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SethAZ Oct 13, 2008 9:11 PM

Quote:

The article also fails to mention how the City of Tempe, in true Jekyll & Hyde fashion, has undermined its own urban core by providing incentives to Tempe Marketplace, which now appears to be draining business away from Mill.
This is true, but the same thing also happened when Arizona Mills opened. Business slummped on Mill but picked back up. Eventually, it seems, people realize how much more fulfilling a true urban environment is and come back seeking something real. And with the light rail opening soon, the new offices, and hotels, it's only a matter of time until Mill is more alive than we remember it.

exit2lef Oct 13, 2008 9:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SethAZ (Post 3853706)
This is true, but the same thing also happened when Arizona Mills opened. Business slummped on Mill but picked back up. Eventually, it seems, people realize how much more fulfilling a true urban environment is and come back seeking something real. And with the light rail opening soon, the new offices, and hotels, it's only a matter of time until Mill is more alive than we remember it.

I hope you are right. For some reason, Tempe Marketplace seems more of a threat than AZ Mills. Maybe because people were deriding AZ Mills as "ghetto" from the very beginning, and I don't hear the same negativity about Tempe Marketplace. On the other hand, suburban shopping centers can go through a pretty fast boom-and-bust cycle. Like I said, I hope you're right.

JAHOPL Oct 14, 2008 2:55 PM

Namwest files for Chapter 11 for 10 entities
by Andrew Johnson - Oct. 14, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

A real-estate developer that planned to build condo towers north of Tempe Town Lake has filed for bankruptcy.

Phoenix-based Namwest LLC also was building or had plans to build housing developments in El Mirage, Sun City and south Phoenix.

Namwest executives filed nine Chapter 11 petitions last Thursday and Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Phoenix. The company also filed one petition in late September. Under Chapter 11, a debtor works out a plan to pay back creditors.

The firm recently finished construction on townhouses in downtown Tempe and had submitted a rezoning request to the city for about 15 acres southwest of Loop 202 and Rural Road.

Namwest planned to build several condo towers and an office high-rise ranging from 21 to 26 stories there, according to information the firm submitted to Tempe.

Namwest principal Michael McBride said current turmoil in the credit markets has hurt the company.

"This is strictly caused by the market and the lack of funding," he said. "The capital has dried up, (and) the market and the lending has dried up."

The bankruptcy petitions were filed by Namwest LLC, Namwest-Glenrosa and 35th Avenue LLC, Namwest-101 Building LLC, Namwest-Palms LLC, Namwest-Brownstone LLC, Namwest-Dobbins LLC, Namwest-Sun City Manor LLC, Namwest-Town Lakes II LLC, Namwest 7th Street and Deer Valley LLC and Namwest Construction and Development LLC.

The Namwest-Palms petition, involving Montecito Estates, a housing community in El Mirage, has been dismissed, but McBride said the company may refile.

Namwest LLC listed its assets and liabilities as being worth $50 million to $100 million. The other firms listed assets and liabilities worth $1 million to $10 million.

The projects are in different stages of development.

The Namwest-Town Lakes II LLC involves a 5-acre parcel included in the Town Lake property, but not all 15 acres, McBride said.

Construction contractors have filed mechanic's liens on many of the projects during the past year.

Some of the properties included in the bankruptcy filings were scheduled to be sold at foreclosure auctions in November, according to filings with the Maricopa County Recorder's Office.

Lisa Collins, deputy development-services manager for Tempe, said Namwest submitted a request on May 20 to rezone the Town Lake land from general industrial use to a mixed-use classification called MU-4, which allows for greater density and height.

The company's tentative plans called for six towers, with condos, offices and retail space, Collins said.


Namwest, formed in 2004, owns part interest in the Cal Neva Resort, Spa and Casino in Crystal Bay, Nev. Namwest does not plan to include it as an asset in the bankruptcy.

exit2lef Oct 14, 2008 5:28 PM

Interesting article about two movie theaters in suburban San Francisco. The one by the freeway has closed, while the one in a Downtown setting is thriving:

http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/Redw...s_go_dark.html

Is share this because it is unfortunately the opposite of what has happened in Tempe, where Centerpoint closed in favor of Tempe Marketplace. Harkins continues to abandon the core of the metro area and chase the latest wave of outer growth.

andrewkfromaz Oct 14, 2008 9:19 PM

I think you're letting your distaste for suburbia carry you away, Silverbear. I'd like to point out that the location of Tempe Marketplace hardly (hardly) qualifies as the "latest wave of outer growth." Sure, it's not as close to Tempe's core, and the design of the thing is as suburban as it gets.

