Archive for the 'Desert Ridge – CityNorth' Category

New Listing in Desert Ridge Aviano – 3643 E. Louise Dr Phoenix AZ 85050

For More Information on the property, Contact Andrew Holm.
3643 E. Louise Dr. • Phoenix, AZ 85050

SALE priced for quick sale. Fantastic 2007 built, highly upgraded Aviano
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  • 4 Bedrooms
  • 3 Baths
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  • Fireplace in Living Room
  • Desert Front Landscaping
  • Desert/Synthetic Grass Backyard
  • Great Room, Den/Office
  • Formal Dining Area, Eat-in Kitchen
  • Kitchen Features: Disposal, Dishwasher, Refrigerator,
    Pantry, Granite Countertops, Kitchen Island
  • Master Bedroom: Walk-in Closet, Full Bath with
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  • Community Features: Biking/Walking Path,
    Clubhouse/Rec Room, Heated Pool & Spa, Tennis Courts, Near Bus Stop

Andrew Holm

For More Information, Contact:

Andrew Holm


Cell 480.206.4265

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JD Powers

AZ Central – Desert Ridge developer on defaut of 32 acre parcel..

by Michael Clancy – Feb. 10, 2011 12:47 PM
The Arizona Republic

Gray Development Group is in default on land it bought in the Desert Ridge area in 2004.

Vanessa Hickman, deputy commissioner of the Arizona State Land Department, said a default notice was sent in December for the 32-acre parcel on the northeastern corner of 56th Street and Loop 101.

The default is the second for the Gray group and at least the sixth in the Desert Ridge area.

The Gray parcel sold in May 2004 for more than $1 million per acre, making it one of the most expensive parcels the State Land Department ever sold.

The department originally owned all land in the 5,700-acre, master-planned development. Since 1993, it has been rolling parcels out for auction and subsequent development.

But the recession has had a serious effect on land values – driving those who acquired land at the height of the market into default – and the department’s ability to sell parcels.

Under the rules of state land sales, developers are on a seven-year payment schedule. When payments are missed, default notices go out. The notices trigger a 60-day period that gives developers time to make good on their deals. If they fail, the land reverts to the Land Department.

Hickman said the state has not reclaimed the Gray parcel yet.

Gray was scheduled to go before the Phoenix Planning Commission on Wednesday to amend the Desert Ridge Specific Plan as it pertains to the parcel. But that effort was withdrawn earlier in the day.

Gray’s previous default was on a 41-acre parcel north of Desert Ridge Marketplace. The company last year won a lawsuit claiming the master developer of Desert Ridge, Northeast Phoenix Partners, hindered its efforts to develop the parcel.

AZ Central – Developer calls for update in Phoenix Desert Ridge Plan


The Arizona Republic

A recent victory in a lawsuit could result in more than CityNorth changing hands.

When Gray Development Group prevailed in the lawsuit and won a jury verdict of $110.7 million, it became likely that Gray could take over the very party it defeated in court.

Although the case is far from complete, the result of the verdict could give Gray control of the remaining, undeveloped property at CityNorth, access to the $110.7 million economic development agreement that CityNorth has with the city and, finally, control of Northeast Phoenix Partners.

NPP was the losing party in the lawsuit. Besides being prime developer of CityNorth, NPP – controlled by the Klutznick Co. – has been the master developer of the entire 5,700-acre Desert Ridge master-planned community.

The master developer controls compliance with the Desert Ridge Specific Plan and oversees other governing documents for the northeast Phoenix community.

Bruce Gray, president of Gray Development, says one of the first things he would do is call for an update of the plan, which is 20 years old.

“Many of the original design assumptions proved to be incorrect, and many changes have been made by others over the years – most by NPP,” he said. “That’s the reason traffic is such a mess up there.”

At least 18 amendments have been grafted into the plan to enable development that otherwise could not take place.

Gray said discussions about updating the plan would include the Desert Ridge Community Association, the Arizona State Land Department and city planners. He expects no action at least until the economy recovers.

