Disclosure: Rose Law Group represents Michael Lafferty
By Mike Sunnucks | Rose Law Group Reporter
Developer Michael Lafferty is looking to bring a new $70 million workforce housing development to Pinal County.
“I have 20 acres on Highway 87,” said Lafferty, who is president of Phoenix-based Lafferty Development.
The project could total 600 units and is aimed at proving affordable housing for workers at the planned $1 billion Nikola hydrogen and electric truck plant in Coolidge, Lucid Motors planned $700 million electric car plant in Casa Grande and other job-producing projects in fast growing Pinal County.
Rents at the planned Pinal apartments will be $1.25 per square foot, Lafferty said.
Lafferty said affordable housing for workers in construction, manufacturing, tourism and services is a pressing need throughout the Phoenix region.
Workforce housing is a challenge in major markets throughout the U.S. including metro Phoenix as rents and home prices increase.
He is also building a new 140-unit workforce housing apartment complex called The Imperial on 20th Street near Roosevelt street in Phoenix. Construction will start on that in August and is slated to open in July. Rents are expected to be $1.70 per square foot.
Lafferty wants to bring the workforce housing model to Pinal on land he bought two decades ago.
“It’s just desert land. It’s never been farmed, never been built on,” Lafferty said of the land south of Hanna Road.
Lafferty said the next steps will be to work on annexation of the land into Coolidge and then work with the city on extending water, sewer and other infrastructure to the property.
Lafferty said he will also work with Nikola, Lucid and other Pinal employers to help house their workers. That could include setting shuttle buses and other transportation systems to get those workers to and from work.
He said the affordable workforce housing development will also have on-site amenities, including educational opportunities to help workers from other countries to improve English skills as well as trade and technical classes.
Lafferty said he also wants to partner with a community college at the Coolidge project.
“We’re going to think of all their needs,” said Lafferty.
Lafferty said he will focus the rest of this year on zoning, 2020 on bringing utility and waters to the site and breaking ground in 2021.
He hopes that time well with the opening of the Lucid and Nikola plants as well as Pinal’s growth.
“That will be perfect timing,” Lafferty said.