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Our Industrial Market Is Booming!

This article originally appeared in In Business Magazine.

We are seeing an industrial technologies renaissance, led by semiconductor companies like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company building a massive campus in north Phoenix and Intel expanding with Fab 52 and Fab 62 in the southeast Valley that are driving a whole ecosystem of investment,” says Chris Camacho, president and CEO of Greater Phoenix Economic Council. He notes we also have such stalwart industries as e-commerce and industrial manufacturing as well as distribution moving into the southwestern U.S., pointing out that Greater Phoenix is the number two growing market for industrial development, behind only Dallas-Fort Worth. “We’re a large-scale market where people want to be, from a lifestyle perspective to pro-business policies, the region is home to a collaborative and supportive ecosystem that has embraced growth and we’re seeing the results of that today in terms of industrial demand.”

Industrial manufacturing has, historically, been a huge contributor to Greater Phoenix jobs, and Camacho points to the 138,000 manufacturing jobs in the region now and continuing growth in advanced manufacturing. Employment in this sector is expected to increase faster in Greater Phoenix than in any other competitor markets, adding 5,400 jobs over the next five years. “Of the 250 companies from various sectors in GPEC’s business pipeline actively evaluating Greater Phoenix for expansion — representing a potential regional investment of $90 billion and 49,000 new jobs — 177 of those companies are industrial,” Camacho says, adding, “With 30,000 students enrolled in engineering programs across Arizona and investments in STEM education being made across Greater Phoenix, the pipeline of talent feeding into this ecosystem will fuel this growth for years to come.”

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Feedback: May 2022

This article originally appeared in In Business Magazine.

Q: We’ve seen a recent record boom in industrial property starts and leases throughout Metropolitan Phoenix. Based on the projects you are involved in, what is your view on what is fueling this? How much is being built for anticipated tenancy versus for a specific user (such as TSMC over in Phoenix)?

The demand is really the culmination of three important factors coinciding at a very fortuitous crossroads for industrial development.

The first and catalytic reason was COVID, which exposed significant deficiencies in our supply chain and our management of goods, components and distribution.

The second factor for this area was massive improvements in the transportation corridors. With the advent of the Loop 303 and the completion of the Loop 202, logistics within the Valley are vastly improved — not only for local delivery, but also as a function of interstate delivery through Arizona. This means Arizona can serve as an effective inland port from California.

And, from a user’s perspective, the five-hour difference in time from Long Beach Port to a Phoenix metropolitan area is miniscule because of the beneficial atmosphere Arizona has created from a tax and labor standpoint. This is the third factor in the equation.

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Valley outlet mall plans to expand with new restaurants, entertainment venue

This article originally appeared in the Phoenix Business Journal.

Four new restaurants and an entertainment facility are being proposed for the Tanger Outlets (NYSE: SKT) at the Westgate Entertainment District, one of the largest shopping malls in Glendale.

A conceptual site plan shows that Outlets at Westgate LLC is looking to build the facilities, as well as a digital billboard, along a 7-acre parcel fronting the Loop 101 on the west side of the existing stores.

A conceptual site plan shows that Outlets at Westgate LLC is looking to build the facilities, as well as a digital billboard, along a 7-acre parcel fronting the Loop 101 on the west side of the existing stores.

The proposed restaurants will total 30,346 square feet, while the entertainment facility will comprise 14,000 square feet for indoor recreational uses, documents submitted to the city said.

Alex Hayes, an attorney with Withey Morris PLC, said Tanger is in a “unique position” to provide a meaningful development on the site. It purchased the property at an auction in September from the Arizona Department of Transportation.

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Five Withey Morris Attorneys Recognized as 2022 Southwest Super Lawyers

Southwest Super Lawyers® 2022 once again recognized land use and zoning attorneys from Withey Morris PLC, a prominent Arizona land use and real estate law firm for more than 20 years. 

  • Alex Baker received “Rising Stars” recognition in Real Estate Law.
  • Dave Baker received recognition in Real Estate Law.
  • Jason Morris received recognition in Land Use/Zoning Law. 
  • Benjamin Tate received “Rising Stars” recognition in Land Use/Zoning Law, Government Relations and Real Estate Law. 
  • Michael Withey received recognition in Land Use/Zoning Law and Real Estate Law.

Super Lawyers is a Thomson Reuters rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have distinguished themselves in their legal practice, attaining a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

Pickleball entertainment district coming to south Tempe

This article originally appeared in the Tempe Independent.

South Tempe could become a destination for Valley pickleball players after the city approved construction to begin on a new sports-centric entertainment district.

Electric Pickle, a Top Golf-like entertainment destination centered around the game of pickleball, was approved by the city to move forward with construction during the March 22 meeting of the Tempe Development Review Commission. The lot is located on currently vacant land at

Adam Baugh, a land use attorney with Withey Morris PLC who has been assisting Electric Pickle with zoning and permits, said building will begin at 8688 S. Emerald Drive, near the Interstate-10 and Warner Road, this spring or summer. It will likely open its doors to the public a year from now.

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Arizona Supreme Court rules on $125M Omni Tempe Hotel at ASU

This article originally appeared in the Phoenix Business Journal.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled today in favor of a deal between Arizona State University and Omni Hotels & Resorts.

