzer, PLLC, has also observed.

“Some municipalities are trending toward flexibility in an effort to be nimble enough to capture development/ end user opportunities and avoid their communities getting skipped over in favor of a neighboring city that can accelerate the speed to market,” says Oberholtzer. “‘Time is money’ is especially applicable in the development business. Recognizing that, we have seen some municipalities even initiate zoning cases on their own accord to help the process along.”

But this all started with DMB Associates, which City of Mesa Economic Development Director Bill Jabjiniak says went “out of its way to make sure it met with all the right people to make Eastmark a good fit for southeast Mesa and the Gateway area.”

“They worked closely with our planning department to put together a plan that would give them the flexibility they needed, yet adhered closely to the vision and guidelines the city has for the Gateway area,” says Jabjiniak. “The perfect success story is the new Apple/ GTAT manufacturing facility. Because of the flexible approval process developed with DMB, we were able to bring the facility to the Tech Corridor within Eastmark in record time.”

In order to facilitate a strong partnership between Mesa and the private sector, Jabjiniak says, the city has invested heavily in infrastructure and cut development risk by facilitating entitlements. Recently, Mesa’s Planning Board approved an overlay zone for the Elliot Road Technology Corridor.

“This zoning overlay will allow private landowners in the Tech Corridor the opportunity to opt-in to the overlay zone when they have a high-tech company that is interested in building a facility on their property,” he says. “When developers are ready to build, all they need to do is submit the necessary paperwork to the planning department for administrative approval. The overlay zone will cut the entitlement process from several months down to a matter of a few weeks.”

However, when developers don’t pull their weight in communication projects tend to see delays. If developers don’t also consider off-site costs, such as city infrastructure installs or improvements they have a high hurdle to clear through an appeal to the city manager.

“Community Facilities Districts are a critical tool in the public-private partnership tool box that enable a developer to finance large public infrastructure projects,” says Oberholtzer. “Communities that lack facilities in their growth areas will have a difficult time capturing development if they do not allow Community Facilities Districts.”

Any time legislation has cropped up that could potentially put the two entities at odds organizations such as Valley Partnership have worked to broker compromise.

“You saw that in the last session with the Transaction Privilege Tax changes and proposed legislation that could have jeopardized Community Facilities Districts,” says Oberholtzer.

Zielonka says the first time she looked at Mesa’s General Plan map, it looked like a zoning map with small areas. Since 2002, the city has started to loosen its zoning to accommodate more creative causes for density and growth.

“It’s the private sector that has to come in and say this is no longer the best use [for a building],” Zielonka says, noting that this long-term thinking of building uses over time began with Eastmark, two days before the recession hit.

“The recession didn’t inform that alternative approach,” she says. “It’s saying [the general plan] is more of a high level, inspirational document, not a detailed document. [Mesa] spent years working through that philosophy internally.”

The same goes for development in Mesa.

“We’re trying to push Mesa forward,” says Zielonka. “We don’t want to allow mediocre development. One of the outcomes of the recession is money is tougher to get. Purse strings have tightened. One thing we’re constantly pushing on is high-quality development… one of our current challenges is we’re not allowing development that won’t hold up in the short-term or long-term.”

From a napkin sketch to something more advanced, Zielonka says starting conversations as early as possible is key to success. For instance – a project doesn’t have to be the size of Eastmark or involve a company like Apple to get special attention. Benedictine University, which now occupies the building of a former hospital in downtown Mesa, was what Zielonka calls a very close collaboration.

“The state and federal government can pass laws and discuss policy but at the end of the day, the partnerships between local communities and their development partners are what will generate job growth, healthy communities and continued economic growth,” says Strobeck.

Grant Woods, by Robbie Quinn

The good, the bad and the ugly with Grant Woods

Valley Partnership continues an annual tradition with its end-of- the-year reflection by the always entertaining and provocative Grant Woods. The former Arizona Attorney General, prominent attorney and community leader will provide a morning of thought-provoking discussion about Arizona politics, education and business.

The final Friday Morning Breakfast scheduled for 2014, the event is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 12 at Phoenix Country Club, 2901 N. 7th St.

Our partners always look forward to Grant’s year-in-review. His reputation for direct and candid commentary is well-deserved and he always draws a crowd,” said Richard Hubbard, president and CEO of Valley Partnership.

In addition to Mr. Woods’s presentation, the Community Project Committee will present a Community Project wrap up. This year’s recipient was Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped (AFH). The committee will give a short presentation featuring photos and video from the event giving partners an opportunity to see what their time, energy and money accomplished for AFH’s Perry Rehabilitation Center.

Registration begins at 7 a.m.; program begins at 7:45 a.m. To register, please visit www.valleypartnership.org and click on the “Monthly Breakfast” tab. For more information, please contact Cecilia Riviere at 602.266.7844 or CRiviere@valleypartnership.org.

 

Julie Brassell joins DIRTT Environmental Solutions

Julie Brassell

Julie Brassell

Julie Brassell has been named business development manager at DIRTT Environmental Solutions.

She previously was business development manager at Hunt & Caraway Architects. Her background in the commercial real estate industry includes positions at Brycon Construction, Jokake Construction, DMB Associates and Linthicum Custom Builders.

Brassell is a member of AAED, ACE, SMPS Arizona, as well as Valley Partnership, where she sits on the City/County Committee.

Photo by Shavon Rose/AZ Big Media

Valley Partnership, CRE community transform Perry Rehabilitation Center

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On a sun-splashed fall morning, more than 200 volunteers traded their business attire for work clothes to help transform the Perry Rehabilitation Center at the Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped (AFH).

The occasion was Saturday’s 27th annual Valley Partnership Community Project. Each year, Valley Partnership undertakes a community project benefitting a nonprofit organization and dedicates volunteer hours to fundraising and working on the project.

“When we selected AFH as our community project recipient early this year we set out to enhance the quality of life for the clients they serve by adding a serenity garden that incorporated therapeutic elements into four experiences – education, music, recreation and culinary arts,” said Community Project Committee Co-chair Dena Jones.

This year, about 130 companies lent a helping hand by sponsoring the project. More than 55 companies donated more than $180,000 in services, support, and funds to rebuild the outdoor common areas for AFH, 3146 E. Windsor Ave. in Phoenix.

AFH has served adults with developmental disabilities 24 hours a day, seven days a week since 1952 and was chosen among multiple applicants as this year’s Valley Partnership Project recipient.

