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AZ Republic – Wright home making rare appearance on market

SCOTTSDALE – One of the Valley’s most significant Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes will likely be on the market within a few weeks, said Anne Lloyd Wright-Levi, a great granddaughter of the famed architect.

Tucked away in a former Arcadia orange grove, the David Wright House is expected to draw keen interest from Wright aficionados, particularly since the half dozen Wright homes in the Valley are rarely available.

This Wright design was built in 1952 for his son, David. An unusual circular home with a lot of glass, it has a spiral ramp leading to a second-level living space

“It’s in its original state,” said Wright-Levi, adding that other Wright-designed homes have lost their architectural integrity because of remodeling or additions.

Gladys Wright, the widow of David Wright, passed away in February and heirs are expecting to put the home on the market, Wright-Levi said.

The 2-acre >

A two-bedroom Wright home in Stillwater, Minn., is on the market for $3.75 million.

A home adjacent to the David Wright House in Arcadia, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright Jr., is currently on the market for $2.8 million.


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AZ Republic – Scottsdale No. 25 on ‘best places’ list

by Jane Larson – May. 14, 2008 11:28 AM
The Arizona Republic

SCOTTSDALE – Now that entrepreneurs can choose to live almost anywhere that broadband connections and convenient airports exist, more are turning the relocation decision into both a business and personal one.

So it was only a matter of time that some list maker melded those traditional and always contentious rankings of the best places to live with the best places to start a business.

And thus we get Scottsdale ranking No. 25 among “The 100 Best Places to Live and Launch,” as picked by Fortune Small Business magazine. Only two other Arizona communities, Oro Valley at No. 44 and Prescott at No. 92, made the list.

Topping the list was Bellevue, Wash., for its talented workforce and growing downtown. The state with the most communities ranked, at nine, was California.

It was the first time the magazine, part of the Time Inc. empire, had compiled such a list based on business launch-ability and livability. It published the rankings on its Web site in late March and in its print edition in April.

Writers and editors looked for “towns that combine a great business environment with alluring leisure opportunities,” the magazine said.

Selected from 4,000 places

From a consultant’s list of 4,000 places, they crunched numbers ranging from tax rates and startup activity to housing affordability (within 120 percent of the metro area’s median), then looked for natural beauty and active downtowns.

They cut the list to 1,000 places, then interviewed local officials and business owners to narrow it down to the 100 best places, writer/editor Maggie Overfelt said.

Overfelt got the metro Phoenix assignment in part because her father recently moved from California to Gilbert and started his own accounting practice. She said she zeroed in on Gilbert, Tempe and Scottsdale, and the staff ended up giving the Scottsdale the nod because of its nightlife and downtown retail scene.

“We wanted that nightlife, that livability criteria,” she said.

Tourists, entrepreneurial spirit

Scottsdale fit the best-places bill with its large entrepreneurial community and high volume of tourist traffic, capped off by the ability to hike Camelback Mountain, golf, and dine at five-star restaurants, Overfelt wrote. She pegged Scottsdale’s other “pros” as its culture and nightlife, and its “cons” as its relatively high cost of commercial space and lots of competition.

She also said warehouse space and the overall cost of living are more affordable than in other major cities. Affluent tourists and Scottsdale’s revitalized downtown also made the city stand out.

Boutique owner Joy Li, who has lived in Scottsdale for eight years and opened Studio Joy Li in November at the Scottsdale Waterfront, called the magazine’s description pretty accurate.

“It’s a wonderful place to live as far as quality of life, and you can have the support of the community, the state and the city in encouraging small businesses,” she said.

Scottsdale is up-and-coming

Compared to saturated markets like New York and Los Angeles, Li thinks Scottsdale is an up-and-coming place where clients previously couldn’t find her contemporary clothing designs. She gets resort guests from Minnesota, Colorado and New York who then go home and rave about their finds.

“The word of mouth is unbelievable. It’s very powerful,” she said. “They’re taking the word and spreading it out in different parts of the country.”

These types of rankings help spread the word about Scottsdale, but they typically are not companies’ sole reason for locating here, said Harold Stewart, acting general manager for Scottsdale’s Economic Vitality Department. Available land and the quality of education are part of the mix, too. And while Scottsdale’s commercial space is expensive compared to other parts of the Valley, that is part of being a successful community, he said.