This ruling is in response to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office’s 2019 lawsuit against the Arizona Board of Regents, challenging the practice of using its tax-exempt status for private businesses.

The AGO had alleged that ABOR — which oversees the state’s three public universities, including ASU — lacks the statutory authority to grant tax exemptions to private businesses and developments, such as the hotel deal at the southeast corner of University Drive and Mill Avenue in Tempe.

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Despite growing concern about opposition to apartment projects, new luxury developments continue to cluster in key parts of the Valley

This article originally appeared in The Phoenix Business Journal.

Valley zoning attorney Jason Morris has had his share of tough zoning cases over the years. The founding partner of Withey Morris PLC law firm in Phoenix, is seeing an increase in NIMBYism related to proposed apartment projects across the Valley — even high-end ones.

“This could be from the volume of cases, the level of participation afforded by the internet or from the infill nature of many of my cases — which creates more challenges than cases on the outskirts of town,” Morris, who has been handling multifamily zoning cases for the past 28 years, told the Business Journal.

Sometimes it’s easy for these homeowners to forget they ever lived in an apartment, he said.

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Withey Morris is the largest lobbying firm in Arizona

Withey Morris is proud to once again to land in the No. 1 spot on  the Phoenix Business Journal’s list of largest lobbying firms in Arizona! See the list here….

HB2674: Housing By Right Is Wrong

This article originally appeared in AZRE magazine.

The last decade has brought tremendous economic growth and prosperity to Arizona and its metropolitan areas. Lured by a supportive business climate and a high-quality workforce, businesses large and small have been flocking to the desert. One need only flip through the pages of this magazine to understand the scope of recent growth and economic activity. 

This economic boom has had many profoundly positive impacts and has helped Arizona emerge from the pandemic with a strong tailwind. However, it has also exacerbated issues around housing affordability and availability. The recent rapid increase in home prices is not unique to Arizona, but it is uniquely acute. The Phoenix area, in particular, ranked first among all tracked major metropolitan areas with a year-over-year increase of 32.35%, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Schiller U.S. National Home Price Index. There are a number of factors that have contributed to this spike, ranging from supply chain constraints to an influx of new residents from pricier markets. At some point, these affordability challenges will begin to hinder our economic growth.

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Arizona legislators set to tackle the affordable housing crisis

This article originally appeared in the Phoenix Business Journal.

As home prices and rental rates continue to escalate in metro Phoenix, the affordable housing crisis continues to worsen.

State Reps. Cesar Chavez, D-Phoenix, and Steve Kaiser, R-Phoenix, thought they had the answer when they introduced House Bill 2674, a municipal zoning by right bill to solve the affordable housing shortage.

But his fellow legislators shot it down and now they are proposing a statutory study committee that is headed to the Senate next week.

“The Legislature is saying this is a big enough issue to create a study committee,” said Spencer Kamps, vice president of legislative affairs for the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona.

“We have an affordability problem in the state of Arizona,” Kamps said. “Housing is not available; shelters are not available; low-income rental properties are not available; certainly market-rate housing is not in the reach of most buyers out there. As we see interest rates continue to climb, it’s going to get worse. It’s not going to get better.”

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Controversial Greenbelt 88 wins Council OK

This article originally appeared in the Scottsdale Progress.

After nearly two years of planning and battles with neighbors, the controversial Greenbelt 88 mixed use development will become a reality – but not for a while. 

Scottsdale City Council on Feb. 8 voted 5-2 to approve the project, which will include 228 apartments and 25,000 square feet of retail space where the Lucky Plaza shopping center now stands at the corner of Hayden and Osborn roads.

But embattled owner Todd Silver was forced to make further concessions to gain Council’s vote to rezone the land and allow the planned unit development on the site.

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Expert’s Take: 1-on-1 with Jason Morris

This article originally appeared in BEX.

After the extensively drawn-out approval for Greenbelt 88 was finally secured (AZBEX; Feb. 11) and two Arizona Legislators made major waves across the state’s local zoning authorities and development communities with the introduction of HB 2674, a bill that would have stripped municipalities of much of their power in determining project approvals (AZBEX, Feb. 8), I had the opportunity to talk with Jason Morris, partner at land use law firm Withey Morris, PLC and one of Arizona’s most sought-after experts in terms of zoning, land use and entitlements.

HB 2674 caused massive waves in municipal halls of power and in the development community, as it would have set rigid timelines for approvals, assigned building height and density requirements for projects without any local ability to deny, and implement “zoning by right,” creating automatic approvals for developments meeting the law’s generous criteria.

For those readers who don’t follow the approval side of the project development process, Morris is one of the developer representatives whose name pops up most frequently in zoning and approval cases for complicated proposals, large-scale developments and projects – like Greenbelt 88 – that need an expert pilot to help navigate them from proposal to permits.

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Controversial Greenbelt 88 wins Council OK

This article originally appeared in the Scottsdale Progress.

After nearly two years of planning and battles with neighbors, the controversial Greenbelt 88 mixed use development will become a reality – but not for a while. 

