Sunday, October 31, 2010

Historic first: Treasury sells debt with negative yield - Investment News

The Treasury sold $10 billion of five-year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities at a negative yield for the first time in the history of U.S. debt.

The securities drew a yield of negative 0.55 percent, the same as the average forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 7 of the Federal Reserve's 18 primary dealers. The bid-to-cover ratio, which gauges demand by comparing total bids with the amount of securities offered, was 2.84. The average at the last 120 auctions was 2.38. The sale was a reopening of an $11 billion offering in April

“These negative yields are being driven by the Federal Reserve and their push to increase inflation expectations,” Michael Pond, co-head of U.S. rates strategy in New York at Barclays Plc, said before the sale. The firm is one of 18 primary dealers required to bid at Treasury auctions.

The U.S. can only sell debt at a negative yield on inflation-linked debt, according to McKayla Barden, a spokeswoman at the Bureau of the Public Debt. Conventional fixed-coupon Treasuries of a given maturity could be sold at price above face value with a zero percent coupon if yields in the market on that maturity were negative. The government began selling inflation-protected debt in 1997.

The sale was the first of four this week totaling $109 billion.

The last TIPS auction, on April 26, drew a yield of 0.550 percent, which was the lowest on record. The bid-to-cover ratio was 3.15.

Treasury 30-year bonds rose for a second day, leading a rally in Treasuries, amid speculation on how much debt the Federal Reserve may buy to spur the economy and before data that may show economic growth was below average.

Ten-year note yields fell for the first time in four days, shrinking the difference between 2- and 10-year yields before the Fed meets next week. Treasuries gained even as data showed sales of existing homes rose. The U.S. is scheduled to sell $10 billion of five-year inflation-linked securities today, the first of four note auctions this week totaling $109 billion.

“Whenever we see a bit of a selloff in the Treasury market it is getting met, and will continue to get met, by renewed buying until we get clarification with regards to the size and frequency of the Fed's asset purchases,” said Christian Cooper, senior rates trader in New York at primary dealer Jefferies & Co.

by Bloomberg News October 25, 2010

Historic first: Treasury sells debt with negative yield - Investment News

Historic first: Treasury sells debt with negative yield - Investment News

The Treasury sold $10 billion of five-year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities at a negative yield for the first time in the history of U.S. debt.

The securities drew a yield of negative 0.55 percent, the same as the average forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 7 of the Federal Reserve's 18 primary dealers. The bid-to-cover ratio, which gauges demand by comparing total bids with the amount of securities offered, was 2.84. The average at the last 120 auctions was 2.38. The sale was a reopening of an $11 billion offering in April

“These negative yields are being driven by the Federal Reserve and their push to increase inflation expectations,” Michael Pond, co-head of U.S. rates strategy in New York at Barclays Plc, said before the sale. The firm is one of 18 primary dealers required to bid at Treasury auctions.

The U.S. can only sell debt at a negative yield on inflation-linked debt, according to McKayla Barden, a spokeswoman at the Bureau of the Public Debt. Conventional fixed-coupon Treasuries of a given maturity could be sold at price above face value with a zero percent coupon if yields in the market on that maturity were negative. The government began selling inflation-protected debt in 1997.

The sale was the first of four this week totaling $109 billion.

The last TIPS auction, on April 26, drew a yield of 0.550 percent, which was the lowest on record. The bid-to-cover ratio was 3.15.

Treasury 30-year bonds rose for a second day, leading a rally in Treasuries, amid speculation on how much debt the Federal Reserve may buy to spur the economy and before data that may show economic growth was below average.

Ten-year note yields fell for the first time in four days, shrinking the difference between 2- and 10-year yields before the Fed meets next week. Treasuries gained even as data showed sales of existing homes rose. The U.S. is scheduled to sell $10 billion of five-year inflation-linked securities today, the first of four note auctions this week totaling $109 billion.

“Whenever we see a bit of a selloff in the Treasury market it is getting met, and will continue to get met, by renewed buying until we get clarification with regards to the size and frequency of the Fed's asset purchases,” said Christian Cooper, senior rates trader in New York at primary dealer Jefferies & Co.

by Bloomberg News October 25, 2010

Historic first: Treasury sells debt with negative yield - Investment News

Historic first: Treasury sells debt with negative yield - Investment News

The Treasury sold $10 billion of five-year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities at a negative yield for the first time in the history of U.S. debt.

The securities drew a yield of negative 0.55 percent, the same as the average forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 7 of the Federal Reserve's 18 primary dealers. The bid-to-cover ratio, which gauges demand by comparing total bids with the amount of securities offered, was 2.84. The average at the last 120 auctions was 2.38. The sale was a reopening of an $11 billion offering in April

“These negative yields are being driven by the Federal Reserve and their push to increase inflation expectations,” Michael Pond, co-head of U.S. rates strategy in New York at Barclays Plc, said before the sale. The firm is one of 18 primary dealers required to bid at Treasury auctions.

The U.S. can only sell debt at a negative yield on inflation-linked debt, according to McKayla Barden, a spokeswoman at the Bureau of the Public Debt. Conventional fixed-coupon Treasuries of a given maturity could be sold at price above face value with a zero percent coupon if yields in the market on that maturity were negative. The government began selling inflation-protected debt in 1997.

The sale was the first of four this week totaling $109 billion.

The last TIPS auction, on April 26, drew a yield of 0.550 percent, which was the lowest on record. The bid-to-cover ratio was 3.15.

Treasury 30-year bonds rose for a second day, leading a rally in Treasuries, amid speculation on how much debt the Federal Reserve may buy to spur the economy and before data that may show economic growth was below average.

Ten-year note yields fell for the first time in four days, shrinking the difference between 2- and 10-year yields before the Fed meets next week. Treasuries gained even as data showed sales of existing homes rose. The U.S. is scheduled to sell $10 billion of five-year inflation-linked securities today, the first of four note auctions this week totaling $109 billion.

“Whenever we see a bit of a selloff in the Treasury market it is getting met, and will continue to get met, by renewed buying until we get clarification with regards to the size and frequency of the Fed's asset purchases,” said Christian Cooper, senior rates trader in New York at primary dealer Jefferies & Co.

by Bloomberg News October 25, 2010

Historic first: Treasury sells debt with negative yield - Investment News

Historic first: Treasury sells debt with negative yield - Investment News

The Treasury sold $10 billion of five-year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities at a negative yield for the first time in the history of U.S. debt.

The securities drew a yield of negative 0.55 percent, the same as the average forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 7 of the Federal Reserve's 18 primary dealers. The bid-to-cover ratio, which gauges demand by comparing total bids with the amount of securities offered, was 2.84. The average at the last 120 auctions was 2.38. The sale was a reopening of an $11 billion offering in April

“These negative yields are being driven by the Federal Reserve and their push to increase inflation expectations,” Michael Pond, co-head of U.S. rates strategy in New York at Barclays Plc, said before the sale. The firm is one of 18 primary dealers required to bid at Treasury auctions.

The U.S. can only sell debt at a negative yield on inflation-linked debt, according to McKayla Barden, a spokeswoman at the Bureau of the Public Debt. Conventional fixed-coupon Treasuries of a given maturity could be sold at price above face value with a zero percent coupon if yields in the market on that maturity were negative. The government began selling inflation-protected debt in 1997.

The sale was the first of four this week totaling $109 billion.

The last TIPS auction, on April 26, drew a yield of 0.550 percent, which was the lowest on record. The bid-to-cover ratio was 3.15.

Treasury 30-year bonds rose for a second day, leading a rally in Treasuries, amid speculation on how much debt the Federal Reserve may buy to spur the economy and before data that may show economic growth was below average.

Ten-year note yields fell for the first time in four days, shrinking the difference between 2- and 10-year yields before the Fed meets next week. Treasuries gained even as data showed sales of existing homes rose. The U.S. is scheduled to sell $10 billion of five-year inflation-linked securities today, the first of four note auctions this week totaling $109 billion.

“Whenever we see a bit of a selloff in the Treasury market it is getting met, and will continue to get met, by renewed buying until we get clarification with regards to the size and frequency of the Fed's asset purchases,” said Christian Cooper, senior rates trader in New York at primary dealer Jefferies & Co.

by Bloomberg News October 25, 2010

Historic first: Treasury sells debt with negative yield - Investment News

Historic first: Treasury sells debt with negative yield - Investment News

The Treasury sold $10 billion of five-year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities at a negative yield for the first time in the history of U.S. debt.

The securities drew a yield of negative 0.55 percent, the same as the average forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 7 of the Federal Reserve's 18 primary dealers. The bid-to-cover ratio, which gauges demand by comparing total bids with the amount of securities offered, was 2.84. The average at the last 120 auctions was 2.38. The sale was a reopening of an $11 billion offering in April

“These negative yields are being driven by the Federal Reserve and their push to increase inflation expectations,” Michael Pond, co-head of U.S. rates strategy in New York at Barclays Plc, said before the sale. The firm is one of 18 primary dealers required to bid at Treasury auctions.

The U.S. can only sell debt at a negative yield on inflation-linked debt, according to McKayla Barden, a spokeswoman at the Bureau of the Public Debt. Conventional fixed-coupon Treasuries of a given maturity could be sold at price above face value with a zero percent coupon if yields in the market on that maturity were negative. The government began selling inflation-protected debt in 1997.

The sale was the first of four this week totaling $109 billion.

The last TIPS auction, on April 26, drew a yield of 0.550 percent, which was the lowest on record. The bid-to-cover ratio was 3.15.

Treasury 30-year bonds rose for a second day, leading a rally in Treasuries, amid speculation on how much debt the Federal Reserve may buy to spur the economy and before data that may show economic growth was below average.