“The value of a ranking like that is that it helps you become part of their list of chosen places to explore,” Stewart said. “It’s a very beneficial thing, very helpful for us to say . . . ‘Look at our ranking.’ “

Fortune Small Business plans to revisit the list again next year, Overfelt said. It’s eager to collect more statistics and hear the opinions metro Phoenix small-business owners have of what does or doesn’t make their community good for living and launching.


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AZ Republic – Macy’s to open at CityNorth

Macy’s will join Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom at CityNorth, the project’s developers announced Tuesday.

Like the other two department stores, Macy’s will open in 2010 as part of CityNorth’s second phase.

Kenneth Himmel of Related Urban Development, the lead developer, said the stores are the “leading department store brands” in the nation.

Phase Two originally was scheduled to open in late 2009, but market conditions and other factors pushed the opening back a year.

Phase One, consisting of shops, restaurants and condos along several blocks called High Street, is currently under construction and scheduled to open in October. High Street’s retail space is currently 85 percent leased, the developer says.

The new Macy’s will be the company’s ninth store in the Phoenix area and the 12th in Arizona.

Plans call for CityNorth to add a fourth department store in the future.

The project is located at 56th Street and Loop 101 in northeast Phoenix.


AZ Republic – ASU Report – Home sales up in Valley

A falling median home sale price helped fuel the first year-over-year increase in home resale transactions since July 2005, according to an Arizona State University report released Tuesday.

The monthly report listed 5,585 sales in April, compared with 4,335 sales in March and 4,855 sales in April 2007. The report, compiled by ASU’s Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness, includes all publicly recorded transactions in the greater Phoenix area except for new home sales.

The median home price declined from $220,000 in March to $210,000 in April, according to the report. That’s the lowest median price since February 2005, when it was $200,000.

Jay Butler, director of realty studies, said the lower median sale price contributed to the turnaround, and he cautioned that the increase in resale numbers does not necessarily indicate the housing market is recovering.

“It’s only one month,” he said. “I think you could make arguments on both sides.”

Butler said resale figures include publicly recorded foreclosure sales, which helped drive down the median price as the Valley’s high foreclosure rate continues.

In April 2007, the median home price was $265,000.

Home resale transactions for March and April totaled 9,920 sales, compared with 10,245 sales during the same two months last year. The current year-to-date total is 16,975 sales, compared with 19,045 sales during the same period in 2007.




AZ Central – Paradise Valley home sells for $5.5M

May. 6, 2008 11:41 AM

A real estate broker and author, a CEO of an international communications company, an insurance company president, a chairman of an international employment services firm, A San Francisco managing partner of a law firm and an Emmy-winning producer are among the buyers and sellers in this week’s priciest home sales.


Michael A. and Peggy J. Domer bought a new home in the Hillside Villas at Desert Highlands south of the Desert Highlands Golf Club in Scottsdale. Mike Domer is an associate broker with Scottsdale Luxury Properties in Scottsdale. Domer is the author of “Own the American Dream,” a book on the home buying process. The home was sold by James and Pamela Crowe. James Crowe is president and CEO of Level 3 Communications in Broomfield Colo., an international communications provider. Previously, he was chairman of WorldCom.


Thomas Londen and his wife, Cheryl, purchased a new home in the La Posada subdivision south of Paradise Valley Country Club in Paradise Valley. Tom Londen is president of the Londen Cos., which includes the Londen Insurance Group, a life insurance holding company headquartered in Phoenix. The home was sold by Montelucia Villas LLC of Irvine, Calif.


Jeffrey A. and Sarah G. Joerres bought a 5,164-square-foot home with pool originally built in 2005 on the east side of the Desert Mountain-Cochise Golf Course in Scottsdale. Jeffrey Joerres is chairman, CEO and president of Manpower, one of the largest employment services companies in the world. It is currently ranked 131 in the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest companies and 408 on the Fortune’s Global 500 list. The home was sold by Keith A. Johnson Sr., as trustee of the Keith A. Johnson Sr. Family Trust.


Paul F. Bennett and Judi G. Bennett, as trustees of the Paul and Judi Bennett Re>Mirabel Golf Course in Scottsdale. Paul Bennett is an attorney and managing partner of Gold Bennett Cera & Sidener in San Francisco, a firm that specializes in complex business litigation. The home was sold by Bradmar Marketing Inc. in Gilbert, whose president is Bradley Tinker.


