Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tempe approves $12.4 million contract for Town Lake gate

The Tempe City Council on a unanimous vote Thursday approved expenditure of $12.4 million for manufacturing a steel-gate dam for the western end of Town Lake.

“This decision shows that our actions speak to our commitment to create an environment for attracting jobs in Tempe,” Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said.

The council approved the $12.4 million design-and-manufacturing contract with SteelFab Inc. Gannett Fleming Inc., the engineering contractor for the project, will work with the manufacturer to finalize specifics of the design.

Read more...Tempe approves $12.4 million contract for Town Lake gate

City-owned apartments’ price raises concerns

Scottsdale plans to spend $800,000 to rebuild two aging apartment buildings, raising concerns among some elected officials about the price tag paid by taxpayers.

Mayor Jim Lane and two City Council members said they think the city should cut its losses and sell the buildings along Belleview Street in south Scottsdale, which are run down after years of neglect.

“I’m a believer that, when it comes to the city trying to own public-housing projects, it’s a loser for us,” Lane said.

Read more...City-owned apartments’ price raises concerns

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Builders, buyers head for affordable suburbs

Homebuilders and buyers face a shortage of lots in metro Phoenix’s most popular developments. The lack of available homesites is one reason the region’s new-home market is recovering more slowly than expected.

Mesa and Gilbert in the southeast Valley are now drawing the most buyers. But the southwest Valley is growing in popularity, particularly because new houses are less expensive there.

Read more...Builders, buyers head for affordable suburbs

Cibola Vista Resort launches expansion -

Those traveling on north Peoria's Lake Pleasant Parkway will soon see a gold, four-story, Byzantine-style dome glistening in the sunlight.

Cibola Vista Resort and Spa

Location: 27501 N. Lake Pleasant Parkway, Peoria.

Rooms: The resort has 218 rooms, which will expand to 258 when the current construction is completed by May. At buildout in an estimated 15 years, the resort should have 480 rooms.

Room rates: Apart from time-share visitors, the resort rents out rooms with prices ranging from $90 to $420 per night, depending on room and time of visit.

Amenities: Tennis court, full-service spa, fitness center, horseback riding, lagoon pool, adult pool with cafe, meeting room, wedding packages.

Read more...Cibola Vista Resort launches expansion -

Luxury homes sales soar 63.5% | Inside Real Estate News

The luxury home market in the Denver area in July experienced a 63.5 percent year-over-year gain, the second biggest percentage gain of any month this year, according to a report by Kentwood Real Estate.

The percentage gain for homes that closed at $1 million or more was only bested by April, in which luxury home sales catapulted by an incredible 140.7 percent.

The July year-over-year percentage gain was almost twice the 32.2 percent gain in closings for the entire market. However, as always, the number of people buying homes that cost at least $1 million represents a small percent of the overall market.

Buyers purchased 85 luxury homes in the core Denver-area counties of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Elbert counties, according to the Kentwood report.

Read more...Luxury homes sales soar 63.5% | Inside Real Estate News

Las Vegas home prices likely to keep rising into next year - Las Vegas Sun News

Las Vegas home values continue soaring faster than the country at large and should outpace the nation for the next year.

The valley’s median home value last month was $156,600, up 2.8 percent from July and up 30.6 percent from August 2012, according to a new report from housing data firm Zillow.

Las Vegas’ month-to-month increase was second fastest among the 30 metro areas covered in Zillow’s report, with Riverside, Calif., leading at 3 percent. Its year-to-year jump also was second fastest, to Sacramento, with 34.1 percent.

Read more...Las Vegas home prices likely to keep rising into next year - Las Vegas Sun News

Glendale softens harsh tone on Tohono O'odham casino

The Glendale City Council recently resolved its four-year saga with the Phoenix Coyotes, so could the long-standing casino conundrum be next?

After a four-year battle, a change of tone is surfacing in council discussions about the Tohono O’odham Nation’s plans to build a casino near the Westgate Entertainment District.

During an Aug. 20 council meeting, a council majority, which included Gary Sherwood, Yvonne Knaack, Ian Hugh and Sam Chavira, called for opening a dialogue with the tribe and gaming experts. Councilwoman Norma Alvarez has been a longtime supporter of the casino.

Read more...Glendale softens harsh tone on Tohono O'odham casino

Plans filed for strip mall on former Rawhide land in north Scottsdale

Plans to develop the southeastern corner of Pinnacle Peak and Scottsdale roads, former home of Rawhide Western town, have been filed with Scottsdale.

