AZ Central – Phoenix purchases more land for desert preserve

Dec. 28, 2010 01:05 PM
Associated Press

The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department has closed on the purchase of 270 acres of private property for the Sonoran Preserve in the northern part of the city.

A city news release says the latest parcel provides a crucial connection between two much larger areas of the Sonoran Preserve and brings the new preserves total size to a little less than 7,000 acres.

The new parcel is located just south of Dynamite Road and just east of 7th Street and connects the Cave Buttes Recreation Area to an adjacent large Sonoran Preserve parcel to the west.

The land cost $16,000 an acre for a total purchase price of $4.3 million, funded totally with proceeds from the Phoenix Parks and Preserve Initiative.

AZ Central – Scottsdale development possibly delayed by new requests

by Edward Gately – Dec. 28, 2010 10:56 AM
The Arizona Republic

It’s nearly back to square one in Scottsdale’s zoning approval process for two requests seeking greater building heights in downtown.

Each of the development proposals are being revamped in order to respond to opposition that has surfaced against each plan.

Gray Development Group’s Blue Sky apartment complex would include five buildings with a maximum height of 133 feet and 867 units. It would be on the east side of Scottsdale Road just north of Camelback Road.

Scottsdale Waterfront LLC – a partnership between Starwood Capital and Golub and Co. – wants the city to modify its development standards for the final phases of the Waterfront on the vacant parcel south of the Nordstrom parking garage. The request doesn’t include a specific plan for development.

In November, the council postponed consideration of Gray’s application indefinitely. Two adjacent property owners – ST Residential and Triyar Properties – have refused to pull their legal protests against the proposal, forcing a supermajority vote of 6-1 for council approval.

Gray plans to resubmit its amended application next month, but it likely won’t be going directly back to the council for consideration because it will include numerous changes to appease the neighbors, said Brian Kearney, Gray’s chief operating officer. Instead, it will probably head back to the Development Review Board and Planning Commission for reconsideration, he said.

Both the board and commission recommended approval of Gray’s application.

Dan Symer, senior city planner, confirmed that Gray’s amended application probably will go back before the board and commission.

“It all depends on how much has changed,” he said. “The board will probably consider it on January 20, then the commission on January 26 and then the council on February 15. If something gets a hiccup and one of the boards wants to come back for another look, those dates will change.”

Kearney wouldn’t disclose any of the changes made in Gray’s application.

“We obviously had hoped we would be through the whole process by now, so it’s something we can manage, but certainly not ideal,” he said.

At the Waterfront, Scottsdale Waterfront LLC has asked the city to modify its development standards to allow for a building that would rise nearly 150 feet. The request upset residents of the nearby Villa Adrian community and they have filed a legal protest also aimed at forcing a supermajority council vote.

The council voted to postpone consideration until Jan. 25. Scottsdale Waterfront LLC requested more time to meet with residents of Villa Adrian and the Waterfront condominium towers.

“We did that . . . and it was a very productive meeting, open and candid, and representatives from the neighborhood articulated their concerns,” said Bruce Armstrong, senior vice president of Golub and Co. “Based upon their (feedback) we did make some revisions to our proposal that we believe address those concerns.”

According to existing development standards approved in 2003, the maximum height allowed on the parcel is 85 feet, excluding rooftop mechanical needs. The request calls for an increase in that maximum height to 149 feet, including rooftop mechanical. That is roughly as tall as the AmTrust bank building at 68th Street and Camelback, and the Waterfront condominium towers, which are the city’s tallest buildings.

Armstrong said the request since has been scaled back. Much of it will now include development standards approved in 2003, and the maximum height has been reduced by “roughly the amount of a floor,” he said.

AZ Central – Chateau on Central in Phoenix now open to homebuyers

by Emily Gersema – Dec. 29, 2010 09:52 AM
The Arizona Republic

The brownstone development, Chateau on Central, at Palm Lane and Central Avenue this month opened to buyers again after months of construction led by the developer, MSI West Investments.

MSI West Investments bought the property this year for $7 million after efforts to sort out the bankruptcy of Mortgages Ltd.

Information: Andrew Holm at 480-206-4265

Luxury homes
The 21 homes in this development are three stories and include a basement or wine cellar. They also include high-end amenities such as granite countertops, elevators and terraces.

Price point
Most homes include about 5,200 square feet of space, but one home has up to 8,200 square feet.
These luxury homes were originally priced at more than $2.8 million, but since MSI West Investments bought and has worked on finishing the homes, the price has been slashed in half to about $1.4 million.

Home business
The homes, which are near the Phoenix Art Museum and Heard Museum, are made for mixed-use. This designation allows owners to operate offices or businesses