Archive for the 'Real Estate Articles' Category

AZ Central – Ritz-Carlton remains committed to Paradise Valley

PARADISE VALLEY – The proposed Ritz-Carlton, Paradise Valley Resort will not go to another community.

The project planned northwest of Lincoln Drive and Scottsdale Road received a setback last week when a Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled that a referendum challenging the project could be placed on the Nov. 4 ballot.

But Jerry Ayoub, president and chief executive officer of Scottsdale-based Five Star Development, this week sought to clarify a statement released by the company after the ruling about what might happen next.

“Other communities have solicited us to move the project; that is a fact. However, we have worked for three years to establish trust with Paradise Valley officials and residents,” Ayoub said in a prepared statement.

“Collectively, we have created a project that we can all be proud of for decades to come. Our commitment to the community has not wavered and we believe that the Ritz-Carlton is a perfect fit for Paradise Valley,” Ayoub added.

The Paradise Valley Town Council unanimously approved the project on April 10. But a citizens group called Preserve Our Paradise, which opposes the density of some of the project’s homes, collected enough petition signatures to force a referendum.

Five Starr challenged the referendum in court, but was turned down by Judge Peter Swann. Five Starr has not decided whether to appeal.

Tonight, the Town Council will consider setting a Nov. 4 election date for the referendum. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Paradise Valley Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive.

The project calls for a 225-room resort hotel and 161 residences ranging from 1-acre home sites to patio homes on 105 acres.

Ayoub said the project’s team maintains that the overwhelming majority of Paradise Valley residents are behind the project. He said Five Star has, and will continue, to have immense support from town residents and officials.

“It’s unfortunate that such a small group of people can cause this significant of a delay after we’ve worked tirelessly with neighbors and officials to get this project right and get it unanimously approved. However, we are confident in Paradise Valley’s acceptance of the Ritz-Carlton,” Ayoub said.

The council also will vote to give the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau an additional $25,000 in annual funding. That would bring the total to $625,000 to promote the town’s resorts and $75,000 in special funding to support the Fiesta Bowl.

At its 4 p.m. work-study session, the council will discuss the mayoral selection process. In Paradise Valley, the council elects the mayor, not voters. Vernon Parker, who was chosen mayor June 12, would support voters doing so. He requested the council discussion.


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AZ Republic – 15-acre parcel of trust land on auction block

by Michael Clancy – Jul. 9, 2008 10:38 AM
The Arizona Republic

A 15-acre parcel of land at Pinnacle Peak and Cave Creek Roads will be put up for auction Wednesday.

The Arizona State Land Department is asking $5.5 million for the site, which is on a 65-year land lease.

The auction takes place at 10 a.m. at the Arizona State Land Department, 1616 W. Adams St.,

Wedged between the Catholic Holy Redeemer Cemetery and the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, the land will be used for commercial development.

Residential developments are going in, or have been built, on the west side of Cave Creek Road. On the east side, the nearest homes are in Desert Ridge, about a mile away.

A large parcel of about 400 acres in the same area was up for auction twice in the final months of 2007, but drew no bidders.

Land on the north side of Pinnacle Peak Road, also part of the Land Department’s portfolio, also remains vacant.

The applicant for the property is a company called Sterling Realty Group, which could not be reached for comment.

AZ Central – Fed to curb shady home-lending practices

Jul. 8, 2008 01:08 PM
Associated Press


WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve will issue new rules next week aimed at protecting future homebuyers from dubious lending practices, its most sweeping response to a housing crisis that has propelled foreclosures to record highs.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke of the much-awaited rules in a broader speech Tuesday about the challenges confronting policymakers in trying to stabilize a shaky U.S. financial system. To that end, Bernanke said the Fed may give squeezed Wall Street firms more time to tap the central bank’s emergency loan program.

To prevent a repeat of the current mortgage mess, Bernanke said the Fed will adopt rules cracking down on a range of shady lending practices that has burned many of the nation’s riskiest “subprime” borrowers – those with spotty credit or low incomes – who were hardest hit by the housing and credit debacles.

