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Our News
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The Mall Decade

Nothing screams “the 1980s” like the Valley’s bygone shopping mall heyday. We go nostalgia-shopping at Chris-Town, Metro Center and other titans of ’80s retail.

It was the fashionable way to spend a Saturday afternoon for Valley kids back in the 1980s – eating bottomless bowls of whipped-cream-topped, chocolate syrup-drizzled sundaes at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour. But for then-12-year-old actor Frazier Bain, who was about to be immortalized as the bratty younger brother in the cult classic i, it was sheer torture.

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Redevelopment plans for vacant Scottsdale plaza include new hotel, residences

A hotel, grocery store and residential development are all in the mix to replace the vacant Papago Plaza on McDowell and Scottsdale roads.

Preliminary plans include a 116-room hotel and 247-unit apartment complex. Restaurant and retail pads will front Scottsdale Road. The existing Wells Fargo bank on the corner of Scottsdale and McDowell is not part of the development.

“This area has seen so much interest, with the redevelopment directly to the south and the development along the McDowell Road corridor,” said Jason Morris, a zoning attorney working on the project who is a partner with Phoenix law firm Withey Morris PLC. “There are so many moving parts to create a true mixed-use development and making sure the retail works with the residential and the hotel.”

(This article originally appeared in the Phoenix Business Journal.) Read more…

Infill & Adaptive Reuse

The number of projects that involve renovating buildings and turning them into new spaces has climbed steadily since the recession due to newer adaptive-reuse programs. Identifying potential legal issues early can prevent major pain later. Below are five tips to guard against common legal issues when redeveloping and restoring infill properties. Read more

Project Spotlight: Freedom Financial Phase I

Freedom Financial Phase I is part of a 40-acre, 300,000 sf development project at the intersection of Loop 202 and Loop 101 in Tempe, AZ. Phase I is a new, build-to-suit, 4-story building that features steel construction, glass curtain wall and a unique 298,178 sf parking garage. The interior features an open office space including meeting and training areas, with an executive boardroom and offices on the top floor. The tenant improvement also features amenities such as galleries and eating nooks on each floor; providing a modern, comfortable environment for its staff. Read more

The Fabulous Baker Boys: A Super Team Under One Roof

Although father-and-son team Dave and Alex Baker recently moved into our offices, our relationship with the duo goes back several years.

When Withey Morris founding partner Jason Morris first finished law school, Dave and Jason worked together at a law firm. Jason specialized in land-use issues and Dave became a real estate specialist certified by the State Bar of Arizona in 1992 to do transactional real estate litigation. After Jason co-founded Withey Morris in 1996, the two kept in touch. Jason sent cases to Dave for transactional issues. Dave sent cases with land issues to Jason. Over the years, they discussed having a more formal relationship so they could both better serve clients. Read more


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Restaurants, stores take over historic buildings in Phoenix’s ‘funky’ Melrose District

Two Phoenix landmarks in the Melrose District are getting a new lease on life.

Melrose Liquors will become a new cafe called the Googie by the end of summer. Read more

Block 23 will house the area's first grocery store, along with office and apartment spaces. (Rendering courtesy of RED Development)
Real estate law trends to watch this year

Political and economic uncertainty has defined the past year. 

With Arizona’s economy showing signs of growth amid low inflation, it seems like a crane casts a shadow over every intersection in downtown Phoenix. 

But we are still dealing with an evolving and distressed retail segment and most pencil-pushers are still struggling to understand the implications of President Donald Trump’s changes to the tax laws. 

But that’s not the only legal issue we need to be watching. AZRE spoke with some of the great legal minds in commercial real estate to find out what trends and issues they say we should look at before making that next deal. Read more

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Balance Neighborhood Concerns with New or Re-Development

An army of red shirts, slogan pin buttons, protest signs and opposition websites. These efforts describe the recent increase in opposition to infill redevelopment, rezoning and community planning.