Robert Halmi Jr. and his wife, Lisa, paid cash for a new home northeast of the Whisper Rock Golf Club in Scottsdale. Emmy Award winner Robert Halmi Jr. currently serves as president and CEO of RHI Entertainment LLC (formerly Hallmark Entertainment LLC). He has produced more than 100 movies and miniseries for television, including Lonesome Dove, which earned seven Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe for Best Miniseries. The home was sold by Whisper Rock 154 LLC of Scottsdale.


Nicholas R. and April Glimcher bought a 7,047-square-foot home with pool originally built in 2006 on the north side of Paradise Valley Country Club in Paradise Valley. Nick Glimcher moved to Arizona in 1997 and founded Glimcher Ventures Southwest, a privately funded commercial development company, with his father, David Glimcher, and John Schottenstein, CEO of NAI Horizon in Phoenix. The home was sold by Gregory and Joan Patton.


William H. Jury, as trustee of the William H. Jury Re>Paradise Valley Country Club in Paradise Valley. The home was sold by Jeffrey and Kenda Newburg.


Raun and Helen Melmed purchased a 6,174-square-foot home with pool originally built in 1993 northwest of Paradise Valley Country Club in Paradise Valley. The home was sold by David Friedman and his wife, Sherry Kelly.


Eric and Nancy Kurzwell bought a 4,254-square-foot home with pool originally built in 2007 in the Desert Mountain subdivision in Scottsdale. The home was sold by Stephen Difranco.


The Lucerne LP, a New York limited partnership, purchased a 5,005-square-foot home with pool originally built in 2002 southwest of Desert Highlands Golf Club in Scottsdale. The home was sold by Stephen Canino.


Patricia Fornes bought a 5,251-square-foot home originally built in 2005 at the Raven Golf Club at Verrado in Buckeye. The home was sold by Steve and Miriam Somerman.





AZ Central – High-rise at Camelback, Central

A Phoenix developer wants to put up a trio of buildings at Central Avenue and Camelback Road that would rival the tallest buildings in the city.

But neighborhood opposition is likely to reduce the project to levels that were agreed upon two years ago.

Reid Butler, known for his downtown projects, will take the plans to the Alhambra Village Planning Committee, possibly in time for its May 27 meeting.

Butler’s proposed 400-foot-tall buildings would go up on the southwestern side of what village planner Marc Thornton calls “a signature corner.”

The vacant site has the city’s light-rail line cutting through it, and the plans for the buildings envision a pedestrian- and transit-friendly approach to their development.

City Councilman Tom Simplot said the designs are attractive and responsive to issues of mass and scale that have caused other projects to fail.

But the location will be a problem, Simplot said.

As planned, the buildings would soar to heights unseen outside of downtown Phoenix. The site was approved for 250 feet two years ago, and Thornton said the planning department tends to think 250 feet would be appropriate for the area.

Planner Alan Stephenson said the decision will be based in part on what is allowed in the surrounding area. The tallest building on Central north of the Grand Canal, which cuts through south of Central High School, is an apartment building that is a little over 200 feet tall.

Camelback Road long has been considered the dividing line between heavy commercial and office development to the south and residential neighborhoods to the north.

Neither Butler nor Michael Curley, a zoning attorney who will shepherd the project through the system, were available for comment Thursday.

Neighborhood groups in the area are weighing the proposal. One of them, the St. Francis District Neighborhood Association, has declared its opposition to the 400-foot height.

Charles Jones, president of the Pierson Place Association, said the group is soliciting neighborhood opinions.

He said several other high-rise projects have been proposed in the area. Jones, also chairman of the Alhambra Village Planning Committee, said he would like to see a thorough study of all the high-rise sites in the neighborhood to guide decision-making.

Simplot, who represents the district, said neighborhood opposition recently doomed Omninet’s proposed 250-foot project farther south on Central.

He said a decision on the Butler project would depend upon the developer’s discussions with neighborhood groups.

“There is a lot of resistance from the neighborhoods, especially five neighborhood groups in the immediate area,” Simplot said. “With all the disruption from light rail, and the nature of the corner, when those things converge, a lot of emotions develop.”





