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Securaplane Inaugurates 55,000-Sq.-Ft. Facility in Oro Valley

6 Feb 2014, 11:21 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

Securaplane’s strong growth made it inevitable that the avionics products supplier would eventually outgrow its Foothills Business Park location. The company has found a solution and completed expansion recently in Oro Valley. The newly constructed 55,000 square foot facility is located within Innovation Park and will house 180 employees.

Securaplane Technologies is a leading supplier of avionics products for business, commercial and military aircraft. The company is a subsidiary of Meggitt PLC, an international group operating in North America, Europe, and Asia. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, Meggitt PLC is a world leader in aerospace, defense and energy markets, best known for its specialized extreme environment engineering.

In order to increase the size of its operations and support production for its business jet, air transport, rotorcraft and military customers, Securaplane turned to the Economic Expansion Zone for acreage.  The overlay district was approved by Oro Valley Town Council on Oct. 3, 2012. The purpose of creating such an area was to streamline the process and reduce the time required for establishing or expanding a business. Oro Mayor Satish I. Hiremath is pleased to see Securaplane joining Innovation Park’s high-tech corridor “We’re also proud that Securaplane was the first business to benefit from the Economic Expansion Zone,” he added in a statement for the press.

A grand opening celebration for the new facility will be held March 20, with the attendance of federal, state, and local officials as well as Securaplane stakeholders.

Photo credits: Innovation Park official



Old Tucson Studios to Undergo Major Revitalization Project

30 Jan 2014, 8:21 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

Old Tucson Co. has big plans with Old Tucson Studios. The company plans to convert the facility into a multi-cultural living history educational center for southern Arizona.

Just fifteen minutes from the city, Old Tucson is located at the base of the Tucson Mountains, on the corner of S. Kinney Road and W. Gates Pass Road.  As a working film location and western theme park, it provides entertainment, historical tours and special event services for the general public, as well as location and production services for film production companies and independent producers and directors.

The theme park is operated by Old Tucson Co. According to Inside Tucson Business, the company pays Pima County $64,000 a year in rent for the site. Now the firm plans to turn over the lease to a new nonprofit organization, the Arizona Sonora Western Heritage Foundation, which brings partners such as the University of Arizona and the Arizona Historical Society to the project. A development director will also be hired to lead the redevelopment works.

The project could be financed by grant funding and donations. A renegotiation is also possible with the county. Old Tucson Co. would continue to operate the park though. The park management is currently discussing possibilities of a lower rent with the county.

Pete Mangelsdorf, General Manager and CEO at Old Tucson believes that the educational programs and the multi-cultural heritage projects will be able to revitalize the theme park and “give something back to the people of Pima County,” Inside Tucson Business reports. Having been a popular filming location for western movies, the fate of Old Tucson has been sealed after the 1970’s when the production of western movies started to decline. Additionally, an arson fire devastated more than half of the historical buildings in 1995.

Photo credits: Old Tucson



New Tucson Water Treatment Facility Completed

22 Jan 2014, 8:38 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

Tucson Water’s Advanced Oxidation Process Water Treatment Facility has recently been inaugurated. Construction began in July 2012 and was completed on schedule and within budget.

Located west of Interstate 19 near Irvington Road, the new plant will operate in conjunction with the adjacent Tucson Airport Remediation Project facility to produce up to a daily total of 8 million gallons of purified water.  The new 4,500-square-foot treatment facility is equipped with state-of-the-art gear, designed to remove 1,4-dioxane and other contaminants from water.

From the 1940s, industrial activity at the aircraft manufacturing facilities in the Tucson International Airport area contaminated the surrounding groundwater supplies with solvents for over 30 years. These chemicals contained a stabilizing compound called 1,4-dioxane, an ether with damaging effect to the central nervous system and several organs,  irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract.