On the other hand, it is an infill, redevelopment project in a landlocked city. I'd even go so far as to say it's a far more urban location than the other new Harkins at Norterra (I-17 and Happy Valley Rd, which is still infill fwiw).

The closing of Harkins Centerpoint is certainly lamentable, I'm not disagreeing with that. I do think that what's happened in Tempe is the opposite of what apparently happened in San Fran. I wonder how long it will be before Tempe catches up with that trend... How long are these outdoor suburban-style malls going to be popular? How's Desert Ridge doing, in the long run?

exit2lef Oct 14, 2008 10:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by andrewkfromaz (Post 3855540)
I'd like to point out that the location of Tempe Marketplace hardly (hardly) qualifies as the "latest wave of outer growth." Sure, it's not as close to Tempe's core, and the design of the thing is as suburban as it gets.

Agree that Tempe Marketplace is by no means the outermost fringes of the metro area. My "latest wave" comment was meant more as a general description of Harkins strategy. The company has recently opened theaters in places like Gilbert, Avondale, and far north Phoenix, but continues to leave the Central Phoenix market to its lesser competitor AMC. I just find it ironic that Dan Harkins talks about being conceived on Mill Ave, but the chain seems uninterested in urban environments for its latest and greatest theaters.

Urban Rising Oct 15, 2008 12:20 AM

Harkins was not really given a choice in the closing of the location just off of Mill. DMB did not renew any of leases during the height of the market in anticipation of being able to get their project off the ground that was scheduled to completely redevelop the area just North of the PF Chang's to about Fat Tuesday's then from Mill to the theatre. This area was supposed to support significant condo's, additional office, and new retail frontage on Mill.

It is unfortunate for the short term, but DMB has historically built some of the better projects in town. They have also shown to be a builder and not just a dreamer.

exit2lef Oct 15, 2008 3:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Urban Rising (Post 3855865)
Harkins was not really given a choice in the closing of the location just off of Mill. DMB did not renew any of leases during the height of the market in anticipation of being able to get their project off the ground that was scheduled to completely redevelop the area just North of the PF Chang's to about Fat Tuesday's then from Mill to the theatre. This area was supposed to support significant condo's, additional office, and new retail frontage on Mill.

It is unfortunate for the short term, but DMB has historically built some of the better projects in town. They have also shown to be a builder and not just a dreamer.

Yes, I'm aware of DMB's plans, but they should have had everything in place for the project before deciding not to renew leases. Instead, they've created a near ghost-town at the south end of Mill.

As for Harkins, that company never seems to fight very hard to stay in central locations. They didn't put up much of a fight to stay in the Cine Capri location at 24th & Camelback and now try to convince the public that they've recreated the Cine Capri experience at places like their "Scottsdale" 101 cinema (actually in northeast Phoenix) and Tempe Marketplace. If Harkins were really committed to Central Phoenix and Downtown Tempe, it would find a way to set up theaters there. They might not be 24-screen megaplexes, but that would be fine with me. We need more cinemas like Valley Art in small, walkable locations around town.

Sorry to rant, but Harkins really disappoints me for a locally-based company.

plinko Oct 15, 2008 4:41 AM

Since most new and future projects are at a standstill, is the infrastructure of the Centerpoint movie complex still intact or has it been demo'd? Could another vendor (AMC, etc) move in for a short term lease (like 5 years)? IIRC, that really wasn't that bad a place to see a flick and certainly a better place to spend an evening than some uber suburban shopping center.

Jsmscaleros Oct 16, 2008 3:04 PM

So, is Centerpoint dead or what? I know Mortgages LTD is a big time bust, but are those condo towers just going to sit there and rot half-finished forever? I drive by those towers every day, and no progress has been made for at least a month. The construction elevator is motionless and there are no signs of activity on the site at all. They didn't even bother to put all the windows on it before packing up and heading out.

Talk about an epic failure, not to mention an eye sore. Let's build the largest towers ever in Tempe, kick out the only movie theater within walking distance of the university, and then not even finish them so all the surrounding local businesses get no kick-back for putting up with all the construction. How is it possible that so many large-scale construction projects like these continue to be approved with half the necessary funds for completion?

