Project Profile: Cambria Hotel

Overview

  • Project Name: Cambria Hotel
  • Location: 222 E. Portland Street, Phoenix, AZ
  • Type: Hotel
  • Status: Under Construction
  • Expected Completion: Late 2019
  • Last Update: 26-Oct-2018
  • Developer: True North Studio
  • Builder: UEB Builders

Project Details

  • 127-room luxury hotel
  • This will be the third Cambria Hotel in Phoenix
  • Located in the Evans Churchill Neighborhood
  • Amenities to include:
    • Spa-style bathrooms
    • Fitness center
    • Onsite dining with specialty beers and cocktails
    • Rooftop pool and bar
    • Multi-function meeting space
  • Project Webcam: https://ueb.net/webcam47.html

Project Profile: Kenect Phoenix

Overview

  • Project Name: Kenect
  • Location: 355 N. Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ
  • Type: Mixed-Use (Residential/Retail)
  • Status: Under Construction
  • Expected Completion: Fall 2019
  • Last Update: 26-Oct-2018
  • Developer: Akara Partners
  • Builder: UEB Builders

Project Details

  • 23 Stories (285 feet est.)
  • 320 Residential Units (Studio to 3-bed)
  • 8,000 Square Ft. Ground Floor Retail
  • Amenities to include a fitness center as well as a rooftop deck with a swimming pool, fire pits, and grill area.

Phoenix awards Central Station RFP to Houston-based developer

The City of Phoenix has awarded the 2018 Central Station RFP to Electric Red Ventures LLC,  a subsidiary of Houston-based Medistar Corp. The RFP was issued in June this year to solicit proposals to redevelop the 2.6-acre bus & light rail transit center located on the Northwest corner of Central & Van Buren.

Phoenix has been looking to redevelop the Central Station for several years. A previous proposal to revamp the site was awarded to Chicago-based Smithfield Properties in 2014, however the deal fell apart owner Bill Smith passed away. The Smithfield proposal had envisioned a single 34-story project for the site at the cost of $72m.

Above: 2014 rendering of the original Smithfield plan

The new proposal features three structures including two high-rise towers with rooftop terraces. The first tower will be about 300 feet in height and will house 300 market-rate residential units along with a 150-room hotel. The second tower, about 200 feet tall, will consist of 217 student-housing units with a capacity of 600 students. An early rendering obtained by the Phoenix Business Journal also shows a third structure roughly 50 feet tall; the plan calls for 35,350 square feet of office space which is likely to be housed in this building. Additionally, the proposal includes 47,350 square feet of ground-floor restaurant/retail space.

Central to the City’s RFP was that the existing transit center be included into the project. The rendering shows how the proposed facility will be flanked on the East and the West sides by the Metro Light Rail, with bus access on the North side along an upgraded Polk St.

The proposal must still be approved by the City council and is subject to design review by the City’s Historic Preservation Office due to its proximity to the old Board of Education building. If everything goes right, the project should be completed around March 2023.

Crane Alert: Application submitted for 200 Monroe project

The developer of the project at 200 W. Monroe has filed an application to erect a 340-foot tower crane. The crane is to go up in March 2019 and come down by September 2020.

Overview
Study (ASN): 2018-AWP-14797-OE
Prior Study:
Status: Work In Progress
Received Date: 09/17/2018
Entered Date: 09/17/2018
Map: View Map
Construction Info Structure Summary
Notice Of: CONSTR
Duration: TEMP    (Months: 18    Days: 0)
Work Schedule: 03/01/2019  to  09/01/2020
Structure Type: Crane
Structure Name: 200 W Monroe Construction Crane
FCC Number:
Structure Details Height and Elevation
Latitude (NAD 83): 33° 27′ 03.69″ N
Longitude (NAD 83): 112° 04′ 37.59″ W
Datum: NAD 83
City: Phoenix
State: AZ
Nearest County: Maricopa
Proposed
Site Elevation:
1085
Structure Height:
340
Total Height (AMSL):
1425

 

 

Project Profile: 201 Van Buren

Overview

  • Project Name: ?
  • Location:  SW corner of Van Buren and 2nd Avenue (201 W. Van Buren)
  • Type: Mixed-Use
  • Status: Proposed Construction
  • Expected Completion: ?
  • Last Update: 05-Nov-2018
  • Developer: PMG
  • Builder: ?
  • Design Contractor: Kimley-Horn & Associates

Project Details

201 W. Van Buren is a yet-unbranded 2-phase residential project by Chicago-based PMG group under an updated GPLET development contract with the City of Phoenix.