AOP technology combines UV light with hydrogen peroxide to remove 1,4-dioxane from the underground plume at the TARP wellfield, in order to reach a degree of purity advised by the Environmental Protection Agency. Although EPA does not currently regulate 1,4-dioxane, two years ago the agency issued a drinking water health advisory for 1,4-dioxane of 0.35 parts per billion. Tucson Water performs thousands of tests each year on water samples and reports the results to customers, elected officials, and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

Tucson Water Director Alan Forrest hosted the dedication ceremony held on Jan. 15. He pointed out that the water produced from the TARP and AOP treatment facilities meets all federal drinking water standards and is safe for drinking, cooking, and bathing. “Tucson Water’s commitment to ensuring that customers have enough safe, high-quality water today and in the future is a strategic approach that we fully support,” said Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, who was also present at the inaugural. “This new AOP Water Treatment Facility is an important investment in our community’s water quality and long-term water reliability,” he added.

Photo credits: City of Tucson



School Wins Office Makeover by Goodmans Interiors Structures

16 Jan 2014, 8:13 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

The Edge School at Himmel Park recently won Goodmans Interior Structures’ “Eye for the Good GuyS Board Governance Award.” The prize was a $20,000 office makeover that also gave the local nonprofit charter high school a bigger and more modern state-of-the-art assembly hall with a capacity to seat 25 people.

Other participants in the sprint for the 2013 Good GuyS award were Assistance League of Tucson, Beads of Courage, Children’s Museum Tucson and Junior League of Tucson. In the past years, executives of other nonprofit organizations were awarded the recognition and had their offices almost completely re-equipped as tribute to their realizations. The prize was often shared between several of them.

The mission of Edge High School is to provide counseling and education alternative for students who have dropped out of school or who are at risk of doing so. In 2008, the board and administration of the school worked with the Industrial Development Authority of Pima County to issue a bond to purchase and renovate the main school campus at Himmel Park.

According to Arizona Daily Star, a broken room divider previously stood in the way, making it difficult to exploit the possibilities of the space. Besides removal of the divider, the walls were painted, electrical outlets added and flooring and ceiling tiles replaced. Goodmans Interiors Structures also provided stackable tables and chairs along with a 70-inch flat-panel TV and a mobile whiteboard.

Photo credits: Google Maps



Signature Vacation Rentals Enters Tucson Market

16 Jan 2014, 4:51 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

Signature Vacation Rentals has expanded its operation by opening a new branch office in Tucson.

President Steve Schwab named Jeanie Anaya as the new branch manager for the Signature Vacation Rentals Tucson office at 6700 N. Oracle, Suite 332.

“I am excited for the property owners who lease their properties for short- and long-term rentals in the Tucson area,” Schwab said in a statement. “With our owner-centric process of management backed by our powerful Property Management Systems, the property owners in Tucson can expect excellent property exposure, increased rentals and great service with integrity.”

Launched in 2011, Signature Vacation Rentals is an affiliate of The Schwab Organization. Founded by Schwab, the parent organization came to life in 2001 in Puerto Penasco, Mexico and is dedicated to client services, community service and cross border business.

The new sub-office will focus on offering vacation rental property owners and guests a professional mediation. Since its inception, the company has expanded staff and continued to incorporate technological advances to be able to keep up with the ever increasing demand and continue to meet requirements of owners and guests in the industry.

Beyond employing licensed real estate agents, the company also works with a designated broker who oversees the operations. According to Schwab, the firm’s accounting system is CPA certified, and they have passed their audits with the State of Arizona consistently.

Photo credits: Google Maps 



Luxury 274-Unit Mixed-Use Project in the Pipeline for Oro Valley

16 Jan 2014, 4:04 pm

By Balazs Szekely Associate Editor

Luxury apartments and a retail center are coming to the North Oracle Road and First Avenue intersection in Oro Valley. The mixed-use project’s location is part of an area that was approved as a planned area development in 2002.

Although developers have not yet broken ground at the site, Arizona Daily Star reports that CVS Pharmacy, Panera Bread, Mattress Firm and Universal Nails & Spa have already signed to lease commercial spaces of yet undisclosed square-footage. According to Inside Tucson Business, Paradise Bakery has also shown interest in expanding its operations to San Dorado at Oro Valley Town Centre, as the complex will be called.