Neighborhood outreach and citizen involvement is a bedrock principle in the development process. By ordinance, local jurisdictions require developers to notify and meet with neighbors for a variety of property entitlements such as general plan amendments, rezoning, site plan approval, variances, use permits and more. Cities and counties generally require some form of community outreach, and smart developers often engage neighborhood involvement early in the process. However, the increase in project opposition and the new methods employed by opponents require serious pause and study. Developers and zoning attorneys must learn to strike the right balance of listening and responding to neighborhood concerns while positioning their project for development success. Read more

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This behavioral health operator overcomes hurdles to build hospital in Gilbert

After a long battle convincing Gilbert residents that a behavioral health facility is not a bad thing, Kentucky-based Springstone Inc. is moving forward with plans to build a behavioral health hospital. Read more…

Fiesta Village project to heal Mesa sore spot

After years of fighting between the land owner and the city, Mesa’s most notorious eyesore is finally due for a facelift.

W.M. Grace Companies plans to turn Fiesta Village at Alma School Road and Southern Avenue into a modern mixed-use residential and retail project.

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Mike Withey – Top 100 Lawyers in AZ 2018

Withey Morris is proud to announce that Mike Withey was recently selected by AZ Business magazine as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Arizona for 2018.

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Copper Springs plans $14M Behavioral health hospital, facing naysayers

After meeting the same opposition from residents at two different sites within the East Valley town, the owners of Copper Springs left Gilbert and opened a facility in Avondale, which the community embraces said Adam Baugh, a zoning attorney with Withey Morris PLC. View PDF 

Rising From the Ashes: Phoenix Faces Zoning Challenges

“It makes Zero economic sense to tear down old office buildings and apartments, only to build a two-story building…allowing density is the way to revitalize these areas,” Morris said.

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Behavioral-health facility makes third attempt to build in Gilbert

“The attitude in 2017 is completely different from the temperament in 2013,” said Adam Baugh, a zoning attorney representing the company. “The town’s eyes are more open and more aware because they actually have data that supports the need.”

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New Home Central - Tract Homes in the City
Fill in the Tracts

“Each city may have its own defined term,” said G. Adam Baugh, a land use and zoning attorney with the law firm Withey Morris in Phoenix. “Infill is generally the development of vacant or under-utilized parcels within existing urban areas that are already largely developed around it,” he said. “Most communities have vacant land, which for various reasons, has been passed over in the normal course of growth and build-out. While this applies to both urban and suburban areas, it is more common in urban areas where there is new neighborhood renewal in older parts of the city.”

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Withey Morris PLC Brings On Father-Son Attorney Team Dave And Alex Baker

PHOENIX, AZ – Withey Morris, a prominent Arizona land use law firm for nearly 20 years, brought on father-son team Dave and Alex Baker of Baker Law Offices, expanding its range of real estate services. Dave Baker has over 25 years of experience in Arizona real estate transactions and litigation. Alex Baker specializes in real estate transactions and litigation, commercial transactions and litigation, entity formation and estate planning.

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PHX Neighbors Take Part in Architectural Competition

Jason Morris, a Phoenix land use, zoning a orney and partner with Withey Morris PLC never had a case take a turn like this.
In the trendy and eclec c Phoenix area called the Melrose District along 7th Avenue between Camelback and Indian School Roads, clients Bruce and Kim Raskin wanted to transform a vacant, boarded-up building into a self-storage facility. View PDF…

Land Use Case ‘Never Took Turn Like This': Phoenix Neighbors Take Part In Architectural Competition

Jason Morris, a Phoenix land use, zoning attorney and partner with Withey Morris PLC never had a case take a turn like this. In the trendy and eclectic Phoenix area called the Melrose District along 7th Avenue between Camelback and Indian School Roads, clients Bruce and Kim Raskin wanted to transform a vacant, boarded-up building into a self-storage facility

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Paying Respect to Our Past While Re-Building Our Future

As many of our cities are becoming denser, infill and adaptive land reuse are becoming  an increasingly popular option for developers. For landlocked cities such as Tempe, often the only options are to tear a building down or re-purpose the old.

Read more on pages 56-57…

People to Know: Adam Baugh, Withey Morris

The incredible, charismatic and close relationships Adam Baugh witnessed during his legal internship at the Phoenix offices of then-Mayor Phil Gordon convinced Baugh to pursue the legal world of zoning and land use.

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