“They made it a surprise; we had no idea we had been selected and they threw us a big celebration with cake and balloons,” Perry Center Director Robyn Ratcliff said. “It was really fun.”

Saturday’s work at Perry Rehabilitation Center featured the addition of therapeutic elements including a sensory garden, musical instrument garden, patio with a built-in grill and dining area, wheelchair ramps, raised garden boxes, a landscape screen, gliding swings, a gazebo, a wall mural, a sports court, and various outdoor games.

Contractors were busy working at the site for three weeks prior to the community project day.

“Today was the culmination of everyone coming together as a team to bring the concept to life,” Jones said.

“I’m sure everyone will wake up Sunday morning with sore muscles and a few scrapes and scratches,” said Community Project committee member Peter Madrid. “But it’s one of the most satisfying feelings in the world because it’s all about giving back to the community. That’s what this is all about.”

Dale Hunnewell, a former student at the Art Institute of Phoenix, designed the wall mural near the sports and game court. It incorporated the elements and experiences being added to the center including flowers and grass to represent the garden, and musical notes to represent the outdoor instruments.

“The music and the sensory elements really help in developing individuals with disabilities and enhance the quality of life,” Community Project Committee Co-chair Heather Markham said.

Funds for the musical instrument sensory garden were raised by Valley Partnership’s inaugural Rock for a Cause concert at the Monarch Theater in Downtown Phoenix. The concert raised more than $8,000 to purchase outdoor musical instruments.

It’s really important for us because for many years it’s been on our agenda to create an outdoor space that’s usable for the people with disabilities that we serve,” Ratcliff said.

Valley Partnership represents the commercial, industrial and master planned real estate development industry in Metro Phoenix.

“We have four missions: advocacy, education, business development, and the community project,” Valley Partnership President and CEO Richard Hubbard said.

Over the past 25 years, Valley Partnership has contributed more than $4 million to the community through these annual projects, Hubbard said.

AFH provides high-quality services to adults with physical and intellectual challenges. They seek to maximize the abilities and independence skills of people with disabilities. The foundation’s two rehabilitation centers provide opportunities for beneficial work, quality programs and services designed to increase self-dependence, well-being, productivity, and community participation.

The Perry Rehabilitation Center is over half a century old and was in need of some love, according to AFH President and CEO Jim Musick.

The AFH Annual Christmas party in December will be include a ribbon-cutting ceremony this year to commemorate the transformation of the Perry Rehabilitation Center.

federal transportation bill

Upcoming Valley Partnership breakfast covers transportation

Valley Partnership has announced the topic for its upcoming monthly breakfast on Friday, Nov. 14. This month’s program will feature an update on current road, highway and infrastructure projects in Valley’s construction pipeline. Panelists will discuss projects currently underway as well as those projects slated for near and long term development and how they will benefit the business climate in the metropolitan Phoenix.

The Transportation Update panel will feature Michael Kies, director of planning and programming, Arizona Department of Transportation; Eric Anderson, transportation director, Maricopa Association of Governments; and David M. Martin, president, Arizona Chapter-Associated General Contractors. The panel will be moderated by Andrew Smigielski, principal/senior traffic engineer, Southwest Traffic Engineering.

The continued development and improvement of infrastructure across the Valley is vital to economic development of metro Phoenix and Arizona as whole,” said Richard Hubbard, president and CEO of Valley Partnership. “Well-planned, strategically-situated infrastructure is the framework upon which all other commercial real estate and economic development is built. It’s important the commercial real estate and development communities are educated current and future projects and the opportunities and challenges that come along with them.”

In addition to the panel, the Community Project Committee will present a Community Project wrap up. This year’s recipient is Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped (AFH) and build day is Saturday Nov. 8th. The committee will give a short presentation featuring photos and video from the event giving partners an opportunity to see what their time, energy and money accomplished for AFH’s Perry Rehabilitation Center.

The Valley Partnership Monthly Breakfast will take place Friday, Nov. 14, at the Phoenix Country Club located at 2901 N. 7th St. in Phoenix. Registration begins at 7 a.m.; program begins at 7:45 a.m. To register, visit Valley Partnership and click on the “Monthly Breakfast” tab.

Perry Rehabilitation Center rendering, courtesy of Norris Design

Valley Partnership to transform local nonprofit campus

This year, the Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped (AFH) was selected as recipient of the 2014 Valley Partnership Community Project.

Each year, on one Saturday, hundreds of business leaders trade their business attire for T-shirts and gloves and help to transform a local nonprofit.  AFH applied to Valley Partnership to have its outdoor common areas updated and to build a sensory garden for its clients.  VP’s volunteers will be constructing a built-in grill, seating for outside dining, re-purposing a sports court, adding a landscape screen, and building a sensory garden.

What: Valley Partnership’s Community Project at Perry Rehabilitation Center

Where: Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped, Perry Rehabilitation Center, 3164 E. Windsor Ave., Phoenix AZ 85008

Date:  Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014

Time: 8 a.m. to noon

Who:  200 real estate executives will volunteer to plant, pour gravel and paint the center to transform the outdoor areas

For the past four months, Valley Partnership real estate professionals have dedicated their time and resources to creating a new outdoor space for the clients and families of AHF.  The planned sensory garden will feature permanent musical instruments. On Oct. 8, VP held its inaugural Rock for a Cause benefit concert. It raised more than $8,000 to purchase the musical instruments.

Valley Partnership solicits donations and engages corporate partners to assist with the Community Project each year.  This year more than 55 companies have donated more than $180,000 in services, support, and cash to rebuild the outdoor areas for AFH.

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Silencing The Impact Fee

Richard Hubbard President & CEO Valley Partnership

Richard Hubbard
President & CEO
Valley Partnership


In 2011, the legislature modified the development “impact” fee laws. First, a little “Impact Fees 101.”

Arizona has the policy “new growth pays for itself.” When a developer wants to build a project, the city requires that the developer pay fees for the municipal infrastructure to service the project. Infrastructure includes “hard costs,” sewer lines, water lines, streets and sidewalks. It also includes “soft costs,” infrastructure maintenance and public safety services.

The law requires a “nexus” between the fee and the project. Developer pay fees directly related to the “impact” of the project to municipality. Impact fees have been a constant issue between municipalities and developers. Valley Partnership has been very diligent in protecting commercial developers from unreasonable impact fees.

Commercial projects have generally not been charged fees for residential amenities. These are “Parks and Library Fees.” If you build an office or retail center, the workers and guests will not use parks or libraries. There is no “nexus” between the fee and the commercial project.

