Daily Archives: September 19, 2008

The Bust Belt: How exurban expansion paves the way for the next housing crisis

[Source: Ryan Avent, Culture11] — Tucked in a desert valley 100 miles southwest of Las Vegas, the town of Kingman, Arizona has persisted for over a century, first as little more than a railroad siding, then a Route 66 fill-up point, enjoying its quiet, arid life with dignity.

In recent decades, its 28,000 residents have watched nearby Sin City transform from a gambling oasis into a sprawling desert metropolis of two million people, a crowd rapidly butting up against the area’s geographic limits and water supply.  All the while, Kingman persisted in isolation, due to the intervening desert and the winding, two-lane bottleneck of highway 93 as it crosses the Colorado River at Hoover Dam.  Now that’s all going to change…

The timing of these developments makes the risk of failure particularly high. The worst national housing bust since the Great Depression hit the cities of Las Vegas and Phoenix significantly harder than most of the rest of the nation.  Prices there are down over 30% from the peak of the bubble, and high foreclosure rates and substantial excess inventory suggest that the recovery will be painful and protracted.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Mortgages Ltd. real estate investors seek new court representation

Hotel Monroe, downtown Phoenix

[Source: Andrew Johnson, Arizona Republic] — A group of about 50 investors who pumped nearly $8 million into a fund that bankrupt construction lender Mortgages Ltd. managed could have a new committee representing it in court.  Judge Randolph Haines granted a motion at a hearing Wednesday at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Phoenix clarifying that an existing investor committee does not represent Mortgages Ltd.’s Value-to-Loan fund investors.

That leaves the door open for the U.S. Trustee’s Office to appoint a separate committee to represent those investors.  Jonathan Hess, an attorney for the U.S. Trustee in Phoenix, said the office plans to decide on such a request shortly.  Valley bankruptcy attorney Dale Schian said he has been asked by a handful of investors in the Value-to-Loan fund to get a committee formed to represent those investors.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Known Downtown/Midtown Phoenix Projects associated with Mortgages Ltd.

Downtown Phoenix advocates request City to extend light rail hours

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Concert promoter Stephen Chilton (far left) speaks to council subcommittee (New Times photo).

[Source: Benjamin Leatherman, Phoenix New Times] — Downtown Phoenix activists and entertainment business people urged the city of Phoenix this morning to keep the soon-to-be-launched light-rail system running until 2 a.m. on weekends.  As was reported last night, the Phoenix City Council’s Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee is considering extending light-rail service (which begins in late December) until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during special events — like next year’s NBA All-Star Game at U.S. Airways Center.  Currently, the light rail’s scheduled to operate daily from 4 a.m. until midnight only.

Richard Simonetta, CEO of Valley Metro Rail, told the subcommittee it would cost $350,000 annually to run the trains an additional two hours on weekend nights and during special events.  He added that the expense would be “spread out” between Phoenix, Mesa, and Tempe, the three cities that will be using the light-rail system.  Kimber Lanning, owner of downtown’s Stinkweeds Record Exchange and the Modified Arts music venue, was among those lobbying the subcommittee hard to extend the hours on weekends, which advocates say would benefit downtown businesses, especially ones that operate late at night.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Downtown Phoenix ASU concert series meant to build sense of community

Two people sitting

Andy Naylor & Jacob Koller of Try Me Bicycle

[Source: ASU] — ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus is using the power of music to engage faculty, staff, and students to build lasting relationships with their local community.  Try Me Bicycle will headline the inaugural “Know Your Neighbor” free concert series, which starts next week and runs through November.  Sponsored by the Arizona State University Downtown Phoenix campus and local communities, the series is open to the public and designed to introduce students to each other and the community where they live.  

“The Know Your Neighbor concert series is an exciting opportunity for ASU faculty, staff and student body to get to know local venues, musicians, community members and each other,” said Malissa Geer, community engagement liaison for the Office of the University Vice President at the Downtown Phoenix campus.  “Our campus is surrounded by many local businesses and organizations that are eager to know our faculty, students and staff in a much more meaningful way.  Using the arts and local venues is only one of the many unique ways for ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus to become even more integrated into this rich and vibrant community.”

The series kicks off on Tuesday, Sept. 23 at Cibo, 603 N. Fifth Ave.  Additional shows by Try Me Bicycle are scheduled for downtown Phoenix Sunnyslope, Grand Avenue Arts District, and Roosevelt Row.  A portion of the band’s debut CD, Voicings, will go toward future support of community engagement activities.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]