Monday, April 29, 2013

Update to Phoenix building code ready for City Council’s vote

Phoenix officials want to update the city’s building code to accommodate for such issues as installing solar-shade structures on grocery-store parking lots and relaxing requirements for historic buildings.

Read more: Update to Phoenix building code ready for City Council’s vote

Apartment rents on the rise in Phoenix | Insiders



Apartment rents in metro Phoenix are expected to rise 2.9 percent to an average $775 a month by the end of the year. In 2012, rents in the area increased by 2 percent.

Read more: Apartment rents on the rise in Phoenix | Insiders

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Despite Council approval, Mtn. Shadow plans face foes



After months of negotiations, revisions, concessions and meetings, the Paradise Valley Town Council has approved redevelopment plans for the long-shuttered Mountain Shadows resort.

However, a lingering legal dispute with a nearby homeowners group could throw yet another curve into the process.

Read more: Despite Council approval, Mtn. Shadow plans face foes

New help offered to struggling-borrowers



Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are launching another loan-modification program, but to qualify for this one, borrowers must be 90 days behind on their mortgage payments.

Borrowers can’t apply. But if they are three months or more behind on their loan, they will be contacted by their servicers. The goal of the new program is to reduce the government-owned agencies’ losses by modifying mortgages without requiring hardship documentation from the borrowers. Read more: New help offered to struggling-borrowers

County to settle another lawsuit over Thomas-Arpaio corruption probes



The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors reached settlement Friday in the next to the last of the lawsuits filed in the wake of the 2008-09 battles among former County Attorney and current gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio with county officials, judges and citizens associated with them.

Conley Wolfswinkel, a longtime Valley land developer, and two of his sons will receive $1.4 million to compensate for search warrants served on the developers’ offices by sheriff’s deputies looking for evidence of fraud. Wolfswinkel was a friend and business associate of former County Supervisor Don Stapley. Stapley, incidentally, is the remaining claimant against the county who has not yet settled. Read more: County to settle another lawsuit over Thomas-Arpaio corruption probes

Scottsdale-based Meritage 1Q earnings rebound



The home building market’s recovery is apparent in Scottsdale-based Meritage Homes' quarterly earnings.

The builder’s revenue climbed to $330.7 million for the first quarter of the year, a 62 percent increase from the $204 million it earned in the same period in 2012.

Meritage earned $12 million during the first three months of this year, after losing $4.7 million in the first quarter of 2012. 

Read more:  Scottsdale-based Meritage 1Q earnings rebound

G20 officials decry lack of global growth | ArabNews



WASHINGTON: World finance leaders say they are determined to attack a sluggish global economy in which growth is too weak and unemployment too high. Their problem is arriving at a consensus over the proper mix of policies.

Finance ministers and central bank presidents from the world’s biggest economies issued a joint statement that papered over stark differences between opposing views.

 The US and other countries are pushing for less budget austerity and more government stimulus while Germany and others contend that attacking huge budget deficits should be job No. 1.

Read more: G20 officials decry lack of global growth | ArabNews

Metro Phoenix luxury home sales on the rise


The number of metro Phoenix luxury houses for sale is on the rise, something real estate analysts say is a good sign for the market because fewer of the houses are foreclosures or short-sale listings.

Read more: Metro Phoenix luxury home sales on the rise

P83 remake could cost Peoria $495K initially


Peoria expects to spend $495,000 to begin to remake P83, the city’s entertainment district near 83rd Avenue and Bell Road.

The collection of restaurants, a movie theater and the Peoria Sports Complex have long attracted visitors, but the city wants to enhance the area.

Officials are working with private developers to open a boutique hotel, more restaurants and luxury apartments as the city tries to create a year-round, outdoor, family-oriented urban destination.

For now, the city plans to begin designing Phase 1.

Read more:  P83 remake could cost Peoria $495K initially

Condo project proposed for Scottsdale's McCormick Ranch


A 58-unit condominium project is planned for one of the last available sites at McCormick Ranch. Standard Pacific Homes is seeking to rezone a 6.5-acre parcel northeast of 90th Street and Via Linda to build 29, two-story buildings. The homebuilder, based in Irvine, Calif., said it plans to sell the 58 units.

