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HX_Guy Mar 30, 2010 5:30 AM

Actually people on Unemployment are counted as "looking" since it's one of the requirements to be on Unemployment.

glynnjamin Mar 30, 2010 6:09 PM

I seem to remember someone talking about The Duce earlier this month. Here are some pics and an article on it.

Vicelord John Mar 30, 2010 6:19 PM

So I know the address of this place, and I've actively looked for it, and can't find anything at all. It's pretty hidden I suppose.

glynnjamin Mar 30, 2010 6:34 PM

Does this help john?


glynnjamin Apr 1, 2010 9:59 PM

We often talk about suburban living vs city living. I found this "hidden cost of suburban living" study. Some pretty interesting results for the Phx area compared to the rest of the country.


phxgreenfire Apr 2, 2010 8:19 AM

I saw a couple interesting articles on CNN...

Phoenix isn't mentioned in this article, but it reveals the development trends in the country the Valley should consider...

However, Phoenix is mentioned in this story that will have a political/gerrymandering effect on the city/state...

PHX31 Apr 2, 2010 4:36 PM

Someone should send that first link phoenixgreenfire posted to the mayor and the city council and whoever is in charge of the downtown area and zoning and everything else.

HooverDam Apr 6, 2010 1:33 AM

This is only barely Development news but I suppose we'll take it in this economy:


$5.2 million lobby upgrade begins renovations at Science Center
7 comments by Jahna Berry - Apr. 5, 2010 11:41 AM
The Arizona Republic
The Arizona Science Center is overhauling its entrance as part of its $25.2 million effort to update the landmark inside and out.

As part of the $5.2 million project, crews will enclose its outdoor courtyard on the east side the building to create at 6,200-square-foot atrium.

The new lobby will have a sloped roof that will be 30 feet tall at its highest point, said Kristin Priscella, a spokeswoman for the science center.

The enclosure will give the building a proper entryway, said Chevy Humphrey, president and CEO of the center. The project also will increase accessibility for visitors with disabilities, it will give the public a larger air-conditioned space to line up and make it easier for groups to enter the building.

Construction began on the lobby project in March and will be completed by the end of the year, science center officials say.

The science center has about 400,000 visitors annually.

"There was no place (indoors) for people to gather," Humphrey said. With the new entrance "there will be a sense of arrival and sense of excitement about that they will see and what they will learn."

Improving access for the disabled is also a big priority.

Over the years, the center has heard complaints from visitors who use wheelchairs because the concrete entrance ramp is too steep. Humphrey said she recently got in a wheelchair and tried it for herself. It made her nervous, the CEO said.

"There was no place for you to catch yourself or a resting place," she said.

When the renovations are complete, the accessibility improvement will include a more gradual, carpeted ramp, Humphrey said.

While workers complete the lobby, crews are refreshing other parts of the science center:

• The center will overhaul its gallery on the human body, "All About Me," and center officials plans to unveil a new gallery about the brain, "The W.O.N.D.E.R. Center." The combined projects will cost about $2 million. The human-body exhibit is scheduled to be complete in the summer and the brain attraction will open in the fall, officials say.

• Workers are finishing a $250,000 gallery about solar power and energy that was funded by Arizona Public Service Co. It will open by June. The $5.2 million for the lobby upgrades is funded by city bond money that was approved by voters in 2006.

The rest of the funds were raised through private donations.

So in other words, Antoine Predock is as bad of an architect as you probably suspected he is, and just over a decade after the building opened they are having to fix up his mess.

E: VV Dont you also like the Federal Courthouse? If so thats some pretty awful taste.

Vicelord John Apr 6, 2010 2:15 AM

I was wondering what had been going on over there. I really like the building... a lot. Hopefully the changes are good.

phxbyrd Apr 6, 2010 1:46 PM

The building needs to be enlarged to take over the phoenix history museum space and become more of a regional attraction. They should start fundraising now to do this in the coming years.