In 2011, despite opposition, laws were revised to require municipalities charge impact fees in all categories to all projects. Commercial developers were now responsible to pay parks and library fees. However, the “nexus” requirement still exists.

On behalf of the commercial development industry, as each city revises their impact fee program, Valley Partnership has been arguing that, if commercial projects must pay a parks and library fee, the lack of “nexus” requires that the amount of the fee would be little or nothing at all. People that use commercial projects do not visit parks and libraries. Developers should not have to pay for those amenities.

Working in partnership with municipalities, Valley Partnership has been successful with several cities to keep parks and library fees extremely low or at zero. This permits cities to comply with the law, but not charge an inappropriate fee to commercial projects. The collaborative effort between Valley Partnership and our municipal partners is a great example of fulfilling our mission as “The Valley of the Sun’s Premier Advocacy Group for Responsible Development.

The finale was a version of “Hey Jealousy,” made famous by the Tempe-based Gin Blossoms. Scott Johnson (center) of Honeygirl is a member of the Gin Blossoms. Ty Lusk (right) also played on the final number.

Valley Partnership raises donations to the tune of $8,000

Valley Partnership’s inaugural Rock For A Cause benefit concert raised more than $8,000 to purchase outdoor musical instruments for 2014 Community Project recipient Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped (AFH).

Detail shot of instruments between acts.

Detail shot of instruments between acts.

The concert at the Monarch Theatre in Downtown Phoenix drew an estimated crowd of 300. More than 250 tickets were sold in advance. A total of 34 musicians performed, including Valley bands Soul Country, Heartlyn Rae, Ty Lusk, Ruca, The Nate Nathan Band and Honeygirl.

Inviting local musicians associated with Valley Partnership to perform in a benefit raising money to build a sensory experience at Perry Rehabilitation Center that includes a musical instrument garden seemed like a natural fit,” said Community Project Committee Co-Chair Dena Jones. “I am blown away by the support we received from our partners, the talented musicians and our generous sponsors.

The community project planning committee made our inaugural fundraiser for the 27th community project a huge success. I have already been approached to start planning the next one,” Jones said.

Crowd shot inside the Monarch Theatre in downtown Phoenix.

Crowd shot inside the Monarch Theatre in downtown Phoenix.

In addition to ticket sales, money also was raised at the concert through a “50-50” raffle and silent auction. Auction items included hotel stays, restaurant gift cards, courtside seats at a Suns game, and autographed sports memorabilia.

Valley Partnership, which represents the commercial, industrial and master-planned real estate development industry in Metro Phoenix, undertakes a community project each year. Rock For A Cause raised money to build a sensory garden that includes permanent, outdoor musical instruments and other therapeutically integrated elements as part of the project.

The goal of the 27th community project is to enhance the quality of life for those served at AFH which will include many therapeutic elements, a sensory garden, a built-in grill, seating for outside dining, the re-purposing of a sports court and a landscape screen. Community Project day is Nov. 8 at the Perry Rehabilitation Center, 3164 E. Windsor Ave., Phoenix.

The huge success of Rock For A Cause is due to the tremendous effort of Dena, her entire committee and the volunteer musicians,” said Richard Hubbard, President and CEO of Valley Partnership. “That success will only be surpassed by the great effort Valley Partnership will put into the 2014 Community Project at Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped. We are looking forward to it.”

AFH is a human services organization whose primary mission is to provide quality, individualized services to those with physical or intellectual challenges in the least restrictive environment.  It offers programs for adults with physical or intellectual challenges to assist them in achieving desired outcomes.

One of Valley Partnership’s cornerstones is community service. Each year, it selects a non-profit organization that can benefit from the skills, efforts and supplies provided by its partners to renovate and enhance facilities for children and those in need. Over the past 27 years, Valley Partnership has contributed more than $3.5 million to the community through these projects.

Valley musicians, commercial real estate industry rock for a cause

rock-for-a-cause
Valley musicians will come together on Wednesday, Oct. 8, for “Rock for a Cause,” a benefit concert and battle of the bands in support of the Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped (AFH).

The lineup features Phoenix favorites Honeygirl and Heartlyn Rae. The event is from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Monarch Theatre in Downtown Phoenix.

One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to AFH as part of the 2014 Valley Partnership Community Project. Other performers include Ruca, Soul Country, Ty Lusk, Bill Lucerne and The Nate Nathan Band. Presale tickets are $25 and available by clicking the Events tab at www.valleypartnership.org.

If you’re going:

AFH is a human services organization whose primary mission is to provide quality, individualized services to those with physical or intellectual challenges in the least restrictive environment. It offers programs for adults with physical or intellectual challenges to assist them in achieving desired outcomes. AFH has successfully helped the adults it serves find community employment in landscaping, restaurants, retail stores, hardware distribution and supermarkets. Center-based employment includes assembly, inspection, collation, mail services, sorting and packaging.

Valley Partnership, which represents the commercial, industrial and master planned real estate development industry in Metro Phoenix, undertakes a community project each year. “Rock for a Cause” will raise money to build a sensory garden that includes permanent, outdoor musical instruments and other therapeutically integrated elements as part of the project. In addition to the sensory garden, the Valley Partnership build day, which will take place Nov. 8 at the Perry Rehabilitation Center located at 3164 E. Windsor Ave. in Phoenix, will include constructing a built-in grill, seating for outside dining, the re-purposing of a sports court and a landscape screen.

One of Valley Partnership’s cornerstones is community service. Each year, it selects a non-profit organization that can benefit from the skills, efforts and supplies provided by its partners to renovate and enhance facilities for children and those in need. Over the past 25 years, Valley Partnership has contributed more than $3.5 million to the community through these projects. For its 2013 Community Project, Valley Partnership selected Save the Family Foundation’s Escobedo at Verde Vista Affordable Housing Development in Mesa.

Downtown_Phoenix_Aerial_Sketch-on

Valley Partnership Amplifies Voice of Responsible Development

Karrin Taylor

Karrin Taylor

Vanessa Hickman

Vanessa Hickman

Carolyn Oberholtzer

Carolyn Oberholtzer

Richard Hubbard

Richard Hubbard

When municipalities have development-related issue at stake, one of the first organizations they call is Valley Partnership. Advocacy for responsible development is the driving force of the 27-year-old organization, which often takes a stance on behalf of its busy members. The issues range from state legislation and statewide issues such as land reform efforts, Government Property Lease Excise Tax (GPLET), copper theft and economics of Luke Air Force Base. Leading into 2014, the organzation is in the midst of community district financing.
Many members have taken turns sitting on VP’s advocacy committees, with a focus on city and county to federal influence, but no one has more ears to the ground than DMB Associate’s Karrin Taylor. Taylor is the immediate past chair of the board and has sat on multiple committees.