The Desert Ridge Community Association is the area’s homeowners association, with control over covenants, conditions and restrictions, or CC&Rs, that deal with specific issues in the community.

Claudia Garza, president of the homeowners’ group, did not respond to requests for comment. The community association was part of the lawsuit originally, but settled out of court.

In previous interviews, she has accused Gray of disregarding the Desert Ridge plan. She said in 2007 that if Gray gets its way, the entire Desert Ridge community would be hurt.

Jim Adams, director of the State Land Department’s Real Estate Division, declined to say whether the department would like a complete re-evaluation of the plan.

“Over the years, Desert Ridge has been very successful, and we anticipate it will be successful when the market recovers,” he said. “We have made a number of changes and amendments over the years, and we will continue to do that. All master plans evolve.”

Michelle Dodds, a city planner with responsibility for the plan, said it would make sense to revisit the plan – if only to reflect curr

New Listing – Desert Ridge Aviano

For More Information on the property, Contact Andrew Holm.

Short Sale – Beautiful New Desert Ridge Spanish Colonial Home, Near Great Shopping & 101 Fwy, Walking Distance to Private Park & Play Ground, HUGE BONUS ROOM/Loft & LARGE Extended Master Bedroom, Premium Lot Backs to Natural Wash with View Fencing, Mountain Views, NO Power Lines, Solid Slab Granite Countertops in Kitchen & Master Bath, Staggered Maple Cabinetry, Stainless Steel GE Profile Appliances, Stylish Hardware & Fixtures, Dual-tone Paint, 18´´ Tile, Wrought Iron Stair Railing, Built in Workstations, Epoxy Garage & Patio floors, Includes Professional Front/Back Landscaping, Amazing Clubhouse with Gym & Pool!
Property Amenities

  • 5 Bedrooms
  • 3.5 Baths
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  • Desert Front Landscaping
  • Grassy Backyard
  • 9+ Flat Ceilings
  • Gas Fireplace in Living Room
  • Great Room, Den/Office
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  • Formal Dining Area
  • Eat-in Kitchen, Breakfast Bar
  • Kitchen Features: Disposal, Dishwasher, Refrigerator, Pantry, Kitchen Island
  • Master Bedroom: Sitting Room, Walk-in Closet, Full Bath with Separate Shower & Tub, Double Sinks
  • Covered Patio, Balcony/Deck
  • Community Features: Clubhouse/Rec Room, Heated Pool & Spa
For More Information, Contact:

Andrew Holm

Cell 480.206.4265



New Aviano Listing – Under contract in two days..

3973 E. Sandpiper Dr. • Phoenix, AZ 85050

Not a short sale or lender owned home. Move in less than 30 days. Great floor plan on one of the larger lots in Aviano! N/S exposure. Close to park, walk to school and award winning community center. 4 bedrooms plus den. Entertainer’s backyard with custom fireplace and built in BBQ. Kitchen has 5 burner gas cooktop, granite slab counters, butlers pantry. Shutters and custom window treatments throughout. Large master with sitting area and jacuzzi tub.

Property Amenities

  • 4 Bedrooms
  • 3.5 baths
  • 3,785 sq. ft.
  • 3 Car Garage
  • 2 Fireplace
  • Desert Front Landscaping
  • 9+ Flat Ceilings
  • Family Room, Great Room
  • Den/Office
  • Formal Dining Area
  • Kitchen Features: Range/Oven, Dishwasher, Disposal, Microwave, Pantry, Kitchen Island
  • Master Bedroom: Walk-in Closet, Sitting Room, Full Bath with Separate Shower & Tubs with Jets, Double Sinks
  • Covered Patio, Balcony/Deck
  • Built-in BBQ
  • Community Features: Heated Pool & Spa

For More Information, Contact:Andrew Holm

Andrew Holm

Cell 480.206.4265

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Realtor Equal Housing



AZ Central – CithNorth foreclosure sale postponed

by Michael Clancy – Mar. 30, 2010 01:49 PM
The Arizona Republic

A foreclosure sale of CityNorth’s High Street that was scheduled for Wednesday was postponed at the last minute.