Leo the Dog Apr 7, 2010 12:18 PM



Phoenix foreclosure crisis far from over
Catherine Reagor

In March, as a record number of homes were foreclosed on in metropolitan Phoenix, several pieces of Arizona legislation that would have helped homeowners facing foreclosures or dealing with its aftermath died.

Unfortunately, the state's foreclosure crisis isn't over. There are many more struggling homeowners who need help and a growing number of other homeowners who are giving up and walking away because they don't see the housing market rebounding.

Last month, a record 5,556 homes across metropolitan Phoenix were foreclosed on by lenders, reports the Information Market. That's a 30 percent increase from February. Pre-foreclosures climbed to 8,045 last month, up from 7,604 the month before.

Six of seven bills that made up the proposed Foreclosure Rescue for Arizona Act were never even heard in the Legislature. The one piece of legislation from the package to be heard in the House will require landlords to give renters more notice and time to move out of foreclosure homes. This will help Arizona residents but not struggling homeowners. The bill is supposed to be heard in the Senate later this week.

There is legislation still alive that can help homeowners facing foreclosures.

House Bill 2626: Requires lender to contact homeowner to talk about their options to avoid foreclosure. This would apply to homes purchased between 2003 and 2008, and excludes investors.

House Bill 2309; Regulates the growing number of foreclosures consultants in the state. Many Valley homeowners have lost money and even their homes after paying firms to help them with government-backed loan modifications. There are reputable firms helping homeowners facing foreclosure, but hundreds of homeowners have been caught up in scams.

Homeowners can receive free help from counselors certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by calling the Arizona foreclosure hotline 1(877)448-1211.

Senate Bill 1130: Makes it illegal for foreclosure consultants to take up-front fees from homeowners.

These three pieces of legislation will help the state's foreclosure crisis. They are Republican-backed. The Foreclosure Rescue Arizona Act package of bills would have also helped. It was backed by the Democrats.

Foreclosure help shouldn't be a partisan issue. A record number of both Phoenix-area Democrats and Republicans are losing their homes now.
If you didn't already own a home, would any of you purchase a house right now in PHX? The prices are extremely low and they couldn't possibly drop any further...could they?

phxbyrd Apr 7, 2010 1:51 PM

I doubt they'll fall much further than the $8,000 tax credit is going to get you. You'd might as well take advantage of low interest rates and start the clock on unlimited capital gains from home ownership. Although, rents are also going down in Phoenix.

glynnjamin Apr 7, 2010 2:25 PM

I don't think I'd buy in Phx ever again unless it was downtown. I have legitimate concerns about the ability of this state to govern itself and provide the necessary jobs and water that are needed to keep people here. In 10 years time, I would not be surprised to see the state's parks sold to the highest bidder and an extreme cap on water usage (along with skyrocketing water prices). I don't think Phoenix is a long term investment kind of place any more. If people like JD Hayworth and Terry Goddard end up in office, you can kiss our public schools goodbye as well. I would not want to raise a child here.

I have high hopes for another mini-boom in the next couple years but I feel like the city will be harmed by the incompetence of the state and the surrounding cities (specifically Glendale, Peoria, and Mesa).

azliam Apr 7, 2010 10:23 PM

I guess there's really no development news to speak of...

vertex Apr 8, 2010 1:22 AM


Originally Posted by azliam (Post 4785416)
I guess there's really no development news to speak of...

This is bliss for this thread. Interesting and respectful comments from all concerned. Keep it going...

Don B. Apr 8, 2010 8:52 PM

Not much dev news to talk about. I just looked at and Phoenix business Journal. The two biggest headlines on each were:

Fiserv: AZ home prices won't return to peak until 2025

Phoenix, AZ still among growth spots


Leo the Dog Apr 8, 2010 9:34 PM

I just drove through S. Phx along the baseline corridor (16th St - 32nd St) and noticed that newly framed houses were started up in stalled communities. Looks like some new growth may be picking up. Could have to do with the first home tax credit about to expire on April 30th...

dtnphx Apr 9, 2010 4:31 PM

Unfortunately bad news all around...