The plan, which will be voted on at a Fed board meeting on Monday, would apply to new loans made by thousands of lenders of all types, including banks and brokers.

Under the proposal unveiled last December, the rules would restrict lenders from penalizing risky borrowers who pay loans off early, require lenders to make sure these borrowers set aside money to pay for taxes and insurance and bar lenders from making loans without proof of a borrower’s income. It also would prohibit lenders from engaging in a pattern or practice of lending without considering a borrower’s ability to repay a home loan from sources other than the home’s value.

“These new rules … will address some of the problems that have surfaced in recent years in mortgage lending, especially high-cost mortgage lending,” Bernanke said.

Consumer groups have complained that the proposed rules aren’t strong enough, while mortgage lenders worry that they are too tough and could crimp customers’ choices.

In an extraordinary action aimed at averting a financial catastrophe, the Fed in March agreed to let investment houses go to the Fed – on a temporary basis – for a quick, overnight source of cash. Those loan privileges, which are supposed to last through mid-September, are similar to those permanently afforded to commercial banks for years.

“We are currently monitoring developments in financial markets closely and considering several options, including extending the duration of our facilities for primary dealers beyond year-end should the current unusual and exigent circumstances continue to prevail in dealer funding markets,” Bernanke said in prepared remarks to a mortgage-lending forum in Arlington, Va.

The Fed’s decision to act – temporarily at least – as a lender of last resort for Wall Street firms was made after a run on Bear Stearns pushed the investment bank to the brink of bankruptcy and raised fears that others might be in jeopardy. It was the broadest use of the Fed’s lending powers since the 1930s.

Bear Stearns was eventually taken over by JPMorgan Chase & Co., with the Fed providing $28.82 billion in financial backing.

Those controversial decisions have drawn criticism from Democrats in Congress and elsewhere that the Fed is bailing out Wall Street and putting billions of taxpayer dollars at risk.

Bernanke, in appearances on Capitol Hill has said he doesn’t believe taxpayers will suffer any losses.

In his speech Tuesday, the Fed chief defended those actions anew. If the Fed didn’t intervene, he said, problems in financial markets would have snowballed, imperiling the country.

“Allowing Bear Stearns to fail so abruptly at a time when the financial markets were already under considerable stress would likely have had extremely adverse implications for the financial system and for the broader economy,” Bernanke said to the mortgage forum, organized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The Fed’s consideration of giving Wall Street firms more time to tap the Fed’s emergency loan program is part of an ongoing effort by the central bank to bring back stability to fragile financial markets and help to bolster shaky confidence on the part of investors.

Policymakers – in the White House, in Congress and other federal agencies – will need to work together to come up with ways to make the U.S. financial system more resilient and stable and to prevent a repeat of the types of problems that brought about the end of Bear Stearns, an 85-year-old institution, Bernanke said.

Although those efforts are already under way and will be the focus of a House Financial Services Committee hearing Thursday, it will fall to the next president and next Congress to settle them. Both Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson are scheduled to testify at Thursday’s hearing.

The Bush administration has proposed revamping the nation’s financial regulatory structure. That plan would make the Fed an ubercop in charge of financial market stability. But the Fed would lose daily supervision of big banks. Bernanke said the Fed must maintain this power if it is to be an effective overseer of financial stability.

The Fed, which regulates banks, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, which oversees investment firms, announced an information-sharing agreement on Monday aimed at better detecting potential risks to the financial system.

Over the longer term, though, Congress may need to adopt legislation to bolster supervision of investment banks and other large securities dealers, Bernanke said.

Bernanke recommended that Congress give a regulator the authority to set standards for capital, liquidity holdings and risk management practices for the holding companies of the major investment banks. Currently, the SEC’s oversight of these holding companies is based on a voluntary agreement between the SEC and those firms.