Ten-year note yields fell for the first time in four days, shrinking the difference between 2- and 10-year yields before the Fed meets next week. Treasuries gained even as data showed sales of existing homes rose. The U.S. is scheduled to sell $10 billion of five-year inflation-linked securities today, the first of four note auctions this week totaling $109 billion.

“Whenever we see a bit of a selloff in the Treasury market it is getting met, and will continue to get met, by renewed buying until we get clarification with regards to the size and frequency of the Fed's asset purchases,” said Christian Cooper, senior rates trader in New York at primary dealer Jefferies & Co.

by Bloomberg News October 25, 2010

Historic first: Treasury sells debt with negative yield - Investment News

Historic first: Treasury sells debt with negative yield - Investment News

The Treasury sold $10 billion of five-year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities at a negative yield for the first time in the history of U.S. debt.

The securities drew a yield of negative 0.55 percent, the same as the average forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 7 of the Federal Reserve's 18 primary dealers. The bid-to-cover ratio, which gauges demand by comparing total bids with the amount of securities offered, was 2.84. The average at the last 120 auctions was 2.38. The sale was a reopening of an $11 billion offering in April

“These negative yields are being driven by the Federal Reserve and their push to increase inflation expectations,” Michael Pond, co-head of U.S. rates strategy in New York at Barclays Plc, said before the sale. The firm is one of 18 primary dealers required to bid at Treasury auctions.

The U.S. can only sell debt at a negative yield on inflation-linked debt, according to McKayla Barden, a spokeswoman at the Bureau of the Public Debt. Conventional fixed-coupon Treasuries of a given maturity could be sold at price above face value with a zero percent coupon if yields in the market on that maturity were negative. The government began selling inflation-protected debt in 1997.

The sale was the first of four this week totaling $109 billion.

The last TIPS auction, on April 26, drew a yield of 0.550 percent, which was the lowest on record. The bid-to-cover ratio was 3.15.

Treasury 30-year bonds rose for a second day, leading a rally in Treasuries, amid speculation on how much debt the Federal Reserve may buy to spur the economy and before data that may show economic growth was below average.

Ten-year note yields fell for the first time in four days, shrinking the difference between 2- and 10-year yields before the Fed meets next week. Treasuries gained even as data showed sales of existing homes rose. The U.S. is scheduled to sell $10 billion of five-year inflation-linked securities today, the first of four note auctions this week totaling $109 billion.

“Whenever we see a bit of a selloff in the Treasury market it is getting met, and will continue to get met, by renewed buying until we get clarification with regards to the size and frequency of the Fed's asset purchases,” said Christian Cooper, senior rates trader in New York at primary dealer Jefferies & Co.

by Bloomberg News October 25, 2010

Historic first: Treasury sells debt with negative yield - Investment News

Historic first: Treasury sells debt with negative yield - Investment News

The Treasury sold $10 billion of five-year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities at a negative yield for the first time in the history of U.S. debt.

The securities drew a yield of negative 0.55 percent, the same as the average forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 7 of the Federal Reserve's 18 primary dealers. The bid-to-cover ratio, which gauges demand by comparing total bids with the amount of securities offered, was 2.84. The average at the last 120 auctions was 2.38. The sale was a reopening of an $11 billion offering in April

“These negative yields are being driven by the Federal Reserve and their push to increase inflation expectations,” Michael Pond, co-head of U.S. rates strategy in New York at Barclays Plc, said before the sale. The firm is one of 18 primary dealers required to bid at Treasury auctions.

The U.S. can only sell debt at a negative yield on inflation-linked debt, according to McKayla Barden, a spokeswoman at the Bureau of the Public Debt. Conventional fixed-coupon Treasuries of a given maturity could be sold at price above face value with a zero percent coupon if yields in the market on that maturity were negative. The government began selling inflation-protected debt in 1997.

The sale was the first of four this week totaling $109 billion.

The last TIPS auction, on April 26, drew a yield of 0.550 percent, which was the lowest on record. The bid-to-cover ratio was 3.15.

Treasury 30-year bonds rose for a second day, leading a rally in Treasuries, amid speculation on how much debt the Federal Reserve may buy to spur the economy and before data that may show economic growth was below average.

Ten-year note yields fell for the first time in four days, shrinking the difference between 2- and 10-year yields before the Fed meets next week. Treasuries gained even as data showed sales of existing homes rose. The U.S. is scheduled to sell $10 billion of five-year inflation-linked securities today, the first of four note auctions this week totaling $109 billion.

“Whenever we see a bit of a selloff in the Treasury market it is getting met, and will continue to get met, by renewed buying until we get clarification with regards to the size and frequency of the Fed's asset purchases,” said Christian Cooper, senior rates trader in New York at primary dealer Jefferies & Co.

by Bloomberg News October 25, 2010

Historic first: Treasury sells debt with negative yield - Investment News

Historic first: Treasury sells debt with negative yield - Investment News

The Treasury sold $10 billion of five-year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities at a negative yield for the first time in the history of U.S. debt.

The securities drew a yield of negative 0.55 percent, the same as the average forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 7 of the Federal Reserve's 18 primary dealers. The bid-to-cover ratio, which gauges demand by comparing total bids with the amount of securities offered, was 2.84. The average at the last 120 auctions was 2.38. The sale was a reopening of an $11 billion offering in April

“These negative yields are being driven by the Federal Reserve and their push to increase inflation expectations,” Michael Pond, co-head of U.S. rates strategy in New York at Barclays Plc, said before the sale. The firm is one of 18 primary dealers required to bid at Treasury auctions.

The U.S. can only sell debt at a negative yield on inflation-linked debt, according to McKayla Barden, a spokeswoman at the Bureau of the Public Debt. Conventional fixed-coupon Treasuries of a given maturity could be sold at price above face value with a zero percent coupon if yields in the market on that maturity were negative. The government began selling inflation-protected debt in 1997.

The sale was the first of four this week totaling $109 billion.

The last TIPS auction, on April 26, drew a yield of 0.550 percent, which was the lowest on record. The bid-to-cover ratio was 3.15.

Treasury 30-year bonds rose for a second day, leading a rally in Treasuries, amid speculation on how much debt the Federal Reserve may buy to spur the economy and before data that may show economic growth was below average.

Ten-year note yields fell for the first time in four days, shrinking the difference between 2- and 10-year yields before the Fed meets next week. Treasuries gained even as data showed sales of existing homes rose. The U.S. is scheduled to sell $10 billion of five-year inflation-linked securities today, the first of four note auctions this week totaling $109 billion.

“Whenever we see a bit of a selloff in the Treasury market it is getting met, and will continue to get met, by renewed buying until we get clarification with regards to the size and frequency of the Fed's asset purchases,” said Christian Cooper, senior rates trader in New York at primary dealer Jefferies & Co.

by Bloomberg News October 25, 2010

Historic first: Treasury sells debt with negative yield - Investment News

Waterfront's plan for 150-foot tower passes hurdle

The Scottsdale Planning Commission has recommended the City Council approve amended development standards at the Scottsdale Waterfront to allow for a building that would rival the city's tallest structures.

Scottsdale Waterfront LLC, the owner, wants the city to modify its development standards for the vacant parcel immediately south of the Nordstrom parking garage to allow for a building that would rise nearly 150 feet. "We just want to have a single tower to the east," said Brett Sassenberg, Scottsdale Waterfront LLC spokesman. "It's an efficient structure, it's into the downtown because it makes sense for the downtown." The applicant hasn't yet submitted a specific site plan or use for Phase IV and V of the Waterfront development. John Berry, an attorney representing the applicant, said the recession has created an environment where financing isn't available until the development standards are in place and a user has been identified. "This allows nothing to be built, it doesn't block anyone's views," he said. "This allows (the applicant) to move forward and design the project." Commissioners based much of their unanimous vote on the applicant's record of development at the Waterfront. Commission Chairman Michael D'Andrea said the Waterfront has greatly benefited the downtown and he looks forward to seeing the next phase of the project. "This still does have to go through the (approval) process," Commission Vice Chairman Ed Grant said. "If this were a full-blown proposal, a continuance would be appropriate, but it's not. This is consistent with the downtown plan." The 3.35-acre site, called the Goldwater parcel, is on the east side of Goldwater Boulevard and the north side of the Arizona Canal. The maximum height now allowed on the parcel is 85 feet excluding rooftop mechanical needs. The request is to increase that maximum height to 149 feet including rooftop mechanical. That is roughly as tall as the AmTrust bank building at 68th Street and Camelback Road and the Scottsdale Waterfront condominium towers at Camelback and Scottsdale roads. The request also includes4 acres of open space across the entire Waterfront development. Michael Curley, an attorney representing the owners of nearly 200 Waterfront condominiums, argued that the developer should stick to the development standards agreed upon back in 2003. "We think the approval completely deviates from the city's normal standards," he said. "To give this additional height without any site plan is, in our view, the equivalent of signing a blank check." Berry said the original plan's heights would force a development with "squished- down" buildings and consequently less open space. The amended plan calls for a greater buffer along Goldwater and moving greater building heights away from areas outside of the downtown, he said. The previous plan called for two buildings of up to 36 feet in height, plus up to 24 feet of mechanical needs, to the west of the parcel. It also allows for one 85-foot-tall building plus up to 24 feet of mechanical to the east. "What they're requesting completely is an abandonment of commitments that were made in 2003 relative to the height on the parcel," Curley said. After the vote, Sassenberg said he looks forward to the council considering this request. "It's an infill-incentive district and all of it is amendable," he said, of the district created by the City Council this past summer that allows developers to seek revised standards on building heights. "We've gone through a major economic crisis, and things have to change. It's happening all around the Valley, it's happening all around the nation. It's inevitable and it will be positive once it's finished."

by Edward Gately The Arizona Republic Oct. 30, 2010 06:46 AM




Waterfront's plan for 150-foot tower passes hurdle

Waterfront's plan for 150-foot tower passes hurdle

The Scottsdale Planning Commission has recommended the City Council approve amended development standards at the Scottsdale Waterfront to allow for a building that would rival the city's tallest structures.

