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JULY Friday Morning Breakfast

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, July 31, 2019


All Aboard!

The future of public transit in the Valley drives July FMB panel

An election to determine the future of light rail in the Valley looms on the horizon.


 A yes vote on Prop. 105 is a vote in favor of amending the City of Phoenix charter to end construction of light rail extensions and direct funds to other transportation improvements in Phoenix.


A not vote on Prop. 105 is a vote against amending the city charter, leaving funds allocated to light rail expansion.


Since the passages of Prop. 400 in 2004 and Prop. 104 in 2015, the Valley's public transportation system has evolved to meet the demands of booming population growth and economic development. As a result, new development has energized both the region and the debate over what the future holds for this mode of public transit.


“The topic of public transportation is near and dear to my heart,” said Scott Smith, CEO of Valley Metro and moderator for July’s Valley Partnership Friday Morning Breakfast. “I lived through it during my development days, as an elected official and now as a CEO.”

As the light rail celebrates its 10th year of operation, business, transportation and real estate leaders are now planning out where it will head next. The August 27 election will affect the future of real estate, development and investments.


Joining Scott were panelists John Giles, Mayor, City of Mesa; Shannon Scutari, President, Scutari & Co., LLC.; and Eric Anderson, Executive Director, Maricopa Association of Governments. Smith is also the former mayor of Mesa.


“Light rail helped revitalize Mesa’s urban core,” Scott said. “A $500 million investment translated into connectivity and thousands of jobs. Those were federal dollars that would have some elsewhere.”


The sticking point is light rail construction that could affect businesses along the line. Grass roots organizations and small business groups have echoed their concerns.  Giles said those were the same concerns of businesses in downtown Mesa when light rail construction began.


“Small business owners thought this was their death sentence,” Giles recalled. “As we well know now, the net loss of business was zero. Valley Metro and the city worked very hard to accommodate folks. They helped nurture their livelihood during construction. We doubled down on all those efforts.


“The Valley has evolved and matured, as has Mesa. I have never been more happy being wrong in this situation,” Giles said.

Scutari touched on the impact the light rail has had on three communities: Phoenix, Mesa and Tempe.

“Light rail is good for generations of people in the Valley,” she said. “You want communities that are walkable, bikeable, connected. Something for all generations.”


On the other side, Smith said, there are those who “the streets suck” and “fix the potholes.”


But if wasn’t for the Valley’s transportation system and its myriad freeways, where would it be today?


“A couple of days ago I did a podcast for AZCentral,” Anderson said. “Part of what came out was that in the 70s the Republic came out against freeways. It’s more than just getting from point A to point B. Long-term, it’s pretty important where we go. Who knows, maybe commuter rail could be the next evolution.”


The benefits of light rail’s first decade are palpable, the panelists agreed.


“Downtown Phoenix has a vibrant 24/7 population,” Anderson said. “That didn’t happen overnight. Chase Field. The science museum. Arizona State University. The light rail happened to downtown.”


In Mesa, Giles said, affordable housing projects along the light rail have been developed.


“Light rail changes the dynamic of a community,” Smith said. “That shows you just how fragile transportation is.”



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JUNE Friday Morning Breakfast

Posted By Heather Garbarino, Thursday, July 18, 2019


Looking back, looking forward

Numbers tell the story at the 2019 mid-year review of real estate development,
growth in the Valley



Numbers don’t lie. Actually, they tell a pretty good story.

Economic momentum. Employment growth. Population growth. Personal income growth.


“In my opinion, getting knocked out during the downturn gave us the opportunity to get back up. Obviously, we’re doing something right. Look at the numbers. They tell the story. We are consistently seeing things headed in the right direction.”

Jim Rounds, President of Round Consulting Group, painted a positive picture as moderator of Valley Partnership’s June Friday Morning Breakfast at Phoenix Country Club.

And why not.


 The economies of Arizona and the U.S. have been buoyed by low employment and new highs for consumer confidence. The real estate and development markets in Arizona have been equally impressive in the first half of the year.

As the Valley approached the halfway point of 2019, June’s Friday Morning Breakfast featured a conversation hosted by Rounds, a renowned economist, on what we've seen so far in 2019 and where investors should expect we'll go for the remainder of the year.