Read more: Condo project proposed for Scottsdale's McCormick Ranch

Here's Your New and Improved Hundred Dollar Bill


The Federal Reserve is making it rain new hundred dollar bills on October 8, 2013. They're more colorful, more secure, and easier to authenticate, but harder to replicate. Here's everything that's changed.

Read more: Here's Your New and Improved Hundred Dollar Bill

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Blue Sky in Scottsdale soldiers on despite multitude of problems

 Gray Development Group’s plans for the Blue Sky apartment complex call for more than 700 units and three buildings.
There are a number of firsts associated with Gray Development Group’s controversial Blue Sky apartment complex, to be built east of Scottsdale Fashion Square.

It was the first proposal filed under the city’s downtown infill-incentive district and plan, which allow developers and property owners to request amended development standards, such as increased building height and density, in exchange for public benefits, such as investment in public art and amenities.

Read more:  Blue Sky in Scottsdale soldiers on despite multitude of problems

Tempe apartments on rise along with Tempe economy

Tempe's Hub on Campus

A 19-story apartment building across from Sun Devil Stadium, that could be home to nearly 700 by fall, is among the new developments giving rise to increased optimism about Tempe’s economy.

Hub on Campus, a high-rise just east of Mill Avenue near a Marriott Residence Inn that is under construction, is geared toward Arizona State University students. The 269-unit apartment, on the southeastern corner of Veterans Way and College Avenue, is expected to be completed by August, timed to coincide with ASU’s fall semester.

Read more:  Tempe apartments on rise along with Tempe economy

CityNorth sale set to close



A deal to sell CityCenter of CityNorth, a mixed-use development near Desert Ridge in northeast Phoenix, is expected to close this week.

Scanlan Kemper Bard Companies, a real-estate private-equity firm based in Portland, Ore., and Wayzata Investment Partners, reportedly are auiring the long-troubled development.

Read more:  CityNorth sale set to close

Rising home prices in the SW Valley pushing out investors



As warm weather signals the start of the peak homebuying season, Southwest Valley buyers will see higher prices but less competition from cash-wielding investors, experts say.

Plus, there are more signs that the Southwest Valley is shaking off the Great Recession’s housing slump. Homebuilders are buying more lots in communities where the original developer installed utilities and built roads but never built houses.

Read more:  Rising home prices in the SW Valley pushing out investors

Home buyers paying cash declining in metro Phoenix | Insiders

 
Homebuyers using conventional mortgages outnumbered cash purchasers in metro Phoenix during March.

It’s the first time in four years that cash buyers haven’t dominated the region’s homebuying market, according to the latest Wilcox Report.

Last month, 2,188 houses were purchased with home loans, compared with 2,144 bought with cash.
Fletcher Wilcox, real-estate analyst with Grand Canyon Title Agency, said the gap between cash purchases and conventional-loan purchases had been narrowing in recent months. Most cash buyers are investors, and investment activity has been slowing as metro Phoenix’s foreclosures fall and home prices climb.

Read more:  Home buyers paying cash declining in metro Phoenix | Insiders

Safari Drive residents worry about sale of Phase II land in Scottsdale

safari-drive-condominiums-pool

Residents of the Safari Drive condominium complex in downtown Scottsdale were told recently that ST Residential plans to sell the property that would house a second, larger phase.

In fall 2011, the City Council approved ST Residential's proposal for the second phase of the complex, including amended development standards under the city's downtown infill-incentive district and plan. It would allow an increase in maximum building height to 105 feet, from 65 feet; an increase in overall density to 55 units per acre, from 50; and an increase in the floor area of the buildings.

Read more:  Safari Drive residents worry about sale of Phase II land in Scottsdale

Domus infill project will offer upscale residences near Arcadia



Another infill project is under construction in central Phoenix near the Arcadia neighborhood.

The multifamily project, named Domus, will have 225 units on a six-acre site at 36th Street and Campbell Avenue. Units will feature “generous” use of glass and structural steel, developers said.

Interiors also will feature glass, as well as wood floors and Euro-style kitchens.

Read more:  Domus infill project will offer upscale residences near Arcadia

Saturday, April 13, 2013

New subdivision to bring 100 homes to northeast Phoenix

A new single-family subdivision is planned for a site in northeast Phoenix that once was home to horseback-riding stables.

