Daily Archives: November 30, 2008

Downtown Phoenix 44 Monroe condos “slow to sell”

Rendering of 44 Monroe, downtown Phoenix

[Source: Arizona Republic] — As the [global] economic downturn grinds on, downtown Phoenix boosters have been anxiously watching sales at several new condo projects, including 44 Monroe at the intersection of Monroe St. and 1st Ave. City leaders want to revive downtown Phoenix, and getting more people to live there is a crucial part of that plan.

Although 44 Monroe wrapped up construction this year, units have been slow to sell… According to Ryan Zeleznak, Grace Communities principal, of the 196 units in the 34-story building, 96 (49%) are in escrow and about a dozen (6%) have sold (including one for $1.55 million last week).

Viewpoint: Turns out there’s good news on Main Street

[Source: Joel Kotkin, reprinted in Arizona Republic] — As the financial crisis takes down Wall Street, the regular folks on Main Street are biting their nails, watching the toxic tsunami head their way.  But for all our nightmares of drowning in a sea of bad mortgages, foreclosed homes, and shrunken retirement plans, the truth is that the effects of this meltdown won’t be all bad in the long run.  In one regard, it could offer our society a net positive: Forced into belt-tightening, Americans are likely to strengthen our family and community ties and to center our lives more closely on the places where we live.

This trend toward what I call “the new localism” has been underway for some years, driven by changing demographics, new technologies, and rising energy prices.  But the economic downturn will probably accelerate it as individuals and corporations look not to the global stage but closer to home, concentrating and congregating on the Main Streets where we choose to live -– in the suburbs, in urban neighborhoods, or in small towns.

In his 1972 bestseller, “A Nation of Strangers,” social critic Vance Packard depicted the United States as “a society coming apart at the seams.”  He was only one in a long cavalcade of futurists who have envisioned an America of ever-increasing “spatial mobility” that would give rise to weaker families, childlessness, and anonymous communities.  Packard and others may not have been far off for their time: In 1970, nearly 20% of Americans changed their place of residence every year.  But by 2004, that figure had dropped to 14%, the lowest level since 1950.  Americans born today are actually more likely to reside near their place of birth than those who lived in the 19th century.  Part of this is due to our aging population, because older people are far less likely to move than those under 30.  But more limited economic options may intensify this phenomenon while bringing a host of social, economic, and environmental benefits in their wake.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]