“(VP’s advocacy) started out many years ago working at the local level and coming out of an era when anything related to development or developers wasn’t seen in best light,” says Taylor. The most robust is the City County Committee, Taylor says, which is represented by a laundry list of the Valley’s municipalities. About four years ago, Valley Partnership got involved on a federal level with the Clean Water and Endangered Species acts. The committee has since turned into a roundtable for the congressional offices as well as a forum for educating members of the development community, Taylor observes.

“Through that legacy, we’ve become the voice of the development community and local jurisdictions. Before they proceed with ordinances, they call us,” she says. “Valley Partnership really represents the entire industry. We’re seen as the one that has to look at things holistically.” Valley Partnership’s working relationship with the cities is based on communication and trust, says the organization’s CEO and President Richard Hubbard.

“Using regular meetings between private sector developers and municipal staffers, we are able to discuss and resolve potential issues related to commercial real estate regulation prior to those issues becoming problems. Through more than 27 years of this process and the resolutions of dozens of complicated issues related to oversight of commercial development, experience has led both developers and the cities to rely on each other’s expertise with the common goal of effectively building quality projects.”

As mentioned earlier, one of Valley Partnership’s slogans is that it advocates for developer issues so its members can focus on business. When an issue arises, Taylor says, Hubbard will give a “call to arms” so members are aware of an issue and committee members can work on an industry response. “We rely on them to take the leadership role and managing issues as they arise,” Taylor says. “The relevance of the organization as a reasonable and educated voice of issues facing the development community (is its greatest achievement).”

Taylor serves as President of the Foundation for Environmental and Economic Progress (FEEP), which represents major landowners and stakeholders across the country in the advancement of balanced federal environmental law and policy on endangered species acts and wetlands issues. Hubbard served as the Deputy Arizona State Land Commissioner and during his time generated more than $1B in sale and lease revenue for the trust’s beneficiaries, Arizona Public Education. It was the most profitable period of the department in its century-long existence. In a similar vein, current Arizona State Land Commissioner Vanessa Hickman has been on the board of Valley Partnership for 2.5 years and prior to that was a member in the private sector.
Among the organization’s most significant advances at the legislature, says Hubbard, is the years-long work to preserve the GPLET.

“Our developer partners have used the GPLET tool to develop some of the most important real estate projects in the Valley,” he says, adding, “We are also the biggest watchdog of preserving reasonable impact fees applicable to commercial real estate. Valley Partnership has also worked to support other economic development incentives designed to bring new employers to Arizona including the formation of the Arizona Commerce Authority.”

What comes to mind for Hickman was the northern expansion of the Black Mountain Freeway. Valley Partnership backed the development due to transportation’s role in allowing for economic growth and clearing traffic congestion. On that issue, Valley Partnership drafted a letter to the City of Phoenix advocating for the project to move forward.
Valley Partnership has also taken a stance on the extension of long-term leases. The organization advocated the legislature change the statutes so that during the recession people could pay their rent with more time.

Land-use and entitlement lawyer Carolyn Oberholtzer, partner at Bergin, Frakes, Smalley & Oberholzter, has been a Valley Partnership member since 2004 and has sat on the board for four years. She works with municipalities and counties on development project phases and has handled entitlements for some of Arizona’s largest masterplanned communities, commercial, industrial and renewable energy facilities. She was retained by Valley Partnership in 2007 to work on a parking calculations issue in Buckeye that she says could have potentially hurt retail development in the city. Oberholtzer worked in tandem with VP’s on-staff lobbyist.

Oberholtzer, with Hickman, sits on the City County Committee and worked on impact fees and what the effect would be on large land owners and the ability to plan on infrastructure in the future. The committee worked diligently, Hickman says, on what the legislation would look like. “We really engaged with this latest go around with the impact-fee legislation,” Oberholtzer adds. “Some of the stakeholder groups were bitterly divided. We got involved to iron out a solution. We’re living with the results. It’s not perfect legislation but that’s where we try to be most helpful. Where there are areas of disagreement between developers and municipalities.”

“I think the members, we, all have our respective missions and goals for the organizations we represent,” Hickman says. “We live in Arizona and we want this to be a beautiful place to work and raise our families, so to understand that development happens in a progressive way and is thoughtful and well-planned and not done in a way that will adversely impact our community partners and state.”

Scottsdale_AZ

The West’s most developable town

Valley Partnership has announced the topic for its upcoming monthly breakfast on Friday, Aug. 22. This month’s program will feature an update on current real estate conditions in Scottsdale, Ariz. Panelists will discuss what’s been happening in “The West’s Most ‘Western’ Town” as well as future opportunities for the commercial real estate and development community.

The Scottsdale update panel will feature Danielle Casey, economic development director for the City of Scottsdale; Jim Keeley, senior vice president with Colliers International; and Jonathan Keyser, founder of Keyser Co. City of Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane will also be the featured “Mayor’s Minute” panel and will give a brief update on current development projects within the city.

“The City of Scottsdale is one of the most dynamic centers of economic development within the Valley,” said Richard Hubbard, president and CEO of Valley Partnership. “Scottsdale has proven to be a desirable location for companies looking to locate and/or expand within the Valley, and as the economy continues to improve it is important the commercial real estate and development communities are educated on potential opportunities and challenges that will come from Scottsdale’s business growth.”

In addition to the panel the Community Project Committee will feature a “hands on” display of instruments to be installed in the sensory section at the site of this year’s recipient, Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped. Members may also order engraved bricks.

The Valley Partnership Monthly Breakfast will take place Friday, August 22nd at the Phoenix Country Club located at 2901 North 7th St. in Phoenix. Registration begins at 7 a.m.; program begins at 7:45 a.m. To register, visit www.valleypartnership.org and click on the “Monthly Breakfast” tab.

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Why more companies are coming to the Valley

When it comes to recruiting new companies to relocate, expand or begin operations in Arizona, it’s all about “getting in the game and the closing the deal.”

That was the message delivered at Valley Partnership’s June breakfast before a robust audience at the Phoenix Country Club.

Christine Mackay, Economic Development Director for the City of Chandler served as moderator. The panel featured Justin Meritt, Senior Investment Professional, Southwest Valley Partners; Auguste Goldman, Chief People Office, Go Daddy; and John Lenio, Economist and Managing Director, CBRE.