Scottsdale City Council on Feb. 8 voted 5-2 to approve the project, which will include 228 apartments and 25,000 square feet of retail space where the Lucky Plaza shopping center now stands at the corner of Hayden and Osborn roads.

But embattled owner Todd Silver was forced to make further concessions to gain Council’s vote to rezone the land and allow the planned unit development on the site.

Council only voted to approve the development after Silver agreed to reduce the number of apartments from 238 to 228, cut the top fourth floor by another 30 percent and reserve 4,000 square feet of “flex space” for public use.

The project initially proposed 338 apartments and 21,000 square feet of retail space in a five-story building.

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Greenbelt 88 Wins in Split Decision

This article originally appeared in BEX.

After a nearly two-year struggle, multiple revisions and accommodations to neighborhood and regulatory resistance, abundant mis- and disinformation, and its emergence as a poster child representative of the ongoing reformative development versus the forces of Not In My Back Yard, a highly revised and scaled back version of the Greenbelt 88mixed-use proposal to revitalize a dying shopping center at Hayden and Osborn roads in Scottsdale gained approval from the City Council this week.

Having run thousands-upon-thousands of words here about the project’s details and the resulting fight in at least half-a-dozen articles and columns, as well as the extensive coverage from area general news outlets, we will skip the blow-by-blow recap and just provide the highlights.

Lucky Plaza is a shopping center at the SWC, anchored by an office supply and a sporting goods store, along with smaller retail and restaurant tenants. The big box stores have indicated they will not remain on the property long-term. Most of the site is owned by Todd Silver through his business entity Village Property Management LLC. Because of its age and the consumer shift away from brick and mortar retail, particularly big-box stores, the center is in a state of decline.

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22 Rising Stars for 22

Congratulations to our own Benjamin Tate for recognition as one of 22 young commercial real estate leaders to watch in 2022!

This article originally appeared in AZRE magazine.

The great Roman emperor Julius Caesar in 52 B.C. recorded the earliest known version of “Ut est rerum omnium magister usus” — generally put, “Experience is the best teacher.” While that age-old adage has stood the test of time, there’s something to be said about the drive, energy and imagination of those in the early stages of their careers, especially young and up-and-coming  commercial real estate leaders.

While there has been a lot of talk about the need for younger generations to join the commercial real estate (CRE) industry, those who have in recent years are proof positive that CRE offers a rewarding and exciting future. Whether they’re in real estate sales, design-build, marketing or finance, today’s rising leaders are making big impacts in an industry that’s moving at one of its fastest paces in history. They’re driving change through innovation, harnessing technology to get work accomplished faster and with less cost, and influencing the growth, prosperity and quality of life in Greater Phoenix and throughout Arizona.

This year, we’re recognizing 22 of the top young commercial real estate leaders who are poised to push the CRE industry forward in 2022 — and beyond.

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Here’s how industrial users are fueling growth near Mesa Gateway

This article originally appeared in AZRE magazine.

In 2020, a study by J.D. Power ranked Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport as the best major airport in the U.S. While many travelers coming to or departing from the Valley pass through Sky Harbor, it isn’t the only runway in town.

About 30 miles to the southeast is Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, which originally was an Air Force base where more than 26,500 pilots trained over a 52-year period. Gateway Airport now offers non-stop flights to 60 cities and hosts more than 40 companies, with an annual economic impact of $1.3 billion to Arizona’s economy.

The land surrounding the airport, known as Mesa Gateway, has become a magnet for industry, with developments including the 1 million-square-foot speculative industrial building Elliot 202 and an $800 million data center by Meta, the parent company of Facebook, in the works.

According to Mesa Council Member Kevin Thompson, who represents Mesa Gateway as part of District 6, the accessibility of the area is attracting more industrial users. “Just the fact that SR 24 is coming has accelerated projects that have been looming in the background for years. Developers are seeing the nexus of everything coming together and they want to be part of that,” he says.

Between the availability of land and growing connectedness of the region, development in Mesa Gateway is thriving.

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50 commercial real estate companies to watch in 2022

This article originally appeared in AZ Big Media.

Arizona is scorching hot, and we’re not talking about the weather. Following 2020’s uncertainty, the commercial real estate (CRE) industry showed no signs of slowing down in 2021, with many commercial real estate companies reporting unprecedented amounts of business, from the number of construction projects underway to the record-breaking size of individual deals to the dollar amounts trading hands.

At the forefront of these transactions are the 50 commercial real estate companies to watch in 2022, which are highlighted below. As some of the top CRE companies in Arizona, they’ve seen tremendous growth in 2021 and will be the ones driving the industry forward in 2022.

Withey Morris

Withey Morris is Arizona’s leading land-use exclusive law firm. In addition to launching its podcast, “Dirt to Development,” a behind-the-scenes look at all the dirt on land use, politics and development in Arizona, the firm is proud of two recent keystone projects. The 3.4 million-square-foot Parkway 303 West, set on 262 acres in Glendale, features six buildings for offices, retail shopping and more. The Central Park is a 15-acre mixed-use high-rise development in Central Phoenix with approximately 760,000 square feet of office space, 170,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial/retail space, and 600 residential units.

