Daily News for Commercial Real Estate & Business – April 4, 2011

Oakwood Corporate Housing Upgrades with 24,765-SF Relo Oakwood Corporate Housing has picked Corporate Center for its new regional headquarters. The Los Angeles-based firm signed a five-year lease for 24,765 square feet of class B office space at 9630 N. 25th Ave., one of the eight office buildings that comprise Corporate Center. It is in the process of relocating to its new offices from 8804 N. 23rd Ave. View article...

Barney's Boathouse set to dock in downtown Scottsdale this summer The owner of Barney's Boathouse across from Arizona State University in Tempe plans to open another location in downtown Scottsdale's entertainment district. The two-story building with rooftop patio, at 7341 E. Sixth Ave., has sat vacant for the past year and a half. Chris Barnett, owner of Barney's Boathouse, signed a 10-year lease for the space and plans to open the restaurant and bar there in early summer. View article...

Great Things consignment shop returns with new focus When Jeannie Law's son-in-law left the Valley for Ohio six years ago, she followed and moved her Scottsdale women's consignment shop with her. "I follow my grandchildren. I've got a thing about my grandkids," she said. The family recently returned to the area, and so did Law's business, Great Things, now in northeast Phoenix. The new store is at the northwest corner of Tatum and Shea boulevards. But the address is not the only thing that has changed. View article...

Theme parks leave Phoenix stuck in a loop The amusement park proposed for south Phoenix has excited city officials and some residents for months, but so far, the developers behind it have shown no indication as to when or whether the park will be built. In October, Jorge "George" Adan Cordova, a representative of a limited liability company, Catalyst Land Holdings, pitched the idea of a giant indoor theme park to a Phoenix City Council subcommittee. The park would cover the former 213-acre landfill at 19th Avenue and Buckeye Road with roller coasters, a water-park section and a "cold zone" where visitors could ski or snowboard on the slopes any time, even when temperatures rise above 100 degrees. View article...

Gainey Ranch Corporate Center tops list of Scottsdale-area office buildings The Gainey Ranch Corporate Center I-IV, with 564,064 square feet of rentable space, finished atop the Phoenix Business Journal's "Scottsdale-area Office Buildings" list, which was published in the April 1 print edition. View article...

Light rail would link 79th Ave., I-10 and downtown Phoenix The Southwest Valley is in line for light rail that would move riders to and from downtown Phoenix along Interstate 10 to the 79th Avenue Park-and-Ride. The line is scheduled to open in 2021, but a reduction in Proposition 400 tax money due to a bad economy could push that date back a year, said Hillary Foose, a spokeswoman for Metro Light Rail. View article...

Firm partners with SRP for solar power Empire Southwest began generating solar power at two locations in Mesa and Apache Junction last week, becoming the second largest commercial solar system in Salt River Project territory. A rooftop-mounted solar power system at Empire Precision Machining in Mesa is expected to provide 30 percent of the facility's power demand. A ground-mounted array at the Empire Rental operation in Apache Junction is installed on an otherwise unusable part of the property, and is expected to generate 30 percent of the site's power. View article...

SCF Arizona cuts 12 percent of workforce Workers' compensation insurer SCF Arizona laid off 12 percent of its workers on Thursday, citing Arizona's depressed economy and a downturn in the number of businesses needing coverage. SCF laid off about 60 of its 489 staff members, said Rick DeGraw, chief operating officer and senior vice president of the insurer. View article...

National Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.8% Employers added 216,000 jobs to their payrolls in March, according to figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Department of Labor. The national unemployment rate dropped to 8.8 percent, down from 8.9 percent in February. View article...

HOUSING UPDATES:
Empty houses taking toll on Valley
On a typical block in metro Phoenix, there's at least one empty home, often several. Overbuilding during the housing boom, record foreclosures during the subsequent crash and a significant drop in population growth have led to more than 100,000 vacant homes across the region, five times what was once considered normal. View article...

Drastic home-value declines slowing in the West Valley Home values in most Northwest Valley cities continued to decline in 2010, but at a slower pace than in past years and with higher-end homes feeling more heat of foreclosures and short sales. A few areas even had a slight increase in values compared with 2009, according to an Arizona Republic analysis of data from the Information Market. View article...

Scottsdale-area housing market may be flattening out It's still a buyer's market, but a shrinking inventory of homes and fewer foreclosures are giving analysts and real-estate agents hope that housing prices are flattening out. The overall median price in Scottsdale of $375,000 fell 6 percent last year from 2009. But that follows two years of double-digit percentage price declines in most Scottsdale neighborhoods, according to data from the Information Market. View article...

Supply of Chandler homes for sale quickly decreasing Buyers have begun to snap up homes in Chandler, shown by a decreasing supply of homes on the market. There were 1,591 homes listed for sale on March 24 compared with 1,725 on Dec. 24, according to Mike Orr, publisher of the Cromford Report, an online daily analysis of real estate transactions. View article...

Ahwatukee spared some housing-crisis agony Six years ago, when Valley home prices were nearing a peak, J.D. Walker rented a house near Elliot Road and 44th Street in Ahwatukee Foothills. Homes were priced so high in his neighborhood near South Mountain Park that he could not afford to buy one. But the real-estate slump has helped Walker, a US Airways pilot, become a homeowner in the neighborhood of his dreams. View article...

Gilbert home values for 2010: It could have been worse Not so bad, really. That, in a nutshell, is how some analysts characterized last year's housing market in Gilbert. True, the overall median price for single-family detached homes in Gilbert fell 4.6 percent (to $190,770 in 2010 from $200,000 in 2009) but many other parts of the Valley fared far worse. View article...

Mesa median prices for resale homes drop 1.6% in 2010 The median price of a resale home in Mesa dropped last year to $135,000, compared to a median in 2009 of $137,250, a decline of 1.6 percent. That is far less than declines in previous years and mirrors trends seen elsewhere throughout the Valley. View article...

Median price of homes in Phoenix rose by 21.1% in 2010 Phoenix is the only community in the Valley to see a double-digit percentage increase in its overall median price in 2010, compared with 2009. But overall Phoenix values remain far below much of the rest of the Valley. The increase was 21.1 percent. View article...

Foreclosure sales drop home prices in Tempe Foreclosure sales are giving the real-estate market a boost in overall resales of homes in Tempe and the Valley. But that shot in the arm can also have a detrimental effect on a community as foreclosures sell for bargain prices compared with resales, dropping the overall median value of homes in a community. View article...

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