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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

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.

City Council vacates all activities during the July of each year. Whether you love my blogs or hate them, this break time provides me the opportunity to write a series of them. This one deals with an age old problem, that of new development versus older neighborhoods.

I happened to run across this story in the local Glendale Republic. Here’s the link: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/surprise/2019/06/22/surprise-grows-quickly-residents-question-if-its-growing-right-way/1491785001/ .

It’s about a couple who bought a large lot home on at least an acre in the desert area of Surprise only to discover in the coming years they will be swallowed up and surrounded by a possible total of 4,130 residential units with an average of about four homes per acre. Add to those homes new businesses along 163rd Avenue creating a new urban center and their dream and their investment evaporates.

I would hope the City of Surprise would be sensitive to their life style as it allows new development to surround them. It can be done with what planners call “transitional” development. Under that scheme the development surrounding them would be large lots of 1 acre or better and as development moves farther away from them it becomes denser. It’s not ideal as far as this couple is concerned but it employs a certain amount of sensitivity. After all, they and their neighbors were there first.

It also brings up another issue for which cities should be mindful. All of those new homes and new residents are great. After all, it will increase the amount of state shared revenue that flows into their coffers. However, a stunning fact to remember and I am using Glendale as an example, is that it cost the City of Glendale $973 to provide services to each and every resident. That figure includes public safety which comprises the lion’s share of any city’s budget. For a family of two in a home that comes to $1946. Yet each home (not citizen) generates approximately $400 in property tax and sales tax to offset the city’s costs of services. The imbalance is readily apparent. A city is ahead when it allows development of commercial, industrial and manufacturing.  That type of development does not typically use city services to the extent of a home and they are job generators.

Another type of development that requires sensitivity is that of new infill development. Infill development should not only compliment but should raise the value of older neighborhoods. Sticking a bunch of apartments whether they are the traditional multi-story or single story “Built for Rent” units in the middle of existent residential areas is a recipe for disaster. Multifamily dwellers, as nice as they may be, are not usually invested in the community in which they reside. On average they move every three years. That dynamic does not offer stability to the residential neighborhoods adjacent to such a complex or to the fabric of community as a whole in terms of public participation.

When multifamily units are new they hold their value as the developer/investor seeks to recoup the original investment and turn a profit. But there are no guarantees in life and there is certainly no guarantee as to how long the original owner will hold that investment. At some point there will be sale and now begins the inevitable slide into decline. The new owner may not be as assiduous about keeping the property up while profiting. Little things are not attended to and then the bigger things are not taken care of.  Over time it becomes an underperforming property that diminishes adjacent property values even further.

There are places in a city for multi-family and that is where density and mass will complement existing retail and commercial development. A good example where density is positive is in and around Westgate. With Westgate’s nearly two dozen restaurants, Tanger Outlets for shopping and sports entertainment choices of hockey and football, density is important in terms of providing a consumer base. Another scenario can be in an area of all new mixed use development that establishes new single family and multifamily neighborhoods served by new retail and commercial. A purchaser of a home in that kind of area is already aware that multifamily will be part of the mix.

Cities have a responsibility to their current residents to be sensitive in the placement of new or infill development. Diminishing the property values of one part of the community to accommodate the bright, shiny new development that may not be appropriate for the existent area does a disservice to the very fabric of the community they seek to create.

As the couple in Surprise said about their home in the middle of nowhere, “We thought we had really found something.”  Let’s be careful as a home owner who had moved into a neighborhood years ago and thought they had really found something special becomes threatened by adjacent, incompatible development.

 

© Joyce Clark, 2019         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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.

What is a BFR?  It stands for “Built for Rent” and is the current ‘flavor of the year’ in the building community. It is a community of single family rentals between 100 and 250 units.  That number of units is required to make it a viable project. Usually three or four different floor plans are available. The amenities vary by community and builder.

 Here are some photos of one such community under construction by Hancock Builders on the west side of 99th Avenue, just north of Camelback Road in Phoenix. . Hancock has already built 1,300 of the single family rental homes with 4,000 more in the development pipeline spread across 10 communities.

 

The builders producing these communities have similar business models. They build the communities themselves and then turn maintenance over to a third-party property manager with experience in multifamily. After the community is fully leased and operational, the builders have the option to sell individual houses within the community or sell the entire community itself to a high-net-worth individual, a multifamily real estate investment trust (REIT), or a single-family rental (SFR) operator like Invitation Homes or American Homes 4 Rent.

