Saturday, June 2, 2012

Chamber to promote high-income housing

The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce is working with town officials and land developers to corral support and funding for an "executive housing initiative," which promotes Gilbert's high-end communities to national recruiting firms, relocation specialists and real-estate agents.

Chamber officials expect to spend about $30,000 to produce a promotional video, electronic document and marketing event geared toward luring high-income residents away from traditional destinations such as Paradise Valley and Scottsdale.

"Gilbert has the amenities that are conducive to such lifestyle, from strong and highly regarded educational institutions to a private country club," chamber marketing director Sarah Watts said. Gilbert residents also can access travel destinations through the convenience of nearby Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Watts said.

There are several existing Gilbert neighborhoods that could be considered executive-housing opportunities, and more high-end subdivisions are on the way, developer Greg Bamford said. Communities like Whitewing and Circle G have dozens of lots available for high-end homes ranging from about $800,000 to $2 million.

One home for sale in Circle G, near Greenfield and Ocotillo roads, is listed for about $1.8 million and includes six bedrooms and nine bathrooms, according to Solutions Real Estate. Two homes in Whitewing at Higley, near Higley and Pecos roads, are listed at about $1.2 million.

While many of the lots in Circle G and Whitewing at Higley are sold, just five of 120 half-acre lots in Whitewing at Germann Estates have been purchased, Bamford said. Prices for the remaining lots range from $250,000 to $363,000 according to the developer's website.

Although the "town has done a lot of things right" in economic development, community leaders are tired of seeing business executives look to other communities when choosing a place to live, Bamford said.

"A doctor on-call at one of our hospitals, if he had a chance to live in a $1 million or $2 million home in a community in Gilbert, it would be easier for him to do his job than to be traipsing across town," Bamford said.

The chamber's executive-housing initiative includes a newly formed task force with representatives from development companies, real-estate agencies, hotels, a school and a hospital. Funding partners include Bamford Realty,Lesueur Investments, Morrison Ranch and the chamber.

The task force held its first meeting in September, followed by focus-group meetings with executives who live in and outside of Gilbert, real-estate agents and high-end developers. The focus groups provided insight on Gilbert's strengths and weaknesses and the top factors that draw executives into or away from Gilbert, Watts said.

Before the focus-group sessions, the task force planned to design a print publication but shifted to a video piece as a result of the feedback it received, Watts said.

Chamber officials plan to unveil the new video at a formal event in the fall, Watts said. The chamber will follow up by organizing "familiarization" tours, or FAM tours, for relocation firm executives and their clients.

The tours seek to familiarize professionals with a destination and its features.

The chamber's initiative has won formal approval from Mayor John Lewis, who penned a letter of support earlier this month.

"Being an executive has its perks and living in Gilbert should be one of them," Lewis wrote.

by Parker Leavitt - May. 30, 2012 04:23 PM The Republic |

Chamber to promote high-income housing

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