Urban Rising Oct 16, 2008 9:20 PM

Centerpoint will get built.

First Mortgages LTD must help Avenue secure their final financing for an additional $75 million. None of the subcontractors will be willing to work on the project until that takes place.

The project was approved and did have proper financing arranged. The Mortgages LTD fallout caused the non-payment of the subcontractors and like most people they don't like working for free either. The GC continued to work on the project for a short while, but the GC and the Developer are one in the same even though they operate under separate LLC's.

So the short answer is wait until you hear something in the paper make an announcement regarding Mortgages LTD arranging final financing through their bankruptcy proceeding, and you will probably see the resumption of work very shortly there after.

burg72 Oct 17, 2008 2:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jsmscaleros (Post 3859064)
So, is Centerpoint dead or what? I know Mortgages LTD is a big time bust, but are those condo towers just going to sit there and rot half-finished forever? I drive by those towers every day, and no progress has been made for at least a month. The construction elevator is motionless and there are no signs of activity on the site at all. They didn't even bother to put all the windows on it before packing up and heading out.

Talk about an epic failure, not to mention an eye sore. Let's build the largest towers ever in Tempe, kick out the only movie theater within walking distance of the university, and then not even finish them so all the surrounding local businesses get no kick-back for putting up with all the construction. How is it possible that so many large-scale construction projects like these continue to be approved with half the necessary funds for completion?

I just heard that as of this past Monday, Tempe Centerpoint Condominiums gave their own employees at the site their 2 week notice. They are locking the gates by Friday the 24th. Some office trailers were moved out of there just today. Supposedly the building is just going to sit there for at least 4 to 6 months while they battle it out in court.

nickkoto Oct 21, 2008 1:36 AM

Anyone notice that ASU is finally going to demolish the old grocery store at University & Mill?

I don't know of any firm plans for what will replace it, but at least they're taking a step that probably should've happened a good 15 years ago.

williard Oct 21, 2008 4:20 AM

Calling Centerpoint buyers
 
Two years ago I signed a sales contract for a condo at Centerpoint Condominiums, and as we get closer to closing, I would love to talk to any other buyers. If you have reserved or signed a contract for Centerpoint, or know someone who has, please contact me. williard@cox.net

HX_Guy Oct 22, 2008 4:28 PM

FAA applications have been submitted for two projects in Tempe...

The first is a Homewood Suits on the NE corner of Rio Salado and McClintock at 95 ft. tall.

The second seems to be where the Harkins Theatres off Mill is/was and would stand 265 ft.

Tempe_Duck Oct 22, 2008 8:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HX_Guy (Post 3869756)
FAA applications have been submitted for two projects in Tempe...

The first is a Homewood Suits on the NE corner of Rio Salado and McClintock at 95 ft. tall.

The second seems to be where the Harkins Theatres off Mill is/was and would stand 265 ft.


Is the one on the NE corner of Rio Salado and McClintock the hotel that is part of Tempe Marketplace? If so, there have had some more activity on that site recently.

Jsmscaleros Oct 25, 2008 12:22 AM

Anyone know if Onyx is a yay or nay? I can't see how this market could support 26 stories of new condos, but I've seen quite a lot of dirt moving around the site lately (NE corner of Rural bridge and Tempe Town Lake) with a few trailers etc...

ciweiss Oct 27, 2008 6:27 PM

Project updates

This link has an update on some of the projects and there is an additional insert on alot of Tempe projects. Looks like most are on hold. Can't imagine any new condos going in at this point. There are way to many vacant.

http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/128930

An impressive array of major projects is on the drawing boards for the East Valley and Pinal County - ranging from the Gaylord Hotel/convention center in east Mesa to the $250 million Waveyard aquatic park in Mesa and the $600 million Coyote Canyon theme park in Florence to a forest of high-rise condos and hotels in Tempe and Scottsdale.

Click for full version

It's enough to make a construction crane-supplier drool.

But how many of those visions will actually be built, especially given the tight-credit, slow-growth economy?

The people who answer that question tend to line up in two groups. Those who are backing the projects say they will go forward. Just about everyone else is doubtful.

"If you go over the history of large projects proposed in the Valley in the past 30 to 40 years, maybe a third get off the ground," said Bob Kammrath, a Phoenix real estate consultant.