Ideally they are designed to be located where there is mass transportation and nearby amenities available such as in a Westgate or Zanjero. A BFR within or very near the Westgate/Zanjero developments is appropriate. But it is not appropriate in an area farther away from commercial/retail/entertainment areas and instead is surrounded by a sea of residential, owner occupied properties. The location at 75th Avenue and Bethany Home Road is not appropriate with the kind of density a project such as this brings.

Yet that is the request of Gammage & Burnham, attorneys representing the proposed developer, Elux and the Brown Group, is desiring to put a BFR community at the northeast corner of 75th Avenue and Bethany Home Road. Since 1984 the property has had a zoning designation of R 1-6 (residential, one to six homes to the acre).

 

Let’s look at what surrounds this parcel. To the east and south is R 1-6 zoning with established neighborhoods. To the west, just across 75th Avenue is Tessera, a gated community of R 1-7 (larger properties and homes). To the north it is zoned R 1-6 but the properties are at least one acre in size. Most are larger and are horse properties and include Griffin Avenue, a historic area.

The proposed developer has the property in escrow and it is assumed that a decision will not be made until after the neighborhood meeting occurring this week. That neighborhood meeting scheduled for:

this Wednesday, June 5th

at 6 pm

at Heroes Library (at northeast corner of Bethany and 83rd Avenue)

It will be your opportunity to learn the proposed details of this project but more importantly it will be your only opportunity to express your approval or disapproval of the proposed project.

I believe the location as well as the assumed density is not appropriate and I have expressed that to the applicant’s attorney already. But now they need to hear from you. I’d like to see 50 or more people at this Wednesday evening meeting. That would be a strong voice to convince the developer that their project is in the wrong location.

Please share this blog freely with your neighbors and friends. Information is critical. It is important that the people of Glendale come out to this meeting.

© Joyce Clark, 2019         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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.

This Monday, Feb.25th, the city held a naming ceremony dedicating a portion of Bethany Home Road to Cardinals way. I was honored to be able to speak at this event. The following are the remarks I delivered.

“As you may or may not know, I can be a trivia nerd. So I decided to find out how Bethany Home Road got its name.  Some streets in the Valley received their names because of their location, such as Central Avenue or Baseline Road. Others honor local or nation historical figures such as Washington Street or Thomas Road. Yet others are tied to various landmarks such as Camelback Road or Indian School Road.

“Bethany Home Road got its name because it was a recognized landmark one hundred years ago. Bethany Home was a tuberculosis sanatorium started by the Missionary Church Association. Bethany Home was established in 1908 by the church and dedicated to God. It was a Christian home for the sick. But how did the Missionary Church come up with that name?  They did some of their missionary work in what is now Israel in Bethany , an ancient town near Jerusalem.

“We are here to celebrate the renaming of a portion of Bethany Home Road to Cardinals Way from 83rd Avenue to 99th Avenue. It’s hard to believe but the Cardinals played their first game in Glendale on August 12, 2006, 13 years ago. As a member of Glendale’s city council back then, I voted for its approval, participated by signing a beam during the stadium’s construction and was there for opening day. The stadium has become a landmark for the West Valley. It can be seen far and wide… from Peoria to Avondale.

“By renaming Bethany Home Road to Cardinals Way we recognize and honor a major economic driver of not just my district, the Yucca district, or even Glendale and the West Valley but of the entire Phoenix Metro area.

“Without the partnerships of long time Glendale farming families like the Roveys and Pendergasts willing to sell their land and the vision and the persistence of Michael Bidwill there would be no stadium in the Yucca district of Glendale. It’s time…it’s way past time… to recognize those efforts.

“We honor the Bidwill family and the Cardinals by renaming this portion of Bethany Home Road to Cardinals Way. But there are added benefits for it also enhances the marketing and branding of this area of my district. There are no homes or businesses along this stretch of road but in the future there will be commercial entities who will acquire the cache of a Cardinals Way address.

“As Vice Mayor, I thank Michael Bidwill and the entire Bidwill family for their decision to make the Yucca district of Glendale their home. I am honored to be a participant in the celebration of the Cardinals Way street naming. Thirteen years ago a partnership was born. I look forward to many more years of mutual cooperation that has benefitted all.”

