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.
- Austin, Texas: Austin-based Stratus Properties and the Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund broke ground on Block 21, a 35-story, $260 million mixed-use development in the downtown. Block 21 is being considered for LEED Platinum certification for its green building techniques, materials, and operational standards. Upon completion in 2010, the project will offer 196 luxury condos, 250 hotel rooms, a spa, a signature restaurant, 47,000 square feet of retail, and a 2,200-seat theater.
- Orlando, Fla.: The nonprofit agency Habitat for Humanity Orlando is embarking on its largest home building effort to date—an $8 million townhome community that will provide affordable housing for 58 families. Staghorn Villas is a 3.9-acre project that will feature 10 buildings of townhomes surrounded by green spaces and play areas. The units will include environmentally friendly features and lighting. When construction is complete, Habitat plans to sell the homes with a 20-year, no-interest mortgage.
- Las Vegas: Grand Prairie, Texas-based developer Fairfield Properties is building Loreto and Palacio Apartments in northwest Las Vegas. The 739-unit apartment complex features clubhouses, resort-style pools, barbecue areas, cabanas, outdoor fireplaces, and secluded spas. Las Vegas-based D&K Landscape is focusing on water conservation while landscaping the 23-acre project. The project is scheduled for completion at the end of 2009.
- Hinesville, Ga.: Balfour Beatty Communities is opening its first apartment complex that will provide military housing for single U.S. service members. The $37 million complex in Fort Stewart will include 334 one- and two-bedroom apartments. The project, called Marne Point, is a garden-style apartment community featuring state-of-the-art amenities. The Newtown Square, Pa.-based developer operates 16 military housing projects for families at 43 military bases.
- Memphis, Tenn.: Developer WSG Memphis recently won approval for its 28-acre, mixed-use development in Midtown Memphis. Plans call for apartments, Class A office space, a hotel, street-level restaurants, retail shops, and public promenades. Construction is expected to start in spring 2009.
- Chicago: The Tides at Lakeshore East has been leasing quickly, according to Chicago-based developer Magellan Development Group. The Tides is more than 63 percent leased in eight months. The 51-story tower with 608 rental units is being leased and managed by NNP Residential, who credits The Tides' success to its downtown location near popular attractions including Millennium Park, Navy Pier, and several museums. The Tides offers studios to two-bedroom residences that rent for $1,320 to $3,305 per month.
- Bronx, N.Y.: CPC Resources and Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association celebrated the grand opening of Banana Kelly Place, a newly constructed, affordable housing complex with 58 low-income rental apartments and 5,200 square feet of ground floor space for a future child care facility. The seven-story building contains 18 one-bedroom and 39 two-bedroom apartments, plus a superintendent's unit. Rents range from $585 to $867 a month.
- Birmingham, Ala.: Arlington Properties, headquartered in Birmingham, has begun construction on The Arlington at Eastern Shore Centre on 25 acres in Spanish Fort. The project will include 300 one- to three-bedroom units alongside a state-of-the-art fitness center, large pool, a lake with a fountain, and the area's only indoor basketball court within an apartment community. Occupancy is expected by late summer of 2009.
- Middletown, N.Y.: It took 25 years to acquire the land, but Clifton, N.J.-based Value Cos. has finally been approved to expand its Sutton Hill community to include 120 new luxury apartments. Sutton Hill II will be constructed on an 11-acre tract next to the existing property. Value will reinvest another $3 million in the original 276-unit community. The new one- and two-bedroom apartments will come with amenities including clubhouse, pool, basketball and tennis courts, and playground. Value expects to complete Sutton Hill II within the next two years.
- Orlando, Fla.: Locally based KA & KM Development is finishing construction on The Villas at Lake Eve. This luxury, 14-story condo hotel has 176 apartment units ranging in size from 880 square feet to 1,575 square feet. Not only does the project overlook nearby Lake Eve, but it also offers a restaurant and dining area with full commercial kitchen. The Villas was designed by Altamonte Springs, Fla.-based Forum Architecture & Interior Design.
- Las Vegas: Developer CityCenter, a joint venture between MGM MIRAGE and Dubai World, recently completed the third high-rise tower on its Mandarin Oriental project, a $9 billion urban metropolis set to open in late 2009. Mandarin Oriental has 227 luxury condos on top of a 400-room hotel tower. Mandarin Oriental has sold 93 percent of its residential units, generating $656 million in sales. Units are priced from $3.7 million to $9.1 million.