“The market has been incredibly frothy for some time,” said panelist Ryan Sarbinoff, Vice President/Regional Manager Phoenix, Marcus & Millichap. “A big driving force is foreign investment. There is still safety and security in the U.S.”

Joining Rounds and Sarbinoff were Jessica Morin, Director of Market Analytics, CoStar Group; Pete Wentis, Senior Vice President, CBRE; and Micah Miranda, Economic Development Director, City of Chandler.

What can slow down the train that’s driving the Valley’s economic engine? A lack of new and existing office and industrial space could present a challenge, Morin said.

“During the Great Recession we were one of the hardest hit markets in the country,” she said. “We lost 300,000 jobs, about a quarter of that were construction jobs. Since then, we have shown steady growth. Are we building enough space now?


“Some of our markets are showing incredible growth,” Morin said. “The East Valley. Tempe. Chandler. There is a large labor pool of quality talent in those markets. ASU has also been a significant catalyst for the growth.”

While the Southeast Valley’s office market is booming, Morin said Downtown Phoenix hasn’t caught up just yet. However, she said she expects that to change in the next few years.


With Chandler becoming one of the top submarkets in the Valley for financial service and technology companies, Miranda said, “Product wins projects. Unless we have the products, companies will skip over us.

“In Chandler, preserving the Price Corridor and other employment corridors is key as we create the right environment for growth,” he said. “My perspective is that education is also key to business attraction. Education is critical.”

On the industrial side, Wentis said the cost of development of that product type presents an advantage for the Valley over competitors in Southern California. He said the West Valley will benefit greatly when the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway bypass opens later this year.


“We are at historically low vacancy numbers in the industrial market,” Wentis said. “This is a sign we have a very healthy market (in the Valley). Two of biggest challenges are the net cost of tenant improvements and lack of labor.

“Developers are trying to be creative,” he added. “And with better corridors such as the 202 South Mountain Freeway, there will be a huge impact on our transportation of goods and services.”

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MAY Friday Morning Breakfast

Posted By Heather Garbarino, Thursday, May 23, 2019


Adaptive Reuse


Repurposing our history to create news spaces for the future



The development world defines adaptive reuse as “the process of taking an old building or site, and reusing it for a purpose other than it was designed. It is closely related to historic preservation or conservation around cities with rich history.”


The Valley has established itself as a leader when it comes to adaptive reuse. Evident throughout Metro Phoenix are buildings that are given a second life through adaptive reuse. Now, a new generation of Arizonans gets to experience these structures with a new vision for the future.


The conversation was lively at the May 17 Friday Morning Breakfast as the panel dug into the topic of adaptive reuse. The highlighted projects and their representative: Papago Plaza in Scottsdale, Lee Mashburn, President, Pivot Development; ARRIVE Phoenix, Lorenzo Perez, Co-Founder, Venue Projects; and Park Central, Stan Shafer, Principal and CEO, Holualoa Companies.


“I was in Los Angeles talking to 12 different institutional investors and one thing we heard was the traditional suburban office product is a bit out of favor,” said moderator Chris Toci, Executive Managing Director, Cushman & Wakefield. “What’s in favor is creative, adaptive open architecture. Investors can’t get enough of it.”


A look at the projects:

>> Park Central: This iconic shopping center has been the buzz of the development community and Midtown Phoenix neighborhood for the past year. The former site of a dairy farm was once the shopping destination of Phoenix residents. It featured some of the Valley’s big-name department stores such Goldwater’s and Diamond’s.


As other malls cropped up around the Valley, Park Central began to decline as major tenants moved out. It was sold to a special servicer who didn’t have much luck with it, according to Shafer. In 2016, Holualoa Companies and Plaza Companies came to the rescue.


“My inspiration was the Warehouse District,” Shafer said. “It had light rail access, surface parking and onsite amenities. It presented us with a great adaptive reuse opportunity. We were able to unlock the ability to develop the entire project.”

When all the phases are complete, Park Central will feature new retail and dining destinations, a multifamily project, a new parking garage, and Creighton University’s Health Sciences Campus.  


“This project is the collaboration of many stakeholders,” Shafer said. “By 2021 it will be a dynamic location and will revitalize downtown Phoenix.”