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354 new apartment units could come to Gilbert

Two gated multifamily infill projects totaling 354 units may be headed to Gilbert.

The Planning Commission last Wednesday discussed the proposed 93-unit Fred’s Place during study session and voted unanimously in the regular meeting to recommend Council approval of the 261-unit Higley Apartments.

“We’re seeing a lot of multifamily coming into town,” Commissioner David Blaser said. “I’m just curious if staff has any input, recommendation as it relates to how much land in Gilbert is dedicated to multifamily and how much more can it bear?”

He asked what was the ideal percentage and how Gilbert compared with neighboring Valley municipalities.

Planning Manager Eva Cutro said 3% of Gilbert’s total land use was zoned multifamily.

Cutro said that of all types of residential development in Gilbert, 11% is multifamily. That compares favorably with Mesa and Scottsdale, where apartments comprised 48% of all residential dwellings; Chandler, where multifamily represents 30% of all housing units and Phoenix, with 40%.

Fred’s Place

 The applicant for Fred’s Place is requesting a minor general plan amendment and rezone on 14.47 acres at the northeast corner of Recker and Williams Field roads in the Cooley Station master-planned community.

Currently the land is zoned for Village Center but under the proposal, 4.95 acres would be used for a shopping center and 9.52 acres for multifamily. The site is surrounded by commercial and residential developments.

Read more….

Zoning Attorneys Regale Audience With Project Tales

This article originally appeared in the Gilbert Sun News.

Seven years after it was chased out of Gilbert neighborhoods – twice — Springstone finally opened Gilbert’s first mental-health hospital in 2020.

Under the guidance of land-use and zoning attorney Adam Baugh, the 72-bed Copper Springs East went from being the brunt of public outcry to becoming a welcomed addition to the community.

Baugh formed a coalition, getting police and fire officials lined up behind the project and medical professionals who spoke of the need for such a facility in town, as teenage suicides were ramping up. The Planning Commission in December 2017 unanimously approved the conditional use permit for the facility.

“The way my community is formed, the way it grows, is not by accident,” said Baugh, who has lived in Gilbert since 2003. “It’s interesting and it’s deliberate and for the greater good.

We as a town benefited with having that hospital here dealing with anxiety and mental health issues.”

For Baugh, every shopping center, master-planned community and mixed-use development has a tale to tell and he and Withey Morris law partner Jason Morris are sharing them on a podcast called “Dirt to Development.” Baugh came up with the concept after years of regaling others with behind-the-scenes anecdotes of projects in the state.

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National developer proposes $150M mixed-use project for Goodyear

This article originally appeared in the Phoenix Business Journal.

Branson, Missouri-based HCW Development is proposing a $150 million mixed-use project with multifamily, a hotel, restaurants and retail development for Goodyear.

The proposed project will be located on the northeast corner of Yuma Road and Estrella Parkway on about 27 acres just north of the Goodyear Ballpark, which houses spring training facilities for the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Guardians.

The site is part of 180 acres the city recently approved for a general plan amendment to allow for residential and commercial space at the intersection, which was once designated as the city center.

The development, dubbed Ballpark Village Northeast, will be comprised of a retail site with mostly restaurants and boutique retail on about 7.7 acres, a four-story franchise-branded, extended stay hotel on about two acres and two gated multifamily developments on about 17.6 acres.

The multifamily projects will total 550 units — one will include a four-story luxury project and the other will be a three-story walk-up facility, according to the developer. The residential units will front the streets, while the parking is located behind the buildings.

“You create more of a pedestrian-activated environment that I think was the intent of this area long ago,” said Adam Baugh, a land use attorney and partner at Withey Morris. “We see a chance to make the streetscape more active with pedestrian movements that can walk toward the retail amenities next door.”

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Withey Morris PLC Hires Land Use and Zoning Attorney Alex Hayes

PHOENIX, AZ – Withey Morris, a prominent Arizona land use law firm for over 20 years, hired Alex Hayes as a land use and zoning attorney. 

Alex is a skilled and highly effective communicator with broad experience developing and influencing public policy. With over a decade of political and government relations experience, he has a nuanced understanding of how to navigate complex regulatory environments and achieve results. 

“I’ve always been interested in the intersection of business and politics,” shared Hayes. “My dad was a very active figure in Arizona politics in his career, and it was always fascinating for me to see the far reaching influences and impacts of the behind the scenes work. This, along with my work for Senator John McCain, both in his Washington D.C. office and on the campaign trail, has been a major influence on my career thus far.”

“Alex shares our enthusiasm for growing relationships throughout the development process,” said Adam Baugh, partner and owner. “His valuable government affairs and lobbying experience at both the federal and state levels give him a leading edge and will certainly play a major role in overcoming intricate challenges we often face when navigating the human factor and the political aspect of the development world.”

Hayes is a 2012 graduate of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law where he was a member of the Arizona Journal of Environmental Law and Policy. He is an avid outdoorsman, enjoying hiking, trail running, skiing, and fly fishing. He is currently a Board Member with the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative. 

 

 

International travel inspires neighborhood market near downtown Phoenix

While traveling around Central and South America, JT Taber II and Jacqueline Garay noticed many communities had neighborhood corner stores, which served as a local gathering space as well as a place to purchase necessities.