"The safe bet is there is no financing for those projects. If they have cash, those deals will happen. If the project has a creditworthy tenant, that is a done deal. But these others are quite speculative and dependent on people having a lot of disposable income. And that's shrinking."

Still, Kammrath sees a bright side to all the proposals: "it means a lot of people think we will make a comeback."

Bo Morris, spokesman for Scottsdale-based Waveyard Development LLC, insists the water park proposed on Mesa-owned land at the Loop 101 and 202 freeways is on target to break ground as planned late this year or early next year.

"We're still on our timetable," he said.

But Mesa City Manager Chris Brady admits he isn't so sure.

"Right now the capital markets for large projects are very difficult," he said. "But we go through economic cycles. ... They may be difficult today, but we are dreaming and hoping and planning for great things for the future of Mesa. If they don't happen - no harm, no foul."

THE BEST BET

Of the proposed East Valley projects, Kammrath thinks the Gaylord resort, which is to be at the site of the General Motors Desert Proving Ground, is the most viable because its developers have the deepest pockets.

Others also like Gaylord's prospects. Wil Cardon, president of the Cardon Group, a Mesa-based real estate investment firm, and chairman of the Smart Growth Committee of the Urban Land Institute, said Gaylord Entertainment Co. of Nashville, Tenn., and DMB Associates of Scottsdale, the landowner, have a track record of turning their ideas into reality.

"There's an old saying in this business: The guys with the most oxygen in their tanks win," he said.

He has fewer hopes for the theme parks, saying that "people are looking for sure bets."

Even with their relatively strong financing, Gaylord and DMB are seeking $136.5 million in tax incentives from Mesa to make their deal work. And that will require the approval of city voters, which may be a tough sell in tight economic times.

Satyan Maddi, a financier who is attempting to raise money for the $600 million Coyote Canyon theme park, admitted that normal financing through banks has dried up. But he said there are private equity firms and investors willing to look at entertainment ventures as an alternative to the stock market.

He is "very optimistic" that sufficient money can be raised to break ground in the first quarter of next year.

"The project is very sound," he said.

SLOWDOWN EVIDENCE

Dennis Hoffman, an economics professor at the W.P. School of Business at Arizona State University, sees evidence of the development slowdown right outside his office window - the near-standstill on construction of the Centerpoint condominium towers in downtown Tempe. The project has been on a virtual hold since the bankruptcy filing of Mortgages Ltd., the Phoenix-based company that provided financing.

"Anyone with financing in these projects who thinks it will be easy to lease space or find customers at those theme parks, the whole of Arizona, needs to recognize that this is not just a slow-growth economy," he said. "We are in a recession as deep as anything I've seen here."

But he, too, takes a positive long-term view, saying the buildings may rise out of the ground when the economy recovers.

"I'm still hard-pressed to write our state off," he said.

Len LaBrie, executive vice president of Phoenix-based Meridian Bank, confirmed that bankers are being very conservative in their loan standards. He said the commercial projects that are the most likely to get financing are owner-occupied buildings. An example he cited was a company that might be renting its office space and would want to purchase the building for its own use.

High-rise condominiums are tough to finance, he said, although that could depend on variables such as location and number of units pre-sold.

His verdict on hotels: "For us, probably not at this time."

The key to freeing up lending is greater confidence in future growth, LaBrie said.

"Without confidence, it's tough to do anything," he said.

CASH IS KING

In Scottsdale, which had benefited from a recent boom in high-end condo, hotel and retail projects, financing has stalled some plans. That was the case for SouthBridge developer Fred Unger, who had approval to build 42 high-end condos along the Arizona Canal on the western edge of his urban downtown project that today includes four buildings of restaurants, offices and shops across the canal from Scottsdale Waterfront.

But Unger has an alternative to the financing problems - he found a cash-financed backer to develop an Element extended-stay hotel, a new Westin concept. Unger said he's working with Lewis Wolff, owner of the Oakland Athletics baseball team and chairman of Wolff Urban Development, on the project.

"Absent that, I would be sitting waiting for the market to improve," Unger said.

That is the case for another phase of SouthBridge - 12 brownstones along the canal. Unger has the city approval and half are sold, but he still cannot secure financing to build.