AZ Republic – Judge rejects lawsuit from Ritz developer

PARADISE VALLEY – A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has rejected a lawsuit brought by the developer of the Ritz-Carlton, Paradise Valley Resort to block a public vote on the project.

Paradise Valley has postponed setting an election date for the referendum pending Judge Peter Swann’s ruling. The Town Council will now do so July 10, said Town Clerk Duncan Miller. The election would be set for Nov. 4.

The project calls for a 225-room resort hotel and 161 residences ranging from 1-acre home sites to patio homes on 105 acres northwest of Lincoln Drive and Scottsdale Road.

The Paradise Valley Town Council unanimously approved the project April 10, but a citizens group Preserve Our Paradise collected enough petition signatures to force a referendum. POP is opposed to the density of some of the residences.

On June 11, Scottsdale-based Five Star Development and Paradise Valley resident Husam Khazen filed suit. They argued that the signature petitions contained an inadequate description of the measure to be referred and that the council ordinance approving the project was an administrative, not a legislative act, and, therefore, not subject to referendum.

Swann ruled Monday that both arguments lacked merit and denied the request to dismiss the referendum.

David Schmid, Five Star’s vice president of development, said the company is disappointed in the judge’s ruling and is weighing its options.

“Since we have not seen the written order, we are unable to provide any detailed analysis of the order, or comment on our future course of action,” Schmid said.


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AZ Republic – Project may be in the works after trust-land buy

SCOTTSDALE – A developer who won the bid Monday for 17 acres of state trust land near Pinnacle Peak is reportedly interested in a project that would include another nearby Scottsdale landmark.

Combining the state land with the 51-year-old Pinnacle Peak Patio restaurant makes sense for a residential or commercial development, said Bob Vairo, president of the Coalition of Pinnacle Peak, a north Scottsdale neighborhood group.

“It sounds like it’s headed in the right direction, but we would like to know the details,” said Vairo, who was briefed by Scottsdale on the developer’s plans.

John Wanninger of JTW PPR LLC, which picked up the state land Monday for the minimum bid of $12.75 million, declined comment on his plans for the state land southeast of Pinnacle Peak.

Pinnacle Peak Patio, a Western steakhouse that celebrated 50 years in business in June 2007, is one of Scottsdale’s oldest restaurants. But suburban sprawl has infringed on its old West ambiance and collection of clipped-off neckties.

Pinnacle Peak Patio officials did not return calls.

Vairo, head of the neighborhood coalition, said he had not heard of anyone rallying to support the steakhouse.

The coalition tracked the auction because of its potential impact on Pinnacle Peak Park, a popular hiking and climbing spot in northern Scottsdale, which has seen more than 1 million visitors since it re-opened in 2002.

Scottsdale is interested in using a portion of the state land to maintain access to the park’s trails. The city needs additional parking to accommodate the flood of visitors who hike the park’s 1.75-mile trail.

John Little, Scottsdale’s acting city manager, said the city is in a “very good place” to get the parking it wants for Pinnacle Peak Park. The developer will need Scottsdale’s approval of a site plan for any project and “will want to work with the city,” Little said. The Arizona State Land Department identified the property as a resort site, but it could also be used for other commercial and residential uses.

Developer Wanninger is also at work on a hotel and condominium project northeast of Camelback and Scottsdale roads known as Waterview at Scottsdale.

No other bidders showed up at Monday’s state land auction to acquire the Pinnacle Peak site, although two other groups registered to bid. The land sold for $758,477 per acre. Land Commissioner Mark Winkleman was pleased with the deal.

“It ends the (fiscal) year on a high note with two successful auctions at a time when real estate is struggling,” he said.

Republic reporter Lesley Wright contributed to this article.

AZ Republic – Lone bidder to pay $12.7 million for state trust land

SCOTTSDALE – The winning bidder for nearly 17 acres of state trust land near Pinnacle Peak Park will pay $12.75 million for the site.

JTW PPR LLC of Scottsdale, represented by broker Jared Guess of American Realty Brokers of Phoenix, placed the only bid Monday with the Arizona State Land Department.