© Joyce Clark, 2019         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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.

I find as City Council responsibilities increase year over year finding the time to write a blog becomes more difficult. I have no intention of giving it up but you may find that, alas, my entries are more infrequent. This morning I discovered that I had a couple of hours free to devote to writing a catch up blog. Y-e-a-a-a!

I am sure, if you are a Glendale resident, you have seen the “Birds” (motorized scooters) suddenly and without warning descend upon our city. Glendale is not the only city to deal with this issue. It is occurring nation-wide from Durham, North Carolina to Los Angeles, California. Apparently these motorized scooter providers (Bird is not the only company) have recognized that most cities have no laws prohibiting them and so, they felt free to drop them in mass quantities wherever they chose.

Late last week, the City of Glendale, sent Bird a Cease and Desist Letter advising the company that their scooters were illegally operating on the city’s rights-of-way, roadways and sidewalks. The company was instructed to pick them up or face a fine of $250 per scooter per hour. Expect all of them to disappear in the very near future. The latest work is that they should be gone by February 9th. As suddenly as they appeared they should disappear. City Council and staff will take the time necessary to decide if scooters are acceptable in our community and if so, what regulations will be required.

Glendale is booming. Look for announcements over the next few months about some major projects, most of which will be located in the Yucca district which I represent. Development plans that have lain dormant since the Great Recession are being dusted off, updated and actively pursued. Many of them include an office development component and will be located in the Yucca district. Glendale simply has no available office space left as of this date but potential development submittals could create as much as a million square feet of office space over the next year and a half. That is welcome news because available office space means more job opportunities for Glendale’s residents.

City Council had approved the annexation of the Woolf Logistics and Lincoln Logistics parcels located just east of the Loop 303. The developers of both parcels are actively marketing to distribution and manufacturing companies. I am confident we will see both of these developers selling off parcels for active development this year. This is exactly what Glendale has been pursuing. Residential development is fine in certain areas where there is existent infrastructure but each home costs the city about $400 annually. That is because the tax generated…sales, property taxes, etc…do not generate enough to cover the entire costs of public safety, street maintenance and other services that a city must pay to provide those services. Manufacturing, office and distribution do pay for themselves annually and have the additional benefit of job creation. City Council’s goal is to develop land adjacent to the Loop 303 for those uses. In the future Glendale may be able to reverse the current data that shows that 70% of our residents go outside of Glendale to go to work.

Next week, the first week of February, city council begins to hold budget workshops in preparation for the final adoption of the FY 20-21 budget this coming June. It has been said and it is true, there is never much in-fighting when the available funds are lean but whenever there is a surplus the in-fighting increases. Glendale has an available surplus of about a million dollars this year. There are so many needs, long overdue, that require funding. One of the most critical for me is to continue to complete Heroes Park. It has been 20 years since the first project was completed in this park. This spring we will see completion of the construction of Phase I of the West Branch library in Heroes Park. I commend the city council for recognizing this critical need and allocating the funding to make it happen. However, Heroes Park is far from complete. It still does not have a water feature, a recreation and aquatics center, ball fields, library expansion or a dog park. These were elements of the original plan and still an expectation of the thousands of residents surrounding this park. They have seen their children grow up without the benefit of many elements in this park and now have the expectation that their grandchildren will finally have a completed park nearby.

Another project long overdue is that of O’Neil Park’s inoperable swimming pool. The square mile, primarily a low socio-demographic area, surrounding this park has over 1300 homes and 10 apartment complexes. That equates to a lot of children without an active recreational opportunity. For the past 5 years the O’Neil pool has been closed. It’s time to rehabilitate O’Neil Park and to provide some active recreational opportunities for the estimated 4,000 children living in this area. While the pool may disappear there are plenty of possibilities for that space within the park that can become a positive benefit to the area’s children.

I hope that I will soon be able to blog about some of the exciting new projects coming to Glendale. They are in the pipeline but not yet finalized for announcement. I am very optimistic about Glendale’s opportunities for the coming year. The economy is healthy and spurring new development everywhere and Glendale intends to capture its share.

© Joyce Clark, 2019         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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.