Scottsdale-based Mark-Taylor Capital and Kitchell Development joined forces for the construction of the 274-unit residential component, whilst the retail center will be developed by Kitchell alone. The site is owned by Cañada del Oro L.L.C. Delivery is expected by Q3 2014 for the shopping center, but part of the residential units will be move-in-ready a few months earlier. Future residents can choose from homes featuring up to three bedrooms and up to two bathrooms on nine different floor plans ranging from 779 to 1,381 square feet. Ryan Cochran, director of development for Kitchell told the Arizona Daily star that a central “civic area” will include a grassy, park-like space and an area for farmers’ markets and other outdoor activities.

Not far away from the site, another project is also underway. HSL Properties has recently started developing Encantada at Steam Pump Ranch, a 288-unit apartment complex north of Oracle Road and First Avenue.

Photo courtesy: Mark-Taylor



Renovation Completed on Heart and Vascular Institute at St. Mary’s Hospital

15 Jan 2014, 8:23 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

2013 marks a great leap forward for the Carondelet Heart & Vascular Institute, which undertook a major expansion, including the adoption of a state-of-the-art hybrid operating suite.

Located on the first and third floors of St. Mary’s Hospital in Tucson, the Carondelet Heart & Vascular Institute’s St. Mary’s Campus has been under renovation during the past year. CHVI celebrates the official opening in January. The project cost $17 million and is part of an expansion of Carondelet Health Network’s heart program involving Carondelet’s St. Joseph’s campus as well.

The institute now includes a dedicated Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit; a 21-bed, all private room progressive care unit; a 34-bed telemetry unit; two cardiac catheterization labs; three dedicated operating suites; an electrophysiology suite with cardiac arrhythmia ablation capability; and an endovascular surgical suite for complex aneurysm repair. The jewel in the crown is a hybrid operating suite, which is basically a combination of a cardiac catheterization lab and a cardiothoracic operating room that serves as a remote classroom at the same time. This means that physicians and medical students can observe and learn new techniques and procedures from anywhere in the world via a video stream. The hybrid OR is also equipped with the highest quality X-ray imaging for optimal visualization during complex surgical procedures. The high-tech equipment guarantees that patients as well as the crew are exposed to minimal radiation.

St. Mary’s holds a number of national titles such as Joint Commission-certified Primary Stroke Center, Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence and Distinguished Hospital for Critical Care. The hospital is also among the top 100 in the nation for stroke care, and Healthgrades’ Patient Safety Excellence Award places it among the top 10 percent of US hospitals for quality and safety. In 2013, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association also honored the hospital with a Gold Plus Award for Stroke Care. Michael Hecht, MD and chief medical officer of Carondelet Specialist Group told the press that “the vision of Carondelet Heart & Vascular Institute is to be nationally recognized as a premier destination for modern cardiovascular care through clinical excellence, research and physician education.”

Photo courtesy of Carondelet Health Network



Downtown Condos Expected to Sell Out Fast

12 Dec 2013, 11:12 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

Downtown Tucson Partnership has high expectations of the Flats at Julian Drew Block Condominiums community as all 53 units at 128 S 5th Avenue of are now listed for individual sale and the partnership anticipates great interest from buyers.

The units have recently been updated with climate control units, new front doors and windows, kitchen cabinets, recessed lighting and new plumbing fixtures. Each unit overlooks a large courtyard with pool, spa, bike racks and barbecue area. The three-floor property includes studio and one-bedroom condos with prices starting in the low $100,000s. The company submits two model units for clients interested in buying to view daily from 9 am to 5 pm and the units are available for purchase through Tierra Antigua Realty.

Vice President of Regional Development for Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Michael Guymon thinks that a successful and viable neighborhood has to live up to a certain standard, namely, to provide live, work and play opportunities, and that the Flats at Julian Drew Block Condominiums meets these requirements. “From a housing perspective, those successful downtowns include diverse options that allow for rental and ownership. This project brings an important ownership opportunity to those looking to invest in Tucson’s downtown.”

According to Michael Keith, CEO of Downtown Tucson Partnership, there has been demand for such a project for a long time. He sees a turning point for Downtown in the conversion of the community.  “The fact that buyers can not only be part of one of the hottest Downtown districts in the west, but can actually own an appreciating asset in the center of our amazing redevelopment district is astonishing. That their mortgage payments will be comparable to area rents is even more astonishing. You have to think that these 53 units will be completely sold out in a couple of months,” he said in a statement.