Eisenberg Company plans a strip mall on 12 acres of the site, with Sprouts Farmers Market as the anchor.

The development is the second set of plans for the 160-acre site to go to the city this summer. Earlier, D.R. Horton, a homebuilder, filed plans to develop a 17-acre parcel on the southeastern corner of the property.

Read more...Plans filed for strip mall on former Rawhide land in north Scottsdale

Scottsdale preservation panel to meet on Pink Pony plans

A showdown pitting commerce against historical preservation is brewing in Old Town Scottsdale.

At stake is the future of a building that formerly housed the landmark Pink Pony steak house. City staff has made a recommendation against changes the owners want to make to the building.

The Pink Pony had reopened in February 2011 after ending a 60-year run in August 2009. The restaurant, at 3831 N. Scottsdale Road, had long been known as a spring-training hangout for baseball luminaries.

Read more...Scottsdale preservation panel to meet on Pink Pony plans

Bankruptcy filings in Valley continue to slide

Bankruptcies in metro Phoenix continue to ease toward pre-recession levels, although most Valley residents don’t see their personal finances or the economy as improved compared with five years ago.

The latest numbers from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Phoenix showed 1,512 filings in August, virtually the same as in July but 16 percent lower compared with August 2012. It was the 31st consecutive month that filings dropped on a year-over-year basis.

Monthly bankruptcies have fallen by half from the peak of 3,063 logged in March 2010 but are still above the 1,303 filings of five years earlier, in August 2008. Bankruptcies began to accelerate in spring 2008 as the economy quickly weakened.

Read more...Bankruptcy filings in Valley continue to slide

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fashion Square is set to expand -

The owner of Scottsdale Fashion Square is planning a major expansion of the shopping center, with a new, larger movie theater and new retail space.

The additions would be built north of Barneys New York and along Scottsdale Road. As the largest mall in Arizona, Fashion Square currently includes nearly 2 million square feet of space and more than 250 shops at the northwest corner of Scottsdale and Camelback roads.

Read more...Fashion Square is set to expand -

At G20, Politicians Push the Same Neoliberal Agenda That Got Us Into This Mess | The Nation

Earlier this month, world leaders at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia were promising to develop proposals to regulate big banks and international tax heavens. Meanwhile, an international group of activists in the same city were proposing a striking alternative.

Participants in the G20 Counter-Summit spent two days discussing ways to solve the intertwined financial and environmental crises that the G20 has been unable or unwilling to seriously address for five years now. Fingering the neoliberal economic policy of G20 members as the main obstacle to worldwide economic recovery, the conference called for a renunciation of austerity policies and World Trade Organization agreements in favor of stricter regulation of markets and capital flows, a broadening of public services and the development of sustainable methods of production and consumption. Participants also drafted a statement condemning any attempts at an outside attack on Syria, which coincided with their call for an end to US hegemony and the emergence of a multipolar world.

Read more...At G20, Politicians Push the Same Neoliberal Agenda That Got Us Into This Mess | The Nation

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Metro Phoenix big-box market is bouncing right back

The big-box real-estate market in metro Phoenix is rebounding after several big retailers left storefronts and shopping centers vacant during the housing crash.

Retail expert Judi Butterworth with Velocity Retail said the lease and sale of big boxes in the region has been “robust” in the past six months, with traditional and non-traditional users moving into vacant space.

Large national retailers including Burlington Coat Factory, Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market and Ross are filling big spots again.

Read more...Metro Phoenix big-box market is bouncing right back

Spike in commercial development ramps up in Gilbert

Commercial development continues to ramp up in Gilbert — bringing the potential for hundreds of new jobs — as plans for a seventh auto dealership in the Santan Motorplex, a major office complex and a new industrial building were unveiled to the Design Review Board this month.

Brown & Brown Chevrolet is looking to become the Gilbert auto mall’s newest addition with a 15-acre dealership on the southwestern corner of Val Vista Drive and Pecos Road, next to Henry Brown Buick-GMC, according to plans submitted to the town.

Read more...Spike in commercial development ramps up in Gilbert

What put the shine back on gold? | The Tennessean |

Gold is having a summer revival.

The price of gold touched $1,420 an ounce this week, a 3½ month high, as escalating tensions in the Middle East, volatile currency markets and renewed demand for jewelry in China and India pushed prices higher.