As the Arizona economy improves, Valley communities are successfully recruiting new companies to bring their business here. CBRE’s Lenio said favorable economic conditions nationally are a key: leading indicators such as the stock market are up, consumer debt is down, net worth is up, and although housing prices have increased they have also leveled off.
How is Arizona doing it?

“It’s all about jobs,” Lenio said. “Real estate is an enabler in the site selection process. In the end it’s all about getting in the game and closing the deal.”

Meritt cited the Continuum development along the Price Corridor in Chandler as a project in which several entities joined forces and talents. In her opening remarks, Mackay spoke of a “pipeline of quality developments” in Chandler. Continuum, Meritt said, fit the bill.

“It’s a quality business park in one of the top office markets in the Valley,” he said.

Goldman shared the success of local company Go Daddy and showed why “we win in Arizona. Talent, impact, culture, and quality of life.”

Goldman said Go Daddy works with instate institutions of learning including ASU, UA, NAU and Thunderbird. When it comes to company culture, the thought is to change the global economy to small business.

“It’s something we should all invest in,” Goldman said.

>> Community Project update



In lieu of the Mayor’s Minute, the Community Project Committee shared two presentations with the audience. Robyn Ratcliff, director at 2014 Community Project recipient Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped addressed the partners. She was followed by a heartwarming rendition of “Good Night Irene” by Bill, one of the clients that AFH serves. Bill received a standing ovation and moved many of the partners. This was the perfect way to introduce the sponsorship opportunities available for the 27th annual community project.
Several partners have already generously signed on to sponsor this year’s project including Norris Design, Rick Engineering, Shift Redevelopment, Small Giants and Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona.

“I received several calls and emails after the breakfast from partners who wanted to support this year’s project and enhance the quality of life for those served by AFH,” said committee co-chair Dena Jones. “I feel so fortunate to work with partners who are committed to giving back to the community and leaving a legacy.”

The 50/50 raffle included four prime tickets to a Dbacks game courtesy of CBRE. The winner donated the cash back to the community project. Another partner came forward after the raffle winner was announced and pledged his company’s Dbacks tickets for the July raffle.

Photo provided by 123RF.com

Save the Family, Valley Partnership, and Gorman & Co. saw a promising future for a large population of Mesa’s homeless and poverty-stricken community in the Escobedo at Verde Vista development.

Community project lays foundation for homeless, poverty-stricken

Last November, members of the commercial real estate industry helped turn a dilapidated, World War II housing facility into one where a community can thrive.

Volunteers move rubber chips made from recycled tires across the playground.

Volunteers move rubber chips made from recycled tires across the playground.

Just a few months prior to the completion of Valley Partnership’s 2013 community project, the Escobedo at Verde Vista development, it was an abandoned complex that had fallen victim to poverty. Where others saw hopeless housing, Save the Family, Valley Partnership, and Gorman & Co. saw a promising future for a large population of Mesa’s homeless and poverty-stricken community. The three put their heads together and hands to work to bring light and life to this Mesa neighborhood that had been left in the dark.

For the past 26 years, Valley Partnership has selected a nonprofit organization to be the recipient of its community service project. Its 2013 selection was Save the Family, an organization that provides housing and life skills to the homeless and impoverished in the Phoenix Metro.

Long-time community project committee members Ed Hansen, Morgan Realty Advisors, and Janelle Schick, Schick Design Group.

Long-time community project committee members Ed Hansen, Morgan Realty Advisors, and Janelle Schick, Schick Design Group.

Even with 25 years and $3.5M of community projects up its sleeve, the Escobedo project brought new challenges and “firsts.” To begin, it was Valley Partnership’s first ground-up redevelopment project. The existing foundations were crumbling and had to be completely rebuilt.

“The original units were built to be housing for British and black Americans that were training at Falcon Field during World War II,” says Jacki Taylor, CEO of Save the Family Foundation. Post-war, the units served as segregated housing until eight years ago, when the City of Mesa began evacuating the buildings because of decreasing structural stability. Time and money were needed to get the housing to a habitable state and that is where “the dream team” came in.

Save the Family CEO Jacki Taylor, left, project co-chair Dena Jones, center, and Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Program Associate Erin Goodman.

Save the Family CEO Jacki Taylor, left, project co-chair Dena Jones, center, and Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Program Associate Erin Goodman.

This development would require extensive construction, which brought Valley Partnership another “first” — the need for city approval and permits for a re-design. Since this was the first community project Valley Partnership had done in the City of Mesa, there were even more new rules and hoops to jump through. Despite the additional work required by all parties involved, the rebuilding of the Washington-Escobedo neighborhood “came together better than we could have hoped for,” said project co-chair Dena Jones.

The 70 units built were filled almost immediately after construction was completed. A waiting list for families hoping to join the community continues to grow. This project “totally changed the complexion of this neighborhood,” said Taylor. What used to be boarded-up, graffiti-laden and crumbling buildings is now a community of homes, classrooms, computer labs and gym facilities.

Logan Simpson Design architects Jeff Lothner and Jay Hicks look over a blueprint.

Logan Simpson Design architects Jeff Lothner and Jay Hicks look over a blueprint.

“We were all committed to making a difference and working together,” said Jones. “The teams from Gorman, Save the Family, City of Mesa, Tofel Construction and the project sponsors were so wonderful to work with and I cannot thank them enough for giving us the opportunity to take part in the legacy of Escobedo at Verde Vista.”

And the public has definitely noticed. Brian Swanton, AZ Market President for Gorman and Company Inc. said the Escobedo project “has been lauded for its success in revitalizing a boarded-up and vacant eyesore in the middle of this single-family neighborhood.”

What is in store for Valley Partnership’s 2014 project? They are in the final stages of deciding whom to partner up with for this year, but Jones knows that whomever they chose, Valley Partnership will be taking much of what they learned from the Escobedo project with them. “Our partnership is comprised of so many talented and hard working professionals committed to giving back. Engaging the committee members during the time we spend together and growing our committee will continue to be a focus for 2014.”

Valley Partnership Board of Directors

Valley Partnership Board of Directors

The "Class of 2014" advocates visit DMB Associates' masterplanned community Eastmark.

It takes two

Valley principals host young professionals in inaugural advocates program

A look around the room at a Valley Partnership Friday Morning Breakfast (FMB) reveals a who’s who of Arizona’s commercial real estate industry. You’ll see seasoned professionals sitting next to up-and-comers, and though these are an effective networking tool, Valley Partnership took the concept to the next level.