The two, now newlyweds, had purchased a home in the Garfield neighborhood near downtown Phoenix, and Taber had been eyeing a shop space at 10th and Pierce streets, across the street from the Gallo Blanco restaurant where he had previously worked.

“I loved this space, and I knew the landlord, and I had told him that if the space ever became available to let me know,” Taber said. When the space opened up, the two decided to fulfill their vision of a small neighborhood market, which would fill some needs they had identified in the area. The store, called Buena Vida Bodega, sells food, beer and wine, flowers, local art, gifts, plants and other items, most of which are sourced from local producers.

Garay said while living in the neighborhood, the two sometimes found themselves wishing there was a place nearby where they could buy certain items, without having to drive into the more commercial areas on the north side of Interstate 10.

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Withey Morris Launches One-of-a-kind Podcast Called “Dirt to Development”

This article originally appeared in Greater Phoenix In Business Magazine.

Firm dishes dirt on land use, development and inside arizona politics

What do you get when you combine people plus politics plus development plus drama in Arizona? You get a unique, informative and entertaining podcast called “Dirt to Development.” The podcast, co-hosted by Withey Morris partners Adam Baugh and Jason Morris, provides a behind-the-scenes look at some of the biggest developments in Arizona – along with the people, politics, developers and neighbors that make it all happen. Listeners will hear insane stories and insights from industry experts, local developers and intriguing community personalities. After years of sharing these hilarious and irreverent stories over dinners and drinks, it’s time for Arizona to hear its own story told by those who build it.

“When you think of how development occurs, there are a lot of ingredients that go into developing a building site and different components and people have to come together to pull it off,” said Baugh. “Every shopping center, every community development has a story behind it. Many people don’t realize what goes into taking a cornfield to a master-planned community or taking an old infill property to an adaptive reuse in Arizona. These are the stories we want to tell.”

Through storytelling, the podcast will deliver Information, education and amusing anecdotes covering a variety of topics including:  how to work with neighbors, how to balance the role of politics in a case, strategies for land use cases, and tips and insights on how to achieve successful entitlements.

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Developer Plans Luxury Multi-Family Apartment Community at Harkins Theatres Location

This article originally appeared in North 32nd News.

On October 6, the Phoenix City Council voted unanimously to approve The Wolff Company’s rezoning and proposed development for a 278-unit luxury apartment community at the northwest corner of 34th Way and Bell Road. The site is currently occupied by the Harkins North Valley 16 movie theater. Earlier this year, the local movie theater company announced it would be closing permanently after 20 years due to cost-prohibitive upgrades.

The Wolff Company, a Valley-based, third-generation family-owned residential developer, submitted its application for the proposed luxury multi-family residential development earlier this summer. The 278-unit residential community will consist mostly of three-story residential buildings, surrounding a centralized clubhouse, pool and amenity area. Known for its amenity-rich communities and high-quality finishes, The Wolff Company incorporated a number of features into the proposed design, including a pool area, barbeques, fitness center, coworking-style workstations, exhibition kitchen, game room, sport court and dog park. The residences will feature quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, wood-style plank flooring, and in-unit washers and dryers in a mix of studio, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom configurations. 

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Arizona has an affordable housing problem. Could modular homes be part of the solution?

Having enough housing, and specifically affordable housing, continues to be a concern for many across the state. But Chris Waters and Adam Baugh say a different type of home construction may be part of the answer.

A few Phoenix-area cities are looking into modular homes — built in a factory and then stacked like LEGO bricks on site.

Waters is director of business development for Chandler-based Z Modular, which is working with Glendale and Avondale, among other cities. He says his firm can build roughly 100 apartment units in about two months in the factory. It then takes about six months to put them up and finish when they get to the final site.

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People & Projects To Know

Congratulations to our own Adam Baugh for his recognition in the 2022 edition of AZ Big Media’s People And Projects To Know in commercial real estate! Find it on page 12 of the annual publication here:

 

THE NEXT BIG THING

This article originally appeared in the Phoenix Business Journal.

How a once tiny West Valley city has turned into an industrial development magnet

Years before Buckeye was designated a city, people were flocking by the thousands to the West Valley suburb, which was once a small town largely made up of family-owned agricultural and dairy farms.

“It was ‘Drive until you can afford,’” recalled Deanna Kupcik, the president of the Buckeye Valley Chamber, whose family came to Buckeye in the 1950s.

Single-family homes continued going up and residents moved in because of the relatively low price to buy land and inexpensive housing, she said.

In the 2000s, when the population jumped from just 6,500 to 50,000, some people were buying upwards of five homes, Kupcik said. City officials contend that a variety of “high value” housing options is what drove people to Buckeye.

Eventually, Buckeye was hit hard like the rest of Arizona by the Great Recession, so construction stalled. But as the economy started to recover, so did the West Valley municipality, which recent Census data shows was the fastest-growing city in the nation from 2010 to 2020.

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Withey Morris Selected Among 2022 Best Law Firms

U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers recognized Withey Morris PLC, a prominent Arizona land use and real estate law firm, in its 2022 edition of Best Law Firms. Firms receive recognition for “professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers,” according to U.S. News-Best Lawyers.

