The Dealmaker: 10/18/2017

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The Dealmaker is a daily note of the day’s top real estate stories served just in time for lunch. Bon Appetit! Subscribe here to receive the Dealmaker to your inbox




Sundt CEO takes over as chairman. “Sundt Construction President and CEO Michael Hoover has also been named chairman of the Tempe-based company.” Hoover “began working Sundt in 1978 as a laborer. [He] takes over… for J. Doug Pruitt [who remains] on the Arizona company’s board as an external member.” Phoenix Business Journal. 

Investors buy Club West Golf Course. “A group of private investors and a Native American marketing organization with a nationwide network of golf courses have bought Club West Golf Course, apparently ending the uncertainty surrounding its future as a duffer’s destination.” But in a statement more cagey than one of those John Deere, wire-enclosed golfball pickers, a spokesperson for these new owners says, “Big things are going to happen. Stay tuned.” We will!  In the meantime, Ahwatukee Foothills News has eked a few more details. –>

Phoenix retail vacancy lowest in 8 years. “Greater Phoenix posted a very strong third quarter in the retail real estate sector, with highest net absorption in several years [680,000 sq. ft.] and vacancy dropping to its lowest level in nearly a decade [8.9 percent].” Find out what “stimulated net absorption in the market” and why Colliers deems it a “good signal of a stronger housing industry and growing population” plus get the link to the full report — at AZRE.

Phoenix a top 10 market for new office supply. AZBEX’s Roland Murphy examines a recent report from CommercialCafé which shows that “[w]hile New York (New York-Newark-Jersey City) added the most overall space in the last 10 years, five other areas [including Phoenix] delivered more actual buildings. New York metro erected 106 structures, but Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale built 140, for a total of 18.4MSF.”

September starts hampered by hurricanes. “Housing starts took a significant hit from Hurricane Harvey, which drove starts down sharply in the South region and caused the overall national number to come in 4.7% behind August to an annualized rate of 1,127,000. Starts, however, were up 6.1% from a year earlier.” For a regional breakdown along with NAR chief Lawrence Yun’s take on the data, click Builder.

OTOH… Construction numbers look much better broken down by state.Mortgage News Daily goes “granular” in its examination of the latest report from NAHB which “finds… residential permitting, and thus construction, is picking up steam in many states [Arizona included].”

Builder confidence rebounds. (“NAHB Index posts its highest reading since May.”) Chairman Granger MacDonald: “[October’s] report shows that home builders are rebounding from the initial shock of the hurricanes… However, builders need to be mindful of long-term repercussions from the storms, such as intensified material price increases and labor shortages.” Head to Builder for all the numbers.

Bitcoin is finally buying into US real estate. “Bitcoin is slowly making its way into closings on everything from Lake Tahoe land in California to Manhattan condos to single-family homes in the heart of Texas.” CNBC

Quicken Loans brings digital mortgages to secondary market through eOriginal partnership. “Through the partnership, Quicken Loans’ end-to-end online mortgage platform, Rocket Mortgage, will be able to digitally create an electronic note, and securely store it as an authoritative copy with delivery to both custodians and the secondary market.” HousingWire looks at how the partnership is going to rocket digital mortgages to “the next level.”

Drawing the line at 49. “Downtown Phoenix is experiencing rapid development, and land prices have been rising ever since the recession in 2008… This has created development pressure… particularly in the area south of Roosevelt where most of [the remaining ’49 homes built in the 19th century’] are located.” Downtown Phoenix Journal takes a look at some of the efforts underway to “ensure protection of historic homes.”

Director: Arizona Challenger Space Center close to securing new home in NW Valley. “[The center’s executive director, Beverly] Swayman said there have been offers of land for building… She also said developers have offered generous rates to help with relocation, and several cities have discussed proposals and ideas for a possible new home.” But as far as spilling the beans on the center’s new location, she says that it “still cannot be disclosed until the contract is signed, but it will be in the West Valley if all goes as planned.” More on the hush-hush, plus the reason why the center had to relocate in the first place, in YourValley (formerly YourWestValley).

Maricopa woman appeals decision on Apex lawsuit. (Disclosure: Rose Law Group represents Apex Motor Club.) “A Maricopa woman is appealing a Pinal County judge’s ruling that she doesn’t have standing to challenge the construction of [Private Motorsports Group’s ‘280-acre facility, known as APEX’].” Last month Judge Robert Olson ruled against the woman, concluding that “not enough evidence was presented to show [she] would suffer an injury more substantial than the rest of her community.” Casa Grande Dispatch. 