The infill project, known as Santa Rita, is at 4421 E. Grovers Ave. One-hundred homes will be spaced across 19.5 acres, according to Sue Goodrich, vice president of sales for Cachet Homes, which is developing Santa Rita.

The neighborhood’s proximity to Loop 101 and Arizona 51, as well as to Desert Ridge Marketplace and local schools, contributed to Cachet’s interest in the property, Goodrich said.

Read more:  New subdivision to bring 100 homes to northeast Phoenix

Improving Valley office market may spread to Scottsdale



Scottsdale’s office market, hit hard by the housing-bubble crash just as new buildings were completed, is still recovering from a steep drop-off in tenants.

But the entire Valley office real-estate market showed signs of improvement in the first quarter and that will begin to help fill more buildings in Scottsdale, said John Bonnell, Jones Lang LaSalle managing director.

Read more:  Improving Valley office market may spread to Scottsdale

Vestar and UBS Global buying 2 shopping centers


Peninsula Center in Palos Verdes, Calif.

Phoenix-based Vestar has partnered with UBS Global Asset Management to buy two large shopping centers in California and Texas.

Rick Kuhle, Vestar president, said the retail real estate firm is “aggressively seeking more properties” in the West and Southwest.

Vestar formed a partnership with UBS in 2011 with plans to buy more than $800 million in retail properties.




 Deerbrook Marketplace in Houston Texas

Read more:  Vestar and UBS Global buying 2 shopping centers

Taylor Morrison IPO raises $526 million

Sheryl Palmer, President and CEO of Taylor Morrison, waits for her company's IPO to begin trading on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, April 10, 2013.

Shares of Taylor Morrison Homes Corp., Arizona’s newest public company, debuted on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, posting a 4.7 percent price increase in its first day of trading.

Scottsdale-based Taylor Morrison raised $526 million through its initial public offering of 28.6 million shares. The home builder’s stock price opened at $22 a share, hit and intraday high of $23.78 and closed at $23.04.

Read more:  Taylor Morrison IPO raises $526 million

Downtown’s Fifth Avenue ‘gateway’ could get makeover



Big changes could be coming to a prominent downtown Scottsdale corner occupied by a small restaurant.

Old Town Group has submitted a request to the city for Development Review Board approval of a site plan, elevations and landscaping for the northwestern corner of Fifth Avenue and Scottsdale Road. The company owns numerous downtown venues, including Morning Squeeze, Spanish Fly Mexican Beach Club, Stingray Sushi and Geisha A Go-Go.

 Read more:  Downtown’s Fifth Avenue ‘gateway’ could get makeover

Community land trusts offer affordable housing choices



An army of contractors has been busy for weeks fixing up an aging home on West Galveston Street in central Chandler. They’re replacing energy-inefficient windows, bringing the electrical system up to standards and expanding a tiny bathroom in the 60-year-old house.

It is not the work of some out-of-state investor hoping to flip the property for profit.

It will be added to a growing pool of affordable housing in Chandler made possible through a community land trust. The trust is a way cities can increase their housing stock while ensuring that some homes remain affordable.

Newtown Community Development Corp., a Tempe non-profit, operates land trusts in Chandler, Glendale, Scottsdale and Tempe.

 Read more:  Community land trusts offer affordable housing choices

Visionary architect Paolo Soleri has died at 93

Arcosanti was designed with Paolo Soleri's concept of "Arcology" in mind. Arcology tries to keep architecture coherent with ecology.

Visionary architect Paolo Soleri, the Italian-born designer of the experimental city called Arcosanti in the high desert 60 miles north of Phoenix, died Tuesday. He was 93.

Soleri, one of the few remaining direct disciples of Frank Lloyd Wright, actually saw few of his projects built. But his exalted manifestos on a revolutionary lifestyle of complex but compact cities where cars are not needed and more of the natural landscape is preserved made him one of the most recognized names in architecture and design.
Dec. 10, 2010: Architect Paolo Soleri, sitting, listens to live music at the Soleri Bridge and Plaza Celebration in Scottsdale.


Few of his projects have been built, but it was his exalted manifestos that made him one of the most recognized names in architecture and design.