It created the Valley Partnership Advocates Program for young professionals. The program is a nine-month-long course for a “class” of 20 people under the age of 35 to meet with a new industry leader every month.

The inaugural program began last August and has included sessions hosted by prominent figures from DMB Associates, Inc., Vestar, Arizona State Land Department, Ryan Companies, Sunbelt Holdings, Evergreen Development, ASU and Macerich/WDP Partners. Many of the sessions were hosted by board members, including one held during a board meeting. “I did not understand the power of Valley Partnership and the people behind it until I attended that board meeting,” says advocate Nicole Mass, 35, Kitchell’s director of marketing.

The feeling is mutual. Bruce Pomeroy, founding principal at Evergreen Devco, has worked in the industry for 40 years. During that time, he has trained many young hires and has taught classes for the International Council of Shopping Centers. Pomeroy says of the session he hosted at Centerpointe in Goodyear that “the ‘students’ were very engaged and asked good questions.”

“I believe the most important issue was that the advocates wanted to spend more time with the developers during each monthly event,” says Vice President and General Counsel to Maven Universal Brett Hopper, who helped design the program. “We want to provide the advocates a greater opportunity to interact with senior executives and create long-lasting relationships.”

Stephanie Stephens, 27, marketing and project coordinator at Buesing, says the mentors emphasized the importance of getting involved in the real estate community. That typically starts with something as simple as the monthly Valley Partnership breakfasts, where Stephens heard about the program. Easton Mullen, 37, started his general contracting company Mullen Construction and Development in 2006 and has since built capital with the goal of becoming a developer. The advocates program, he says, created a foundation of contacts to use while his company evolves. “You can’t call these people up on the phone,” he says, “but if you’re part of the program, you can.”

The mentors encouraged community involvement and engagement within Valley Partnership’s committees and leadership roles. CBRE Sales Assistant Chris Marchildon, 28, was approached by board members at the suggestion of CBRE Executive Vice President Barry Gabel, about joining Valley Partnership’s Advocates Program.

sidebar“One of the first things I was told in this business was to ‘be a sponge,’” he says. “The second was to develop as many good relationships as you can along the way. Through the program, I was certainly provided the opportunity to learn success stories from the ground up as well as the chance to ‘soak up’ as much information as I could.”

Recent Denver transplant Kelly Kaminskas, 34, senior vice president at FirstBank, used the advocates program as an introduction to the industry. “It would have taken me years to piece together the information I received by being part of this group,” she says.

Tuition is $150. Applications are available on Valley Partnership’s website through July.

Marina Heights is a development partnership between Ryan Companies and Sunbelt Holdings. Fellow Valley Partnership member Cushman & Wakefield was awarded the leasing assignment.

A valley of partners

Partner-to-partner transactions building up the valley
one project at a time

When Valley Partnership was founded 27 years ago, it was on the principles of responsible development. It has since grown to thousands of members throughout the commercial real estate community — from subcontractors to some of the largest developers in Arizona.

Eastmark includes a partnership between DMB Associates and Marham COntracting Co.

Eastmark includes a partnership between DMB Associates and Markham Contracting Co.

“In 2014 and beyond, Valley Partnership developer companies are the leaders of almost every major commercial real estate project announced, including Marina Heights, the numerous announcements of deals at Eastmark, and Liberty Center at Rio Salado,” says Valley Partnership President and CEO Richard Hubbard.

The members have rallied behind the idea of partnership, Hubbard says.

“These developers use Valley Partnership partners for all construction disciplines related to the project including planning, design, architecture, general contracting, engineering and even law and accounting,” Hubbard says. “Many of those ‘partner-to-partner’ transactions have come from long-standing relationships created through Valley Partnership. I would say that every level of partner in Valley Partnership, from board member to sole proprietor, is participating in the current commercial real estate building activity in the Valley.”

Some companies, such as Evergreen Devco, take the partner-to-partner very seriously.

Valley Partnership Chair of the Board Doug Leventhal is the principal and COO of Evergreen Devco. Though Evergreen has focused much of its recent work in Denver, the company finds exclusive value in partnership with fellow VP members for Arizona projects.

“I can say that for all our Arizona work, we tend to work exclusively with the companies that see the value in Valley Partnership and either are active members or active sponsors,” Leventhal says. “Our general contractors, for example, need to be members or sponsors almost as a prerequisite to getting our business. Our architects, engineers, attorneys and title companies need to be members of Valley Partnership — or have a good reason why they are not! It’s important to Evergreen that we collectively support Valley Partnership since we all benefit from its mission to promote responsible development in the Valley. We are all connected in this unique way.”

Liberty Center at Rio Salado is a partnership between Liberty Property Trust and Markham Contracting Co.

Liberty Center at Rio Salado is a partnership between Liberty Property Trust and Markham Contracting Co.

That unique connection, as DMB Associates President Charley Freericks sees it involves Valley Partnership’s advocacy role for developers as well as a genuine passion for making Arizona a great place to live.

“Valley Partnership understands that real estate isn’t the only driver of the economy,” says Freericks. “We are the beneficiaries of a strong and growing economy and it’s in our interest to make this a great place to live.”

Freericks, who has been a member for 10 years, served on the board of directors, was chairman in 2009, and has sat on multiple committees.

Most of DMB Associates’ partners at the developers’ 6,000-acre masterplanned community of Eastmark – and around the Valley – are Valley Partnership members, Freericks says.

“Over the years, we have worked with so many contractors, consultants and service providers who are members it would be hard to name them all,” he says. “In fact it might be difficult to find any that aren’t members.”

Valley Partnership has multiple avenues for paving those partnerships. There are 10 committees, including one for an annual golf tournament and a community building project. One of the most popular and frequent member events, is the Friday Morning Breakfasts — a monthly morning panel discussion about an industry trend featuring local experts.

Freericks reflected on a breakfast about the impact and trade partnership Arizona has with Canada as a particularly helpful one for his masterplanned communities of Eastmark and Victory at Verrado, which target Canadian homebuyers.

“Valley Partnership attracts important speakers and hosts debates of candidates for state and local offices which helps me make better informed decisions,” he says. “The Valley Partnership advocacy team was a huge help to the Fighter Country Partnership efforts to bring the F-35 mission to Luke. This will impact our economy for generations to come. Valley Partnership’s role as the champion for moderate regulation has impacted all of our properties over the years and will continue to do so.”

