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Luxury Casitas Come to Sabino Canyon

14 May 2014, 4:38 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

The Pima County Board of Supervisors recently voted to approve re-zoning for construction of a luxury-style apartment property consisting of 130 casitas on Tucson’s east side. The 15.1-acre parcel is on Sabino Canyon Road. Sabino Canyon Road Properties will develop the project which will include three-bedroom luxury rental units located between Cloud Road and East River Road.

The original plans were scaled back because the project has been a source of controversy for neighbors: 130 homes will be built instead of the originally proposed 169 rental units, as a result of pressure from nearby residents who are concerned about the development density, increased traffic and water availability issues. The Pima County Planning and Zoning Commission also opposed the rezoning, Arizona Daily Star reports; however, it changed sides along with many people living in the area after Sabino Canyon Road Properties arranged a meeting with a nearby neighborhood association and submitted its compromises.

Supervisor Ally Miller was the only voter on the five-person board who opposed the project. She disapproved, saying that county officials and board members did not receive updated information on the project in time, and they didn’t have adequate time to review the materials before deciding to accept the proposal, according to the Daily Star. The county received more than 660 letters from residents in protest of the development and more than 530 signatures in support of the project.

Field work is expected to begin at the end of summer.

Photo credits: Google Maps



The Ensign Group Acquires 230-Bed Skilled Nursing, Rehabilitation Center

7 May 2014, 10:25 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

Formerly known as Kindred Transitional Care Northwest, Casas Adobes Post-Acute Rehabilitation Center has a new owner, a recent trade publication reports. The Ensign Group acquired the 230-bed skilled nursing facility located at the corner of Orange Grove and Corona roads, adjacent to Northwest Hospital Medical Plaza in Tucson.

The Ensign Group Inc. is the parent company of the Ensign group of skilled nursing, rehabilitative care services, home health care, hospice care, assisted living and urgent care companies. Its independent operating subsidiaries provide physical, occupational and speech therapies, home health and hospice services, urgent care services and other rehabilitative and healthcare services in eleven states throughout the western and mid-western US.

The new owners expect Casas Adobes Post-Acute, with an occupancy rate of around 43 percent, to be mildly accretive to earnings in 2014. The transaction was effective Thursday, May 1 and Ensign purchased the facility with cash, according to the announcement. This acquisition marks Ensign’s 121st addition to its portfolio of healthcare facilities and the 16th in the row of its Arizona operations. One of these, Horizon Post-Acute and Rehabilitation Center in Glendale was purchased earlier this year. Horizon Post-Acute and Casas Adobes Post-Acute will remain with Ensign after separating its real estate business from the healthcare operations.

John Albrechtsen, President of Bandera, Ensign’s Arizona-based portfolio subsidiary said Ensign is actively seeking opportunities to acquire or lease similar assets across the United States. “We are proud to be joining a wonderful team of caregivers as we seek to reinforce and strengthen the caring, patient-centered environment they have created here,” he added.

Photo credits: Google Maps



W.P. Carey Buys Raytheon Office Building for $19M

30 Apr 2014, 10:26 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

A real estate investment trust recently acquired a 143,650 square-foot Class A office building currently leased to one of The Raytheon Company’s main business divisions.

The division, Raytheon Missile Systems, is the largest of Raytheon’s six operating segments and the largest private employer in the Tucson area.

The southside asset was sold to W. P. Carey Inc. W.P.Carey purchased the property on behalf of CPA:17– Global, one of its managed REITs from Summit Properties of Seattle. W. P. Carey is a global net lease REIT specializing in corporate sale-leaseback financing, build-to-suit financing and the acquisition of single-tenant net-lease properties. The company also acts as the manager to a series of non-traded REITs. At the end of last year, its owned and managed portfolio had a combined value of around $15 billion.

Located on a 10.3 acre site a few corners from the airport, in the Tucson South submarket at 3350 E. Hemisphere Loop, the fully occupied building is the defense contractor’s corporate headquarters. Colliers International brokered the transaction worth $18.95 million, which marks the largest office investment sale in Tucson by square footage of the past six years, since January 2008.

The company has also purchased a corporate headquarters/research and development facility located in New Concord, Ohio and a manufacturing facility in Bluffton, Ind. Both are currently under lease agreement with automotive heavy gauge thermoformed products designer and manufacturer PendaForm Co. for a period of 20 years and have been sold for an aggregate of approximately $8 million.

Photo credits: W. P. Carey Inc.



The Army Builds Its Largest-Ever Solar Project in Southern Arizona

23 Apr 2014, 10:25 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

Development of a solar array in southeast Arizona is about to start, according to a written announcement recently released by the U. S. Army. The plant is designed to meet about 25 percent of the annual installation electricity requirement of Fort Huachuca, one of the United States Army’s busiest transient installations.

Located in Sierra Vista in Cochise County, in southeast Arizona, about 15 miles north of the border with Mexico, Fort Huachuca is a United States Army installation under the command of the United States Army Installation Management Command. Its major tenants are the United States Army Network Enterprise Technology Command and the United States Army Intelligence Center. Army Military Auxiliary Radio System is also headquartered in Fort Huachuca.

In line with the Fort Huachuca Renewable Energy Project, the U.S. Army’s Energy Initiatives Task Force is also developing projects in New York, California, Alabama, Hawaii and Maryland that are all part of the Army’s commitment to the President for the production of one gigawatt of renewable electricity by 2025. The Fort Huachuca Renewable Energy Project is the result of Fort Huachuca’s collaboration with the U.S. Army Energy Initiatives Task Force, The General Services Administration, Tucson Electric Power and E.ON Climate and Renewables, the developer of the project. Tucson Electric Power will fund, own, maintain and operate the project, and contract with E.ON for the design, engineering, procurement and construction.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for April 25 and the facility is expected to begin operation by late 2014.

Illustration courtesy of Fernando Tomás via Wikimedia Commons



Lightstone Group Acquires Aloft Tucson University Hotel from Starwood for $19M

16 Apr 2014, 11:03 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. recently announced the $19 million sale of Aloft Tucson University to Lightstone Value Plus Real Estate Investment Trust II Inc., a public, non-traded REIT sponsored by The Lightstone Group.

Founded in 1988, The Lightstone Group is a privately held real estate company taking pride in a portfolio of over 8.1 million square feet of office, hotel, retail and industrial assets, more than 11,000 multifamily units, and north of 12,000 fully-improved residential lots throughout the States. “We believe this acquisition is representative of Lightstone’s ability to identify attractive investment opportunities,” David Lichtenstein, chairman and CEO of The Lightstone Group said in a recent statement for the press.

Aloft Tucson University is located at 1900 East Speedway, right next to the University of Arizona campus and the University of Arizona Medical Center, with shopping, dining and entertainment within reach. Originally built in 1972, it has undergone a complete redevelopment prior to its re-opening in April 2013 as Aloft Tucson University. Its range of amenities includes a heated outdoor pool, a bar, a 24-hour fitness center, a lounge equipped with a pool table, a 24/7 grab-and-go gourmet pantry and 1,723 square feet of flexible meeting space, designed with business meetings and social gatherings in mind. The guest rooms feature the brand’s signature Aloft beds, oversized showerheads, custom amenities by Bliss Spa and plug & play connectivity stations that charge all types of electronics and link to the 42″ LCD TVs.

The hotel will be managed under a long-term license agreement by Island Hospitality Management and will continue to operate as part of the Aloft brand.

Photo credits: Aloft Tucson University