Architecture and design acumen. Investment expertise. Keen knowledge of infill locations. Those are just a few of the assets that URBN PHX Co-Founders Dan Biswas and Mark Mascia possess.

URBN PHX, was founded in the Valley in 2019. Its neighborhoods are infill locations in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Paradise Valley. It is currently developing a 21-unit, build-to-rent community in Phoenix – The Morrison – at Bethany Home Road and 7th Street that will deliver in the spring of 2023 with record-breaking rents.

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Additionally, URBN PHX will soon break ground on another 100+ units of build-to-rent in areas such as Arcadia, Downtown Tempe, Midtown and Downtown Phoenix.

URBN PHX born in the Metro Phoenix market

Biswas has lived in the Valley for 15 years. Prior to co-founding URBN PHX, Biswas had built over 85 buildings across the country. He says that exposure to so many different municipalities has provided invaluable insights and knowledge into the regulatory and political processes required to bring projects to completion.

Dan Biswas

The two met shortly after Mascia moved to the Valley in 2016, while exploring additional investment opportunities. They teamed up soon thereafter to put their combined expertise to use and began developing the current iteration of multifamily projects.

“It was a logical continuation of what Dan and I had done during our development careers,” Mascia recalls. “My background includes development in multiple global cities with high-end brands on projects worth over $500 million. We both used a lot of coastal design aesthetic to develop high-end projects and now we’re excited to bring that design style to Phoenix.”

The duo considers URBN PHX to be “a boutique development company.”

“I just love this market. We are excited to take all of that experience and expertise and bring it to the best locations and develop the best product in Phoenix,” Biswas says.

“We are building Phoenix’s most thoughtful, design-focused development company in the build-to-rent multifamily sector. We look for the best locations that give our tenants convenience at their doorstep,” Biswas goes on to explain.

Phoenix, the land of opportunity

“Metro Phoenix has the best fundamentals of any market in the country right now,” says Mascia. “Fundamentals like job and population growth coupled with rent growth and high occupancy rates have created a once-in-a-lifetime demand for the type of developments we do.”

“The market now has so many opportunities. In the past 15 years local government has attracted diverse industries such as logistics, manufacturing, and tech. We feel we’re in the right spot at the right time for this cycle. We still have room to grow and I’m very excited about it,” Biswas adds.

Mark Mascia

URBN PHX’s primary target demographic are millennials and newer families. They’re focusing on the market segment that’s transitioning from the single lifestyle into a relationship (or small family unit) and looking for more mature amenities, while still having the curated feel of luxury apartment living.

“We have focused our project designs on features this group finds desirable. Our build-to-rent model offers amenities that they want,” Mascia says. “Proximity to restaurants and shopping, easy access to their job, and outstanding design. We offer a living experience focused on them.

“Our model is to concentrate on the convenience and overall experience of living in our communities. Given that nature, our current project designs are similar to what we successfully built in Washington, D.C., and New York City,” Mascia says.

The importance of infill and amenities

Proximity to existing amenities and infrastructure as well as its quality of build will set URBN PHX projects apart from similar developments. The company is focused on infill to develop.

“We’re not going to tear down natural vegetation or farmland. We’re focused on redeveloping and improving existing locations,” Mascia says.

Infrastructure in submarkets such as Downtown Phoenix are also key to the URBN PHX model.

“We realize that Phoenix is predominantly a car city. But with Tempe and Downtown Phoenix along the light rail, there is that optionality for those who don’t want to drive. For those who do, we encourage electric vehicle adoption by offering one EV charger per unit standard,” Biswas says.

URBN PHX standard project amenities will include two-car garages, smart home, smart garage storage space, 3- and 4-bedroom options, 2- to 3-full baths, “high-end” kitchen and bath finishes, waterfall countertops, floating staircases and vanities, and concrete flooring. A patio feature to enhance the indoor/outdoor living spaces is also incorporated into the design.

“We’re also looking to design for efficiency and sustainability. We plan to put in solar panels in all of our future projects, similar to the ASU shade structures above some of its parking lots. Ours will be shade structures integrated into our roof deck amenities,” Mascia says.

“One of the things we really wanted to implement was building a cohesive brand in infill locations where people can afford to pay for that nice design. Phoenix for many years was all about urban sprawl, building the same thing over and over again. We look for underutilized sites where we know there is demand for a well-designed product and consider the details of each location and create something unique but still fits within our overall brand,” Biswas notes. “From one project to another, there is a bit of variation.”

“It gives residents their own personal touch in the community in which they live. It makes people proud of their neighborhood,” Biswas explains.

Adds Mascia: “Dan and I both lived in architecturally significant homes. For us, it’s not just about ‘talking the talk’, we live and breathe our vision and want to share it, where ever we can.”

A road paved with strong fundamentals

What lies ahead the next 5 years for the market and a developer such as URBN PHX and its brand of multifamily product?

“We build in the best locations and hold them for the long-term, 10 years or longer. History says to stay in the best locations with the best product,” Mascia says. “Part of the reason we love and chose the market is that the fundamentals are strong and it has a lot of things going for it. Water planning. A pro-business climate. Both government and private industry have a good focus on the future. This has paid off and will continue to do so.”

“Our long-term focus is on our residents and investors growing together in what we do. We will continually innovate, and adapt as our tenants evolve. This will allow us to continue to bring the highest design quality to all of our projects throughout the valley for years to come,” he adds.

Biswas agrees with his co-founder.

“One thing is certain – we will be sticking in our lane as an excellent developer that delivers highly desirable design. Maybe there will be some bigger projects but nothing will fundamentally change about how we build beautiful and sustainable communities.”

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