Heather Markham, vice president of Markham Contracting Co., says her company has been a member of Valley Partnership since 1992 and is also a Stewardship Sponsor. Markham has attended breakfasts for the last five years and is one of the students in Valley Partnership’s inaugural Young Advocates Program. As a co-chair of the Community Project Committee, Markham says she also appreciate’s Valley Partnership’s commitment to networking and giving back to the community.

“I believe this involvement in the community is critical personally as well as professionally for everyone,” she says.

Markham has been self performing grading, paving and wet utilities civil infrastructure in the Southwest since 1977. Though Valley Partnership has only been around since 1987, Markham says the company has worked with many current Valley Partnership companies for nearly four decades. Partners include DMB Associates (Verrado and Eastmark), Macerich (Sonoran Crossing), Sunbelt Holdings (Vistancia), APS, Grayhawk Development, Lennar, Vintage Partners, MT Builders, HilgartWilson, Pulte, Atwell, Dibble Engineering, Wood Patel & Associates, Hoskin & Ryan, Siteworks, Speedie & Associates, Trench Shore Rentals, Alliance Bank of Arizona and Cemex.

“Valley Partnership plays a very strong role in responsible development of the commercial real estate community and provides an excellent venue for all the stakeholders in the process to come together and discuss issues and concerns as well as success stories,” she says. “This promotes strong partnerships between cities, counties, towns, state, land owners, developers, contractors, architects, engineers and every trade partner involved in making Arizona a great place to live and work.”

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Meet the leaders in Valley Partnership

Much of the Valley’s growth would not be possible without the partnerships and advocacy supported by nonprofit Valley Partnership.

Chris-AnaradianChris Anaradian
Development Services Director, Town of Queen Creek
It’s Queen Creek’s time in the sun, boasts the town’s Development Services Director Chris Anaradian. Permit activity is “out of sight” and he cites his Valley Partnership involvement as a key ingredient while the town grows into its own.

“The situational awareness that Queen Creek gains from Valley Partnership is essential,” says Anaradian, who sits on Valley Partnership’s Board of Directors. “Knowing the current areas of focus and growth that our private partners are focused on helps us plan and build a better government and community for all. Having a voice when new legislation and alliances are being formed helps us better prepare to fund and administer the services our customers have come to expect and deserve.”

Anaradian is the former community development director and development services manager for the City of Tempe. He managed the 220-acre Tempe Town Lake and 500-acre Rio Salado Project during their initial five years. He also helped modernize multiple permitting and regulatory agencies and advocated for many developer-friendly shifts within the city, including those that precluded the Tempe light rail. Anaradian now has watched Queen Creek come through the economic recovery.

“It is now Queen Creek’s time in the sun, and so many opportunities lie ahead,” says Anaradian. “Our wash and trail system is poised to unite huge swaths of our community and become a defining geographic feature of life in Queen Creek. Large tracts of undeveloped hillside residential property are into entitlement, some of the last and most majestic in the Southeast Valley.”

Tim-BrislinTim Brislin
Vice President, Harvard Investments
Tim Brislin, an on-and-off member of Valley Partnership since 2004 who currently sits on the Board of Directors, has used organization’s networking opportunities to broaden Harvard Investment’s exposure and partnership options.

Harvard Investments is a land investment and masterplanned community development firm.
“Harvard is laser focused on executing its vision and plans for its masterplanned communities in Mesa, Queen Creek/San Tan Valley, the West Valley and in Prescott,” Brislin says. “Our Mesa project, Cadence at Gateway, is very exciting and we are making great progress on our first residential phase, as well as getting traction on our retail and high density residential components much earlier than anticipated.”

In 2007, Brislin welcomed his first son and ended his “five-year job interview” with Harvard Investments.

“In both cases I was at the starting line staring at a wide open track. Today, in addition to my wonderful wife and two boys, and thanks to Harvard’s long standing market reputation, the faith of our partners and hard work, we built a high quality portfolio of assets that we will harvest for years to come.”

What many don’t know about Harvard is that its Canadian parent company, The Hill Companies, is a major commercial developer of office and retail, Brislin says. The company has expansion plans to include industrial, office and multi-family assets.

“Our current planning efforts are highly focused on demographic trends locally and nationally and how we plan our communities for the long-term based on who are buyers are, what products they want and what type of community they will embrace,” Brislin says. “There are shifts going on that affect all aspects of the real estate development business.”

Kristina-LockeKristina Locke
Marketing/Business Development Manager, Hoskin Ryan Consultants, Inc.
Looking for the latest news on the golf tournament? Kristina Locke sits on the committee for two-year member Hoskin Ryan Consultants, Inc. Locke comes to Valley Partnership with more than a decade of marketing, advertising and business development achievements for Hoskin Ryan and its clients.

Hoskin Ryan finished off 2013 with four new clients. Locke is confident being a member of Valley Partnership will lead to meeting more potential clients.

“It does take a little while for people to get to know you and trust your firm,” she says. “We have formed great relationships and were educated on many different industry trends.”

One particular trend is healthcare. In 2013, Valley Partnership held a healthcare Friday Morning Breakfast attended by 250 members with speakers from Banner Health, Dignity and smaller medical office building develpers.

Jenifer-Davis-LuntJenifer Davis Lunt
Partner, Davis Enterprises
Davis Enterprises joined Valley Partnership last January — a big step for the closely held family business. Though Davis is one of the smaller development companies in the Valley and has a long history in the Valley, it has been a two-year sponsor of the organization. Davis Enterprises is actively involved in the identification, acquisition, development and management of real estate properties in Arizona.

Jenifer Davis Lunt became managing partner following an award-addled tenure at CBRE, where she became the first female at the Phoenix office named “Rookie of the Year,” for selling more than 100 properties totally more than $675M in value and 2.5MSF. In 2005, Davis Lunt was named CBRE’s No. 1 Investment Broker. The following year, her father retired from Davis Enterprises and named her partner and principal of a business her grandfather started.

“We are most proud of contributions Davis has made to the revitalization of Central Phoenix including the SWC of 7th Ave & McDowell, 4700 N. Central and Melrose Marketplace,” Davis Lunt says. The company is looking forward to the redevelopment of 21st Avenue and Deer Valley Road and 1015 S. Rural Rd., near ASU’s main campus.

Along those lines, Davis Lunt says a trend or issue she would like to see addressed by Valley Partnership is how the City of Phoenix can become more pedestrian, rail and bike dependent to allow for more retail and housing development in the urban core.