“If you are truly concerned about the problems of pollution, waste, energy depletion, land, water, air and biological conservation, poverty, segregation, intolerance, population containment, fear and disillusionment: Join us,” says the poster at Arcosanti’s entrance.

Just off Interstate 17 in Cordes Junction, Arcosanti is an urban project that explores the possibilities of future city life in concrete and steel. Soleri envisioned more than 5,000 people living in the complex. It never achieved Soleri’s full vision, though it continues to operate and evolve with his goals in mind.

Soleri’s impact can also be seen — and heard — across the Valley. Among his completed projects is a $3.5million pedestrian bridge in Scottsdale, Soleri Bridge and Plaza, southwest of Camelback and Scottsdale roads. It is the only completed bridge of the hundreds he designed.


Visionary architect Paolo Soleri has died at 93

Mountain Shadows contract seen as positive move at meeting



The Paradise Valley Town Council this week moved a step closer to resolving the future of the Mountain Shadows resort property.

The council held its first public discussion on a recently released document that is key to the revitalization of the long-shuttered Mountain Shadows resort. Town Council, town staff, resort owners and nearby residents weighed in on the document Thursday and most agreed it was a positive step forward in the redevelopment of the resort.

Read more: Mountain Shadows contract seen as positive move at meeting

Monday, April 8, 2013

Subprime lending, 2013 edition | Inman News

Think subprime mortgages have gone away? Think again, we have one lurking within FHA, with features that are eerily similar to those of the private market that went into hyper-drive in the 2000s, and collapsed in 2007.  Read more... Subprime lending, 2013 edition | Inman News

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Liberty Property Trust : to Develop Liberty Center at Rio Salado | 4-Traders

PHOENIX, AZ - March 18, 2013 - Liberty Property Trust today announced that it will develop a sustainable mixed-use business park on 100 acres purchased from the City of Tempe last month. The company is developing a site plan for the new park which will be known as "Liberty Center at Rio Salado."

"After several years of continued success at our nearby Liberty Cotton Center , we sought opportunities that would allow us to continue to offer national and regional tenants opportunities to relocate to or expand," said John DiVall, senior vice president and city manager for Liberty's Arizona region. "Liberty Center at Rio Salado is centrally located in the heart of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area and it will offer a terrific mix of office, flex and industrial space, and, we anticipate, hotel and retail locations."

Read more: Liberty Property Trust : to Develop Liberty Center at Rio Salado | 4-Traders

Tax haven data leak names prominent figures, raises questions - The Economic Times


PARIS: It's a data leak involving tens of thousands of offshore bank accounts, naming dozens of prominent figures around the world. And new details are being released by the day _ raising the prospect that accounts based on promises of secrecy and tax shelter could someday offer neither.

Read more: Tax haven data leak names prominent figures, raises questions - The Economic Times

How to Reduce or Eliminate Private Mortgage Insurance | Fox Business


Homebuyers that can’t afford to put 20% down on the purchase price of their new home often opt to take out private mortgage insurance (PMI) with their lender to help seal the deal. This insurance protects the lender from a default, and can add more than $100 to a monthly mortgage payment.

“It’s very common to get PMI insurance if you have less than 20% [to put down],” says Bob Walters, chief economist at mortgage lender Quicken Loans based in Detroit. “The price you’ll pay depends on your loan to value and your credit score.”

Read more: How to Reduce or Eliminate Private Mortgage Insurance | Fox Business

BRIEFING: Higher FHA Mortgage Insurance Fees For Longer As Of April 2013 | The Basis Point

In case you missed the announcement from FHA on mortgage insurance fees increasing, here it is again...

On Thursday, HUD announced that they’d be increasing FHA mortgage insurance fees as of April 1 and would be increasing the minimum time a borrower must hold mortgage insurance as of June 3.

The tables below summarize each set of changes.
FHA loan borrowers must have an FHA Case Number before these dates to fall under the present rules before these increases. To have a Case Number, borrowers must apply for a loan with a lender and that lender must formally disclose the loan per Federal disclosure rules.