Gold has surged 15 percent since sinking to $1,212 an ounce, its lowest level in almost three years, on June 27.

The resurgence follows a rough ride this year.

Read more...What put the shine back on gold? | The Tennessean |

Saturday, September 7, 2013

IRS: Gay Spouses in All States Can File Joint Taxes

Married gay couples living in all 50 states can file joint federal tax returns, even if local authorities don't recognize their marriages, the Obama administration said today.

The decision by the Treasury Department implements the Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which had forbidden the Internal Revenue Service from letting married homosexual couples file jointly.

The government’s decision is a victory for same-sex couples who were married in one of the 13 states or the District of Columbia that recognize such relationships and now live in one of the 37 that don’t.

Read more...IRS: Gay Spouses in All States Can File Joint Taxes

Brokerage giant settles discrimination lawsuit - Yahoo! News

CHICAGO (AP) — Lawyers for hundreds of black financial advisers have reached a $160 million settlement in a lawsuit accusing Wall Street brokerage giant Merrill Lynch of racial discrimination, a plaintiffs' attorney said Wednesday.

If approved by a federal judge in Chicago, the payout by Merrill Lynch to around 1,200 plaintiffs would be one of the largest ever in a racial discrimination case, Chicago-based attorney Suzanne E. Bish said.

Speaking from his Merrill Lynch office in Dallas, one of the first plaintiffs from the earliest days of the suit, Maroc "Rocky" Howard, said he wished he and his fellow black brokers never had to resort to litigation.

Read more...Brokerage giant settles discrimination lawsuit - Yahoo! News

U.S.: Housing plan aids Arizona

As part of its push for more lending reform and programs to increase homeownership and prevent another bubble, the White House presented new data on Monday that credits the last federal housing plan with the recovery of several states’ real-estate markets.

Arizona’s recovery was highlighted by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. The state’s home prices have climbed 19 percent since the worst point of the crash, Donovan said in a conference call.

This month in Phoenix, President Barack Obama announced his latest housing plan, which includes doing away with government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, simplifying the lending process for buying and refinancing, and investing in areas hardest hit by foreclosures.

Read more...U.S.: Housing plan aids Arizona

Monday, September 2, 2013

Rebound in real estate complicates new taxes

Last August, I wrote about a rumor that people selling their homes would be subject to a 3.8 percent sales tax to help pay for the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare.”

Like many rumors, it wasn’t accurate. The tax doesn’t apply on the full sale proceeds but only a slice of any profit. It also doesn’t apply to everyone but only upper-income taxpayers. It’s not a sales tax but a tax on “net investment income.”

But as with many rumors, there is a kernel of truth to it, and the kernel has gotten bigger because of the solid rebound in real estate over the past year. Simply put, rising home prices increase the odds that some people, though still a small minority, might have to pay something at that 3.8 percent rate.

Read more...Rebound in real estate complicates new taxes

Developer births CityScape, provides new life to other projects

Early most weekday mornings, Michael Ebert can be found walking around CityScape in downtown Phoenix. The managing partner of RED Development usually buys a cup of coffee at Chloe’s Corner or a meal at the Breakfast Club.

Then Ebert checks on the construction of apartments going up on top of the Kimpton Hotel Palomar and often steps into the hotel’s restaurant, Blue Hound Kitchen, to see what the lunch specials are. From there, he may walk past retailer Urban Outfitters and others, both window-shopping for his kids and mentally logging how many customers are out already.

Read more...Developer births CityScape, provides new life to other projects

Chateau home sells for $5.8 mil -

PNI) The Phoenix brownstone-mansion project Chateau on Central has been a magnet of attention in its short life. It's had its detractors, but now it has a major new homebuyer and potentially new momentum.

But more than six years since construction started on the unique development on Central Avenue and Palm Lane, a home in Chateau has sold for $5.8 million. This brownstone with turrets is not the typical mansion for the development: It's a double mansion with 11,437 square feet.

Read more...Chateau home sells for $5.8 mil -

Development sagas near end in southwest Mesa

Southwest Mesa, which has seen few major additions to its housing stock in 20 years, is about to see construction of two new upscale apartment projects.

They are:

A 370-unit Mark-Taylor luxury complex in the 2200 and 2300 blocks of South Country Club Drive.

Southern Avenue Villas, a 378-unit apartment complex on the southwestern corner of Southern Avenue and Extension Road.