The sale now will take place on June 2.

The sale was postponed at the request of the lender, Capmark Financial. Capmark, which is in bankruptcy, filed foreclosure against the owners of CityNorth in late December.

The CityNorth group, which includes the Klutznick Co. and Related Urban Development, owes more than $290 million to Capmark.

No reason was given for the postponement.

High Street, the initial phase of the 144-acre project at 56th Street and Loop 101 in northeast Phoenix, opened in November 2008. Subsequent phases were supposed to open annually, but the economic slump put an end to those plans.

High Street includes apartments, offices, restaurants and retail.

Currently, future work at CityNorth is on hold, pending financing for new phases.

AZ Central – Cith North’s High Street faces foreclosure sale

by Michael Clancy – Mar. 30, 2010 11:09 AM
The Arizona Republic

The Klutznick Co. and Related Urban Development could lose their stakes in CityNorth’s High Street on Wednesday.

A trustee’s sale is scheduled on the property as the result of loan defaults totaling $290.5 million. Capmark Finance foreclosed on the property in December.

Attorney Scott Klundt, who is handling the sale, said the sale could be postponed. He said he has had conversations with representatives of the lender that lead him to suspect a delay, but he could not say for sure.

The sale would involve only High Street, a three-block development of restaurants, shops, offices and apartments. It is the only completed portion of the CityNorth project, which has been stalled because of the economy.

CityNorth is at 56th Street and Loop 101 in northeast Phoenix’s Desert Ridge area.

The foreclosure is believed to be the largest commercial foreclosure in state history.

Unknown at this time is whether anyone will step into the void. Neither Related nor Klutznick have made any announcements regarding bankruptcy or refinancing, which would halt the sale. No other parties have made their interest known publicly.

Should the sale take place and no bidders surface, High Street would become the property of the lender.

High Street opened in late 2008, but since then, several big retailers have put their plans on hold, and financing and construction of subsequent phases have not taken place.

The idea that financing would be available once a state Supreme Court case was finished – in CityNorth’s favor – has proven to be false. The sale is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday at the law firm Quarles and Brady, 2 N. Central Ave.

AZ Central – CityNorth decision to impact future development deals

by Michael Clancy – Feb. 1, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Development agreements between governments and private parties will still be a major part of governmental economic policy, but future agreements will have to be structured in ways that make the public benefits clear and reasonable in the wake of a recent Arizona Supreme Court decision.

Lawyers, economic-development officials and others said deals with retail developers are likely to be the most in jeopardy as a result of the court’s decision last week in the CityNorth case.

But if anyone was hoping the court would abolish all such deals, they are likely to be disappointed.

The court said such projects might be OK if agreements setting up incentives, tax breaks and subsidies do two things: spell out what the government will get in return and provide enough in return that the amount of the government investment is not way out of whack.

In the case of CityNorth, the court said, 3,180 parking spaces probably were not enough to account for Phoenix’s $97.4 million potential investment. It let the agreement stand, however, because of confusion arising from previous decisions.

Another deal attracting public scrutiny more clearly guarantees what each party brings to the table. Under the memorandum of understanding, which will be formalized when financing is arranged, the Chicago Cubs agree to buy the land for a new spring-training facility and transfer ownership to Mesa, while Mesa will build and own the stadium.

The Cubs will be responsible for stadium operations and upkeep, which had been a net expense for the city.

Mesa Mayor Scott Smith told reporters that lawyers for the city and the baseball team would need time to study the memorandum in light of the CityNorth case.

“We believe the agreement we have would satisfy the requirements,” he said.

Grady Gammage, whose firm represented CityNorth in the case, said he believes the judgment muddied the waters even further.

The court said governments could not consider “indirect benefits” when determining incentives. In the CityNorth case, it deemed indirect benefits to include the promise of jobs and tax revenue.