The project will consist of 2 towers approximately 275 ft. tall, each containing about 300 residential units and 20,000 sq. ft. of ground-floor retail. Between them, the agreement also calls for 1000 parking spaces indended to to serve the nearby Orpheum Theater, along with various other improvements.

Note: The current rendering was done for the previous design. An updated one is not yet available.

Quick Facts

  • 2x 275′ towers
  • 600 Total Residential Units
  • 40,000 sq. ft Retail/Office
  • 1000 Parking spaces

New developer,  New design

The agreement is an revised version of one that Phoenix entered into in 2012 with Chicago-based Golub Corporation. Unfortunately Golub was never able to execute on that project due the Great Recession. They have transferred the property to another Chicago developer, Property Markets Group (PMG), to move forward with it.

The original agreement outlined a single high-rise tower with 300,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, 650 parking spots, and ground-floor retail.

To move forward with the conveyance of the property to the new developer, the City of Phoenix proposed new terms.

The changes reflect the updated priorities and market reality in the years since 2012. Commercial space is drastically reduced to 40,000 sq. ft., replaced instead with 600 residential units. Parking is slightly increased, with Phoenix wanting to provide parking for events at the nearby Orpheum theatre. The agreement also carries forward the original GPLET agreement, which was negotiated prior to the 2018 update by Arizona’s legislature that restricted the program’s use after it generated a lawsuit related to another project.

A booming downtown

Downtown has become a hotbed of growth since the end of the Great Recession, adding over 3500 residential units since 2010, with another 5100 in development. Even still, the projected increase is not likely to keep pace with demand. Phoenix ranks 5th nationally in fastest-growing rents, rising 4.4% since 2017, more than twice the national average of 2%. (Data from DTPHX and RentCafe)

The growth is driven in parts by improved economics, the metro light rail, ASU Downtown, and the emerging preferences of Millennials and Baby Boomers alike for a more urban, walkable style of living.

The new agreement calls for construction to begin within 24 months, with an allowance for an additional 12 months if PMG needs it.

Update 11/5/2018 – Post updated to include the design firm and to reflect the address found on design & permit documents.

Project Profile: Berger Project

The Berger Project will be a 20-story multi-use tower located at Central and Adams, on the Southeast corner. New Orleans-based Berger Holdings bought the lot from the City of Phoenix in June for $2.8M. Berger won the bid over another development company which offered $700k more for the lot, but planned to build a 12-story hotel with no office space.  Phoenix opted for the Berger offer due to the multi-use and higher-density aspects of their plan, as well as a higher number of projected permanent jobs (230 over 45). Berger Holdings is partnering up with Sunbelt Holdings, which has a well-established presence in the Valley, for the project. Sunbelt has completed such projects as Marina Heights, the 20-acre complex along Tempe Town Lake.

The tower, will cost approximately $62 million and include 200 hotel rooms, 20 hospitality suites, 2 floors each of parking and office space, and 6100 square feet of ground-floor retail. In addition, the project will make targeted pedestrian and sidewalk improvements to promote walkability along Adams St, which the City considers an important tourism corridor.

Project Profile: Arizona Center’s Palm Court Tower

The Palm Court Tower is a project taking place on the Arizona Center property at the Northeast corner of Van Buren and 5th Street. It will consist of a 31-story Residential tower on land converted from what is now a grass lawn bounded by palm trees.

The building will cost $100M and will be designed by Will Bruder Architects. It will include 350 residential units ranging from studio to three bedrooms in size. The structure will also include 6 levels of parking, a ground-floor courtyard, and a swimming pool terrace.