Photo credits: Downtown Tucson Partnership 



Casino Del Sol Resort Adds Sewailo Golf Club

5 Dec 2013, 10:23 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

Casino Del Sol Resort invites players of all skill levels to Sewailo Golf Club starting on Dec. 12. The 200-acre course was designed by PGA Tour player, Golf Channel commentator and renowned golf course architect Notah Begay III.

Casino Del Sol Resort, among several other enterprises, is owned and operated by the federally recognized Pascua Yaqui Tribe that congregates more than 17,000 members. Located in southwest metropolitan Tucson, the property is Arizona’s only Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond Casino Resort. Casino Del Sol Resort offers six restaurants and bars, a conference center with breakout rooms, Hiapsi Spa, P.Y. Steakhouse, Oasis pool and bar, two casinos and a 5,000-seat open-air concert venue called AVA outdoor amphitheater.

The word Sewailo means “flower world” in the tribal language. More than 30,000 native flowers, cacti and other plants guarantee that the course lives up to its name. An abundance of native plants has been salvaged and replanted from the original site, mainly species that are also used in the tribe’s traditional ceremonies. Almost 14 acres of lakes, streams and water features add to the experience as well.

Begay’s careful planning that incorporates the existing resources of the native landscape resulted in one of the most remarkable courses in the Southwest. Carved out of the high Sonoran Desert, the challenging course measures 7,400 yards from the championship tees and features five different tee boxes at each hole. The course includes further amenities such as practice areas for chipping and putting, a driving range, instructional programs and equipment rentals. Troon Golf is entrusted with managing the course.

Photo Credits: Sewailo Golf Club



ITRA Global Invites Bioscience Companies to Tucson

29 Nov 2013, 2:31 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

Commercial Real Estate Group of Tucson issued a white paper suggesting that bioscience/biotechnology companies relocate to Tucson.

Michael Coretz, principal of Commercial Real Estate of Tucson, considers the proximity to private enterprises only one of the advantages Tucson has to offer for biotech companies. Coretz is a site-selection expert with indepth knowledge of biotech companies for local, regional and national clients.

“Our city also boasts available venture capital, an encouraging spirit of entrepreneurship and a strong research community, including the University of Arizona’s Bio5 Institute,” he claims in the publication. “Tucson is a rising biotechnology star.”

Commercial Real Estate of Tucson is the local affiliate of ITRA Global, which represents firms specializing in the representation of tenants and buyers of commercial real estate such as office, industrial, and retail facilities in major markets worldwide.

The nine-page report, titled “The Bio Industry in Tucson, Arizona,” highlights two main reasons for consideration, namely the large bio presence and the strong research community. It points out that numerous other bioscience companies already operate with success in the region, for instance Ventana Medical Systems, Sanofi and SynCardia Systems.

Accelerate Diagnostics’ 2012 shift from Denver is also mentioned in the communication. Lawrence Mehren, president and CEO of the company shared his experience, saying “I was impressed from my first contacts with Pima County, the Tucson mayor’s office, the state of Arizona and the Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities Office. We could tell this was a place that valued our businesses and wanted to help.” Potential partners are also reminded of the presence of a highly skilled workforce and the available federal and state government funding.

The white paper is available for download on Commercial Real Estate Group of Tucson’s official website.

Illustration by Linda Bartlett via Wikimedia Commons



Washington Gas Energy to Add Solar Array in UA Tech Park

21 Nov 2013, 10:54 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

Washington Gas Energy Systems Inc. recently announced a commitment with Tucson Electric Power to establish a one-megawatt solar array.

The facility will be owned and operated by Washington Gas Energy Systems, which is an affiliate of Washington Gas Light Co., under a 20-year power purchase agreement with TEP.

The electric utility company announced a Request for Proposal for the installation not long ago. Cogenra Solar developed and designed the project and will manage procurement and construction.