>> ARRIVE Phoenix: A stone’s throw from the Newton, one of Venue Projects’ signature adaptive reuse collaborations, is ARRIVE Phoenix. The innovative project features a 79-room boutique hotel that includes a rooftop cocktail lounge, a tropical-shaded pool, coffee shop and popsicle shop (where guests check in).


The project will occupy a pair of obsolete office buildings at 400 and 444 Central Avenue.


“This project opened doors for us,” Perez said. “We are bringing a sense of place and preservation of our heritage. We found a creative opportunity and solution. Our plan with this project is create, not compete.”


With a focus on urban infill, Perez said, Venue Projects pursues transportation-oriented development. Its other signature adaptive reuse projects are The Orchard and Windsor and Churn in Phoenix.


>> Papago Plaza: This aging retail property presented a big challenge to the developer. At the corner of Scottsdale and McDowell roads, it sits pretty much as a diagonal on the side. Walking from one end of the plaza to the other, Mashburn said, is the equivalent of crossing three and half football fields.


A re-imagined Papago Plaza will feature a grocery anchor, a hotel, a four-story apartment building, a four-story parking garage and restaurants and retail shops. Another great Scottsdale landmark, SkySong, sits across the street.

“We looked at all the options here and think we’ve come up with a great solution,” Mashburn said. “We will do something with this project that they didn’t do in the 80s.”





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APRIL Friday Morning Breakfast

Posted By Heather Garbarino, Monday, May 13, 2019

Under The Sun

Learn what’s next for Desert Ridge


Phoenix Mayor, Kate Gallego, opened April’s Friday Morning Breakfast by expressing her wishes and sharing her plans for Phoenix and the surrounding suburbs. With an emphasis on planning and preparing for water-related issues, and a desire to infuse the city with more transportation options, jobs, and healthcare options, Mayor Gallego’s plan for the city — simply stated — is one that is forward-looking and future-focused.

“We want to create great places for families in every corner of our community”


Her simple statement perfectly led into the panel discussion about the progress and the projections for Desert Ridge — a location that will soon become a great place for not only families but businesses and students as well.


April’s panel was comprised of Desert Ridge experts who are actively involved in the planning and development of this blossoming community. Moderated by Christine Mackay, Community and Economic Development Director with the city of Phoenix, the panel discussed in detail some of the exciting plans in the works for Desert Ridge.


Panelists included: Rick Carpenelli — Vice President Acquisition Development at Crown Realty

& Development, Rick Hearn — Vice President of Leasing at Vestar, Rick Naimark — Vice President for Program Development Planning at Arizona State University, and David Schwartz — Business Development and Site Planning Administrator for Mayo Clinic of Arizona.


A medical center partnership between ASU and the Mayo Clinic, the update of Desert Ridge Market Place, and Crown Development's plans as master developer for 5,700 acres at Desert Ridge were all topics of discussion. The growth and further development of Desert Ridge comes with the promise of more than just new buildings and infrastructures. Carpenelli stated that as the Master Developers they envision this city as a “job generating,” area with, “commercial office and health care spaces”.


Though the original plans for Desert Ridge were crafted in the early 90s, the Desert Ridge of today will pay homage to those plans, but bring them past the present day and straight into the future of community development. Carpenelli and his team foresee Desert ridge as “a city of the future,” and with property that is shovel ready and the ability to bring 5G to the area — the future is closer than we think.


In addition to the forward-thinking plans taking place in Desert Ridge, the community can expect to see a revitalization of the Desert Ridge Market Place. In hopes of marrying working spaces, living areas, entertainment, shopping, and transportation, the plans for Desert Ridge are mindful of working singles, families, businesses, and the needs and wants of the millennial workforce. “Workforce is key in everything we do,” stated Hearn, and that emphasis is at the epicenter of the Desert Ridge plans.


Also shaping the future of Desert Ridge is a medical center partnership between ASU and the Mayo Clinic. ASU and the Mayo Clinic have a long-standing, reputable relationship and with the construction of a new medical center in Desert Ridge, that relationship continues to grow and strengthen the medical community.


Naimark relayed that for this partnership, research dollars are growing. Bringing this medical center partnership to fruition has been nothing short of “a herculean task,” but Naimark and Schwartz are excited by the “opportunity to design the healthcare of the future.” The ASU, Mayo Clinic partnership is predicted to be a pillar of the community and a great benefit to the medical world.