Coolidge council puts the brakes on solar farm annexation. “The annexation, which was approved on Sept. 25, aimed to bring in the proposed solar farm owned by Florida-based NextEra Energy in an effort to give the city and nearby residents a bigger say in the project’s site plan… [But] the project’s proposed site plan presented a number of potential problems — including the fact that it threatens the future expansion of SR 287.” (And that threat isn’t too difficult to spot in the Sunshine Annexation map shown in this Casa Grande Dispatchreport.)

A ‘BATTLE’ LOST – Casa Grande council nixes group home idea. “Tiffany Battle’s application for a zone change for her home in Ironwood Commons was rejected; the zone change would have permitted her to apply for a conditional use permit to create a group home for children.” Meanwhile, in other action, Casa Grande Dispatch reports that the “council… approved a change to the city’s historic preservation ordinance…. which clarifies some of the rules and regulations of the historic properties in the city.” –>  

Former Mesa lawmaker Justin Olson tapped as new utility regulator.  “Gov. Doug Ducey [has] appointed… Olson to the Arizona Corporation Commission… Olson, whose term at the Arizona Legislature ended this year, unsuccessfully ran for Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District in 2016. Ducey praised Olson’s reputation of protecting taxpayers while in the legislature… [and] Olson said he’s ready to serve Arizonans in a new gig.” More on Olson, which includes several more mentions of the name “Olson,” in Arizona Capitol Times.

Scottsdale Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield files for 2018 re-election campaign. Councilwoman Littlefield: “I will be fighting those special interests in order to be a voice for the residents of Scottsdale.” See what else Councilwoman Littlefield has to say in Scottsdale Independent.

As a supplement to the Dealmaker, we thought you might enjoy these articles!

Opioids crisis real, solution in initial stages, panel says. “A task force Gov. Doug Ducey created to take aim at the opioid crisis has a lot more work to do than the initial list of proposed laws and policies it released earlier this year… Arizona Department of Health Services director Cara Christ said the task force looked at 100 ideas and winnowed it down to a dozen final recommendations. ‘We know this is just the first step,’ Christ said at an Arizona Capitol Times Morning Scoop panel on opioids…”

Media to appeal judge’s ruling denying them access to execution-drug information. “A media coalition filed notice Tuesday that it will appeal a federal judge’s September ruling dismissing arguments that it had a First Amendment right to information about execution drugs used by the Arizona Department of Corrections and the qualifications of its executioners.” AZCentral.

Supreme Court rejects utility regulator’s bid to overturn APS rate hike. “In a brief order Tuesday [the Arizona Supreme Court] rejected a bid by Bob Burns, one of the members of the Arizona Corporation Commission, to overturn the decision by his other four colleagues in favor of the [3.3 percent rate] increase for Arizona Public Service.” Capitol Media Services Howard Fischer has details on Burns’ argument and how the justices’ rejection of it “does not end the fight,” in Arizona Capitol Times.

2017’s states most vulnerable to identity theft & fraud. “WalletHub’sanalysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across eight key metrics.” Tap through to see how Arizona fares; plus, get the rest of the findings and “tips for protecting your personal information.”

AND THEN THERE’S THIS… Most U.S. states aren’t prepared for the next recession. “If the next recession hit the U.S. this year, more than a quarter of states would be financially unprepared to weather even a moderate downturn, according to a new [new Moody’s Analytics analysis].”  To find out where Arizona ranks, read on — if you are a subscriber — in The Wall Street Journal

Self-driving cars flock to Arizona, land of good weather and no rules.“Mobileye is the latest arrival… The Israeli firm that Intel recently bought for $15 billion joins Uber and Google spinoff Waymo, both of which have put more than 100 robocars on the roads of Tempe and Phoenix, respectively.” Wired looks at few things Arizona has “going for it” — and the state’s “key limitation” — when it comes to techies and their self-driving cars.

Poll shows Arizona split on support for President Trump. “The poll [from ‘survey research firm Data Orbital’] also asked Arizonans how motivated they are to vote in the state’s general election in 2018, when Sen. Jeff Flake could go head-to-head with his Democratic challenger for his Senate seat.” Click through for more findings from this survey, plus access this RELATED item from Axios: “Poll: 46% think media invent stories about Trump.”

Phoenix retail vacancy lowest in eight years; home furnishing store expansions signal housing market Read more

Optima Kierland condominium tower more than 75% sold Read more

CoreLogic analysis shows more than 172,000 homes at risk from wildfires in Napa and Santa Rosa Read more

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October 2017