Scottsdale Waterfront LLC, the owner, wants the city to modify its development standards for the vacant parcel immediately south of the Nordstrom parking garage to allow for a building that would rise nearly 150 feet. "We just want to have a single tower to the east," said Brett Sassenberg, Scottsdale Waterfront LLC spokesman. "It's an efficient structure, it's into the downtown because it makes sense for the downtown." The applicant hasn't yet submitted a specific site plan or use for Phase IV and V of the Waterfront development. John Berry, an attorney representing the applicant, said the recession has created an environment where financing isn't available until the development standards are in place and a user has been identified. "This allows nothing to be built, it doesn't block anyone's views," he said. "This allows (the applicant) to move forward and design the project." Commissioners based much of their unanimous vote on the applicant's record of development at the Waterfront. Commission Chairman Michael D'Andrea said the Waterfront has greatly benefited the downtown and he looks forward to seeing the next phase of the project. "This still does have to go through the (approval) process," Commission Vice Chairman Ed Grant said. "If this were a full-blown proposal, a continuance would be appropriate, but it's not. This is consistent with the downtown plan." The 3.35-acre site, called the Goldwater parcel, is on the east side of Goldwater Boulevard and the north side of the Arizona Canal. The maximum height now allowed on the parcel is 85 feet excluding rooftop mechanical needs. The request is to increase that maximum height to 149 feet including rooftop mechanical. That is roughly as tall as the AmTrust bank building at 68th Street and Camelback Road and the Scottsdale Waterfront condominium towers at Camelback and Scottsdale roads. The request also includes4 acres of open space across the entire Waterfront development. Michael Curley, an attorney representing the owners of nearly 200 Waterfront condominiums, argued that the developer should stick to the development standards agreed upon back in 2003. "We think the approval completely deviates from the city's normal standards," he said. "To give this additional height without any site plan is, in our view, the equivalent of signing a blank check." Berry said the original plan's heights would force a development with "squished- down" buildings and consequently less open space. The amended plan calls for a greater buffer along Goldwater and moving greater building heights away from areas outside of the downtown, he said. The previous plan called for two buildings of up to 36 feet in height, plus up to 24 feet of mechanical needs, to the west of the parcel. It also allows for one 85-foot-tall building plus up to 24 feet of mechanical to the east. "What they're requesting completely is an abandonment of commitments that were made in 2003 relative to the height on the parcel," Curley said. After the vote, Sassenberg said he looks forward to the council considering this request. "It's an infill-incentive district and all of it is amendable," he said, of the district created by the City Council this past summer that allows developers to seek revised standards on building heights. "We've gone through a major economic crisis, and things have to change. It's happening all around the Valley, it's happening all around the nation. It's inevitable and it will be positive once it's finished."

by Edward Gately The Arizona Republic Oct. 30, 2010 06:46 AM




Waterfront's plan for 150-foot tower passes hurdle

Waterfront's plan for 150-foot tower passes hurdle

The Scottsdale Planning Commission has recommended the City Council approve amended development standards at the Scottsdale Waterfront to allow for a building that would rival the city's tallest structures.

Scottsdale Waterfront LLC, the owner, wants the city to modify its development standards for the vacant parcel immediately south of the Nordstrom parking garage to allow for a building that would rise nearly 150 feet. "We just want to have a single tower to the east," said Brett Sassenberg, Scottsdale Waterfront LLC spokesman. "It's an efficient structure, it's into the downtown because it makes sense for the downtown." The applicant hasn't yet submitted a specific site plan or use for Phase IV and V of the Waterfront development. John Berry, an attorney representing the applicant, said the recession has created an environment where financing isn't available until the development standards are in place and a user has been identified. "This allows nothing to be built, it doesn't block anyone's views," he said. "This allows (the applicant) to move forward and design the project." Commissioners based much of their unanimous vote on the applicant's record of development at the Waterfront. Commission Chairman Michael D'Andrea said the Waterfront has greatly benefited the downtown and he looks forward to seeing the next phase of the project. "This still does have to go through the (approval) process," Commission Vice Chairman Ed Grant said. "If this were a full-blown proposal, a continuance would be appropriate, but it's not. This is consistent with the downtown plan." The 3.35-acre site, called the Goldwater parcel, is on the east side of Goldwater Boulevard and the north side of the Arizona Canal. The maximum height now allowed on the parcel is 85 feet excluding rooftop mechanical needs. The request is to increase that maximum height to 149 feet including rooftop mechanical. That is roughly as tall as the AmTrust bank building at 68th Street and Camelback Road and the Scottsdale Waterfront condominium towers at Camelback and Scottsdale roads. The request also includes4 acres of open space across the entire Waterfront development. Michael Curley, an attorney representing the owners of nearly 200 Waterfront condominiums, argued that the developer should stick to the development standards agreed upon back in 2003. "We think the approval completely deviates from the city's normal standards," he said. "To give this additional height without any site plan is, in our view, the equivalent of signing a blank check." Berry said the original plan's heights would force a development with "squished- down" buildings and consequently less open space. The amended plan calls for a greater buffer along Goldwater and moving greater building heights away from areas outside of the downtown, he said. The previous plan called for two buildings of up to 36 feet in height, plus up to 24 feet of mechanical needs, to the west of the parcel. It also allows for one 85-foot-tall building plus up to 24 feet of mechanical to the east. "What they're requesting completely is an abandonment of commitments that were made in 2003 relative to the height on the parcel," Curley said. After the vote, Sassenberg said he looks forward to the council considering this request. "It's an infill-incentive district and all of it is amendable," he said, of the district created by the City Council this past summer that allows developers to seek revised standards on building heights. "We've gone through a major economic crisis, and things have to change. It's happening all around the Valley, it's happening all around the nation. It's inevitable and it will be positive once it's finished."

by Edward Gately The Arizona Republic Oct. 30, 2010 06:46 AM




Waterfront's plan for 150-foot tower passes hurdle

Waterfront's plan for 150-foot tower passes hurdle

The Scottsdale Planning Commission has recommended the City Council approve amended development standards at the Scottsdale Waterfront to allow for a building that would rival the city's tallest structures.

Scottsdale Waterfront LLC, the owner, wants the city to modify its development standards for the vacant parcel immediately south of the Nordstrom parking garage to allow for a building that would rise nearly 150 feet. "We just want to have a single tower to the east," said Brett Sassenberg, Scottsdale Waterfront LLC spokesman. "It's an efficient structure, it's into the downtown because it makes sense for the downtown." The applicant hasn't yet submitted a specific site plan or use for Phase IV and V of the Waterfront development. John Berry, an attorney representing the applicant, said the recession has created an environment where financing isn't available until the development standards are in place and a user has been identified. "This allows nothing to be built, it doesn't block anyone's views," he said. "This allows (the applicant) to move forward and design the project." Commissioners based much of their unanimous vote on the applicant's record of development at the Waterfront. Commission Chairman Michael D'Andrea said the Waterfront has greatly benefited the downtown and he looks forward to seeing the next phase of the project. "This still does have to go through the (approval) process," Commission Vice Chairman Ed Grant said. "If this were a full-blown proposal, a continuance would be appropriate, but it's not. This is consistent with the downtown plan." The 3.35-acre site, called the Goldwater parcel, is on the east side of Goldwater Boulevard and the north side of the Arizona Canal. The maximum height now allowed on the parcel is 85 feet excluding rooftop mechanical needs. The request is to increase that maximum height to 149 feet including rooftop mechanical. That is roughly as tall as the AmTrust bank building at 68th Street and Camelback Road and the Scottsdale Waterfront condominium towers at Camelback and Scottsdale roads. The request also includes4 acres of open space across the entire Waterfront development. Michael Curley, an attorney representing the owners of nearly 200 Waterfront condominiums, argued that the developer should stick to the development standards agreed upon back in 2003. "We think the approval completely deviates from the city's normal standards," he said. "To give this additional height without any site plan is, in our view, the equivalent of signing a blank check." Berry said the original plan's heights would force a development with "squished- down" buildings and consequently less open space. The amended plan calls for a greater buffer along Goldwater and moving greater building heights away from areas outside of the downtown, he said. The previous plan called for two buildings of up to 36 feet in height, plus up to 24 feet of mechanical needs, to the west of the parcel. It also allows for one 85-foot-tall building plus up to 24 feet of mechanical to the east. "What they're requesting completely is an abandonment of commitments that were made in 2003 relative to the height on the parcel," Curley said. After the vote, Sassenberg said he looks forward to the council considering this request. "It's an infill-incentive district and all of it is amendable," he said, of the district created by the City Council this past summer that allows developers to seek revised standards on building heights. "We've gone through a major economic crisis, and things have to change. It's happening all around the Valley, it's happening all around the nation. It's inevitable and it will be positive once it's finished."

by Edward Gately The Arizona Republic Oct. 30, 2010 06:46 AM




Waterfront's plan for 150-foot tower passes hurdle

Waterfront's plan for 150-foot tower passes hurdle

The Scottsdale Planning Commission has recommended the City Council approve amended development standards at the Scottsdale Waterfront to allow for a building that would rival the city's tallest structures.