Entertainment district on shaky ground
Phoenix Business Journal - by Jan Buchholz

A blockbuster plan to create a downtown Phoenix entertainment district is in jeopardy as the lender filed a notice of trustee sale on several of the properties involved.

At the same time, three major Valley high-rise condo projects are poised for major court dates that could dramatically affect their future viability.

ML Manager LLC, the company created to administer the loans of Mortgages Ltd. following its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, filed a notice of trustee sale March 17 on several parcels that would have formed the core of the proposed Jackson Street Entertainment District. The auction is scheduled for June 17.

SOJAC I LLC, headed by Arizona Diamondbacks co-owner Dale Jensen, was the entity that borrowed $24.2 million from Mortgages Ltd. in February 2007 to purchase properties on Third, Fourth, Buchanan and Lincoln streets.

The proposed 20-block mixed-use development southwest of Chase Field was unveiled in 2007 via a $500,000 architectural model designed to sell investors on the concept. While some progress was made in sealing agreements with the city, no construction ever started. The global real estate meltdown cooled talk on the project.

This week, Jensen said he didn’t want to comment about the foreclosure action.

“I’m trying to work something out,” he said.

Mark Winkleman, chief operating officer of ML Manager, confirmed discussions are ongoing.

“We’ve had several meetings, and we will continue to meet,” he said. “But if we don’t reach an agreement, we will foreclose.”

ML Manager has gained traction in its quest to either renegotiate loans or take back properties. Recently, a Wisconsin firm purchased Chateaux on Central, a partially finished Victorian brownstone. MSI West Investments LLC, an investment arm of Mainstreet Ingredients of

La Crosse, Wis., paid $7 million to take over the development, which already had eaten $37 million of ML Manager’s loans.

At press time, Winkleman was gearing up for the trustee sale of Centerpoint, the two-tower high-rise that has sat vacant in downtown Tempe for more than a year. Developer Tempe Land Co. defaulted on $135 million in loans with ML Manager.

Shortly after the foreclosure was filed, Centerpoint co-principal Ken Losch said he still was trying to finish the project, even though Tempe Land Co. filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation last year. Since then, Winkleman said he has talked with dozens of interested parties, but he assumes ML Manager will take possession of the property at auction, which was slated to be held April 8.

“I fully expect that we’ll be the successful bidder,” Winkleman said.

If that is the outcome, ML Manager likely will seek new developers to buy the project as is. It is possible ML could partner with a developer to finish the estimated $50 million to $100 million in construction still needed, but Winkleman has said his overriding mission is to get as much money back as possible for the company’s estimated 2,000 investors.

On April 14, another high-profile condo project is headed for auction: the luxury 44 Monroe high-rise at First Avenue and Monroe Street in downtown Phoenix. Finished in late 2008, about 10 of its 196 units have sold.

Scottsdale-based Grace Communities was the developer, but one of its officials would not confirm whether the company still is operating.

“We’re not going to be commenting on any of that,” said Grace Principal Ryan Zeleznak.

He also declined to discuss the impending auction.

Corus Bank was the original construction lender, but when it was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., an entity named Corus Construction Ventures LLC in Chicago was formed as the beneficiary.

trigirdbers Apr 12, 2010 3:49 PM

Hey, this isn't quite development related but I went to El Gran Mercado for the first time the other day and was completely blown away. I feel as if this should be one of Phoenix's #1 tourist destinations but my friend was literally the only white person in attendance. It’s an awesome open air market, much larger than the one on Central, lots of stalls, live singers, and even luca libre. Reminded me of the places I encountered in South America – but with a borderland twist. Its really things like this that gives cities a sense of place.

HX_Guy Apr 12, 2010 4:17 PM

Some pretty good news on urban condos selling...was most surprised by One Lexington which sold 20 units in one weekend on March 27th. Also, Portland 38 has sold 17 units this year and has only 7 units left.