Carpinelli relayed that, “in short, what we are building here is a small city.” As the plans for Desert Ridge continue to come to life, it is expected that this “small city” will be a booming, thriving community.



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MARCH Friday Morning Breakfast BLOG

Posted By Heather Garbarino, Monday, April 1, 2019

Let Us Entertain You


Hospitality, sports hubs score with the development community


“It’s got to have everything.”


That phrase, read by moderator Maria Baier, set the backdrop for March’s Valley Partnership Friday Morning Breakfast.

As a new generation of tourists visit Arizona in droves, exciting new “entertainment corridors” are popping up across the Valley as hubs of hospitality, sports, and dining options designed to attract both tourists and local denizens.


The March panel comprised representatives from hospitality and development who discussed these new entertainment corridors and how they’ll impact our tourism and development industries.


“No group is more able to explain this (the above phrase) than our panel,” said Baier, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for the Phoenix Suns.


The panel featured Bridget Binsbacher, Director of Operations, Cactus League Baseball Association; Brett Hopper, Vice President, Opus Group; Kim Sabow, President | CEO, Arizona Lodging & Tourism; and Aaron Studebaker, Community Development Project Manager, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.


“Tourism in Arizona truly has a profound economic impact,” Sabow said. “It’s the No. 1 service import in the state. That’s the message, along with the data, that we have to get in front of the policymakers.”


Arizona’s tourism data speaks for itself: 44 million overnight visitors; $22.7 billion direct visitor spending; $3.4 billion in tax revenue; and 320,000 hospitality jobs.


“Those numbers are pretty staggering,” Sabow said. “It’s one of our largest industries and fastest-growing sectors. For many of our cities, it’s the lifeblood of their economy. Look around the country. We have sunshine. We have spring training. The economic impact is undeniable.”


The Cactus League, a staple in Arizona for more than a century, is also a hit with visitors, Binsbacher said. The scorecard: $644 million economic impact ($315.8 million from out-of-state fans); 6,439 jobs; $31.9 million in taxes; 1.8 million fans in 2018.


“With 10 facilities and 15 of Major League Baseball’s teams here, fans can get to multiple stadiums in one day,” Binsbacher said. “Spring training here is on a whole other level. It’s not just about the teams and players, its about those who come to our cities. And the numbers have grown."


On the development side, it’s companies such as Opus that leverage the impact of the state’s booming tourism and entertainment industries.


“Destination oriented; pedestrian focused,” Hopper explained. “It’s different even today than it was 4 or 5 years ago. Take Tempe Town Lake. Look what it has created. That took a lot of courage. Over time, we have been able to do that. Build the energy. Move these kinds of projects forward.”


In Peoria, Opus has created that type of synergy. In the heart of the Peoria Sports Complex Urban Design District, also known as P83, Opus is bringing a 352-unit, 10-building multifamily development to market. The vibrant, pedestrian-friendly development is a multi-building project on approximately 17 acres at the corner of 75th Avenue and Paradise Lane.


“It also took vision and courage to come up with this plan,” Hopper said. “In evaluating the West Valley, we are doing something more urban than we’re used to. P83 has spurred all types of development in the area. We have to make sure it’s sustainable. It can’t be ‘here today and gone tomorrow.’ We have to establish a unique identity around the district.”


Talk about establishing an identity? Studebaker shared a little of that, discussing development along the Loop 101 through Scottsdale on SRP-MIC land.


“Years ago, we talked about an entertainment with a vision of what it would look like,” he said. “Since 2010 we have seen incredible development growth. Salt River Fields at Talking Stick opened in 2011 and what followed was what you see today.”


This includes Talking Stick Resort, Top Golf, OdySea Aquarium, and ground-up construction for office and education. Other developments set to open within the year, Studebaker said, are Medieval Times, Great Wolf Lodge, numerous hotels, a mixed-use project – even a White Castle restaurant.


For visitors looking to enjoy a world-class resort in a winter oasis or baseball fans looking to enjoy spring training, Arizona is internationally recognized for its outstanding hospitality options.


With the ability to serve millions of tourists year-round, Arizona’s tourism remains one of the most critical components of the state’s economy and a significant influence on new development in the Valley.