The project, Cogenra Solar’s largest so far, will be constructed at Solar Zone within the University of Arizona’s Science & Technology Park. Developers anticipate completion by April. The plant will be based on Cogenra’s ground-mounted T14 systems. These combine high-efficiency silicon photovoltaic cells and a single-axis horizontal tracker with proprietary low-concentration optics. Cogenra’s solar cells include mirrors that concentrate the sunlight. Thanks to this technology, more electricity can be generated with fewer units, occupying less space. The levelized cost of electricity is also lowered this way by up to 20 percent compared to conventional PV systems. “Cogenra’s latest generation product T14 offers the lowest installed cost solar system out there and we are very excited to be working with TEP and the Solar Zone on our first MW-scale project,” Gilad Almogy, CEO and founder of Cogenra Solar said in a statement for the press.

Arizona’s Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff requires electric utilities to gradually increase their output of renewable energy each year to meet the 15 percent benchmark by 2025, and the expansion to come will help TEP to reach or even exceed this level. Upon completion of the new project, Solar Zone will generate 23 megawatts of power in total, and the added 1,986 megawatt-hours per year the new cells are expected to produce should be enough to serve the electrical needs of about 180 homes in Tucson.

Illustration courtesy of Thecyrgroup via Wikimedia Commons



LGI Homes Holds Grand Opening for Development of 72-Lot Homesite

15 Nov 2013, 10:44 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

The event took place at Caddis Haley on Nov. 9 when LGI Homes made public its intended plans for the property.

The company is constructing single and two- story homes with three-, four- and five-bedrooms on the recently acquired lots in the southwest Tucson submarket. LGI bought the 72 homesites in late August from Greg Anderson of Caddis Bridge LLC. Chapman Lindsay’s Aaron Mendenhall served as broker.

LGI Homes Inc. is headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas and engages in the design and construction of entry-level homes in Texas, Arizona, Florida and Georgia. Since commencing operations in 2003, the company has constructed and sold over 5,500 homes.

Floor plans for the aforementioned homes range from 1,450 square feet to 2,550 square feet, and rents start at $799 per month. According to a press release, the newly built homes include covered patios and modern kitchens with granite countertops, birch cabinetry and energy-efficient appliances. A 10-year homeowner warranty is also among the benefits, says the company’s website. The community also offers a basketball court, playground and open park space as well as designated picnic areas. Located in Star Valley, a high-demand area of the city, the neighborhood is minutes from Midvale Park Plaza and the Tucson Spectrum which offer shopping, dining and entertainment.

Jay Osborne of LGI will manage construction operations while Rudy Carrillo is entrusted with marketing the community. “We are excited to become a part of the Tucson community,” Carrillo said. “There are a lot of people throwing money away on rent and paying their landlord’s bills. We look forward to helping people fulfill their dream of homeownership,” he added.

Photo credits: LGI Homes



Noble Investment Embarks on $18M+ Redevelopment, Rebranding of Two Windmill Suites Hotels

6 Nov 2013, 5:09 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

Noble Investment Group acquired two Windmill Suites hotels in Arizona. The Windmill Suites Hotel Tucson at the University of Arizona and the Windmill Suites Hotel in Phoenix/Chandler at the Chandler Fashion Center will be rebranded soon.

The Noble organization has previously invested more than $2.5 billion in upscale hotels affiliated with brands such as Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton and Starwood. Noble specializes in making value-added, opportunistic investments in the lodging and hospitality real estate sector throughout the U.S.

The investor wants to invest more than$18 million in renewal and improvement of the two properties, which are also in for rebranding. Noble principal, Ben Brunt sees the acquisitions as “representative of Noble’s strategy to invest in prominently located urban select service and extended stay hotels affiliated with premium brands,” according to a statement. “Our ability to physically enhance, reposition, and rebrand these assets will enable us to maximize operating performance and add substantial value to these investments,” he added.

The Tucson property is located at the northern edge of Tucson in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, in St. Philip’s Plaza, and currently offers two-room suites. It is soon going to be rebranded as Homewood Suites by Hilton and will also be enhanced with new units, thus working up the number of suites to 122. The exterior will also undergo a comprehensive update, and new common areas will be added as well. The renovations are planned to meet “Take Flight” guidelines and will cost around $9 million. Take Flight is Homewood Suites’ initiative launched earlier this year— a program designed to retrofit existing outdated properties and bring them up to modern-day standards.

