The Arizona Republic
May. 3, 2007 11:15 AM Scottsdale‘s redevelopment boom the past few years has brought several thousand new condominiums to downtown, most of them in a lofty price category of a $500,000 and up. Sometimes way up.That has some citizens wondering where the affordable lofts and condos are for people of normal means.
“I think there is a huge pool of 20- and 30-something professionals who would find the loft and urban lifestyle desirable,” said Jon Evans, 38, an online-media professional for PR Newswire who lives in Scottsdale. “Unfortunately, the developers only seem to be targeting very wealthy buyers.”Evans, who moved here four years ago from Los Angeles, bought a 2,000-square-foot, single-family home near 64th Street and Thomas Road before prices shot up in the Valley. He paid less than $200,000 and figures it might be worth roughly double that now.
Evans said he doesn’t enjoy the upkeep on his house but can’t afford to move into a downtown condo, even though it would fit his lifestyle. And he doesn’t need some of the high-end amenities offered in the luxury condos.
“I wouldn’t buy anything unless the price comes down,” he added.
That appears unlikely. Entry level still pretty high Even some of the more affordable projects are pushing the $500,000 range.Grace Communities is building the X Wine Lofts northwest of Scottsdale and Osborn roads, an 82-unit project that might be attractive for younger buyers.
Two years ago, Grace estimated that prices for the smallest units of 900 square feet would start at $250,000.
But now the starting price has jumped into the $300,000 range, with the top-floor units of 2,100 square feet selling for up to $900,000, said Laurie Dube, a sales agent for Grace.
About 40 percent of the lofts have been sold, she said, adding that the first closings are likely in September.
Urban Home Development Corp. plans to break ground in August on another 288-unit project, Citro Camelback, at 78th Street and Camelback Road. But prices on the first 96 townhouses one-story flats will start at $500,000.
That is out of reach for a lot of younger buyers.Condos replacing apartments Even apartment dwellers are getting squeezed out of downtown with condo conversions and apartments being torn down.The latest is the Orchidtree Apartments at 68th Street and Camelback. Residents were notified this week that it will be closed at the end of July.
A large condominium project is planned on the 10-acre site.
Downtown will benefit from the influx of new residents. But I can’t help but think that it would be more vibrant if it were populated with a diverse mix of residents, creative professionals and families bringing life to its emerging urban neighborhoods.
If most of the luxury condos belong to investors and part-time residents, then the desired effect of a lively 24-hour downtown neighborhood is muted.
Andrew Holm – The Holm Group