“These agreements are all about indirect benefits,” Gammage said. “The question is whether the investment exceeds the indirect benefits.”

Cities engage in dozens of incentive agreements, from the sale and leaseback of office buildings to repaying developers for infrastructure costs. Virtually every Valley city has a set of agreements completed, others in progress.

Clint Bolick, of the Goldwater Institute, who argued against the CityNorth incentives, said it was impossible to pass instant judgment on other such deals still in the works, adding that the details of those deals will make or break them.

In the case of CityNorth, additional guarantees from the developer, incorporated into the ordinance that approved the agreement, might have made a difference, Bolick said.

For Gammage, however, that difference is not meaningful. The CityNorth deal will not activate until the city has a steady stream of income, he said, and rewriting the agreement to obligate the developers would make no difference.

Tom Irvine, an attorney who has worked on similar agreements for government groups, said numerous past agreements would not have stood up to the court’s new, updated direction.

“Any pure retail subsidy would fail,” he said.

Some, in fact, fell apart even before any suit could be filed or any court could make a ruling, he said, citing a $36.7 million subsidy to developer Steve Ellman for a big-box-store-anchored shopping area at the old Los Arcos Mall location.

Last week’s decision, Irvine said, made clear that subsidies must have a public purpose and that what the city gets in return cannot be “outlandish.”

“If people do not try to beat the system, you can successfully negotiate economic-development agreements,” he said.

Sen. Ken Cheuvront, who was a plaintiff in the CityNorth case, said future subsidies will have to be “fine-tuned” so that governments do not “give away the house so they can build a garden.”

David Krietor, deputy city manager of Phoenix, who oversees economic development in the city, said Phoenix will continue to seek partnerships with organizations that help the city reach its goals.

“We are going to focus on projects that have a strong positive economic impact for the city of Phoenix and recommend strategic partnerships to the city council that are consistent with local, state and federal law,” he said.

Several people argued that the real problem lies in Arizona’s tax system.

As long as sales taxes dominate municipal revenue, cities will be forced to enter such agreements, they said.

“This does not happen in places with more diversified economies and a broader tax base,” Cheuvront said.

Gammage went further.

“The really frustrating thing is that other states let the government do economic development,” he said, citing New Mexico’s new incentives to build solar plants, train workers in green industries and provide tax credits and financing. “Here, it is a complete mess. Deciding this in a political manner is a more rational way to go about it.”

AZ Central – CityNorth agreement stands for now

by Michael Clancy – Jan. 25, 2010 12:46 PM
The Arizona Republic

Phoenix’s $97.4 million deal with CityNorth will be allowed to stand, but future economic development agreements will have to comply with a stricter standard, the Arizona Supreme Court decided today.

The case will go back to the Arizona Court of Appeals for decisions on other constitutional issues.

Deciding the case Monday solely on the state Constitution’s gift clause, the court said confusion regarding prior decisions led the city to conclude that the agreement was constitutional.

The High Court, which ruled unanimously, said the appeals court made a mistake when it concluded the agreement “unduly promoted a private interest.”

The new standard requires that such agreements must have a direct benefit – in the CityNorth case, the 3,180 public parking spots and the 200 park-and-ride spots – and that indirect benefits may not apply. Phoenix and CityNorth argued that such indirect benefits as future tax revenue, employment and other issues should apply.

Both sides expressed satisfaction with the result, but Clint Bolick of the Goldwater Institute, who filed the lawsuit challenging the agreement, said he was disappointed that the agreement itself was not ruled out.

“We lost the battle for now, but we won the war,” Bolick said.

Deputy City Manager David Krietor, who was closely involved with the decision, said the decision “vindicated” the agreement.

As for future agreements, Krietor said the city was OK with the court’s direction.

AZ Central – CityNorth projects all had troubled launches

by Max Jarman – Jan. 10, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

At the $300 million CityNorth development in northeast Phoenix, parking spaces are plentiful along the Main Street equivalent known as High Street.