Scottsdale Waterfront LLC, the owner, wants the city to modify its development standards for the vacant parcel immediately south of the Nordstrom parking garage to allow for a building that would rise nearly 150 feet. "We just want to have a single tower to the east," said Brett Sassenberg, Scottsdale Waterfront LLC spokesman. "It's an efficient structure, it's into the downtown because it makes sense for the downtown." The applicant hasn't yet submitted a specific site plan or use for Phase IV and V of the Waterfront development. John Berry, an attorney representing the applicant, said the recession has created an environment where financing isn't available until the development standards are in place and a user has been identified. "This allows nothing to be built, it doesn't block anyone's views," he said. "This allows (the applicant) to move forward and design the project." Commissioners based much of their unanimous vote on the applicant's record of development at the Waterfront. Commission Chairman Michael D'Andrea said the Waterfront has greatly benefited the downtown and he looks forward to seeing the next phase of the project. "This still does have to go through the (approval) process," Commission Vice Chairman Ed Grant said. "If this were a full-blown proposal, a continuance would be appropriate, but it's not. This is consistent with the downtown plan." The 3.35-acre site, called the Goldwater parcel, is on the east side of Goldwater Boulevard and the north side of the Arizona Canal. The maximum height now allowed on the parcel is 85 feet excluding rooftop mechanical needs. The request is to increase that maximum height to 149 feet including rooftop mechanical. That is roughly as tall as the AmTrust bank building at 68th Street and Camelback Road and the Scottsdale Waterfront condominium towers at Camelback and Scottsdale roads. The request also includes4 acres of open space across the entire Waterfront development. Michael Curley, an attorney representing the owners of nearly 200 Waterfront condominiums, argued that the developer should stick to the development standards agreed upon back in 2003. "We think the approval completely deviates from the city's normal standards," he said. "To give this additional height without any site plan is, in our view, the equivalent of signing a blank check." Berry said the original plan's heights would force a development with "squished- down" buildings and consequently less open space. The amended plan calls for a greater buffer along Goldwater and moving greater building heights away from areas outside of the downtown, he said. The previous plan called for two buildings of up to 36 feet in height, plus up to 24 feet of mechanical needs, to the west of the parcel. It also allows for one 85-foot-tall building plus up to 24 feet of mechanical to the east. "What they're requesting completely is an abandonment of commitments that were made in 2003 relative to the height on the parcel," Curley said. After the vote, Sassenberg said he looks forward to the council considering this request. "It's an infill-incentive district and all of it is amendable," he said, of the district created by the City Council this past summer that allows developers to seek revised standards on building heights. "We've gone through a major economic crisis, and things have to change. It's happening all around the Valley, it's happening all around the nation. It's inevitable and it will be positive once it's finished."

by Edward Gately The Arizona Republic Oct. 30, 2010 06:46 AM




Waterfront's plan for 150-foot tower passes hurdle

Waterfront's plan for 150-foot tower passes hurdle

The Scottsdale Planning Commission has recommended the City Council approve amended development standards at the Scottsdale Waterfront to allow for a building that would rival the city's tallest structures.

Scottsdale Waterfront LLC, the owner, wants the city to modify its development standards for the vacant parcel immediately south of the Nordstrom parking garage to allow for a building that would rise nearly 150 feet. "We just want to have a single tower to the east," said Brett Sassenberg, Scottsdale Waterfront LLC spokesman. "It's an efficient structure, it's into the downtown because it makes sense for the downtown." The applicant hasn't yet submitted a specific site plan or use for Phase IV and V of the Waterfront development. John Berry, an attorney representing the applicant, said the recession has created an environment where financing isn't available until the development standards are in place and a user has been identified. "This allows nothing to be built, it doesn't block anyone's views," he said. "This allows (the applicant) to move forward and design the project." Commissioners based much of their unanimous vote on the applicant's record of development at the Waterfront. Commission Chairman Michael D'Andrea said the Waterfront has greatly benefited the downtown and he looks forward to seeing the next phase of the project. "This still does have to go through the (approval) process," Commission Vice Chairman Ed Grant said. "If this were a full-blown proposal, a continuance would be appropriate, but it's not. This is consistent with the downtown plan." The 3.35-acre site, called the Goldwater parcel, is on the east side of Goldwater Boulevard and the north side of the Arizona Canal. The maximum height now allowed on the parcel is 85 feet excluding rooftop mechanical needs. The request is to increase that maximum height to 149 feet including rooftop mechanical. That is roughly as tall as the AmTrust bank building at 68th Street and Camelback Road and the Scottsdale Waterfront condominium towers at Camelback and Scottsdale roads. The request also includes4 acres of open space across the entire Waterfront development. Michael Curley, an attorney representing the owners of nearly 200 Waterfront condominiums, argued that the developer should stick to the development standards agreed upon back in 2003. "We think the approval completely deviates from the city's normal standards," he said. "To give this additional height without any site plan is, in our view, the equivalent of signing a blank check." Berry said the original plan's heights would force a development with "squished- down" buildings and consequently less open space. The amended plan calls for a greater buffer along Goldwater and moving greater building heights away from areas outside of the downtown, he said. The previous plan called for two buildings of up to 36 feet in height, plus up to 24 feet of mechanical needs, to the west of the parcel. It also allows for one 85-foot-tall building plus up to 24 feet of mechanical to the east. "What they're requesting completely is an abandonment of commitments that were made in 2003 relative to the height on the parcel," Curley said. After the vote, Sassenberg said he looks forward to the council considering this request. "It's an infill-incentive district and all of it is amendable," he said, of the district created by the City Council this past summer that allows developers to seek revised standards on building heights. "We've gone through a major economic crisis, and things have to change. It's happening all around the Valley, it's happening all around the nation. It's inevitable and it will be positive once it's finished."

by Edward Gately The Arizona Republic Oct. 30, 2010 06:46 AM




Waterfront's plan for 150-foot tower passes hurdle

Waterfront's plan for 150-foot tower passes hurdle

The Scottsdale Planning Commission has recommended the City Council approve amended development standards at the Scottsdale Waterfront to allow for a building that would rival the city's tallest structures.

Scottsdale Waterfront LLC, the owner, wants the city to modify its development standards for the vacant parcel immediately south of the Nordstrom parking garage to allow for a building that would rise nearly 150 feet. "We just want to have a single tower to the east," said Brett Sassenberg, Scottsdale Waterfront LLC spokesman. "It's an efficient structure, it's into the downtown because it makes sense for the downtown." The applicant hasn't yet submitted a specific site plan or use for Phase IV and V of the Waterfront development. John Berry, an attorney representing the applicant, said the recession has created an environment where financing isn't available until the development standards are in place and a user has been identified. "This allows nothing to be built, it doesn't block anyone's views," he said. "This allows (the applicant) to move forward and design the project." Commissioners based much of their unanimous vote on the applicant's record of development at the Waterfront. Commission Chairman Michael D'Andrea said the Waterfront has greatly benefited the downtown and he looks forward to seeing the next phase of the project. "This still does have to go through the (approval) process," Commission Vice Chairman Ed Grant said. "If this were a full-blown proposal, a continuance would be appropriate, but it's not. This is consistent with the downtown plan." The 3.35-acre site, called the Goldwater parcel, is on the east side of Goldwater Boulevard and the north side of the Arizona Canal. The maximum height now allowed on the parcel is 85 feet excluding rooftop mechanical needs. The request is to increase that maximum height to 149 feet including rooftop mechanical. That is roughly as tall as the AmTrust bank building at 68th Street and Camelback Road and the Scottsdale Waterfront condominium towers at Camelback and Scottsdale roads. The request also includes4 acres of open space across the entire Waterfront development. Michael Curley, an attorney representing the owners of nearly 200 Waterfront condominiums, argued that the developer should stick to the development standards agreed upon back in 2003. "We think the approval completely deviates from the city's normal standards," he said. "To give this additional height without any site plan is, in our view, the equivalent of signing a blank check." Berry said the original plan's heights would force a development with "squished- down" buildings and consequently less open space. The amended plan calls for a greater buffer along Goldwater and moving greater building heights away from areas outside of the downtown, he said. The previous plan called for two buildings of up to 36 feet in height, plus up to 24 feet of mechanical needs, to the west of the parcel. It also allows for one 85-foot-tall building plus up to 24 feet of mechanical to the east. "What they're requesting completely is an abandonment of commitments that were made in 2003 relative to the height on the parcel," Curley said. After the vote, Sassenberg said he looks forward to the council considering this request. "It's an infill-incentive district and all of it is amendable," he said, of the district created by the City Council this past summer that allows developers to seek revised standards on building heights. "We've gone through a major economic crisis, and things have to change. It's happening all around the Valley, it's happening all around the nation. It's inevitable and it will be positive once it's finished."

by Edward Gately The Arizona Republic Oct. 30, 2010 06:46 AM




Waterfront's plan for 150-foot tower passes hurdle

Waterfront's plan for 150-foot tower passes hurdle

The Scottsdale Planning Commission has recommended the City Council approve amended development standards at the Scottsdale Waterfront to allow for a building that would rival the city's tallest structures.