ON HOLD

Tempe may be the East Valley city hit hardest by the financing freeze because it has so many projects in the pipeline. Most have come to a standstill, said Chris Salomone, the city's community development manager.

"The lenders, the joint venture partners, are treating Tempe a little differently," he said. "We are getting some projects done because of the university and the light rail and our presence near the (Phoenix Sky Harbor International) airport. But the majority of the entitled projects are on hold."

The only projects moving forward are student housing along Apache Boulevard and hotels, he said. Most office and retail projects are stagnant, and anything with a residential component will probably have to wait until 2010 to come out of the ground, he said.

"The good thing about Tempe is we have very patient money here," he said. "There are some large entitles involved that have confidence the market will come back by 2010, and they want to be ready when it comes back."

In Scottsdale, major residential, retail and entertainment projects are not moving forward as expected.

This includes Centrovida, formerly known as Los Arcos Crossing, just to the east of SkySong near McDowell and Scottsdale roads. Centrovida filed its rezoning in January, but in June said the project was backing away from its mixed-use urban concept and instead focusing more on retail. No new plans have been submitted or hearings set.

And while the W Hotel recently opened just east of the Scottsdale and Camelback roads intersection, the surrounding area that's slated to be part of Triyar Co.'s large entertainment district first announced a year ago has not taken shape.

The Hanover Co., a major Houston-based developer of high-end apartment buildings, received approval in February for a five-story Scottsdale project at the northwest corner of Indian School Road and Goldwater Boulevard that would include about 230 units and first-floor shops.

Hanover's Eric Kenney said the company still wants to build the project, but he said financing is not available and construction will be tied to the recovery of the national financial markets.

"We're still bullish on downtown Scottsdale, and when the time is right and the financing out there, we'd love to be part of it. But right now we just have to wait and see how it goes," Kenney said.

Financing problems have even become a legal defense in Scottsdale, as the stalled Main Street Plaza condo project is saying the economic collapse should allow for a deadline extension to comply with land purchase deadlines set out in an agreement with Scottsdale.

ciweiss Nov 9, 2008 5:51 PM

Part of Tempe Center to come down, but nothing going up
6 commentsby William Hermann - Nov. 7, 2008 03:55 PM
The Arizona Republic
The wrecking ball at last is coming to the old and vacant Tempe Center, but construction crews still are likely years away.

The shopping center on the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and University Drive was largely vacated in 1999 so that Arizona State University could build a huge multi-use complex and gateway to the campus. But plans for the project were slow in developing and finally fell though under financial constraints.

Now, said University Planner Richard Stanley, the portion of the mall that runs north and south and is parallel to Myrtle Avenue and next to an ASU parking building is in bad shape.

"The roof has gone bad on us and rather than spend money on it we've taken any university uses out of there and we'll take it down," Stanley said. "It's an eyesore and not repairable."

The part of the center that runs east and west and reaches toward Mill Avenue will remain. Sacks Gourmet Sandwiches - the one retail operation that never did vacate the site - will remain open, as well as a small University art gallery and other university offices that occupy the space.

The shopping center, which was built in 1956, was bought by ASU in 1983 for $5.5 million. It has housed, among other things, a Pic 'n' Save, Tower Records, Ray's ASU Barber Shop, Jam's Cafe, Books Etc. and Stabler's Market.

After ASU acquired the site, planning for a classroom, office, retail, residential and hospitality mega-center at the site went forward for some two decades.

Finally, in 2004, ASU brought to the public designs for a new $500 million mixed-use project for the 13 acres, which it called the Arts and Business Gateway District. It included space for the College of Business, Fine Arts College and Architecture College, as well as general academic space, retail, a boutique hotel, conference and lecture space, residences for both students and non-students and a grocery store.

ASU selected national real estate development firm Concord Eastridge as its partner in developing the site.

But after scrutinizing plans for the project and with the economy turning sour, ASU officials said the cost to the university of pursuing the development were prohibitive.

Now, in the face of an economy teetering on the brink of disaster and ASU making major budget slashes, prospects of soon funding a major building project are nil, school officials said.

But Stanley said that one day a beautiful, multi-use complex and gateway to the university will still be built on the site.

"We'll have a while to wait until this market turns around," he said. "But we still see a multi-use development at Tempe Center. We just have to wait for the market to be ready for that."

gomoso22 Nov 17, 2008 1:13 AM

Tempe

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