Read more...Development sagas near end in southwest Mesa

Construction of Mack Pinnacle in far north Phoenix begins soon

The Mack Company, a New Jersey-based real-estate development firm, has paid $2.7 million for 9.4 acres of land in far north Phoenix for a major light-industrial development called Mack Pinnacle.

The 169,000-square-foot project will be on the southwestern corner of Pinnacle Peak Road and Seventh Street, according to a statement released Monday from Jones Lang LaSalle, who represented the buyer.

Construction will begin this fall, and the project should be completed in May 2014, Jones Lang LaSalle spokeswoman Stacey Hershauer said.

Mack Pinnacle will include two buildings, one at 90,575 square feet and the second at 78,281 square feet.

Read more...Construction of Mack Pinnacle in far north Phoenix begins soon

Eastmark’s Senior-Living Plans are Advancing | Arizona Builders Exchange

Plans for a senior-living development at Mesa’s Eastmark are picking up speed, with about 900 homes expected to be move-in ready by early 2015.

The AV Homes 55-plus age-restricted community, which has yet to be named, will span about 310 acres of the 5-square-mile, mixed-use community.

Eastmark opened its first residential phase June 1 that will include resort, employment, recreation and commercial elements in addition to homes, said Karen Murray, vice president of sales and marketing for AV Homes.

Read more...Eastmark’s Senior-Living Plans are Advancing | Arizona Builders Exchange

Work starts on 3rd SkySong office building

The first of two new, four-story office buildings will be under construction this week at SkySong, the Arizona State University Scottsdale Innovation Center, on the McDowell Road corridor.

Plaza Cos. announced the Aug. 19 start of construction on SkySong III, a 145,000-square-foot building that will be located along SkySong Boulevard, just southwest of the complex’s signature shade structure.

Plaza Cos. is the master developer of SkySong, in partnership with the ASU Foundation and Scottsdale. The financing for SkySong III, $32 million, is being provided by Alliance Bank of Arizona. Tucson-based Holualoa Cos. has partnered with Plaza Cos. for the project.

Read more...Work starts on 3rd SkySong office building

Scottsdale council poised to clear way for Borgata razing

One by one, the merchants at the Borgata of Scottsdale have closed shop at the struggling retail center northwest of Scottsdale Road and McDonald Drive.

With fewer than 10 shops remaining, the 32-year-old landmark resembling an upscale Italian village is poised to become the Residences at Borgata, a four-story condominium complex of about 220 units for active-adult residents 55 and older.

Read more...Scottsdale council poised to clear way for Borgata razing

Scottsdale's McDowell Road corridor rebirth is ‘primary goal’

As a longtime stakeholder in south Scottsdale’s McDowell Road corridor, Councilwoman Virginia Korte fondly remembers its heyday and looks forward to seeing its resurgence.

The nearly 3-mile stretch from Loop 101 to 64th Street was particularly hard hit by the recession, with abandoned auto dealerships and retail outlets.

“I believe that in another five, 10 years, McDowell is going to be an important center of commerce and we’re going to redo its sense of place here in Scottsdale,” Korte said. “I think there’s a lot of good, creative thinkers here as far as investors and developers, and I think there are more people willing to look at this area as a potential center for investment.”

Read more...Scottsdale's McDowell Road corridor rebirth is ‘primary goal’

Idle Zanjero Falls complex poised to spring back to life -

Winding balconies, roughly 130,000 square feet of office space behind white columns and lattice-stucco walls, a courtyard of sprawling bougainvillea and channels for streams.

They all lie silent. The channels mere dry trenches.

Six years ago, the hulking Santa Barbara mission-style complex at 91st and Glendale avenues was part of something big: A spirited commercial-development boom unlike anything Glendale had ever seen.

Read more...Idle Zanjero Falls complex poised to spring back to life -

Venue gets new identity

What could be even more difficult than sustaining the reputation of being a hot club and concert setting in the Scottsdale nightlife scene?

Shedding that enviable status in order to build a new one, as David Twigger, the director of sales and marketing for The Venue Scottsdale, discovered.

The Venue and its new name and business model launched in 2005, in the space that was once known as the Cajun House, a well-known hub for concerts and hip events. Three years ago, The Venue underwent a million-dollar renovation project and emerged with a renewed focus on private, social and charity events. This was different from what most people thought of when they heard the name of the downtown Scottsdale building.

Read more...Venue gets new identity

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