Scottsdale Waterfront LLC, the owner, wants the city to modify its development standards for the vacant parcel immediately south of the Nordstrom parking garage to allow for a building that would rise nearly 150 feet. "We just want to have a single tower to the east," said Brett Sassenberg, Scottsdale Waterfront LLC spokesman. "It's an efficient structure, it's into the downtown because it makes sense for the downtown." The applicant hasn't yet submitted a specific site plan or use for Phase IV and V of the Waterfront development. John Berry, an attorney representing the applicant, said the recession has created an environment where financing isn't available until the development standards are in place and a user has been identified. "This allows nothing to be built, it doesn't block anyone's views," he said. "This allows (the applicant) to move forward and design the project." Commissioners based much of their unanimous vote on the applicant's record of development at the Waterfront. Commission Chairman Michael D'Andrea said the Waterfront has greatly benefited the downtown and he looks forward to seeing the next phase of the project. "This still does have to go through the (approval) process," Commission Vice Chairman Ed Grant said. "If this were a full-blown proposal, a continuance would be appropriate, but it's not. This is consistent with the downtown plan." The 3.35-acre site, called the Goldwater parcel, is on the east side of Goldwater Boulevard and the north side of the Arizona Canal. The maximum height now allowed on the parcel is 85 feet excluding rooftop mechanical needs. The request is to increase that maximum height to 149 feet including rooftop mechanical. That is roughly as tall as the AmTrust bank building at 68th Street and Camelback Road and the Scottsdale Waterfront condominium towers at Camelback and Scottsdale roads. The request also includes4 acres of open space across the entire Waterfront development. Michael Curley, an attorney representing the owners of nearly 200 Waterfront condominiums, argued that the developer should stick to the development standards agreed upon back in 2003. "We think the approval completely deviates from the city's normal standards," he said. "To give this additional height without any site plan is, in our view, the equivalent of signing a blank check." Berry said the original plan's heights would force a development with "squished- down" buildings and consequently less open space. The amended plan calls for a greater buffer along Goldwater and moving greater building heights away from areas outside of the downtown, he said. The previous plan called for two buildings of up to 36 feet in height, plus up to 24 feet of mechanical needs, to the west of the parcel. It also allows for one 85-foot-tall building plus up to 24 feet of mechanical to the east. "What they're requesting completely is an abandonment of commitments that were made in 2003 relative to the height on the parcel," Curley said. After the vote, Sassenberg said he looks forward to the council considering this request. "It's an infill-incentive district and all of it is amendable," he said, of the district created by the City Council this past summer that allows developers to seek revised standards on building heights. "We've gone through a major economic crisis, and things have to change. It's happening all around the Valley, it's happening all around the nation. It's inevitable and it will be positive once it's finished."

by Edward Gately The Arizona Republic Oct. 30, 2010 06:46 AM




Waterfront's plan for 150-foot tower passes hurdle

Scottsdale council postpones consideration of Blue Sky project

Gray Development Group on Tuesday narrowly avoided seeing its proposed luxury-apartment complex near Scottsdale Fashion Square postponed indefinitely.

For a second time, Gray asked the Scottsdale City Council to delay considering its Blue Sky proposal, this time until Nov. 9. The developer was seeking more time to work with surrounding property owners who filed legal protests forcing a supermajority vote for council approval, but Gray almost got more than it asked for.

If the property owners - ST Residential and Triyar Properties - don't pull their protests, Gray will need six of seven council members to support the project.

Neither legal protest has been pulled.

The complex would occupy a 4.3-acre site originally planned for Phase 2 of the Safari Drive condominiums, on the east side of Scottsdale Road just north of Camelback Road.

Councilwoman Lisa Borowsky made a motion to delay consideration of Gray's proposal until Nov. 9, and Councilman Wayne Ecton seconded it.

Councilman Bob Littlefield then made an alternative motion to continue the proposal indefinitely, and his motion was seconded by Councilwoman Marg Nelssen. In a 4-3 vote, that motion failed, with Mayor Jim Lane, Vice Mayor Suzanne Klapp, Borowsky and Ecton voting with the majority.

The council then voted to delay consideration until its Feb. 9 meeting, with Littlefield and Nelssen dissenting.

Littlefield said Gray's proposal has "morphed" so much throughout the approval process and continues to change as the Phoenix-based developer negotiates with surrounding property owners.

"This project is massive. This is going to be the biggest change in downtown Scottsdale's history," Littlefield said. "This project isn't just about height. We need to take (more) time on this and, frankly, it needs to go back through the entire process."

Last month, the Planning Commission approved Gray's application and required rezoning as part of the downtown infill-incentive district. The commission recommended council approval.

Nelssen said Blue Sky still is too high and dense, and is not scaled correctly for the acreage and area. The legal protests are another concern.

"This, for me, is a clash of visions for this city, and I think that before we make a decision on this, that issue is going to have to be addressed, what this council's vision is for the city," Councilman Ron McCullagh said.

Neither Gray nor surrounding property owners addressed the council before the votes.

The Blue Sky project includes five buildings with a maximum height of 133 feet and 867 apartments.

In an effort to get Triyar Properties to pull its protest, Gray moved its rezoning application line an acre away from Triyar's property, said Brian Kearney, Gray's chief operating officer.

"The plan was the same essentially, we just pulled the line back and decided not to rezone a portion of it," he said.

As a result, one of the buildings would be slightly smaller.

Kearney hopes to tackle the protests before the project goes before the council again.

"The goal would be to have the protests a thing of the past and to have met the objectives of what the council is looking for," he said. "We're going to continue to work as hard as we can at it."

by Edward Gately The Arizona Republic Oct. 27, 2010 12:31 PM



Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/business/realestate/articles/2010/10/27/20101027scottsdale-council-postpones-consideration-blue-sky-project.html#ixzz13vhd5qo6

Scottsdale council postpones consideration of Blue Sky project

Scottsdale council postpones consideration of Blue Sky project

Gray Development Group on Tuesday narrowly avoided seeing its proposed luxury-apartment complex near Scottsdale Fashion Square postponed indefinitely.

For a second time, Gray asked the Scottsdale City Council to delay considering its Blue Sky proposal, this time until Nov. 9. The developer was seeking more time to work with surrounding property owners who filed legal protests forcing a supermajority vote for council approval, but Gray almost got more than it asked for.

If the property owners - ST Residential and Triyar Properties - don't pull their protests, Gray will need six of seven council members to support the project.

Neither legal protest has been pulled.

The complex would occupy a 4.3-acre site originally planned for Phase 2 of the Safari Drive condominiums, on the east side of Scottsdale Road just north of Camelback Road.

Councilwoman Lisa Borowsky made a motion to delay consideration of Gray's proposal until Nov. 9, and Councilman Wayne Ecton seconded it.

Councilman Bob Littlefield then made an alternative motion to continue the proposal indefinitely, and his motion was seconded by Councilwoman Marg Nelssen. In a 4-3 vote, that motion failed, with Mayor Jim Lane, Vice Mayor Suzanne Klapp, Borowsky and Ecton voting with the majority.

The council then voted to delay consideration until its Feb. 9 meeting, with Littlefield and Nelssen dissenting.

Littlefield said Gray's proposal has "morphed" so much throughout the approval process and continues to change as the Phoenix-based developer negotiates with surrounding property owners.

"This project is massive. This is going to be the biggest change in downtown Scottsdale's history," Littlefield said. "This project isn't just about height. We need to take (more) time on this and, frankly, it needs to go back through the entire process."

Last month, the Planning Commission approved Gray's application and required rezoning as part of the downtown infill-incentive district. The commission recommended council approval.

Nelssen said Blue Sky still is too high and dense, and is not scaled correctly for the acreage and area. The legal protests are another concern.

"This, for me, is a clash of visions for this city, and I think that before we make a decision on this, that issue is going to have to be addressed, what this council's vision is for the city," Councilman Ron McCullagh said.

Neither Gray nor surrounding property owners addressed the council before the votes.

The Blue Sky project includes five buildings with a maximum height of 133 feet and 867 apartments.

In an effort to get Triyar Properties to pull its protest, Gray moved its rezoning application line an acre away from Triyar's property, said Brian Kearney, Gray's chief operating officer.

"The plan was the same essentially, we just pulled the line back and decided not to rezone a portion of it," he said.

As a result, one of the buildings would be slightly smaller.

Kearney hopes to tackle the protests before the project goes before the council again.

"The goal would be to have the protests a thing of the past and to have met the objectives of what the council is looking for," he said. "We're going to continue to work as hard as we can at it."

by Edward Gately The Arizona Republic Oct. 27, 2010 12:31 PM



Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/business/realestate/articles/2010/10/27/20101027scottsdale-council-postpones-consideration-blue-sky-project.html#ixzz13vhd5qo6

Scottsdale council postpones consideration of Blue Sky project

Scottsdale council postpones consideration of Blue Sky project

Gray Development Group on Tuesday narrowly avoided seeing its proposed luxury-apartment complex near Scottsdale Fashion Square postponed indefinitely.

For a second time, Gray asked the Scottsdale City Council to delay considering its Blue Sky proposal, this time until Nov. 9. The developer was seeking more time to work with surrounding property owners who filed legal protests forcing a supermajority vote for council approval, but Gray almost got more than it asked for.

If the property owners - ST Residential and Triyar Properties - don't pull their protests, Gray will need six of seven council members to support the project.

Neither legal protest has been pulled.

The complex would occupy a 4.3-acre site originally planned for Phase 2 of the Safari Drive condominiums, on the east side of Scottsdale Road just north of Camelback Road.

Councilwoman Lisa Borowsky made a motion to delay consideration of Gray's proposal until Nov. 9, and Councilman Wayne Ecton seconded it.

Councilman Bob Littlefield then made an alternative motion to continue the proposal indefinitely, and his motion was seconded by Councilwoman Marg Nelssen. In a 4-3 vote, that motion failed, with Mayor Jim Lane, Vice Mayor Suzanne Klapp, Borowsky and Ecton voting with the majority.

The council then voted to delay consideration until its Feb. 9 meeting, with Littlefield and Nelssen dissenting.

Littlefield said Gray's proposal has "morphed" so much throughout the approval process and continues to change as the Phoenix-based developer negotiates with surrounding property owners.

"This project is massive. This is going to be the biggest change in downtown Scottsdale's history," Littlefield said. "This project isn't just about height. We need to take (more) time on this and, frankly, it needs to go back through the entire process."

Last month, the Planning Commission approved Gray's application and required rezoning as part of the downtown infill-incentive district. The commission recommended council approval.

Nelssen said Blue Sky still is too high and dense, and is not scaled correctly for the acreage and area. The legal protests are another concern.

