Holualoa Companies will develop an innovative new workforce housing project in downtown Tempe.

Earlier this month, the Tempe City Council unanimously approved a zoning change on a two-acre parcel at the intersection of 5th Street and Farmer Avenue to allow for the construction of a new 129-unit multifamily project called Dwell: A Work @ Home Community. The new community will complete a long-envisioned mixed-use development called Farmer Studios, and will provide new housing options for residents working in downtown Tempe, Arizona State University and other locations.

Holualoa Companies recently closed on the two-acre parcel to be developed in a $12 million transaction. The workforce housing units will be integrated into two newer, existing office buildings and a pocket park on site to create a true mixed-use development. 

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Dwell is a unique infill project positioned to provide a blueprint for attainable downtown housing where property values are at the highest in the Valley. Holualoa plans to create a new, innovative work-at-home housing project at workforce rental rates for every unit without government subsidies, with the goal to be the lowest rental rates for comparable residential. 

The new multifamily project will include a number of enticing amenities to make it not only cost-competitive but an enjoyable living and working environment, including: 

• Large, landscaped pedestrian areas and a pocket park on Farmer Avenue

• Live/work oriented amenity rooms for residents, as well as “Zoom” rooms with green screens and private meeting rooms

• A fitness center and dog-friendly features

• Easy, walkable access to light rail, streetcar, restaurants and other amenities 

The proposed building design blends seamlessly with the award-winning architectural design of the existing Farmer Studios buildings on the site, reinforcing the pedestrian experience along both 5th Street and Farmer Avenue. Development on the site has been planned since the mid 1990s but has evolved over the course of time.

“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to build this innovative new community on this outstanding site adjacent to downtown Tempe,” said Stan Shafer, Chief Operating Officer of Holualoa Companies. “This is an ideal location for workforce housing and will create a unique residential and work-from-home experience.”

Architekton — which is located on site — and Worksbureau are the project architects. Dwell’s architectural design will be consistent with the existing office buildings – development that was designed in a contextually sensitive manner – to appropriately integrate the different development phases. At the ground level, the buildings are positioned to engage pedestrians and create a walkable urban interface along the street frontage.

Tempe is set to add nearly 1.9 million square feet of office and commercial space and 962 hotel rooms within a half mile of the site. Steve Betts, Managing Director of Development for Holualoa Companies, said that Dwell will contribute to the housing necessary to support Tempe’s growing workforce in the Downtown area where rents continue to climb out of employees’ reach.

“Tempe is one of the fastest growing communities in the Valley, and it’s critical that residents have an opportunity to access workforce housing to support the local economy,” Betts said. “Dwell will be an important step forward in creating more housing options for Tempe residents while ensuring the completion of a quality mixed-use project.”