Phoenix, Ariz.-based JAG Development adopted a design style popular in Amsterdam to bring a sense of community and efficiency to its newly completed Portland 38 project.

The 38-unit complex in Phoenix's historic Garfield District comprises three-level townhomes with private yards and garages. Architect Michael Underhill says he was studying Amsterdam's housing design and realized that its model of making the carport also the front porch would work for the modern-style Portland 38.

“In Phoenix, people still want to park a car in private spaces,” Underhill says. “This entrance can store a car, and it can also be a porch. People go through the garage anyway, so you don't need a fancy front door.”

Instead, each entrance has a gate-like garage door that allows for safety but also has an open, clean look, he adds. Underhill also incorporated common areas to encourage residents to socialize, which was important to JAG cofounders Benjamin and Allan Gutkin.

“This was our first project that had common areas—the pool and communal dining areas, the picnic areas. It really makes a community within a community,” Allan Gutkin says. “It has become a little town unto itself.”

Portland 38's units range in size from 1,272 square feet to 1,606 square feet and priceds start in the low $200,000s, more than $150 per square foot less than the average for comparable market-rate projects, Gutkin adds. They are designed for the working professionals who want to be closer to their jobs. Despite the tough market, Gutkin says they remarketed the project and are noticing response from professionals who want to live closer to work. “The high gas prices have helped a lot,” he says.

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