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FEBRUARY Friday Morning Breakfast BLOG

Posted By Heather Garbarino, Tuesday, March 5, 2019


Show Me The Money!


Capital is coming off the sidelines and bucking the trend


The development community is banking on a strong economy to get things built and help investors buy and sell assets.

That was the message from a panel of commercial real estate financial experts at Valley Partnership’s February Friday Morning Breakfast. Moderating the panel was Mindy Korth, Executive Vice President, Colliers International.


“I’ve seen all the cycles, and this is a good time for the lending business,” said panelist Jim Pierson, Managing Director, Walker & Dunlop. “The flow of capital is very strong. This goes for lenders from all over the country.”

Over the past two years, a strong American economy brought record lows for unemployment and healthy investments on both Wall Street and Main Street.


With the December interest rate increase now in place and uncertainty within our federal government beginning to affect economic growth, real estate and financial investors are closely monitoring the markets with the same question in mind:

Where's the money?


“Phoenix is a great place to be,” said Paul Engler, Executive Vice President/Chief Real Estate Officer, Alliance Bank. “I really like where we sit. As Jim said, it’s not just here but throughout the country as well. As bankers, we concentrate on the data and not on the negative headlines. It’s hard to find bad news in the data.”


Real estate investment opportunities exist in almost all asset classes, said Ann McCartney, Vice President, Debt & Structured Finance, CBRE. Bridge loans, she said, are popular in some development circles. This includes ground up construction or a property that is almost stabilized.


“It’s for owners who want short-term money,” McCartney said. “Someone looking to sell in two years. They want flexibility; nothing long term.”


Engler agreed that all asset classes are taking advantage of the capital resurgence.

“We are also seeing a strong value add component,” Engler said. “Different loan types in the $5 million to $30 million range. That’s our sweet spot. We tend to stick with more institutional players with a lot of equity behind the transaction.”

Strong asset classes include industrial, multifamily, office and yes, retail.


“Industrial is very high, office feels pretty good, and despite negative headlines about retail, there are lots of groups doing retail deals in Phoenix,” Engler said. “Single family is strong, although it faces labor challenges.”


The panelists pointed to the new Park Central as an example of great collaboration and capital “coming off the sidelines.”

Developers knew midtown Phoenix had potential, especially with the Metro light rail on the way. Then the Great Recession hit. Banking on a more robust economy, Plaza Companies collaborated with Holualoa Companies to redevelop Park Central.


“It really starts with the client,” Engler said. “This was a partnership of a good client, developer, and operator. That’s Number 1. Number 2 is the light rail is in place. It’s active. It’s working. Now you’re seeing more development coming to midtown. We like it, and you will see us there for a while.”


Pierson said he is seeing a fair number of deals in that submarket. McCartney added it’s all about new jobs and demographic changes in midtown and downtown Phoenix.


“What they are doing there is fantastic,” she said. “It will only continue to attract residents, businesses, and financing opportunities.”



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January Friday Morning Breakfast

Posted By Heather Garbarino, Monday, February 4, 2019


Going with the flow


Water vital to the future of the Valley development industry

A looming drought on the Colorado River could spell disaster for not only residents of Arizona but for the development community as well.

Arizona lawmakers voted to approve a plan outlining how the state would share cuts with other Western states and Native American tribes.  This meets the Bureau of Reclamation Jan. 31 deadline to make a deal or else it will step in make the needed cuts to stop Lake Mead’s water level from plunging.

The Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) was the topic of January’s Friday Morning Breakfast. Valley Partnership is playing a key role on behalf of the development community led by President and CEO Cheryl Lombard.

The discussion focused on three major topics:

>> How will the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan help the Colorado River and Lake Mead?

>> How will responsible development and the need for critical infrastructure investment take place in the Johnson Utilities service area with EPCOR as the interim water manager?

>> What is the future of the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD) and how do tribal communities like the Gila River Indian Community help address our state’s water shortage? 

Valley Partnership assembled the key players in all of the state’s water discussions to map out how potential agreements on water will affect the development industry and what must be done to properly manage and deliver clean, reliable water to Arizonans now and into the future.