Read more: BRIEFING: Higher FHA Mortgage Insurance Fees For Longer As Of April 2013 | The Basis Point


Scottsdale Builder Wins 4th straight Eliant Award

Eliant recently announced Rosewood Homes as winner of the 2013 “Homebuyers’ Choice Award” for providing the “Best Overall Purchase and Ownership Experience” in North America. Rosewood was also recognized again for having the highest “First Year Quality” rating. This is the first time a homebuilder has been honored in four consecutive years and Rosewood Homes is the only Arizona builder to ever receive this prestigious award. The 2013 winners were chosen based on the results of surveys completed by more than 76,000 recent home buyers from across the United States and Canada.

Read more: Scottsdale Builder Wins 4th straight Eliant Award

Pulte’s Del Webb Planning 650 Homes At Dove Mountain | Arizona Daily Independent

Del Webb Corporation was acquired by Pulte Home in 2001 and is a leading builder in ... The Del Webb at Dove Mountain Community will be located ... sign on the property this month, Del Webb received nearly 100 inquiries.

Read more: Pulte’s Del Webb Planning 650 Homes At Dove Mountain | Arizona Daily Independent

Japan central bank revamps policy to boost economy - latimes.com


Japan is taking aggressive action to lift consumer prices, encourage borrowing and help pull the world's third-largest economy out of a long slump.

Like the U.S. Federal Reserve, Japan's central bank plans to flood its financial system with more money — its most far-reaching step to date to get consumers and companies to borrow and spend.

The Bank of Japan's action will also drive down the value of the yen. A cheaper currency will make Japanese goods — from Toyota cars to Sony TVs — less costly for Americans and other foreigners. And it will make U.S. and other exports more expensive in Japan.

Read more: Japan central bank revamps policy to boost economy - latimes.com


Stockton bankruptcy decision only the beginning


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For the people of Stockton, a federal judge’s anticipated decision Monday on the city’s bankruptcy petition will affect their day-to-day lives for decades to come.

But the Chapter 9 bankruptcy case also is being closely watched nationally for the potential precedent-setting implications: whether federal bankruptcy law trumps the California law that says debts to the state pension fund must be honored.

Read more: Stockton bankruptcy decision only the beginning

Arizona bankruptcies bump up in March


Arizona bankruptcies bumped up in March as they typically do for tax reasons, but the long-term picture continues to point to lower filings.

The 1,529 metro-Phoenix bankruptcies initiated in March were the most so far this year, yet that latest tally was still down 26 percent from March 2012. On a year-over-year basis, filings have dropped for 26 consecutive months, reported the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Phoenix.

Read more: Arizona bankruptcies bump up in March

Safari Drive residents worry about sale of Phase II land


Residents of the Safari Drive condominium complex in downtown Scottsdale were told recently that ST Residential plans to sell the property that would house a second, larger phase.

In fall 2011, the City Council approved ST Residential's proposal for the second phase of the complex, including amended development standards under the city's downtown infill-incentive district and plan. It would allow an increase in maximum building height to 105 feet, from 65 feet; an increase in overall density to 55 units per acre, from 50; and an increase in the floor area of the buildings.

Read more: Safari Drive residents worry about sale of Phase II land

US home prices rise 8.1 pct., most since mid-2006 - Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. home prices rose in January at the fastest pace since the summer of 2006, just before the housing bubble burst. The gain shows the housing recovery is strengthening ahead of the spring buying season.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index climbed 8.1 percent in the 12 months ending in January That's up from a 6.8 annual gain in December. Prices rose in all 20 cities, led by a 23 percent gain in Phoenix.

Prices rose in 11 of 20 cities on a month-over-month basis. Those numbers are not seasonally adjusted and reflect the slower winter buying period.

Read more: US home prices rise 8.1 pct., most since mid-2006 - Yahoo! News

New Scottsdale nightclubs to reach out to daytime revelers

 
Nightclub developers are banking on downtown Scottsdale’s entertainment district becoming more than a weekend-night destination for revelers.

Construction is nearing completion on Triyar Entertainment’s beach-club-anchored complex on most of the block that housed Myst nightclub on Shoeman Lane, and Suede restaurant and bar on Indian Plaza. The first venue, Hi-Fi Kitchen & Cocktails, opened last week on the northeastern corner.

All of this is an effort to bring more activity to the district, south of Camelback Road, beyond weekend nights, when the bars attract thousands of patrons from across the Valley.

Read more: New Scottsdale nightclubs to reach out to daytime revelers


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