"This, for me, is a clash of visions for this city, and I think that before we make a decision on this, that issue is going to have to be addressed, what this council's vision is for the city," Councilman Ron McCullagh said.

Neither Gray nor surrounding property owners addressed the council before the votes.

The Blue Sky project includes five buildings with a maximum height of 133 feet and 867 apartments.

In an effort to get Triyar Properties to pull its protest, Gray moved its rezoning application line an acre away from Triyar's property, said Brian Kearney, Gray's chief operating officer.

"The plan was the same essentially, we just pulled the line back and decided not to rezone a portion of it," he said.

As a result, one of the buildings would be slightly smaller.

Kearney hopes to tackle the protests before the project goes before the council again.

"The goal would be to have the protests a thing of the past and to have met the objectives of what the council is looking for," he said. "We're going to continue to work as hard as we can at it."

by Edward Gately The Arizona Republic Oct. 27, 2010 12:31 PM



Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/business/realestate/articles/2010/10/27/20101027scottsdale-council-postpones-consideration-blue-sky-project.html#ixzz13vhd5qo6

Scottsdale council postpones consideration of Blue Sky project

Scottsdale council postpones consideration of Blue Sky project

Gray Development Group on Tuesday narrowly avoided seeing its proposed luxury-apartment complex near Scottsdale Fashion Square postponed indefinitely.

For a second time, Gray asked the Scottsdale City Council to delay considering its Blue Sky proposal, this time until Nov. 9. The developer was seeking more time to work with surrounding property owners who filed legal protests forcing a supermajority vote for council approval, but Gray almost got more than it asked for.

If the property owners - ST Residential and Triyar Properties - don't pull their protests, Gray will need six of seven council members to support the project.

Neither legal protest has been pulled.

The complex would occupy a 4.3-acre site originally planned for Phase 2 of the Safari Drive condominiums, on the east side of Scottsdale Road just north of Camelback Road.

Councilwoman Lisa Borowsky made a motion to delay consideration of Gray's proposal until Nov. 9, and Councilman Wayne Ecton seconded it.

Councilman Bob Littlefield then made an alternative motion to continue the proposal indefinitely, and his motion was seconded by Councilwoman Marg Nelssen. In a 4-3 vote, that motion failed, with Mayor Jim Lane, Vice Mayor Suzanne Klapp, Borowsky and Ecton voting with the majority.

The council then voted to delay consideration until its Feb. 9 meeting, with Littlefield and Nelssen dissenting.

Littlefield said Gray's proposal has "morphed" so much throughout the approval process and continues to change as the Phoenix-based developer negotiates with surrounding property owners.

"This project is massive. This is going to be the biggest change in downtown Scottsdale's history," Littlefield said. "This project isn't just about height. We need to take (more) time on this and, frankly, it needs to go back through the entire process."

Last month, the Planning Commission approved Gray's application and required rezoning as part of the downtown infill-incentive district. The commission recommended council approval.

Nelssen said Blue Sky still is too high and dense, and is not scaled correctly for the acreage and area. The legal protests are another concern.

"This, for me, is a clash of visions for this city, and I think that before we make a decision on this, that issue is going to have to be addressed, what this council's vision is for the city," Councilman Ron McCullagh said.

Neither Gray nor surrounding property owners addressed the council before the votes.

The Blue Sky project includes five buildings with a maximum height of 133 feet and 867 apartments.

In an effort to get Triyar Properties to pull its protest, Gray moved its rezoning application line an acre away from Triyar's property, said Brian Kearney, Gray's chief operating officer.

"The plan was the same essentially, we just pulled the line back and decided not to rezone a portion of it," he said.

As a result, one of the buildings would be slightly smaller.

Kearney hopes to tackle the protests before the project goes before the council again.

"The goal would be to have the protests a thing of the past and to have met the objectives of what the council is looking for," he said. "We're going to continue to work as hard as we can at it."

by Edward Gately The Arizona Republic Oct. 27, 2010 12:31 PM



Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/business/realestate/articles/2010/10/27/20101027scottsdale-council-postpones-consideration-blue-sky-project.html#ixzz13vhd5qo6

Scottsdale council postpones consideration of Blue Sky project

Scottsdale council postpones consideration of Blue Sky project

Gray Development Group on Tuesday narrowly avoided seeing its proposed luxury-apartment complex near Scottsdale Fashion Square postponed indefinitely.

For a second time, Gray asked the Scottsdale City Council to delay considering its Blue Sky proposal, this time until Nov. 9. The developer was seeking more time to work with surrounding property owners who filed legal protests forcing a supermajority vote for council approval, but Gray almost got more than it asked for.

If the property owners - ST Residential and Triyar Properties - don't pull their protests, Gray will need six of seven council members to support the project.

Neither legal protest has been pulled.

The complex would occupy a 4.3-acre site originally planned for Phase 2 of the Safari Drive condominiums, on the east side of Scottsdale Road just north of Camelback Road.

Councilwoman Lisa Borowsky made a motion to delay consideration of Gray's proposal until Nov. 9, and Councilman Wayne Ecton seconded it.

Councilman Bob Littlefield then made an alternative motion to continue the proposal indefinitely, and his motion was seconded by Councilwoman Marg Nelssen. In a 4-3 vote, that motion failed, with Mayor Jim Lane, Vice Mayor Suzanne Klapp, Borowsky and Ecton voting with the majority.

The council then voted to delay consideration until its Feb. 9 meeting, with Littlefield and Nelssen dissenting.

Littlefield said Gray's proposal has "morphed" so much throughout the approval process and continues to change as the Phoenix-based developer negotiates with surrounding property owners.

"This project is massive. This is going to be the biggest change in downtown Scottsdale's history," Littlefield said. "This project isn't just about height. We need to take (more) time on this and, frankly, it needs to go back through the entire process."

Last month, the Planning Commission approved Gray's application and required rezoning as part of the downtown infill-incentive district. The commission recommended council approval.

Nelssen said Blue Sky still is too high and dense, and is not scaled correctly for the acreage and area. The legal protests are another concern.

"This, for me, is a clash of visions for this city, and I think that before we make a decision on this, that issue is going to have to be addressed, what this council's vision is for the city," Councilman Ron McCullagh said.

Neither Gray nor surrounding property owners addressed the council before the votes.

The Blue Sky project includes five buildings with a maximum height of 133 feet and 867 apartments.

In an effort to get Triyar Properties to pull its protest, Gray moved its rezoning application line an acre away from Triyar's property, said Brian Kearney, Gray's chief operating officer.

"The plan was the same essentially, we just pulled the line back and decided not to rezone a portion of it," he said.

As a result, one of the buildings would be slightly smaller.

Kearney hopes to tackle the protests before the project goes before the council again.

"The goal would be to have the protests a thing of the past and to have met the objectives of what the council is looking for," he said. "We're going to continue to work as hard as we can at it."

by Edward Gately The Arizona Republic Oct. 27, 2010 12:31 PM



Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/business/realestate/articles/2010/10/27/20101027scottsdale-council-postpones-consideration-blue-sky-project.html#ixzz13vhd5qo6

Scottsdale council postpones consideration of Blue Sky project

Scottsdale council postpones consideration of Blue Sky project

Gray Development Group on Tuesday narrowly avoided seeing its proposed luxury-apartment complex near Scottsdale Fashion Square postponed indefinitely.

For a second time, Gray asked the Scottsdale City Council to delay considering its Blue Sky proposal, this time until Nov. 9. The developer was seeking more time to work with surrounding property owners who filed legal protests forcing a supermajority vote for council approval, but Gray almost got more than it asked for.

If the property owners - ST Residential and Triyar Properties - don't pull their protests, Gray will need six of seven council members to support the project.

Neither legal protest has been pulled.

The complex would occupy a 4.3-acre site originally planned for Phase 2 of the Safari Drive condominiums, on the east side of Scottsdale Road just north of Camelback Road.

Councilwoman Lisa Borowsky made a motion to delay consideration of Gray's proposal until Nov. 9, and Councilman Wayne Ecton seconded it.

Councilman Bob Littlefield then made an alternative motion to continue the proposal indefinitely, and his motion was seconded by Councilwoman Marg Nelssen. In a 4-3 vote, that motion failed, with Mayor Jim Lane, Vice Mayor Suzanne Klapp, Borowsky and Ecton voting with the majority.

The council then voted to delay consideration until its Feb. 9 meeting, with Littlefield and Nelssen dissenting.

Littlefield said Gray's proposal has "morphed" so much throughout the approval process and continues to change as the Phoenix-based developer negotiates with surrounding property owners.

"This project is massive. This is going to be the biggest change in downtown Scottsdale's history," Littlefield said. "This project isn't just about height. We need to take (more) time on this and, frankly, it needs to go back through the entire process."

Last month, the Planning Commission approved Gray's application and required rezoning as part of the downtown infill-incentive district. The commission recommended council approval.

Nelssen said Blue Sky still is too high and dense, and is not scaled correctly for the acreage and area. The legal protests are another concern.

"This, for me, is a clash of visions for this city, and I think that before we make a decision on this, that issue is going to have to be addressed, what this council's vision is for the city," Councilman Ron McCullagh said.

Neither Gray nor surrounding property owners addressed the council before the votes.

The Blue Sky project includes five buildings with a maximum height of 133 feet and 867 apartments.

In an effort to get Triyar Properties to pull its protest, Gray moved its rezoning application line an acre away from Triyar's property, said Brian Kearney, Gray's chief operating officer.

"The plan was the same essentially, we just pulled the line back and decided not to rezone a portion of it," he said.

As a result, one of the buildings would be slightly smaller.

Kearney hopes to tackle the protests before the project goes before the council again.