“This high caliber of recognition is significant to our firm,” said Jason Morris, partner. “A key differentiator for us is our deeply-rooted relationships – those we have with our clients – and the political and business communities throughout Arizona. We also have a tremendously talented team and the great work they do plays a significant role in this distinguished honor.” 

For 11 years, Withey Morris has earned top tier recognition in the following practice areas:

  • National – Land Use & Zoning Law
  • Metropolitan Phoenix – Land Use & Zoning Law, Government Relations and Real Estate Law

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A New Real Estate Trend?

This article originally appeared in the Phoenix Business Journal.

Developer proposes turning Phoenix movie theater into apartments

A plan to redevelop a Harkins Theatres location in north Phoenix could spark yet another new trend — repurposing outdated retail real estate to meet changing market demand.

Developer Wolff Co. hopes to raze the North Valley 16 movie theater and redevelop the site into apartments. Jason Morris, partner at Withey Morris and zoning attorney for the redevelopment project, said the site is no longer desirable as an entertainment use, but was very attractive to different apartment developers.

“There are a lot of retail centers out there that just aren’t going to work and probably shouldn’t work anymore,” Morris said. “The ones that are surviving are doing a different type of retail, like restaurants. In Arizona, which has a higher rate of retail per capita than the rest of the country, it is likely all of this retail isn’t going to stand the test of time and these sites will transition to other uses.”

According to CBRE Group Inc., experts forecast the U.S. will see a 20% reduction in retail real estate inventory by 2025. The U.S. averages 56 square feet per capita.

Morris’ client, the Wolff Co., plans to redevelop the site, located at 34th Way and Bell Road, into a 278-unit luxury apartment complex, which Morris said is in high demand in the highly residential area.

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The Industrial Edge

This article originally appeared in AZRE magazine.

Available land and increased infrastructure are propelling industrial development in the Valley’s southeastern and western peripheries.

The past few years have seen unprecedented growth across Greater Phoenix. A favorable business environment, mild winters and an overall high quality of life have attracted corporations from across the nation and globe to the Grand Canyon State. As a result, farmland and empty plots throughout the Valley have rapidly become the sites of large manufacturing and distribution facilities.

“Industrial has been the darling of the recession and the COVID response. It’s the one use that excelled above the rest and had the most energy money and interest behind it,” says Adam Baugh, partner at Withey Morris.

Both the East and West Valley have received the lion’s share of industrial investment. According to Baugh, there’s been nearly 20 million square feet of ground broken so far in 2021. The trifecta of high demand, investor interest and available land have led to atypical behaviors in the market.

“You typically wouldn’t build until you got a user, but demand is so hot that people are willing to build on speculation. Traditionally, developers wouldn’t spend that amount of money because of the risk,” Baugh notes.

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Manage Digital Opposition to Real Estate Development

This article originally appeared in In Business magazine.

by Adam Baugh

In my line of work with real estate and land-use entitlements, it’s not uncommon to engage with upset neighbors opposed to development. Whether it’s called NIMBY-ism (Not In My Backyard) or CAVErs (Citizens Against Virtually Everything), changing the status quo can certainly elicit strong emotions and intense anti-development sentiment. 

In days past, those opposing a zoning case might circulate a petition, wear matching shirts or buttons or bring signs to protest at city hall. Today’s opposition is much different and includes social media postings, digital meetups, activist websites, online trolling and harassment, e-petitions, video production and more. In a recent instance, I saw one individual create personal websites attacking local city councilmembers to shame them for a vote they had yet to take, for a case that had yet to even be filed. Essentially, it was a proverbial shot across the bow, warning that if they took such action, they would risk public ridicule, shame and scorn.

Nobody is immune to what an online vigilante might post about them or their project. There is simply no accountability for them and if their aim is to stir up opposition, it’s frankly very easy to do. Thus, in a digital world, how might one manage and respond to digital opposition to new development? Here are some tips that have worked well in other situations.

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All Withey Morris Attorneys Honored by Best Lawyers

This originally appeared in Attorney at Law.

Best Lawyers in America 2022 once again recognized every land use and zoning attorney from Withey Morris PLC, a prominent Arizona land use and real estate law firm for more than 20 years.

The 2022 edition of Best Lawyers in America includes the following Withey Morris attorneys and practices:

William Allison – Government Relations Practice and Land Use and Zoning Law
Adam Baugh – Land Use and Zoning Law
Jason Morris – Land Use and Zoning Law
Benjamin Tate – Land Use and Zoning Law – “Ones To Watch” award
Michael Withey – Land Use and Zoning Law and Real Estate Law

 

20 Names to Know in Residential Real Estate

This article originally appeared in the Phoenix Business Journal.

It’s no secret the residential real estate market is hot in Phoenix.

With an influx of new businesses and executives moving to the region to get a piece of the action, the Phoenix Business Journal has created a list of 20 names to know in residential real estate.

Those new to the Valley of the Sun looking for a quick tutorial on some of the top movers and shakers in this industry can get a start here. While the list is not comprehensive, it does provide a look at some of the most active and long-standing real estate professionals in the Valley.