News headline announcing my candidacy several years ago

It’s Saturday afternoon and this morning I participated in the Third Annual Glendale Hometown Parade. I rode in a beautiful vintage blue Cadillac convertible. What a treat. This afternoon I should be baking Christmas cookies or doing my ‘homework’ in preparation for Council’s Strategic Policy Workshop this Monday or Tuesday’s Council Workshop meeting and subsequent evening voting meeting. I will do all of those things tomorrow. Instead, after nearly 2 years of serving as Glendale’s Yucca District Councilmember, I spent the afternoon reflecting about the past two years of my service and what my future should be.

When I began this current term I announced it would be my last. I assumed, incorrectly, that after 4 years of service I would experience diminishing capacity, physically and mentally. That has not happened. Every year I get my executive physical and each time I pass with flying colors. There has been no erosion of either my physical or mental capacities to do the job that you elected me to do.

I am announcing today that I will run for another term.

I have won some issues and lost some. I am most gratified that I have secured recognition for and a commitment to complete Heroes Park. I secured funding for the West Branch Library at Heroes Park and it is currently under construction and scheduled to open late March or mid-April of next year (2019). It is my intent to hold my next district-wide meeting at the newly opened library.

I do not intend to stop there. I plan to secure funding for the design of the lake feature in Heroes Park in our upcoming FY19-20 budget and to secure funding for its construction in the following FY 20-21 budget. After that there are still the ball fields, recreation center and library expansion to complete. Those are my goals.

I am proud to have gotten support of the entire council to start LED street light conversion immediately. That action saves the city about $700,000 in annual operating and maintenance costs for our street lights and results in an annual electrical rebate of nearly half a million dollars.

I am also proud of council’s approval of my initiative to start a Council Subcommittee on Business. The committee recently reviewed staff’s suggested amendments to the plumbing, electrical and fire codes resulting in the committee’s recommendations to delete or modify certain provisions all of which received acceptance from the entire city council. There is still more work to be done but the committee is making progress toward the goal of making Glendale more business friendly.

Council approved my request to use modified ‘Zero Based Budgeting’ to review selected departments during Council’s annual building of the city’s budget. This year it will be applied to the IT (technology) department and the Finance Department. It is a method of budget review that can result in greater fiscal efficiency.

My greatest disappointment has been a majority of council’s approval of the amended Stonehaven residential project located from Bethany to Camelback and 83rd to 91st  Avenues. The approval by a majority of council for small lot sizes of 3,000 and 3,500 to be located north of Camelback is clearly detrimental to all those who live adjacent to or near this planned development.

Perhaps the only good to come out of this project will be at the start of the project’s development — Bethany Home Road between 83rd and 91st Avenues will be constructed. That may help to alleviate some of the tremendous traffic we experience on Camelback Road. In the next 2 years Camelback between 91st Avenue and the Loop 101 will be redesigned and reconstructed to mitigate (as much as possible) the traffic in that area.

There is still much to do to advance the interests of our district and the city. Two areas of concern are the performance of the city’s code department and continued pressure to develop vacant, infill parcels in the district.

I am pleased that I will be serving on the newly created Code Compliance Committee and look forward helping to improve the code department’s poor and inconsistent performance seen in so many parts of Glendale.

 Land development is oft times a harder nut to crack. If a property owner sells a piece of land and the developer builds to the current property’s zoning it is impossible to stop that private commerce. However, I have been successful in gaining many developers’ agreement (which does not have to be granted) to build mixed sized projects that include not just standard lot sizes but larger lot sizes within their projects.

There is much to be done to keep Glendale and the Yucca District moving forward in a positive direction. I am thankful that I have had an opportunity to shape policy thus far and look forward to continuing to make both the best they can be.

I will establish a political action committee (PAC) in January of 2019 and begin fund raising for the campaign ahead. I ask for your support by donating to my campaign or volunteering to help me as I walk neighborhoods. As I move forward I will establish a secure method of online donation.  I am always available for small neighborhood or HOA meetings. Just call and I will be there.

I would appreciate seeing your comments regarding my announcement. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and to represent you. It has been and continues to be my honor and privilege. I will continue to do the very best job that I can.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

 

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.

Ever since I returned to city council two years ago, in December of 2016, I have been sorely disappointed in the inconsistent performance of one city department, Code.  I am sure I will hear from my city manager about once again publicly expressing concern about the work of a group of city employees. However, some situations beg to be discussed and this is one of those.