The soon-to-be 129-suite Hyatt Place Phoenix/Chandler is located on West Chandler Boulevard, adjacent to the Chandler Fashion Center.  Its redevelopment includes the incorporation of the Hyatt Place lobby concept, all new guestrooms, common areas and exterior enhancements.

Both properties are located in highly sought after and affluent markets consistent with Noble’s strategy of investing in top-grade real estate, enhancing the physical space through redevelopment and/or rebranding and then maximizing operational performance.

Photo courtesy of Windmill Suites



Town Officials Remove Endangered Species Protection from 2,400-Acre Area

1 Nov 2013, 6:41 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

Marana residents fear that Tortolita Preserve may be facing a whole series of new developments in the future as town officials intend to withdraw from a 99-year lease agreement early and return the area back to the state.

The goal of creating the preserve 13 years ago was to reduce Dove Mountain’s development, thus protecting the habitat of the Pygmy Owl. The species was on the endangered species list at that time.

Since the birds have reproduced to a more comforting level and as a consequence have been taken off the endangered species list in the meantime, the agreement with the state and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service might now be suspended, upsetting locals living near the preserve. The pleasant surroundings that the Tortolita Preserve provided for nearby homes constituted a major attraction in the eyes of present inhabitants, according to a News 4 Tucson report. The other concern they have is depreciation of their properties.

The Town of Marana originally agreed to lease 2,400 acres of land in order to protect the tiny predators. Now that the species no longer counts as endangered, officials caution that the land generates significant expenses for taxpayers. Around $121 million would have to be paid over the extent of the contract, so the town has to consider every option. Over time, the lease will inevitably become a burden regarding the general fund, Marana spokesman Rodney Camplbell declared. What might give concerned residents some momentary relief is that the state land department still has to affirm that revising the contract is even possible.

Illustration courtesy of John Owens via Wikimedia Commons



First Baptist Church School to be Converted to HQ for Mister Car Wash

16 Oct 2013, 10:08 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

The three-story former First Baptist Church education building at 222 E. Fifth St. near downtown Tucson will be redeveloped as headquarters of Mister Car Wash by May 2014.

Mister Car Wash currently operates six carwashes in Tucson and 124 carwashes nationwide. As announced in a press release, the company bought two Simoniz locations from Wash Depot Holdings Inc. last month, raising the number of locations acquired in 2013 to 21. The current leap has been expected as the fast-developing car-wash chain has outgrown its present Foothills place at the La Paloma Corporate Center and had to temporarily relocate some employees to satellite offices, Arizona Daily Star reports.

John Lai, CEO of Mister Car Wash, considers attracting a young workforce to the firm as well as keeping them just as important as growing through acquisitions.  “The big picture for us is, to attract top talent we knew we needed to be where the action is,” Lai said.

The school building, inaugurated in 1952 and used by the First Baptist Church for decades was partly demolished for a redevelopment into condos in 2008, but that project remained only a plan due to the economic crisis. Permits still must be approved for the 28,000-square-foot realty, but work could presumably begin in November. The new design will preserve the ‘50s brick exterior and inside, an existing stairway will be moved in order to form a large entrance hall.

Photo credits: Google Maps



Venture West Awards Marketing of 535-Acre Tucson Business Park to CBRE

11 Oct 2013, 9:51 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

The 535-acre business park sits in the heart of Tucson’s bio-science region in Oro Valley. Venture West,who has owned the property since 2007, awarded a team of six CBRE brokerage professionals with the marketing and leasing of the realty.

According to AZRE MagazineTim Healy and Bob DeLaney will focus on the industrial space, David Montijo and Jeff Casper will handle office and medical space while Nancy McClure and Michael Laatsch will oversee retail space.

Innovation Park is already a major base for biotech firms. In this, the proximity of University of Arizona plays a key role being a rich source of freshly graduated intellectual workforce. The university‘s Biosphere 2 research complex and Bio5 Institute also represent a great advantage to the Innovation Park.

