Daily Archives: October 26, 2009

McCarty on Monroe, new Phoenix senior housing apartments open

[Source: City of Phoenix] — Last week McCarty on Monroe officially opened its doors to seniors age 62 and older.  The new, modern, 69-unit apartment complex is on the property where Phoenix real estate broker Leon McCarty originally built quality and affordable housing for low-income families, particularly families of color, in 1963.

The four-story building has a large community room with kitchen facilities for resident activities, a computer room, gated parking garage and a landscaped inner courtyard with walking and seating areas for senior residents.  Six of the units are accessible for people with disabilities and 34 of the units are available for public housing.  “We are committed to providing quality housing for our seniors, people who have made numerous contributions to society and now may be living on a fixed income,” said Mayor Phil Gordon.  “I congratulate the McCarty residents.  They have chosen a safe and comfortable location to enjoy their leisure years.”

The city of Phoenix Housing Department purchased the McCarty apartments in 1977 and continued to provide senior housing.  The original building was demolished in 2008 and ground broken for more units and more modern, quality housing for seniors on a fixed income.  The property is the first city-developed low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) project funded through the Arizona Department of Housing.  The funds enabled the city to build an additional 35 units.  “I welcome the 69 new residents to McCarty on Monroe to District 8,” said Councilman Michael Johnson.  “I’m impressed with all the amenities offered to the seniors, including nearby shopping, restaurants and churches, which are accessible by taking the light rail.”

The Housing Department partnered with six city departments, Arizona Department of Housing, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other local businesses to complete this housing project.  The city’s Housing Department provides almost 650 units of public housing serving area seniors, plus 336 units of affordable housing for seniors in six Phoenix apartment communities.

Agenda set for Oct. 29 Phoenix Historic Neighborhoods Coalition meeting

[Source: Ruth Ann Marston, President] — The next regular meeting of the Phoenix Historic Neighborhoods Coalition will take place Thursday, October 29, 2009, starting at 7 p.m. at the Phoenix Elementary District #1 Governing Board Room (turn south off Palm Lane, just east of 7th St., meeting in northeast corner of campus).  Top topics of discussion will be:

  • Proposed expansion of Franklin School (Luisa Stark)
  • Feeding of the homeless on church campuses (G.G. George)
  • Update on Phoenix General Plan (G.G. George)
  • Effects of the city and state budget crisis on historic neighborhoods (all)
  • Open agenda (all)

For more information, visit the organization’s website here.

Planners contemplate Phoenix’s post-boom future

770px-phoenixdowntown[Source: Ted Robbins, NPR] — The vast majority of the Phoenix metropolitan area — 90 percent — was built after 1950.  It’s been a pell-mell push for growth.  But like many places, that growth came to a screeching halt during the recession.  In the suburb of Maricopa, AZ, the population grew from 1,000 to 45,000 residents over the past decade.  In 2007, the city was processing 700 building permits a month.  But then the economy soured.  “We reduced that to 300 and then … we set our budget last year at 100,” says Maricopa Mayor Anthony Smith.  “Well, 100 was too many.  So now we’ve set our budget for 30 new building permits each month.”

Housing Surplus

There’s a large inventory of homes on the market in the Phoenix metropolitan area.  The Salter family — Thad, Laura and their sons, Isaiah and Isaac — moved to Maricopa three years ago, from San Jose, Calif.  They paid more than $300,000 for their home.  It’s now worth about half that.  Thad Salter says more than half of the 22 homes on his block have been foreclosed on: “My block got devastated.  My next door neighbor’s no longer my next door neighbor.  And I’ve seen houses across the street from me going down the block on my side of the street just turn over.”

The good news is the homes did turn over.  All but two resold — albeit at much lower prices. The Salters have been trying to refinance their mortgage at a lower interest rate for two years and are just now getting their lender, Chase Bank, to come to terms.  Still, they are glad they moved.  “You know, my kids love it here. I have family here. I have some good friends here,” Salter says.

Lost Construction Jobs

But the pause button has been pushed in Phoenix when it comes to new construction.  Grady Gammage Jr., an attorney and a real estate developer, spends a lot of time thinking about his native Phoenix’s future.  He says the pause should make the Phoenix area take stock.  “We’re now big enough that maybe continuing to operate on a boom and bust cycle as a sort of Wild West frontier town is no longer the right formula, and we ought to try to diversify our economy a little more,” he says.

One-third of the jobs lost statewide — 100,000 out of 300,000 — have been in construction.  Gammage says it’s time for Phoenix to create employment that can sustain itself through good times and bad.  A solar energy industry is one idea for alternative employment given the abundance of sunshine.

Create Urban Density, Not Sprawl

Instead of the sprawl Phoenix is known for, many local architects and urban planners want more density.  Urban nodes, they call them — where working and living can be done close to each other. Phoenix has expanded its downtown business core in recent years — but as in other Western cities, it largely rolls up at night when people drive home to the suburbs.

The car is king here.  For years it has been the only way to get around.  But in December, Phoenix opened its first light-rail system.  Two lines connect downtown with outlying areas.  Ridership was up to 1 million people a month at one point.

The recently minted town of Maricopa just started running a bus line to transport workers and others the 35 miles to downtown Phoenix.  These are welcome drops in the bucket for most planners and are signs that Phoenix is beginning to grow up.  [Note: Read the full article at Planners contemplate Phoenix’s post-boom future.]

Downtown Phoenix Journal Weekly Recap

DPJ_artwork_crop[Source: Si Robins, Downtown Phoenix Journal] — At DPJ, we’re all about helping the community.  So, it was fitting that we talked to a local concert promoter who is opening his home to help a touring musician in this down economy.  That’s just the kind of gesture that makes Downtown Phoenix great.  In that same vein, DPJ launched a new blog for visiting convention attendees, Conventional Wisdom.  Whenever a big convention comes to Downtown Phoenix, we’ll be here to help visitors make the best of their time in our neighborhoods.  Soon attendees will be able to stop in for a quick bite at the Urban Grocery and Wine Bar, where there is a whole slew of events set for opening week. And, with the cooler days in the forecast it can only mean one thing — we’re on the brink of two exciting seasons: The Suns are just about to tip off this year’s campaign, and we published a glowing review of Landis Cyclery in Melrose, just in time for prime bike riding to begin.

Phoenix: Meet your new City Manager

David Cavazos

David Cavazos

The Phoenix mayor and City Council voted today to select a new city manager.  In an 8-1 vote, David Cavazos was chosen.