The panel included Tom Buschatzke, Director, Arizona Department of Water Resources; Ted Cooke, General Manager, Central Arizona Water Conservation District; Stephen Roe Lewis, Governor, Gila River Indian Community; and Joe Gysel, President, EPCOR, USA.



“Water is an important economic development tool,” Lombard said in her opening remarks as moderator. “Valley Partnership’s position is that we have been engaged with all the stakeholders the past few years. Recently we have represented the interests of our development members in accordance with our advocacy.”


Valley Partnership crafted an overview of guiding principles to evaluate the DCP in order to protect and sustain Arizona’s maximum Colorado River water supply. Some included:

>> Promoting a vibrant and growing economy while maintain good stewardship of our water;


>> Protecting Arizona’s Colorado River allotment and the state’s ability to effectively manage the allotment;


>> Supporting local jurisdictions and industry in their reasonable and cost-effective efforts to address critical infrastructure needs;


>> Supporting the creation and use of long-term storage credits to allow flexible management of water resources necessary to achieve the goals state above.


“Ted and I have been at the legislature working on key legislative elements of the importance of this plan for Arizona. Everyone has been working hard to assist in implantation of the DCP,” Buschatzke said.


Said Gov. Lewis: “Cheryl (Lombard) has been a great spokesperson and advocate on the steering committee for your interests. These have been some very difficult discussions, but she has brought her concerns to the forefront.”




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December Friday Morning Breakfast Blog

Posted By Heather Garbarino, Tuesday, December 18, 2018


Grant Woods 2018:

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

His predictions from last year were spot on. His humor was wry. He even announced winning ticket numbers for the holiday wreath raffle.


As the guest speaker at the December Valley Partnership Friday Morning Breakfast, Grant Woods once again left the room laughing and gasping. In the end, though, he received a standing ovation.


This year Woods shared some poignant and bittersweet memories of his long-time friend and mentor Sen. John McCain, who passed away in August.

“He (Sen. McCain) knew there were a lot of big issues facing our country and state,” Woods said. “He was willing to listen, and work both sides of the aisle to find a solution. The outpouring of emotions after he passed was a tremendous tribute to the man.

“I fear that maybe the days of great patriots and statesmen like him are over. He was always a fighter,” Woods said.


About those 2018 predictions:

“I did pretty well,” he said with a laugh. “I predicted a blue wave. I predicted Kyrsten Simena would be our next U.S. Senator. And I predicted our sports team would still have some issues.”


His prediction for 2019: “Things will only get worse for Donald Trump.”


Woods’ parting words took a more serious tone: “Stand up for what’s under attack. Don’t remain silent. This project called America is just that. There’s no guarantee what’s going to happen in the future. The opposite of hope is cynicism. Don’t let cynicism influence your life.”


Woods was introduced by longtime friend and Valley banking executive Paul Hickman.


The December breakfast got off to a rousing start as Dena Jones officially wrapped up the 2018 Community Project, this year benefiting Sunshine Acres in Mesa, with a video.


Happy holidays to all of our partners. See you in 2019.


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November Friday Morning Breakfast Blog

Posted By Heather Garbarino, Monday, December 3, 2018


Dirt, dollars, and development

FMB panelists share vision for utilizing 9.2M acres of State Trust land


Just as talk of Arizona’s water supply fills the pools of discussion around the Valley and state, what to do with our 9.2 million acres of land in the State Trust and the Arizona State Land Department’s plan is just as big a part of the conversation.


The November Valley Partnership Friday Morning Breakfast featured two experts on the topic of land: Lisa Atkins, Commissioner, Arizona State Land Department; and Wesley Mehl, Deputy Commissioner, Arizona State Land Department. Moderating was Grady Gammage Jr., Founding Member, Gammage & Burnham as well as Honorary Board of Director for Valley Partnership.


Land, one of Arizona's most important resources, continues to be a topic of great debate among state and national policy leaders. Arizona holds 9.2 million acres of land in its State Trust and the Arizona State Land Management plans. How to best utilize this asset is at the forefront of discussions.


“This presents a great opportunity for us,” Atkins said. “That after 100 years after statehood we have this great asset. It is intended to be a huge contributor to the state’s future. Of the utmost importance is how we see the immediate benefit. It has to be there for the next generation of entrepreneurs. Of building our buildings, and expanding our horizons as a state.”


