First Place AZ to Break Ground on Dec. 6

Denise D. Resnik
Denise D. Resnik

(Editor’s note: News releases are published unedited unless they contain factual errors.)

PHOENIX (November 28, 2016) — After 16 years in the making, First Place AZ is breaking new ground with its first new property, First Place-Phoenix, Tuesday, December 6 at 9 a.m.

First Place AZ is a 501(c)3 non-profit working hard to ensure that housing options for people with autism and other special abilities are as bountiful as they are for everyone else.

First Place-Phoenix will be located in the heart of the urban area at Third Street and Catalina. The theme of the event is First Place Groundbreaking Looking Up…The Sky’s the Limit. Elected officials, adults with autism and different abilities, family members, the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) and other community partners will participate in the event.

“This high-energy, celebratory groundbreaking is the result of collective impact, representing the wisdom and generosity of 80 collaborating partners from Arizona and across North America,” said Denise D. Resnik, First Place AZ founder and president/CEO, and SARRC co-founder. “Together, we have created a culture that recognizes ability and opened more doors to continuing education, employment and health care. And together, we have set the stage for this very big next step, breaking new ground in Phoenix and for adults like our son, everywhere.”

First Place-Phoenix will feature three main components:

  • First Place Apartments:  56 studio, one-, two- and four-bedroom units for lease by residents, supported by a suite of independent living services and amenities
  • First Place Transition Academy: A two-year, tuition-based residential training program for participants focused on independent living skills, career readiness and interpersonal relations
  • First Place Leadership Institute: A national training center for professionals, direct service support providers and medical personnel, and robust site for research and public policy advancements

Hardison/downey construction of Phoenix is the general contractor and RSP Architects of Tempe is the architect.

WHAT: First Place Groundbreaking Looking Up…The Sky’s the Limit

WHEN: Tuesday, December 6 at 9 a.m.

WHERE: 3001 N. Third Street, Phoenix

MEDIA INTEREST: Interview individuals with autism and other special abilities about breaking ground on their future home

SPEAKERS: Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton; AZ Dept. of Housing Director Michael Trailor; First Place Founder, CEO and SARRC Co-founder Denise D. Resnik; First Place Capital Campaign Cabinet Member and former ULI Arizona Board Chair John Graham; First Place Board Chair Sara Dial

About First Place AZ

First Place® AZ is a nonprofit organization advancing innovative residential options for adults with autism and other special abilities and is a sister nonprofit to the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC). Led by market principles, First Place is creating replicable residential and post-secondary education models that promote collaboration among the private, public and nonprofit sectors, and serve as catalysts for advancing public policy focused on housing solutions for special populations. Recipient of the 2016 HeroX Autism Speaks House to Home Prize for its “belief-busting breakthrough” idea in housing and residential supports, First Place celebrates neuro-diversity, independent living and its belief that housing options for people with autism and other special abilities should be as bountiful as they are for everyone else. To learn more, visit and check out these 2016 PBS NewsHour segments: “Giving Adults with Autism the Skills to Build Independent Lives” and “How Phoenix Became the Most Autism Friendly City in the World”.

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November 2016