World-class technology and science companies as well as nonprofit associations, including Ventana Medical Systems and Sanofi, have divisions currently housed in the complex. Avionics products supplier Securaplane Technologies has already announced to move into a newly-constructed, 55,000 square-foot spaceBy the end of 2013. Securaplane’s development is the first project to operate under the so-called Economic Expansion Zone approved by the Town of Oro Valley in October 2012. EEZ is an overlay district that covers Innovation Park and is meant to encourage economic development by reducing the time required to establish or expand a business by making the approval process easier for projects that meet all zoning standards. The 565-acre field features 193 acres of natural open space, walking paths and hiking trails and proximity to Catalina State Park.

Photo credits: Innovation Park



City Wraps up Sentinel Peak Improvements, Kicks off Tucson Birthday Month

2 Aug 2013, 7:53 pm

by Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

Sentinel Peak Park, Tucson’s largest natural resource park, has undergone a series of important renovations and is now open to the public. The City contracted M. Anderson Construction and Wheat Photo courtesy of John Diebolt via Wikimedia CommonsScharf Associates Landscape Architects to perform the improvements completed as Phase I of a master plan approved in 2010 by the Mayor and Council. Trail work was provided by Southwest Conservation Corps youth crews.

“Sentinel Peak is an iconic place for Tucsonans – rich in history and open to everyone,” said Tucson Vice-Mayor Regina Romero. “We want people to bring their out-of-town guests to enjoy the views, stay to learn the history and go for a hike, and then go downtown, both the east and west sides, for fabulous food and entertainment.”

Held on Aug. 1, the “A” Mountain dedication ceremony kicked off festivities for Tucson’s birthday month. August is celebrating 4000 years of history in the Old Pueblo, originating at the base of Sentinel Peak. The City of Tucson was founded on Aug. 20, 1776.

Renovation highlights include:

  • Parking: new bike parking and two new accessible spaces in the upper lot – per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA);
  • Trailhead Plaza: A new plaza adjacent to the park’s upper parking lot to orient visitors, including colored/textured concrete seat walls, interpretive signage, trail map signage, bicycle parking, and benches (ADA accessible);
  • Overlook Plazas: Two new overlook plazas with shade ramadas, concrete seatwalls and interpretive signs (ADA accessible);
  • Trails: New path to connect the improvements, constructed of “XeriTec” paving, a stable, porous, colored natural rock paving system designed to blend with the geology of the site. (City Of Tucson)

The park could benefit from another $2.5 million in improvements if a Pima County bond proposal is approved by a bond advisory committee and voters in 2014.

In transaction news, Minneapolis-based Dominium has acquired Sahuarita Mission Apartments, a 52-unit affordable apartment community in Green Valley, southwest of Tucson, from Sahuarita Ridge Apartments of Chandler, an entity affiliated with the Arizona Community Action Program. The purchase price was $2.08 million or $40,000 per unit, according to the Real Estate Daily News.

Located at 1091 West Beta Street, Mission Apartments offers two- and three-bedroom units with fully equipped kitchens. Common amenities include a playground, scenic picnic area and clubhouse.



Tanque Verde Holdings Grabs Luxury Multifamily Property in Tucson for $12M

25 Jul 2013, 9:38 pm

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

In a $12.3 million deal, Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Tanque Verde Holdings LLC has acquired Aerie at Tanque Verde, an 85-unit luxury rental community in Northeast Tucson, from Alta Vista Communities LLC. The sales price equates to $145,000 per unit which sets a new record in the 40+ unit multifamily category, according to the Real Estate Daily News.

Art Wadlund of Hendricks-Berkadia in Tucson brokered the transaction for the seller.

Alta Vista Communities is a joint venture of Karber Holdings (Roger Karber, principal and founder of Aerie Development) and Brav Holding Co. (Garry Brav), and affiliate of BFL Construction, the contractor for the communities. Aerie at Tanque Verde sits on a 6.3-acre infill pad that the entity had purchased for $1.6 million from the Lewis family.

Located at 2495 North Desert Links Drive, the high-end complex features detached rental homes with one-, two-, and three-bedroom options ranging in size from 635 sq. ft. to 1,244 sq. ft. Monthly rents range from $819 to $1,195 per month. The property was fully leased at the time of closing.

The community has been open for less than a year and offers premier amenities including gated entrance, free covered parking, Ramada, swimming pool and spa. Each rental home comes with granite countertops, 10-foot ceilings, stainless steel kitchen appliances, washer and dryer, wood plank vinyl flooring, two-inch horizontal window blinds and private rear yard.