Rusty-MitchellRetired Lt. Col. Rusty Mitchell
Director of Luke Air Force Base Community Initiatives Team
Rusty Mitchell, director of Luke Air Force Base Community Initiatives Team, has been an ex-officio board member at Valley Partnership since 2005 and is the primary liason between the Air Force base, nine municipalities, Maricpa County and state officials.

“(Valley Partnership) has enabled me to network with major developers and discuss development issues in areas that we conduct flight operations,” he says. “This communication enables developers and landowners to be better informed of state statutes for compatible land use before they obligate time and money to a particular project.”

The partnership has been mutually beneficial. Before retiring, Mitchell served 22 years in the Air Force as a fighter pilot. It is through his community involvement and history with the Air Force that Mitchell has managed to bring enduring economic development to the base and Arizona.
“The over-whelming community support of the mission of Luke AFB has been recognized by the senior leadership of the Air Force and was a significant contributing factor in its selection as the largest F-35 training base and the recipient of an eventual 144 F-35’s,” he says.

The selection of Luke to be the primary pilot training center for the nation’s most advanced fighter will ensure the existence of Luke AFB for many decades to come, Mitchell says.
“Not only is Luke critical in the nation’s defense, producing the world’s greatest fighter pilots, but the fact that it contributes approximately $2B to the state’s economy every year will continue to infuse the state with much needed economic power.”

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Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped recipient of Valley Partnership Community Project

Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped (AFH) today was selected as recipient of the 2014 Valley Partnership Community Project. The event is Nov. 15 at Perry Rehabilitation Center, 3164 E. Windsor Ave.

AFH is a human services organization whose primary mission is to provide quality, individualized services to those with physical or intellectual challenges in the least restrictive environment. It offers programs for adults with physical or intellectual challenges to assist them in achieving desired outcomes.

“This is a great opportunity for our people with disabilities to be able to have access to their own community, and be able to go outside and enjoy a safe environment,” said AFH center Director Robyn Ratcliff. “Several years back we began to develop a dream for our property. We just weren’t able to do it when the economy went in the other direction. This is huge. We are very excited.”

AFH has successfully helped the adults it serves find community employment in landscaping, restaurants, retail stores, hardware distribution and supermarkets. Center-based employment includes assembly, inspection, collation, mail services, sorting and packaging.

“We were so excited that the Board of Directors voted unanimously to select AFH as the 2014 community project recipient that we threw them (AFH) a surprise party to share this great news at our last committee meeting,” said Valley Partnership Project Co-chair Dena Jones, Director of Business Development for Shift Redevelopment.

“I believe that AFH won over many hearts on the selection committee because they work with the happiest people on earth who are truly appreciative of the smallest things in life,” Jones said.

Work at the center will include constructing a built-in grill, seating for outside dining, the re-purposing of a sports court, a landscape screen, and a sensory garden.

The other finalists for the 2014 Community Project were Boys Hope Girls Hope and Valley Life.

One of Valley Partnership’s cornerstones is community service. Each year, it selects a non-profit organization that can benefit from the skills, efforts and supplies provided by its partners to renovate and enhance facilities for children and those in need. Over the past 25 years, Valley Partnership has contributed more than $3.5 million to the community through these projects. For its 2013 Community Project, Valley Partnership selected Save the Family Foundation’s Escobedo at Verde Vista Affordable Housing Development in Mesa.
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Dena Jones joins Shift Redevelopment

Dena Jones, HeadshotDena Jones joined Shift Redevelopment as the director of business development.

In the business development role, Jones will expand the relationships within Shift’s target markets. She is responsible for all sales activity in the company and ensuring the company reaches its growth objectives.  With the construction industry recovery in the Phoenix market, Shift is forecast to more than triple its size in 2014.  In addition to actively fostering new relationships and clients for the business, Jones is charged with hiring, developing, and training the company’s growing sales force through marketing and communication.  She serves on the executive management team and networks heavily with professional associations that support the commercial and residential real estate industries.

Jones also spearheads the philanthropic endeavors and community involvement for Shift Redevelopment. Community involvement includes nonprofit work on projects, serving on leadership boards and volunteering for charitable causes. She is the community project co-chair for Valley Partnership.

“Shift is repositioning itself for future growth.  We are excited to have Dena Jones on board as an integral member of our team. Her knowledge and her experience will help us position ourselves for anticipated growth,” said Shift Redevelopment’s Managing Director Jim Bailey.
Shift Redevelopment is a full-service general contracting and real estate development Firm that specializes in strategically optimizing commercial and residential real estate.

Since its inception, Shift Redevelopment has earned a reputation as the construction service company of choice for commercial buildings, multifamily communities, and HOA’s.  Their specialty lies in repositioning existing assets through capital improvement projects and tenant improvements (i.e… exterior painting, stucco, asphalt, roofing, flooring, interior renovations).
Shift’s competitive advantage comes by self-performing much of the work.  By keeping their price point competitive and quality controls tight, Shift is an attractive alternative for companies considering taking on large projects in house.  We offer the amenities and accountability of one point of contact with the savings of not having to manage the project.

Most recently, Shift has expanded their services to include emergency fire and water cleanup and restoration.  Their personnel are IICRC trained and certified.

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Valley Partnership seeks new president and CEO

Valley Partnership announced that Richard Hubbard stepped down from his eight-year post as president and CEO of the advocacy group. The terms of Hubbard’s resignation are effective immediately, said Cecilia Riviere, Director of Partner Services for Valley Partnership. There will be no acting president and CEO while a subcommittee of board members select Hubbard’s replacement.

“We are thankful that Richard served Valley Partnership as our president and CEO for over eight years through both good times and bad. Working alongside Richard was a pleasure. Our attention is now shifting to the future of the organization. We are beginning the search to find a replacement to not only lead Valley Partnership but also carry forward the positive and exciting momentum we have,” said Valley Partnership Chairman of the Board Doug Leventhal.

With Hubbard’s departure, Valley Partnership is now seeking an inspired leader to head the organization in its mission as the Valley of the Sun’s premier advocacy group for responsible development.

The ideal candidate will possess the ability to lead a large, diverse non-profit association, with experience in government relations/advocacy and a strong working knowledge of the Greater Phoenix real estate community. Resumes may be submitted by e-mail to holly@thepeopleperspective.com. For a job summary and position requirements, please visit the Valley Partnership website at www.valleypartnership.org. Submissions must be made on or before close of business on January 16, 2015 to be considered.