Price cuts help condo sales bounce back
Phoenix Business Journal - by Jan Buchholz

Urban condos throughout the Valley are selling quickly now that lenders have sold the properties to new developers at sizable discounts. The buyers, in turn, have brought the condos back to market at affordable prices.

In other cases, the original developers are re­adjusting prices and aggressively marketing urban living as the wave of the future.

To grease the process, MetLife Home Loans has stepped forward to take a preferred lending position on several urban developments, including One Lexington and Portland 38 in Phoenix, and Bridgeview in Tempe.

“MetLife is more capable of handling projects outside the box,” said Nicole Corning, a MetLife mortgage consultant. “MetLife is East Coast-based, and condos are very much an East Coast product.”

MetLife acquired First Horizon Home Loans in September 2008. First Horizon was a big player in the Valley, providing mortgages to home builders. With the change in ownership, the core business remains the same, but MetLife is sweet on the condo market and is providing mortgages to buyers.

The financing — which real estate experts say has been tough to secure for condo properties — and the lower prices have created a demand that hasn’t been seen in the past couple of years.

One Lexington is among the first high-rise condo properties to return to market.

The project was a complicated conversion of an office building into contemporary condos. Equus Development Corp. was caught in the real estate squeeze at the beginning of the economic crash. Although Equus sold several units, the process stopped when the developer defaulted on a $39.9 million loan from M&I Marshall & Ilsley Bank. The bank took back the property and began shopping for an investor.

Vancouver, British Columbia-based Macdonald Development Corp. paid $16 million for the project Jan. 27, according to records at the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office.

That marked the first major Phoenix purchase for the Canadian firm, which has invested heavily in Atlanta.

“We prefer urban buildings in an urban setting surrounded by office space,” said Rob Macdonald, president of the company. “We loved this project because it is on the light rail line.”

Macdonald moved quickly to put a team into place and opened the building for sales March 27. Twenty contracts were signed that weekend.

Prices are about 50 percent lower than what Equus was asking during presales — $240 per square foot, compared with about $500 before. The smallest units are 734 square feet. The two-story penthouses are between 1,653 and 2,846 square feet.

“Nobody expects to see that these are the best views of Camelback Mountain,” said David Newcombe, a broker with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty, who is leading the One Lexington sales team.

While some real estate observers have questioned whether there is any market for dense urban infill developments, Newcombe is convinced that housing product is needed.

“Where the basis has been properly adjusted, we are seeing a pent-up demand for urban living,” he said.

At Tempe Town Lake, some of the Valley’s highest-end urban condos sat vacant during 2009, when not one unit was sold at Bridgeview in Hayden Ferry Lakeside. Before that, 40 condos were sold at prices ranging from $800,000 to $1 million-plus.

Denver-based Condo Capital Solutions bought the 64 unsold units for $20.3 million in August 2009 from the builder, SunCor Development Co. SunCor has been selling off assets since its parent company, Pinnacle West Capital Corp., decided to get out of the real estate business.

Four units have closed at Bridgeview since January, with prices ranging from almost $400,000 to $700,000, and three others are in escrow, according to broker Katie Williams.

“We’re seeing a big range in buyers, from 20-year-olds to 80-year-olds,” she said.

Read more: Price cuts help condo sales bounce back - Phoenix Business Journal:

Williams and Newcombe said units at both projects have been selling to owner-occupiers, and many of them are using MetLife’s financing options.

“MetLife has been very clever getting into this niche,” Newcombe said.

MetLife also is providing financing for Portland 38.

Built by locally based Jag Development, the condominiums at Seventh and Portland streets in Phoenix were finished in 2007. Prices started out in the low $300,000s.

After the beginning of this year, Jag dropped the unit prices substantially. They now range from $169,000 to almost $225,000.

Jag principal Allan Gutkin said 17 units have been sold so far this year, and seven are left.

Meanwhile, Macdonald is shopping for more broken projects with the expectation of bringing the residences to market at more affordable prices.

“We have huge confidence in America and in America’s great cities. Phoenix is one of them,” Macdonald said.

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