AZ Republic – Paradise Valley home sells for $3.2M

The Arizona Republic
Apr. 29, 2008 12:58 PM

A founder and former CEO of a medical device company, an executive vice president of an IT network provider, the owner of a Minnesota recycling company and a former senior vice president of a payment systems company are among the buyers and sellers in this week’s priciest home sales.


Allan M. Weinstein and Phyllis Weinstein, as trustees of the Allan M. Weinstein and Phyllis Weinstein Re>new home in the La Posada subdivision south of the Paradise Valley Country Club in Paradise Valley. Allan Weinstein is the founder and former CEO of Tempe-based Orthologic Corp., a biotechnology firm. The home was sold by Montelucia Villas of Irvine, Calif.


Timothy J. Porthouse and Caroline M. Labarre bought a 3,096-square-foot home with pool originally built in 1973 in the Palm Canyon Subdivision northeast of the Arizona Biltmore Golf Course in Phoenix. Tim Porthouse is executive vice president, business operations, at Tempe-based Calence, a provider of networking products recently acquired by Tempe-based computer products reseller Insight Enterprises. The home was sold by Douglas L. Cunningham, as trustee of the Douglas L. Cunningham Trust.



Ted Alan Knott and Carolyn Ruth Becraft Knott, as trustees of the Boulder Trust, purchased a 5,893 square-foot home with pool originally built in 2002 on the north side of the Desert Mountain-Apache Golf Course in Scottsdale. The home was sold by Screech Investments LLC of Phoenix. Dwight S. Haldan and Kismet Holdings LLLP are the managing members.


Jon and Jane Schwartzman of Long Lake, Minn. bought a 5,747 square-foot home with pool originally built in 2006 on the southern edge of the Firerock Country Club in Fountain Hills. Jon Schwartzman is the owner of the Schwartzman Company Inc., a recycling company in Anoka, Minn. The home was sold by Andrew and Nancy Surdo.


K. Miller, as trustee of MMC Trust, paid cash for a 4,415-square-foot home originally built in 2001 east of the Desert Highlands Golf Club in Scottsdale. The home was sold by Neil Hudd and his wife, Angela. Neil Hudd was a senior vice president of credit-card payment systems company Hypercom Corp. in Phoenix until he resigned in July.

More Valley home sales

$1.93 million: Walter Simmons bought a 5,814-square-foot home with pool originally built in 1990 on the north side of the Country Club at DC Ranch in Scottsdale. The home was sold by Robert and Lynn Keys.

$1.90 million: Stefan and Shelley Tarlow purchased a 3,463- square-foot home with pool originally built in 1968 east of the Paradise Valley Country Club in Paradise Valley. The home was sold by R. Douglas and Katherine B. Dalton.

$1.80 million: Stuart Graines paid cash for a 4,649-square-foot home with pool originally built in 1992 on the southwestern edge of the Camelback Golf Club in Paradise Valley. The home was sold by Zivan Djuric.

$1.73 million: Gary L. Stried bought a 3,771-square-foot home with pool originally built in 2000 on the south side of the Desert Mountain-Cochise Golf Course in Scottsdale. The home was sold by William B. Cooper.

$1.7 million: Screech Investments LLC paid cash for a 4,313-square-foot home with pool originally built in 1996 at the Desert Mountain-Renegade Golf Course in Scottsdale. The home was sold by Ted A. and Carolyn R. Knott.

Researched by John McLean and the Information Market.


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AZ Republic – Scottsdale gets super boost from Super Bowl

by Peter Corbett – May. 6, 2008 06:37 AM
The Arizona Republic

Scottsdale’s slumping hospitality industry got a super-sized boost from Super Bowl XLII with nearly sold out hotels and record room rates.

The average daily rate for Scottsdale area hotels averaged $410.31 from Thursday through Sunday of Super Bowl week, according to figures from Smith Travel Research.

“That was the highest we’ve had for any sustained period,” said Brent DeRaad, Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau executive vice president. “And with occupancy, it was the biggest tourism week in our history.”

Super Bowl XLII was played Feb. 3 in Glendale. It generated an estimated $500 million for the state’s economy, according to a report prepared for the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.

Scottsdale’s 12,000 hotels rooms were full leading up to the game and the city’s nightclubs and resorts were busy with Super Bowl related events.