"The goal would be to have the protests a thing of the past and to have met the objectives of what the council is looking for," he said. "We're going to continue to work as hard as we can at it."

by Edward Gately The Arizona Republic Oct. 27, 2010 12:31 PM



Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/business/realestate/articles/2010/10/27/20101027scottsdale-council-postpones-consideration-blue-sky-project.html#ixzz13vhd5qo6

Scottsdale council postpones consideration of Blue Sky project

Scottsdale council postpones consideration of Blue Sky project

Gray Development Group on Tuesday narrowly avoided seeing its proposed luxury-apartment complex near Scottsdale Fashion Square postponed indefinitely.

For a second time, Gray asked the Scottsdale City Council to delay considering its Blue Sky proposal, this time until Nov. 9. The developer was seeking more time to work with surrounding property owners who filed legal protests forcing a supermajority vote for council approval, but Gray almost got more than it asked for.

If the property owners - ST Residential and Triyar Properties - don't pull their protests, Gray will need six of seven council members to support the project.

Neither legal protest has been pulled.

The complex would occupy a 4.3-acre site originally planned for Phase 2 of the Safari Drive condominiums, on the east side of Scottsdale Road just north of Camelback Road.

Councilwoman Lisa Borowsky made a motion to delay consideration of Gray's proposal until Nov. 9, and Councilman Wayne Ecton seconded it.

Councilman Bob Littlefield then made an alternative motion to continue the proposal indefinitely, and his motion was seconded by Councilwoman Marg Nelssen. In a 4-3 vote, that motion failed, with Mayor Jim Lane, Vice Mayor Suzanne Klapp, Borowsky and Ecton voting with the majority.

The council then voted to delay consideration until its Feb. 9 meeting, with Littlefield and Nelssen dissenting.

Littlefield said Gray's proposal has "morphed" so much throughout the approval process and continues to change as the Phoenix-based developer negotiates with surrounding property owners.

"This project is massive. This is going to be the biggest change in downtown Scottsdale's history," Littlefield said. "This project isn't just about height. We need to take (more) time on this and, frankly, it needs to go back through the entire process."

Last month, the Planning Commission approved Gray's application and required rezoning as part of the downtown infill-incentive district. The commission recommended council approval.

Nelssen said Blue Sky still is too high and dense, and is not scaled correctly for the acreage and area. The legal protests are another concern.

"This, for me, is a clash of visions for this city, and I think that before we make a decision on this, that issue is going to have to be addressed, what this council's vision is for the city," Councilman Ron McCullagh said.

Neither Gray nor surrounding property owners addressed the council before the votes.

The Blue Sky project includes five buildings with a maximum height of 133 feet and 867 apartments.

In an effort to get Triyar Properties to pull its protest, Gray moved its rezoning application line an acre away from Triyar's property, said Brian Kearney, Gray's chief operating officer.

"The plan was the same essentially, we just pulled the line back and decided not to rezone a portion of it," he said.

As a result, one of the buildings would be slightly smaller.

Kearney hopes to tackle the protests before the project goes before the council again.

"The goal would be to have the protests a thing of the past and to have met the objectives of what the council is looking for," he said. "We're going to continue to work as hard as we can at it."

by Edward Gately The Arizona Republic Oct. 27, 2010 12:31 PM



Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/business/realestate/articles/2010/10/27/20101027scottsdale-council-postpones-consideration-blue-sky-project.html#ixzz13vhd5qo6

Scottsdale council postpones consideration of Blue Sky project

Scottsdale council postpones consideration of Blue Sky project

Gray Development Group on Tuesday narrowly avoided seeing its proposed luxury-apartment complex near Scottsdale Fashion Square postponed indefinitely.

For a second time, Gray asked the Scottsdale City Council to delay considering its Blue Sky proposal, this time until Nov. 9. The developer was seeking more time to work with surrounding property owners who filed legal protests forcing a supermajority vote for council approval, but Gray almost got more than it asked for.

If the property owners - ST Residential and Triyar Properties - don't pull their protests, Gray will need six of seven council members to support the project.

Neither legal protest has been pulled.

The complex would occupy a 4.3-acre site originally planned for Phase 2 of the Safari Drive condominiums, on the east side of Scottsdale Road just north of Camelback Road.

Councilwoman Lisa Borowsky made a motion to delay consideration of Gray's proposal until Nov. 9, and Councilman Wayne Ecton seconded it.

Councilman Bob Littlefield then made an alternative motion to continue the proposal indefinitely, and his motion was seconded by Councilwoman Marg Nelssen. In a 4-3 vote, that motion failed, with Mayor Jim Lane, Vice Mayor Suzanne Klapp, Borowsky and Ecton voting with the majority.

The council then voted to delay consideration until its Feb. 9 meeting, with Littlefield and Nelssen dissenting.

Littlefield said Gray's proposal has "morphed" so much throughout the approval process and continues to change as the Phoenix-based developer negotiates with surrounding property owners.

"This project is massive. This is going to be the biggest change in downtown Scottsdale's history," Littlefield said. "This project isn't just about height. We need to take (more) time on this and, frankly, it needs to go back through the entire process."

Last month, the Planning Commission approved Gray's application and required rezoning as part of the downtown infill-incentive district. The commission recommended council approval.

Nelssen said Blue Sky still is too high and dense, and is not scaled correctly for the acreage and area. The legal protests are another concern.

"This, for me, is a clash of visions for this city, and I think that before we make a decision on this, that issue is going to have to be addressed, what this council's vision is for the city," Councilman Ron McCullagh said.

Neither Gray nor surrounding property owners addressed the council before the votes.

The Blue Sky project includes five buildings with a maximum height of 133 feet and 867 apartments.

In an effort to get Triyar Properties to pull its protest, Gray moved its rezoning application line an acre away from Triyar's property, said Brian Kearney, Gray's chief operating officer.

"The plan was the same essentially, we just pulled the line back and decided not to rezone a portion of it," he said.

As a result, one of the buildings would be slightly smaller.

Kearney hopes to tackle the protests before the project goes before the council again.

"The goal would be to have the protests a thing of the past and to have met the objectives of what the council is looking for," he said. "We're going to continue to work as hard as we can at it."

by Edward Gately The Arizona Republic Oct. 27, 2010 12:31 PM



Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/business/realestate/articles/2010/10/27/20101027scottsdale-council-postpones-consideration-blue-sky-project.html#ixzz13vhd5qo6

Scottsdale council postpones consideration of Blue Sky project

Fed is joining investigation of foreclosure procedures

WASHINGTON - Raising pressure on banks, the Federal Reserve is wading into the investigation of whether mortgage lenders cut corners and used flawed documents to foreclose on homes.

Major banks are already under investigation by state officials with subpoena power, who could force them to detail how they handled hundreds of thousands of foreclosure cases.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke added weight to those efforts Monday by saying that the central bank would look "intensively" at policies and procedures that might have allowed banks to seize homes improperly.

"We take violation of proper procedures very seriously," Bernanke said in remarks to a housing-finance conference in Arlington, Va.

The Fed has the power to impose penalties on some of the nation's largest banks. Still, most legal experts expect an investigation by attorneys general in all 50 states to have a swifter impact.

Big mortgage lenders are looking into whether employees signed foreclosure documents without reading them. Some banks have halted tens of thousands of foreclosures since similar practices became public.

While the banks say there's little if any evidence that any foreclosures were improper, regulators around the country have suggested the banks were in a rush to foreclose and may have committed outright fraud.

Bank of America and Ally Financial Inc.'s GMAC Mortgage have started processing foreclosures again, after calling a temporary halt while they reviewed mortgage documents.

It's happening as the housing market struggles to recover. Sales of previously occupied homes rose 10 percent in September, but the foreclosure problem surfaced only at the end of the month. Industry experts say fears could keep buyers on the sidelines now.

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray said Bernanke's speech will force financial institutions to take the matter more seriously. In stepping up their inquiries, the Fed and other bank regulators are "not giving aid and comfort to institutions that want to sort of minimize this and almost sweep it under the rug," Cordray said.

The Fed is working with the Treasury Department's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. They have a range of options, including ordering companies to stop certain practices, imposing fines and working with lenders to come up with a fix.

According to two officials familiar with the joint federal inquiry, the banking agencies are looking into whether companies had controls in place when foreclosure documents were signed and whether employees involved in the foreclosure process were adequately trained. Ultimately, though, the mess will probably be settled by the states.

"They can move more quickly than the Fed," said Mark Williams, a former bank examiner at the Fed and now a Boston University lecturer.

Like the Obama administration, Bernanke and other federal regulators have declined to call for a national moratorium on foreclosures. At least one regulator, Sheila Bair, chairman of the FDIC, is even discouraging homeowners from overloading the courts with lawsuits.

"The regrettable truth is that many of the properties currently in the foreclosure process are either vacant or occupied by borrowers who simply cannot make even a significantly reduced payment," Bair said Monday.

by Jeannine Aversa and Alan Zibel Associated Press Oct. 26, 2010 12:00 AM




Fed is joining investigation of foreclosure procedures

Fed is joining investigation of foreclosure procedures

WASHINGTON - Raising pressure on banks, the Federal Reserve is wading into the investigation of whether mortgage lenders cut corners and used flawed documents to foreclose on homes.

Major banks are already under investigation by state officials with subpoena power, who could force them to detail how they handled hundreds of thousands of foreclosure cases.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke added weight to those efforts Monday by saying that the central bank would look "intensively" at policies and procedures that might have allowed banks to seize homes improperly.

"We take violation of proper procedures very seriously," Bernanke said in remarks to a housing-finance conference in Arlington, Va.

The Fed has the power to impose penalties on some of the nation's largest banks. Still, most legal experts expect an investigation by attorneys general in all 50 states to have a swifter impact.