A little history on the Code Department is in order. When I first served on council in 1992 the performance of the Code Department was not good. Employee abuses included taking extraordinarily long lunch breaks and when they were in the field they earned the reputation of being “Gestapo-like.” Eventually the department was reorganized and a new director took the helm. That was Dan Gunn. Mr. Gunn did an excellent job of turning the department around and for years, under his leadership, code performed at a high level of achievement. When I returned code was once again in disarray.  Over the past few budget cycles council allocated more resources and personnel in order to help the department succeed once again.

Those actions have not borne the fruit council expected. I have seen situations that I can only describe as retaliation against our citizens and cases of inconsistent enforcement of the Code Department dependent upon where you live in the city.

I am aware of two cases that can only be described as retaliation. In one case the resident, in an effort to clean up a blighted south Glendale neighborhood, reached out to councilmembers for assistance. That action of taking it to councilmembers resulted in the citizen being cited for minor violations while much graver neighborhood issues were ignored.  It appeared to be a case of retaliation.

In another case, as a result of a neighborhood dispute now being adjudicated in court, one litigant, a neighbor began calling in continuous code complaints. Code’s actions in enforcing those harassment complaints flies in the face of their unstated policy that when a situation is in litigation they back off and let the police department and the courts settle the matter. That is not what occurred in this case.

In this case, the citizen (a Vietnam vet) who has an injunction to prevent further harassment by his neighbor is being cited for an inoperable vehicle that has been repurposed as “yard art” and for having a flag pole greater than 6 feet tall.

As I said in a recent city council workshop on the issue of placing a permanent flag pole and American flag on Thunderbird Mountain, “I can’t imagine any place where the flying of the American flag is inappropriate.”

Did you know that historically only 38 permits at a cost of $230 each have been issued and those, in the majority, were for commercial properties?  Nearly every Glendale resident who has a flag pole 6 feet or taller has no blinkin’ idea that a permit is even required, much less the cost of such a permit. Some residents, such as myself, had a flag pole greater than 6 feet when the home was purchased in 1998. I assume that it is grandfathered in but I certainly had no idea about code restrictions on resident flag poles. Here is ours. By the way, the resident has taken down the flag pole.

As for “yard art,” all art, as we well know, is subjective…very, very subjective. What is art to one person may be an abomination to another. The resident took an old, antique truck and spent about $3,000 to have it repurposed as an art piece and placed in his front yard. It was his art. By the way the property in question in the northern portion of the city is a ½ to 1 acre horse property (exactly as is mine). No one complained and in fact, passers-by would stop to have their photo taken with the “art truck.” Once again, the neighbor with an injunction for harassment called code and complained. The only rule upon which code could hang its hat was that the vehicle is ‘inoperable’.  By the way, I have antique tractor equipment as “yard art”. It’s definitely inoperable and again, probably grandfathered in since it has been there since the house was built. Here is our ‘yard art’. 

I find code’s actions to be astounding when at every council voting meeting, a citizen comes forward during the public comment period and brings photos of rampant illegal parking of inoperable vehicles in his south Glendale neighborhood resulting in little if any enforcement. If parking an inoperable vehicle is a code violation in one area of the city then code should be enforcing it throughout the city. It is not doing so per the citizen who regularly brings the situation to council’s attention at its voting meetings.

Today people are more affluent and often have several vehicles in addition to the fact there are often multiple families or extended relatives living at a home. Hence many have more than two vehicles resulting in on-street parking (which is OK) or parking all over the front yard, often on dirt or grass (which is not OK). It makes Glendale look trashy and blighted. No one would complain if the code for inoperable vehicles was being administered fairly and equitably throughout the city.

There are code regulations to prohibit this behavior as well as others. The problem remains inequitable enforcement, selective enforcement or no enforcement at all in areas of need. It is frustrating to not just the citizens who want their neighborhoods cleaned up but to the councilmembers and their assistants receiving complaints on a daily basis. It is a situation that had been resolved in years past and has now deteriorated once again.

This situation has prompted the creation of a Code Review Committee comprised of councilmembers and citizens. It is scheduled to start its work after the holidays. As a member of the committee I am confident that we will recommend changes to the code department’s operations and to city code as well. I am also confident that a majority of council will concur with the committee’s recommendations. Currently code’s enforcement is an untenable situation that cannot, and must not, continue.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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.