Scottsdale hotel occupancy averaged 93.8 percent Super Bowl Sunday and the three previous days. It peaked at 96.7 percent on the eve of the game.

Scottsdale hotels outperformed the rest of the Valley on those four days with occupancy 18 percent higher and room rates 53.5 percent higher.

“From our perspective the overall impact and results were definitely positive and we benefited from wonderful exposure on the ESPN broadcasts from downtown Scottsdale,” said Kathy Carlisle O’Connor, Scottsdale tourism development manager.

That showed with bed tax collections that were up 20 percent in February from the previous year after they were down 7 percent in January from 2007.

DeRaad of the tourism bureau said Scottsdale might have accounted for a minimum of 15 percent of the economic boost from the Super Bowl.

Scottsdale area hotel rooms account for more than 20 percent of the Valley’s 50,000-plus rooms.

Scottsdale contributed $350,000 of bed tax revenue to help fund the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.

The city will likely be asked to again contribute funding if Arizona is successful in its bid for the 2012 game.

“We certainly hope the Super Bowl will return,” DeRaad said.

One of the intangible benefits of hosting the game is that corporate customers attending the game often return to the host city for another visit and could even bring their company here for a corporate function, he said.


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AZ Republic – Montelucia resort nears completion

by Diana Balazs – May. 1, 2008 10:57 AM
The Arizona Republic

PARADISE VALLEY – In just three months, the Valley’s newest luxury resort is scheduled to open in Paradise Valley, taking its place among Lincoln Drive’s hospitality row.

The InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa already has booked more than 7,000 room nights with the first guests arriving in September.

Montelucia is going up on the site of the former La Posada Resort, 4949 E. Lincoln. Construction began in 2006.

Rick Carpinelli, senior vice president of development for resort owner Crown Realty & Development Corp., oversees the project.

“The overall resort, we’re somewhere in the (range of ) 80 to 85 percent done,” Carpinelli said.

It will join other resorts along Lincoln between Scottsdale Road and Tatum Boulevard, including the recently remodeled Camelback Inn and Smoketree Resort, a proposed redeveloped Mountain Shadows and recently approved plans for a Ritz-Carlton resort hotel.

Exact opening date pending

Carpinelli said Montelucia will be substantially completed by early August.

“We’re still finalizing the opening date. There’s a lot of training that will need to happen with InterContinental. They’re hiring their staff, so we’re finalizing all those pieces of the puzzle,” Carpinelli said.

He said InterContinental, which will operate the resort, will hire about 400 employees. Thirty managerial positions have already been filled, Carpinelli said.

Business guests make up most of the room bookings, including small groups coming in for different functions such as retreats.

The 293-room resort also has booked eight weddings, the first scheduled for Nov. 8. The Paradise Valley family that booked that date have three daughters. Two were married at La Posada. Now the youngest will be married at Montelucia.

Montelucia plans to market itself as the place in the Valley to throw a wedding.

“There’s no doubt that this will be,” Carpinelli said.

Wedding ceremonies planned

The resort boasts a wedding chapel, a wedding suite (named the Camelback suite) complete with separate quarters for the bride and groom-to-be and family, two wedding event lawns with Camelback Mountain as a backdrop, and banquet facilities to accommodate more than one nuptial at a time.

Before the resort was designed, Crown, headed by developer Robert Flaxman, held focus groups with wedding planners.

“Robert had recognized that this market in Paradise Valley was the market for weddings. That business had died off quite a bit with the gentrification of La Posada, Mountain Shadows, and even Camelback (Inn), where it wasn’t quite the destination any more. But it’s just a beautiful setting that it’s perfect for weddings,” Carpinelli said.

While there is still much work left to be done, the resort, inspired by Andalusian architecture – a melding of Gothic and Moorish styles – already is taking on its distinct persona from bold paint colors on the walls to the anticipated arrival of antique doors that once graced Spanish castles.

The doors will soon mark the entrance to the resort lodge and the wedding chapel.

Other resort amenities include a presidential suite fit for a real president, a signature restaurant, five swimming pools, and a spa with treatment rooms overlooking Camelback Mountain.

There is even a spa pool built on a second-level deck. Friday, the stainless steel pool liner, built in North Carolina, was due to arrive.

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