The list spans from the most active homebuilders to the top real estate agents.

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Residential Real Estate Dallas developer’s controversial midtown Phoenix apartments get zoning approval

This article originally appeared in the Phoenix Business Journal.

With Phoenix City Council giving zoning approval on a contentious $50 million apartment project in midtown Phoenix, Dallas-based Trinsic Residential Group is set to begin construction on the 210-unit project.

The 4-story apartments will be built on three acres at the southeast corner of Third Avenue and Coolidge Street, along Phoenix’s Grand Canalscape.

Homeowners in the surrounding area spoke loudly against the project, complaining about density, height, traffic and parking, said Jason Morris, partner of Withey Morris PLC and zoning attorney on the project.

“Sometimes rezoning three acres in the middle of the city can be exponentially more challenging than entitling 3,000 acres on the outskirts,” Morris said.

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Attorney: Site work on Taiwan Semiconductor supplier parcel coming soon

This article originally appeared in the Phoenix Business Journal.

Even before Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. bought its land in north Phoenix for its massive chipmaking plant, the city of Phoenix and the Arizona State Land Department had identified and begun rezoning sites for suppliers that will work in tandem with the tech giant.

The first of the supplier sites, two noncontiguous parcels totaling roughly 224 acres located near Seventh Avenue and Pinnacle Peak Road, was bought by Mack Real Estate Group at a state land auction in March. But, before the auction, Jason Morris, founding partner of Withey Morris and the zoning attorney for Mack, said there was a lot of work behind the scenes that had to be done to make sure the developer could hit the ground running.

“It is impressive what the city of Phoenix has done,” Morris said. “They are putting a lot of resources into TSMC, so it only made sense if they are able to reap the rewards, not only from TSMC but also the suppliers.”

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Cookie Cutter’ Or ‘Right Type’? Phoenix Council Approves Grand Canal Project

For months, residents of a historic Phoenix neighborhood have been fighting an out-of-state developer over an apartment project. On Wednesday, the City Council voted on the proposal along the Grand Canal in the central city.

Phoenix calls it the Grand Canalscape, a 12-mile system for people to safely walk, run and bike. It’s a source of pride for city leaders and neighbors like Ken Waters who called the proposed 218-unit apartment complex the anti-prototype for the area.

“You’re setting the model, a cookie cutter precedent for the rest of Canalscape,” he said. “In its present form, it’s a traffic bomb. Twelve hundred cars per day on the inside of the neighborhood, no arterial streets, they’re all trapped.”

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Withey Morris PLC And Three Attorneys Recognized Among The Best By Chambers USA 2021

This article originally appeared in Commercial Executive Magazine.

Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business once again recognized prominent Arizona land use and real estate law firm Withey Morris PLC, among the best firms in Arizona, earning the highest ranking – Band 1 – in Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use practices. William F. Allison, Jason Morris and Michael B. Withey were also among the top lawyers in Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use practices.

Chambers USA, considered the most trusted worldwide law resource guide, ranks the top lawyers and law firms across all the United States of America. Rankings are the result of thousands of in-depth interviews by the largest research team of its kind that is trusted across the globe to objectively rank the world’s best lawyers and law firms.

“We are very proud to continue to earn this elite recognition,” said Jason Morris, Withey Morris founding partner and owner. “These results exemplify our team’s steadfast commitment to serving as the best-in-class counsel to our clients, our strong municipal relationships and our devotion to economic development across Arizona.”

Withey Morris PLC And Three Attorneys Recognized By Chambers USA 2021

This article originally appeared in Attorney at Law.

PHOENIX, AZ—Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business once again recognized prominent Arizona land use and real estate law firm Withey Morris PLC, among the best firms in Arizona, earning the highest ranking – Band 1 – in Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use practices. William F. Allison, Jason Morris and Michael B. Withey were also among the top lawyers in Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use practices.

Chambers USA, considered the most trusted worldwide law resource guide, ranks the top lawyers and law firms across all the United States of America. Rankings are the result of thousands of in-depth interviews by the largest research team of its kind that is trusted across the globe to objectively rank the world’s best lawyers and law firms.

Name To Know: Adam Baugh

This feature originally appeared in the Phoenix Business Journal.

When Adam Baugh, zoning attorney with Withey Morris PLC, took on a zoning case in Queen Creek for a build-to-rent community, he knew he had his work cut out for him.

Queen Creek homeowners had vehemently rejected an apartment community for that same 26-acre parcel at the northeast corner of Riggs and Ellsworth roads several years ago .

A land use market study commissioned by Queen Creek showed that the town needs to diversify its housing stock so that not all homes sit on an acre, Baugh said. Read more...

Best friends make Gilbert roads safer for cyclists

Withey Morris partner and Gilbert Chamber of Commerce board member Adam Baugh is working to make the town’s roads safer for cycling. After Adam’s friend, Evan Stubbart, was hit by a car riding his bike on Greenfield Road in Gilbert, the two decided to raise more awareness about cycling and the law which requires vehicles to give three feet of spacing to cyclists. They raised $35,000 to donate to a local non-profit (The Gilbert Parks and Recreation Foundation), and through that group, they partnered with the town of Gilbert on a bicycle safety campaign.