The property was identified by the state as a resort site, but it could also be used for other commercial and residential uses.

Scottsdale is interested in using a portion of the land to maintain access to its popular hiking and climbing trails at Pinnacle Peak. The iconic peak, visible for miles in northern Scottsdale, has attracted more than a million visitors since the 1.75-mile trail opened in 2002.

Recreation interests are concerned that development of the site could limit access to the park because parking could be eliminated along the access road to the trailhead.

With only 50 spots, the park’s lot cannot accommodate the volume of hikers at busy times.

John Wanninger of JTW also plans to develop the Waterview at Scottsdale hotel and condominium project, northeast of Camelback and Scottsdale roads.

Two other bidders for site near Pinnacle Peak registered with the Land Department, but did not bid Monday:
• Luxury Home Concepts of Phoenix, represented by broker Michele La Blonde of La Blonde Realty LLC of Scottsdale.
• LHC Developments LLC of Phoenix, represented by broker La Blonde of La Blonde Realty.

AZ Republic – Beach house project will line Arizona Canal

5 commentsby Peter Corbett – Jun. 26, 2008 12:15 PM
The Arizona Republic

SCOTTSDALE – There’s no beachfront property in Scottsdale so the Arizona Canal will have to do.

Designer Alan Lamb said his design for 12 townhouses along the canal at SouthBridge downtown calls to mind tall, narrow beach houses with the canal path serving as the strand or boardwalk.

“It’s a hoot,” he said. ” I get to do beach houses in Scottsdale, ArizonaLamb and his brother, Gary, of Lamb Architects have designed the SouthBridge Canal Walk residences, southwest of Camelback and Scottsdale roads.

The 55,000-square-foot project, which includes an urban street plaza, will extend redevelopment of the canal southwest from the SouthBridge restaurants and Mix retail shops.

Four-story canal homes planned

The four-story residences, with three levels above the canal, range from 3,700 to 6,400 square feet. Prices are from $4 million to $6 million, with firm commitments for half of the units, said architect Gary Lamb.

Underground parking and private elevators will serve each residence. Rooftop balconies will include spa/pools. And each home will have its own courtyard with a water feature facing the canal.

Alan Lamb said the Canal Walk homes extend redevelopment of the southwestern bank of the canal and provide a vital link between Scottsdale Waterfront, Scottsdale Fashion Square and the Fifth Avenue shops.

“Old Town really can have that urban density that everybody is wanting,” he said.

Euro style: What’s a ‘woonerf’?

Canal Walk’s urban street plaza, along a short stretch of 70th Place, is a new concept for Scottsdale that goes back several decades in the Netherlands.

Referred to as a woonerf, the street plaza has no curbs or sidewalks. Pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists, at appropriately low-speeds, share the street plaza.

Woonerf, pronounced VOH-nurf, is a Dutch word meaning “street for living.”

At the Canal Walk, the 24-foot-wide woonerf on 70th Place will include paver bricks of contrasting colors and embedded LED lighting.

Benches, trees, shade canopies and a fountain will add to the ambiance.

Alan Lamb said it is a concept that might work in other areas downtown, including along Marshall Way, which links Fashion Square with the planned Scottsdale Museum of the West south of Main Street.

Townhouses face back of shops

Canal Walk will be built behind a one-story row of retail shops.

Lamb said it was an interesting challenge trying to incorporate the residences with the back of the retail shops.

Canal Walk will do some improvements to screen the shops and incorporate employee parking with spaces for the townhouse guests, he said.

The Scottsdale Development Review Board unanimously approved the Canal Walk project last week.

Gary Lamb said he hopes to start construction by the end of the year and finish the residences by midyear 2010.

He is a partner in the development with Ted Lamb, no relation, Kenn Francis and Fred Unger.

The developer of SouthBridge, Unger will own one of the residences.

Condominiums are planned in a later phase of the development along the canal to the west.


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