Since city council sold the St. Vincent de Paul building in downtown Glendale to C Plus D Industry in September questions have arisen about the deal. In 2008 the city purchased the building and a nearby parking lot for $735,000 with the goal of future redevelopment. For ten years it sat vacant, slowly continuing to deteriorate. At the time of purchase, no one on city council expected to recoup the purchase price and innately acknowledged that the city would have to incentivize any resale of the building.

Councilmember Ray Malnar and I submitted an Op Ed to the Glendale Star on this subject. Here is the link: https://www.glendalestar.com/glendale-star/st-vincent-de-paul-building-package-bow-deal-or-down-heel-deal .

In a recent news story Cheryl Kappes, owner of the Country Maiden, said she would have bought the building. Another downtown property owner, Richard Vangelisti, expressed the same sentiment. Keep in mind the true cost of the building is not just the $25,000.  It is the sales price plus the cost of the renovation and a commitment to do so promptly.  In the ten years, from 2008 to 2018, anyone could have approached the city and made an offer on the property. No one did. They may have thought about it but they never took that first major step of contacting the city with a written offer. Such an offer to purchase the property would have included a commitment toward making a significant investment to renovate the building resulting in a tax revenue producing business downtown. C Plus D Industry took that chance by making an offer that could have been rejected. They were the first to try. Now that it has been sold, suddenly there are cries of a lack of “transparency.”

What exactly did the city sell for $25,000? It sold a 60 year old building requiring total restoration with no dedicated parking. According to a Facility Management Group analysis submitted to the city in October of 2017, “It is a building that requires complete restoration. Everything but the roof structure, exterior walls and floor slab will need to be replaced.”

The Facility Management Group analysis offers an estimate of $1,225,000 to renovate the 7,000 square foot building. It goes on to report that an estimated $1,750,000 would be required to tear the building down and build a new 7,000 square foot building.

In a report prepared by Lisa Amos, Glendale’s Real Estate Program Manager, dated June 15, 2018, “If this building were in good condition and had parking, @ $40/sq ft, it could list for $280,000.” But it’s not in good condition, is 60 years old, requires a complete renovation and has no parking.

It is unrealistic to expect a retail or office developer to purchase a building with no parking spaces. Ms. Amos, in her report, states that, “Demolition was estimated at $5.00/sq ft = $35,000.” Her conclusions were, “City contribution to improvement of building condition, including new build, will not yield return at sale” or “Demolish and sell land or accept nominal sale price if Buyer accepts ‘as is’ including no parking.”

What did the city accomplish with this sale? It avoided renovation at a price of $1.2M; it avoided tearing down the building and constructing new at a cost of $1.7M; and it avoided demolition costs of $35,000.

What does the city get for selling the building for $25,000? Keep in mind, C Plus D Industry came to the city and offered to buy the building ‘as is’ while committing to renovate the building to code at a substantial cost to them, not the city. They will maintain a small showroom expecting a minimal amount of local foot traffic and will sell on site but their primary focus is on the manufacture and sale of high end furniture nationally.

An added benefit is that the city has collected zero taxes on this property for many years. Current city estimates are that C Plus D will increase taxes collected from just this one project in downtown Glendale by 10%.

C Plus D are not professional investors. As part of their commitment to the city, they must renovate within 6 months bringing it up to code. The sale is not final until they receive a Certificate of Occupancy. The city estimate to renovate is over one million dollars. That’s at city cost. C Plus D expects the renovation to cost them between $350,000 and $500,000. They won’t be paying city prices to renovate and they will also contribute sweat equity.

Keep in mind the city is not selling its parking lot which was part of the original 2008 $735,000 purchase price. Lastly, according to Ms. Amos in the above cited report, the assumption is that once the building is renovated and if it had parking, it could be listed for $280,000. Without dedicated parking, the sale price would obviously be lower than that figure.

Senior management and city council concluded that this was a good deal for Glendale’s taxpayers. There was no special treatment for the buyer.  The property was sold for what it was worth. It was simply a business opportunity brought to the city that senior management and city council concluded was a good deal for Glendale’s taxpayers.

As for transparency, city land sales are rightly, according to the state’s Open Meeting Law, a subject for discussion in city council executive sessions. In a recent news story Councilmember Turner said, “It’s not always just about getting the highest dollar. But we can have a process that is open, transparent and still accomplishes our vision.” In the same story Councilmember Aldama said, “The city should be transparent in everything it does and everything it does should benefit the citizens. In hindsight, I don’t feel this sale benefits the citizens.” Their comments are disingenuous and provocative.  Both of these gentlemen know that land transactions are subjects for executive session to protect the city’s position.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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.