Watch the interview on Arizona PBS here.

New York developer invests $100M for more build-to-rent East Valley homes
This article originally appeared in the Phoenix Business Journal.
A New York-based real estate private equity fund manager and developer is investing $100 million in the Valley’s rapidly growing build-to-rent market, in which detached single-family homes are constructed in a rental community with rich amenities.

GTIS Partners LP is developing a build-to-rent community in Queen Creek, paying $7.9 million for a 26-acre parcel on April 20. Phoenix-based Sonoma Communities is co-developing that project at the northeast corner of Riggs and Ellsworth roads. Read more

2 men make Gilbert safer for bicyclists

Withey Morris partner and Gilbert Chamber of Commerce board member Adam Baugh is working to make the town’s roads safer for cycling. After Adam’s friend, Evan Stubbart, was hit by a car riding his bike on Greenfield Road in Gilbert, the two decided to raise more awareness about cycling and the law which requires vehicles to give three feet of spacing to cyclists. They raised $35,000 to donate to a local non-profit (The Gilbert Parks and Recreation Foundation), and through that group, they partnered with the town of Gilbert on a bicycle safety campaign.

The emphasis on the campaign has been awareness and education. It started with placing the attached pictured signs in the area near Evan’s bike accident and other roads in town with the most bike accidents (Gilbert Road and Guadalupe). They used the town’s accident data and Strava heat maps to determine those locations (see attached map image). Their next step is to create a digital PSA campaign, more signage, and some green painted bike lanes. Read more

Withey Morris Named Arizona’s Largest Lobbying Firm

Thank you to the Phoenix Business Journal for putting us at the top of your Lobbying / Government Relations list! Though we are fortunate to have a considerable number of clients, we continue to pride ourselves on the service and attention we give each one. Read more

Big swath of land near Loop 202 at South Mountain planned for industrial, tech uses

This article originally appeared in the Phoenix Business Journal.

A 240-acre site on the west side of the Loop 202 South Mountain freeway extension is being primed for a large-scale industrial development, which the development team said will further the city of Phoenix’s goals to have a technology corridor along the region’s newest freeway.

“The introduction of the 202 has really changed the area,” said Adam Baugh, partner at Withey Morris and zoning attorney for the project, called the Dobbins Industrial and Tech Park. “This is bringing employment and nonresidential development to that area.”

Baugh’s client, Indiana-based Scannell Properties LLC, is seeking to have a mix of uses on the property, which is located west of Loop 202 and is bisected by Dobbins Road. Uses planned for the area include light industrial, office, technology, manufacturing, and other employment uses, according to city of Phoenix documents.

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How Gilbert went from ‘nothing but jackrabbits and rattlesnakes’ to a boomtown

This article originally published in the Phoenix Business Journal.

In recent years, the town has become the place where international companies want to locate, and business and government leaders say the momentum will continue.

Over the course of three decades, the East Valley town of Gilbert went from what people then described as “nothing but jackrabbits and rattlesnakes,” to the place where international companies chose to locate and hire thousands of people.

The growth has been due in part to extensive preplanning and high standards held for the town, a panel of experts discussed at an event hosted in January by the Phoenix Business Journal.

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Archer Hotel eyes Hawkeye property

A resort developer is testing the waters to see if Sedona could someday soon be added to its list of other destinations across the nation.

Representatives from LodgeWorks Partners were on hand virtually to give a presentation and answer questions during the Tuesday, Jan. 19, Sedona Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.

Their presentation on the former Hawkeye Red Rock RV Park was part of the commission’s first look at the proposed Uptown Community Focus Area.

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Jason Morris and Mike Withey Named Two of the Top 100 Lawyers in Arizona for 2021

Congratulations to Jason Morris and Mike Withey for their recognition as two of the Top 100 Lawyers in Arizona for 2021 by Az Business magazine!  The prestigious group is chosen by Az Business magazine’s editorial team in collaboration with industry experts. The attorneys were selected from a pool of more than 2,000 of the state’s most talented and successful attorneys. Selections are based on each lawyer’s professional success and ratings, impact on his or her law firm, impact on the communities she/he serves and impact on the legal profession.

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Can’t Leave Home Without It

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of AZRE magazine.

CRE professionals share their must-have outdoor items.

In October, Baugh, his daughter, and some friends from the commercial real estate world did a rim-to-rim hike at the Grand Canyon, doing a hike under a full moon during the overnight portion of the excursion. Baugh said his family does it all – camping, white water rafting, riding 4×4’s and enjoys the time outdoors with regular hikes in the San Tan or Superstition Mountains or the Tonto Basin. Read more

My View: How Amazon’s final-mile delivery is changing big-box retail

This article originally appeared in the Phoenix Business Journal.

In this Phoenix Business Journal guest column, Adam Baugh looks at the impact of Amazon’s continued expansion and its potential impact on the many empty big-box retail stores that sit empty across the region, if they were to be converted into warehouse facilities for the global e-commerce giant. Read more

Jason Morris Recognized as 2021 AzBusiness Leader

Congratulations to Jason Morris for his recognition in the 2021 edition AzBusiness Leaders magazine. Read more