On a recent weekday, a handful of shoppers strolled sidewalks of the four-block-long thoroughfare, meandering in and out of the 14 stores that remain open.

CityNorth was supposed to be Phoenix’s hottest new destination, with luxury condominiums, chic boutiques and, in its second phase, the area’s first Bloomingdale’s department store.

It now sits in foreclosure, unable to pay back loans to its bankrupt lender, the victim of frozen credit markets, plunging retail sales and collapsed real-estate values.

CityNorth joins a handful of visionary but ill-timed commercial real-estate projects that were spectacular initial failures. They include the Camelback Esplanade mixed-use development and the once-luxurious Scottsdale Galleria shopping mall.

Over the long term, those projects evolved differently yet successfully.

Ultimately, developer and former Gov. Fife Symington’s vision for the 22.5-acre site at 24th Street and Camelback Road was fulfilled by investors who bought the Esplanade project for pennies on the dollar at a public sale in 1994. Its buildings now command some of the top rents in metro Phoenix.

But the Galleria, Amram Knishinsky’s 1987 dream of a 1.35 million-square-foot shopping mall with 245 trendy stores at Fifth Avenue and Scottsdale Road, was not realized.

Thomas J. Klutznick envisioned CityNorth as a vibrant urban center in the middle of the 5,700-acre Desert Ridge community for which his company is the master developer.

And most real-estate experts agree that the CityNorth site at 56th Street and the Loop 101 remains one of the area’s choice commercial locations. As with the Esplanade and Galleria, new investors, along with evolving market conditions, will help shape its still-uncertain future.

Echoes of Esplanade

Like Klutznick’s vision for CityNorth, Symington’s dream of an upscale office, retail and residential development at 24th Street and Camelback Road was controversial and fraught with high-pitched zoning battles.

Symington spent $200 million to develop two 11-story office buildings and the 281-room Ritz-Carlton hotel that opened in 1988. After the savings-and-loan crisis and resulting real-estate crash, the hotel and office buildings were sold in 1994 for $69 million to a Boston investment adviser.

An undeveloped 12 acres, zoned for retail shops, three more office towers and a high-rise condominium building were purchased for $6 million by Francis Najafi’s Pivotal Group and Southwest Value Partners, headed by Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver. They partnered with Opus Southwest to built three office buildings, a condominium tower, retail and restaurant space and a movie-theater complex.

Attorney Grady Gammage said it’s common for such major projects to go through several developer/owners, and even foreclosure, because they are long-term projects that often span several real-estate cycles.

Gammage said Camelback Esplanade ultimately succeeded because of the quality of the site and the development plan.

Galleria concept flops

The Scottsdale Galleria was ill-conceived from the beginning, Gammage said.

The anchorless center was supposed to attract high-end boutiques, many by European designers, which would draw customers. The center with marble floors, brass fittings and a huge open atrium opened in 1991 and closed in 1993. The Galleria languished for years as owners struggled with what to do with the property.

Excel Realty trust, which bought the $130 million center for $6 million at a 1993 foreclosure, kicked out the tenants, sold off the computerized fountain that pulsed with music, ripped out the marble and scraped the brass fittings. The failed mall went through a number of subsequent owners, whose unsuccessful proposals for the property included a sports-related mall, Wild West theme park and branch of the Smithsonian. It’s now a successful office building with tenants that include health-care-services provider McKesson Corp.

Bad timing

CityNorth is being developed by a partnership between the Klutznick Co. of Chicago, New York’s Related Cos. and JER Partners of McLean,Va.

High Street opened in November 2008, weeks after the national economy began to seriously unravel.

The market for the luxury condominiums dried up. Retailers waited for customers that never came. Stores without staying power skipped out or never moved in. Others, primarily national chains, are sticking it out, at least until their leases expire.

But some things are working. All of the unsold condominiums have been rented as apartments, and the Related Cos., which manages the project, reports decent demand for office space.

August 2014
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