Responsible development, enhancing revenue production and establishing careful environmental protections are all part of the strategic approach taken by the Land Department as stewards of Arizona’s land. With Arizona's population continuing to grow and legislators searching for new, dependable revenue sources, the discussion of how to best use state land will likely continue to for years.


“Sales are going up, and revenue is up,” Mehl said about recent sales. “For the Trust, last year we sold $175 million of dirt. This year we think we will get up to $300 million. A lot of Phoenix infill has sold in the past six to eight months.”


Mehl also discussed the state leasing some of its land. In some circumstances, he said, leasing is a good tool.

“In the past, leasing land made sense; we had money,” Mehl said. “But we were getting beat up by inflation. There was some reform in 2002 and it helped diversify (selling vs. leasing).


Mehl said he predicts there will be incremental changes coming soon. He mentioned about 30 changes spanning the entire operation, including its effect on real estate.


“Some include rolling options, value-in packages, online auctions, and a due diligence fund,” Mehl said.



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October Friday Morning Breakfast

Posted By Heather Garbarino, Thursday, November 8, 2018

Smart cities, infrastructure, and development



‘Internet of Things’ key to planning future of urban development



As technology changes, so does the vernacular as we talk about the future of our cities.


Among the key phrase are smart cities, smart infrastructure, smart development, and the Internet of things (IoT).

“Good things are happening in our society economically. You are in a way the economic infrastructure of this community. Permitting. Growth plans. Our community is a major exporter. I’ve seen the angst: how do you finance the next generation of infrastructure. How do you build enough bandwidth? Part of the debate is technology.”


If you know anything about Arizona Congressman David Schweikert, you know he is tech savvy. That’s why he was the perfect moderator (his words above) for Valley Partnership’s October Friday Morning Breakfast topic, “Smart Cities, Smarter Infrastructure, and Smarter Development.


The October breakfast featured industry leaders who discussed the need for cities to invest in IoT-friendly infrastructure, the value of communities collecting and sharing data with residents to improve their quality of life, and how real estate development plays a role in it.


As urban development and infrastructure continue to evolve in the era of Uber, Waymo, and other IoT-friendly apps, forward-looking cities are emphasizing the need to integrate smart apps with roads and infrastructure as they build for the future. The future of smart urban development depends on tech leaders partnering with government leaders to build a smarter infrastructure for the next generation.


“When you’re talking IoT, you’re talking about connecting things to the Internet,” said Josh Kosar, Director of Technology Development at Sensagrate. “Traffic lights. Your home. You. Your phone. Essentially everything can be an IoT device. This will have an effect on smart cities. They are all little pieces of the puzzle. They will change lives. We will need economic growth to drive that technological change.”


When asked by Congressman Schweikert what technology the panelists see coming to Arizona, Brian Kearney, Senior Vice President, Catellus, didn’t hesitate to chime in. Catellus is developing the Novus Innovation Corridor at Arizona State University’s main campus in Tempe.

“This is a very interesting time to be building a community from scratch,” Kearney said. “It is so difficult to predict the future of technology and what its impact on our cities. Decisions made today will affect the communities of tomorrow. It will be all about connected systems. Connected automobiles.”


Kumar Balasubramanian, General Manager, IOT Solutions with Intel, said it will all come down to what makes our lives better. “What will help us? Tell us what it is. This is technology in its most practical form. We will be seeing a lot of that in the next two years.”


The panelists were in agreement that it will take buy in from all levels of government for smart cities to thrive. This also includes the non-profit sector and institutions of higher education.


“We’re partnering with the local municipalities,” said Bobby Gray, ASU’s Director of Digital Transformation. “ASU is smart. It makes no sense if Tempe has technology infrastructure and across the street (in Phoenix) there isn’t. That has to be practical standards we can take from one to the other. We must develop a long-term plan in which municipalities work outside their borders.”


Safety is one factor that can benefit from smart technology, the panel suggested.

“We are in the early days of smart cities,” Gray said. “There is no playbook. No percentages. We are really forging that data now. We have to be flexible and look forward.”


Kosar agreed.

“We need to push these ideas forward,” he said. “We need a quorum. There are things the city and state can do that will directly help with that. We need a place to get together and discuss that. It’s something that needs to be bigger – a meeting of the minds between cities and state.”

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