MEB Management Services of Tucson is the property manager.

Photo credits: Aerie



Royal Properties to Break Ground on 232-Bed Student Housing Project in Tucson

19 Jul 2013, 9:34 pm

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

Royal Properties, a national owner, developer and manager of multi-family student housing, plans to break ground this month on a 232-bed student housing project in Tucson’s Iron Horse neighborhood.

The company purchased the 2.43-acre tract in June 2012 through one of its affiliates, The Junction at Iron Horse LLC. Roy Drachman of Roy Drachman Realty represented the buyer in the transaction. Peter Douglas and Patrick Welchert of Cushman & Wakefield / Picor Commercial Real Estate Services represented the seller, Crescent Realty Corp.

The area has tremendous development potential due to its proximity to both University of Arizona Campus and the 4th Avenue Business District which is home to many shopping and entertainment destinations.

Dubbed The Junction at Iron Horse, the off-campus transit-oriented development will be located at 504 E 9th Street, within 850 feet of a Sun Tran bus stop on Toole Avenue and 400 feet from the Tucson Modern Street Car stop at 4th Avenue and 9th Street. It is also located within 800 feet from two new public parking structures near 4th Avenue and Toole Avenue, with pedestrian and bike routes prevalent in the area and a Walk Score of 90, the highest in the Tucson area, according to the Real Estate Daily News.

Construction is expected to start this month with an official opening projected for 2014.

Chicago-based The John Buck Company (JBC) teamed with the developer to handle the management oversight of the project.

In transaction news, Westmoreland Apartments LLC sold the Colonia De Tucson Apartments, an 84-unit multifamily community in Tucson, to a private investor for $2,400,000. Natan Jacobs and Les Litwin of Vestis Group represented the buyer in the sale. Jeff Sherman, Trevor Koskovich and Bill Hahn of Colliers International represented the seller.

Built in 1983, the apartment complex is situated at 335 & 1351 West St. Mary’s Road.

The new owner plans to give the property an extensive makeover, to include refreshed interiors and several exterior improvements.

Photo credits: Arizona Apartment Management



Tucson’s Modern Streetcar Nearing Completion

10 Jul 2013, 9:53 pm

by Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

The City of Tucson is s wrapping up construction on the Sun Link Streetcar, its largest construction project to-date. About 98 percent of the underground utility upgrades and relocations are complete, and 95 percent of the project has rail installed, according to the latest official updates.

Co-managed by the City of Tucson and the RTA, the Sun Link project is part of the voter-approved $2.1 billion Regional Transportation Plan that will be implemented through 2026.

The 3.9-mile streetcar route will connect major activity centers: The University of Arizona, Arizona Health Sciences Center, University Main Gate Business District, 4th Avenue Business District, Congress Avenue Shopping and Entertainment District and the Mercado District.

In addition to delivering an improved, high-profile, transit system, the Sun Link project is expected to give a huge boost to the local economy. To date, more than $800 million has been invested by the private sector. More than 1,500 housing units have been developed, and over 50 retail outfits have set up shop along the route. Approximately 500 construction jobs have been directly linked to the construction process, and an estimated 1,480 long-term regional jobs are projected to emerge as a result of the streetcar.

Moreover, the Sun Link transit corridor has seen an increased corporate business presence with the addition of a new headquarters for UniSource Energy, with 400-plus employees, and Providence Service Corp., both publicly traded companies.

The fixed-guideway electric rail system will have eight ADA-compliant vehicles in operation, sharing a travel lane with other vehicles and will be compatible with street parking. The streetcars also will accommodate bicycles and have easy roll-on access for wheelchairs and strollers.

Public art will be an important component of the high-profile Sun Link. There will be 11 unique stops featuring signature public art pieces, and nine stops will be equipped with LCD “reader boards” with poetry provided by the University of Arizona Poetry Center, the Arizona Daily Wildcat reports.

The Maintenance and Storage Facility (MSF) is designed to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum.

Construction is expected to be finished in the fall 2013, with an opening planned for the summer 2014.

Rendering courtesy of the Tucson Modern Streetcar Facebook page