Big mortgage lenders are looking into whether employees signed foreclosure documents without reading them. Some banks have halted tens of thousands of foreclosures since similar practices became public.

While the banks say there's little if any evidence that any foreclosures were improper, regulators around the country have suggested the banks were in a rush to foreclose and may have committed outright fraud.

Bank of America and Ally Financial Inc.'s GMAC Mortgage have started processing foreclosures again, after calling a temporary halt while they reviewed mortgage documents.

It's happening as the housing market struggles to recover. Sales of previously occupied homes rose 10 percent in September, but the foreclosure problem surfaced only at the end of the month. Industry experts say fears could keep buyers on the sidelines now.

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray said Bernanke's speech will force financial institutions to take the matter more seriously. In stepping up their inquiries, the Fed and other bank regulators are "not giving aid and comfort to institutions that want to sort of minimize this and almost sweep it under the rug," Cordray said.

The Fed is working with the Treasury Department's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. They have a range of options, including ordering companies to stop certain practices, imposing fines and working with lenders to come up with a fix.

According to two officials familiar with the joint federal inquiry, the banking agencies are looking into whether companies had controls in place when foreclosure documents were signed and whether employees involved in the foreclosure process were adequately trained. Ultimately, though, the mess will probably be settled by the states.

"They can move more quickly than the Fed," said Mark Williams, a former bank examiner at the Fed and now a Boston University lecturer.

Like the Obama administration, Bernanke and other federal regulators have declined to call for a national moratorium on foreclosures. At least one regulator, Sheila Bair, chairman of the FDIC, is even discouraging homeowners from overloading the courts with lawsuits.

"The regrettable truth is that many of the properties currently in the foreclosure process are either vacant or occupied by borrowers who simply cannot make even a significantly reduced payment," Bair said Monday.

by Jeannine Aversa and Alan Zibel Associated Press Oct. 26, 2010 12:00 AM




Fed is joining investigation of foreclosure procedures

Fed is joining investigation of foreclosure procedures

WASHINGTON - Raising pressure on banks, the Federal Reserve is wading into the investigation of whether mortgage lenders cut corners and used flawed documents to foreclose on homes.

Major banks are already under investigation by state officials with subpoena power, who could force them to detail how they handled hundreds of thousands of foreclosure cases.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke added weight to those efforts Monday by saying that the central bank would look "intensively" at policies and procedures that might have allowed banks to seize homes improperly.

"We take violation of proper procedures very seriously," Bernanke said in remarks to a housing-finance conference in Arlington, Va.

The Fed has the power to impose penalties on some of the nation's largest banks. Still, most legal experts expect an investigation by attorneys general in all 50 states to have a swifter impact.

Big mortgage lenders are looking into whether employees signed foreclosure documents without reading them. Some banks have halted tens of thousands of foreclosures since similar practices became public.

While the banks say there's little if any evidence that any foreclosures were improper, regulators around the country have suggested the banks were in a rush to foreclose and may have committed outright fraud.

Bank of America and Ally Financial Inc.'s GMAC Mortgage have started processing foreclosures again, after calling a temporary halt while they reviewed mortgage documents.

It's happening as the housing market struggles to recover. Sales of previously occupied homes rose 10 percent in September, but the foreclosure problem surfaced only at the end of the month. Industry experts say fears could keep buyers on the sidelines now.

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray said Bernanke's speech will force financial institutions to take the matter more seriously. In stepping up their inquiries, the Fed and other bank regulators are "not giving aid and comfort to institutions that want to sort of minimize this and almost sweep it under the rug," Cordray said.

The Fed is working with the Treasury Department's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. They have a range of options, including ordering companies to stop certain practices, imposing fines and working with lenders to come up with a fix.

According to two officials familiar with the joint federal inquiry, the banking agencies are looking into whether companies had controls in place when foreclosure documents were signed and whether employees involved in the foreclosure process were adequately trained. Ultimately, though, the mess will probably be settled by the states.

"They can move more quickly than the Fed," said Mark Williams, a former bank examiner at the Fed and now a Boston University lecturer.

Like the Obama administration, Bernanke and other federal regulators have declined to call for a national moratorium on foreclosures. At least one regulator, Sheila Bair, chairman of the FDIC, is even discouraging homeowners from overloading the courts with lawsuits.

"The regrettable truth is that many of the properties currently in the foreclosure process are either vacant or occupied by borrowers who simply cannot make even a significantly reduced payment," Bair said Monday.

by Jeannine Aversa and Alan Zibel Associated Press Oct. 26, 2010 12:00 AM




Fed is joining investigation of foreclosure procedures

Fed is joining investigation of foreclosure procedures

WASHINGTON - Raising pressure on banks, the Federal Reserve is wading into the investigation of whether mortgage lenders cut corners and used flawed documents to foreclose on homes.

Major banks are already under investigation by state officials with subpoena power, who could force them to detail how they handled hundreds of thousands of foreclosure cases.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke added weight to those efforts Monday by saying that the central bank would look "intensively" at policies and procedures that might have allowed banks to seize homes improperly.

"We take violation of proper procedures very seriously," Bernanke said in remarks to a housing-finance conference in Arlington, Va.

The Fed has the power to impose penalties on some of the nation's largest banks. Still, most legal experts expect an investigation by attorneys general in all 50 states to have a swifter impact.

Big mortgage lenders are looking into whether employees signed foreclosure documents without reading them. Some banks have halted tens of thousands of foreclosures since similar practices became public.

While the banks say there's little if any evidence that any foreclosures were improper, regulators around the country have suggested the banks were in a rush to foreclose and may have committed outright fraud.

Bank of America and Ally Financial Inc.'s GMAC Mortgage have started processing foreclosures again, after calling a temporary halt while they reviewed mortgage documents.

It's happening as the housing market struggles to recover. Sales of previously occupied homes rose 10 percent in September, but the foreclosure problem surfaced only at the end of the month. Industry experts say fears could keep buyers on the sidelines now.

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray said Bernanke's speech will force financial institutions to take the matter more seriously. In stepping up their inquiries, the Fed and other bank regulators are "not giving aid and comfort to institutions that want to sort of minimize this and almost sweep it under the rug," Cordray said.

The Fed is working with the Treasury Department's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. They have a range of options, including ordering companies to stop certain practices, imposing fines and working with lenders to come up with a fix.

According to two officials familiar with the joint federal inquiry, the banking agencies are looking into whether companies had controls in place when foreclosure documents were signed and whether employees involved in the foreclosure process were adequately trained. Ultimately, though, the mess will probably be settled by the states.

"They can move more quickly than the Fed," said Mark Williams, a former bank examiner at the Fed and now a Boston University lecturer.

Like the Obama administration, Bernanke and other federal regulators have declined to call for a national moratorium on foreclosures. At least one regulator, Sheila Bair, chairman of the FDIC, is even discouraging homeowners from overloading the courts with lawsuits.

"The regrettable truth is that many of the properties currently in the foreclosure process are either vacant or occupied by borrowers who simply cannot make even a significantly reduced payment," Bair said Monday.

by Jeannine Aversa and Alan Zibel Associated Press Oct. 26, 2010 12:00 AM




Fed is joining investigation of foreclosure procedures

Fed is joining investigation of foreclosure procedures

WASHINGTON - Raising pressure on banks, the Federal Reserve is wading into the investigation of whether mortgage lenders cut corners and used flawed documents to foreclose on homes.

Major banks are already under investigation by state officials with subpoena power, who could force them to detail how they handled hundreds of thousands of foreclosure cases.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke added weight to those efforts Monday by saying that the central bank would look "intensively" at policies and procedures that might have allowed banks to seize homes improperly.

"We take violation of proper procedures very seriously," Bernanke said in remarks to a housing-finance conference in Arlington, Va.

The Fed has the power to impose penalties on some of the nation's largest banks. Still, most legal experts expect an investigation by attorneys general in all 50 states to have a swifter impact.

Big mortgage lenders are looking into whether employees signed foreclosure documents without reading them. Some banks have halted tens of thousands of foreclosures since similar practices became public.

While the banks say there's little if any evidence that any foreclosures were improper, regulators around the country have suggested the banks were in a rush to foreclose and may have committed outright fraud.

Bank of America and Ally Financial Inc.'s GMAC Mortgage have started processing foreclosures again, after calling a temporary halt while they reviewed mortgage documents.

It's happening as the housing market struggles to recover. Sales of previously occupied homes rose 10 percent in September, but the foreclosure problem surfaced only at the end of the month. Industry experts say fears could keep buyers on the sidelines now.

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray said Bernanke's speech will force financial institutions to take the matter more seriously. In stepping up their inquiries, the Fed and other bank regulators are "not giving aid and comfort to institutions that want to sort of minimize this and almost sweep it under the rug," Cordray said.

The Fed is working with the Treasury Department's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. They have a range of options, including ordering companies to stop certain practices, imposing fines and working with lenders to come up with a fix.

According to two officials familiar with the joint federal inquiry, the banking agencies are looking into whether companies had controls in place when foreclosure documents were signed and whether employees involved in the foreclosure process were adequately trained. Ultimately, though, the mess will probably be settled by the states.

"They can move more quickly than the Fed," said Mark Williams, a former bank examiner at the Fed and now a Boston University lecturer.

Like the Obama administration, Bernanke and other federal regulators have declined to call for a national moratorium on foreclosures. At least one regulator, Sheila Bair, chairman of the FDIC, is even discouraging homeowners from overloading the courts with lawsuits.

"The regrettable truth is that many of the properties currently in the foreclosure process are either vacant or occupied by borrowers who simply cannot make even a significantly reduced payment," Bair said Monday.

by Jeannine Aversa and Alan Zibel Associated Press Oct. 26, 2010 12:00 AM




Fed is joining investigation of foreclosure procedures

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