Quick Facts

  • Address: 440 E. Van Buren
  • Type: Residential
  • Floors: 31
  • Units: 350
  • Height: About 375′
  • Expected completion: 2019

Arizona Center Update

The Palm Court Tower project is in addition to a $25M renovation currently underway at the 90’s-era Arizona Center. The multi-use facility was built during an earlier renaissance in downtown Phoenix that eventually fizzled out for lack of one essential ingredient: downtown residents. Come 2018 and that’s all changed.

The Arizona Center renovation, coupled with the new residential tower, signals a new chapter for a property that had become a cautionary tale.

Not only has there been an absolute explosion in terms of downtown housing in the last 6 years, but the Palm Court Tower will add 350 families who will need to look no further than the first floor of their own complex for a drink, coffee, entertainment, or a bite to eat.

 

Above: The Arizona Center, as it opened on Nov. 19th, 1990. Below: A rendering of what the Arizona Center is to look like after the current renovation.

Developer buys Sing High property

Sing High Chop Suey House, a very long-running restaurant located at 1st Avenue and Madison St, will close its doors after nearly 90 years in business on September 30th; the result of the recent sale of the land the restaurant sits upon.

Sing High has been serving Cantonese-style Chinese food in Phoenix since 1928, and has something of a polarizing experience – downtowners tend to either adore by the place, or avoid it completely.

The New Owner

A quick trip over to the Maricopa County Assessor website revealed the site’s new owner: Madison 27, LLC. The principal registered agent listed for Madison 27 is Rajan Hansji of the Hansji Group, which recently finished construction of the $80M Courtyard Marriott hotel just across the street.

The Marriott Project unfortunately required the demolition of the 100-year old Industrial Congress Building, also called the Luhrs Central Building.

Above: The Industrial Congress Building, built in 1914, now demolished. Below: The Luhrs City Center Marriott, completed in 2016.

The Sing High property will be exciting to watch in the coming months. Absent a community effort, however, the building that housed the restaurant is likely to meet the same end as its ill-fated neighbor.

The Luhrs City Center Marriott is admittedly boring from an architectural perspective, and missed an opportunity to honor the neo-classical and art-deco styles of its immediate neighbors. If we must lose the Sing High building, it would be nice to see something more interesting go up in its place.

The GPLET saga continues

A high-profile case involving an economic development tool called GPLET, whose outcome may have significant ramifications for continued growth in Downtown Phoenix, continues to move forward.

Three of the six complaints in the lawsuit brought by the Goldwater Institute against the City of Phoenix in 2017, were dismissed by the Superior Court in May, according to court documents. This is a win for the city of Phoenix, which has used the GPLET program extensively to encourage growth in the downtown area.

What is GPLET?

GPLET stands for Government Property Lease Excise Tax. In short, it allows the city to let a developer build a private structure on city-owned land; the city then collects a lease and an excise tax from the developer while avoiding the more significant property tax that would otherwise be paid by a normal developer. These types of agreements can last up to 25 years in some cases.

But the program is not without controversy, and has become the subject of a lawsuit brought against the city by the Conservative Goldwater institute on behalf of Mat Englehorn, owner of Angels Trumpet brewpub. The institute contends that Mr. Englehorn was harmed by the city when it provided a large tax incentive to a developer to build a residential high-rise next to his establishment, located near 2nd Street & McKinley.

What’s at stake?

Opponents of GPLET assert that the city’s administration of the program plays favorites by offering large developers significant tax breaks that aren’t offered to smaller business owners like Mr Englehorn.

The city of Phoenix, on the other hand, contends that GPLET is an important tool to encourage development in blighted areas of the city. Several large projects, including CityScape on Central avenue and Jefferson, were built under the program. The program is typically used to attract higher-density development than would get built naturally by the market.

The case is being closely watched by potential developers as well as proponents of development who would like to see taller buildings and higher density in a downtown that has seen low and mid-rise projects dominate much of the available infill land currently being converted.

The case is currently pending Goldwater’s response to Phoenix’s second attempt to dismiss the Blight Designation part of the complaint, with a deadline of July 27th to respond.

To follow the case directly, the progress can be found here and the documents here.