Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On May 31, 2017 the Glendale Today section of the Arizona Republic featured a story entitled, “More money, more house” by reporter Laura Gomez. The reason this story caught my attention is the fact that large lot, luxury homes do sell. Right now, the hot spot for these homes is predominately in north Peoria. In the 1990s Arrowhead Lakes was the place for luxury homes and today its zip code, 85310, is listed as one of the 25 wealthiest zip codes in the Phoenix Metro area.

Does that mean that this is will work for Stonehaven? No. It is not the right spot lacking uneven terrain encouraging spectacular views. But it is the right spot for 10,000 or 12,000 square foot lots that are compatible with similar existent properties in this area. It is the right spot for large lots with RV gates and backyard pools with cabanas. According to real-estate consultant Jim Belfiore, “…the exterior of these houses is typically ‘architecturally interesting’ and not the cookie-cutter model of production homes.” He goes on to say, “The lots also are large enough to allow for custom additions, such as an RV or boat garage, or a backyard pool with outdoor cabanas.”

Yet Stonehaven proponents continue to sell the kool-aid many city leaders are drinking. That kool-aid consists of “diversity” and “flexibility” as the rationale for even more starter homes or small lot homes designed supposedly to appeal to millennials and “empty-nesters.” Yet a recent Wall Street Journal story said that 30% of millennials cannot afford the down payment on a home because of their extraordinary student debt. The article went on to say many millennials are prepared to wait 5 years or longer to save enough for a down payment.

This is from Gomez’ article, “Overall in metro Phoenix, seven-figure home sales are up more than 30 percent compared with last year.”  She goes on to state, “A recuperating housing market and a stable economy are contributing to a boom in all types of residential construction, including more luxury housing options.” Gomez interviewed a Camino A Lago community resident and said, “Jennifer Garbett recently moved into the Camino a Lago community. The former Glendale resident said the main driver to move to Peoria was the school district. Garbett said the larger lots, luxury interior features, flexible floor plan and RV garage convinced her to move into this community.”

Gomez stated, “City leaders see the benefits of diversifying the region’s housing inventory and attracting high-income earners. In Surprise, which offers a wide swath of affordable housing, Mayor Sharon Wolcott said city leaders should strive to accommodate and retain high-income earners because they are an important component of every city. ‘It’s really important to have these high-income earners have a place where they feel fits their needs in the community,’ Wolcott, said. ‘They’ll support with their own checkbook by making purchases in their community. They get involved civically, typically, because they are very interested in helping to grow their community’.”

An anonymous comment in the Glendale Star of May 18, 2017 said Stonehaven is, “a $450 million investment in our city that will likely become Glendale’s next signature community.” Many would agree that it is destined to become “Glendale’s next signature community” but not in a positive manner that this comment would have you believe. It will be a “signature community” as people move up and out of the small, starter homes and over time, these homes will become investments tailored to renters. It will become a “signature community” known for homes poorly kept catering to renters with no ties to our community just waiting their turn to move up and out. It’s only significance will be that it contributed to the further demise of Glendale’s reputation.

© Joyce Clark, 2017          

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