Here’s a true story. Since 1992, for 18 years, I have been the Yucca district city councilmember with the exception of two periods: 1996 to 2000 and 2012 to 2016. During 1996 to 2000 while off council, the San Bellismo Apts at the southeast corner of 83rd Ave and Glendale Ave were approved and supported by then Councilmember Martin Samaniego. They are primarily  Section 8 apts. Between 2012 and 2016, the period during which then Councilmember Sam Chavira served, two apartment complexes in Zanjero were approved. All three of these apartment complexes were not approved during my terms on council.

My reputation has been to oppose apartment complexes in the district based upon: 1. if they are proposed for an inappropriate location and 2. if they are not quality, upscale projects with many major amenities.

However, there is one apartment complex at 95th Avenue, north of Camelback Avenue, directly east across from the Super WalMart that I do support. The developer and owner is P.B. Bell and I made it a point to visit their Aspera apartment complex in Arrowhead. It is an upscale complex and I am supporting it for that reason and for another.

Lowe’s bought the land in question 15 years ago with the intent of building a Lowe’s on the site. For whatever the reason, perhaps because there is a Home Depot just to the west, they changed their minds and a year later, put the property up for sale as a commercial parcel. It has remained a dusty, vacant lot ever since. There had been no interest in this site and no takers interested in developing it. This site is an appropriate one for an apartment complex and the fact that it will be upscale with lots of amenities makes it a supportable project.

Another possible site for an apartment complex is the city-owned Brown lot north of the Provence subdivision. In this case an apartment complex is appropriate for the location.

Let me share another true story with you.  In 2003 a subdivision of 37 acres with 215 homes at a density of 5.78 homes to the acre with an average lot size of 4,000 square feet was proposed for our district, the Yucca district. Approximately 60 neighbors attended the neighborhood meeting and vigorously opposed the project citing the density of the project, resulting lower adjacent property values, the traffic congestion and the increased crime it would bring. It was approved. That project was Provence. Today, Provence is a stable, well maintained, high density residential parcel within our district and the city.

A possible apartment complex on the Brown lot is supportable based upon its location within the Westgate/Zanjero area and only if it is upscale with major amenities. The Brown lot is 13.598 acres, about 1/3 the size of Provence. At medium density of 3.5 to 5 homes to the acre the home yield is approximately 47 to 67 homes. The property’s close proximity to Westgate/Zanjero makes the property very expensive to buy. There simply isn’t a residential, single family home builder that can afford to buy the property and develop it and make any kind of profit. If it were to stay zoned medium density residential it would probably remain vacant for another 20 years. Realistic development would be either commercial or high density residential.

Both of these sites, the 95th Avenue site and the Brown lot are within what could be called the Westgate/Zanjero area. The Westgate area now and into the future will be a dense area with considerable traffic congestion, much like Bell Road. That premise became viable in the early 2000s the minute the Gila River Arena and the State Farm Stadium were approved.

As an aside note, council recently approved funding for the design of Camelback Road between 83rd Avenue and the Loop 101. The design is mandated to create mitigation measures that will assist in accommodating the traffic on Camelback Road in that area. I would expect that in Fiscal Year 19-20 funds will be allocated to do the work. Will it be a magic bullet? I doubt it but it should mitigate some of the traffic jams we experience today.

I would never approach the support of an apartment complex lightly. Before I could support such a complex, I would need to see a plan and the amenity package and the price point for rental of various size units. I would need to be comfortable that it would be a quality project in the right location that would offer increased value to the area. As of this date no such plan has been offered. I would need to be comfortable that it is proposed in an appropriate location which, in my mind, is the Westgate/Zanjero area.

No, I am not suddenly going to abandon my principles and support apartments all over the district but I will support a select few that make sense within the Westgate/Zanjero area and if they are upscale and bring value to our district and to the city.

I would suspect that this blog will generate a lot of comments and I look forward to seeing them.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Should downtown festivals be changed?

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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.

Below are some of the comments I received in response to my blog on downtown published a few days ago. They are a combination of responses from Facebook (my blog links to FB and some comments were made there) and my Word Press blog. Some comments are from festival attendees and some are from downtown business owners.  I purposefully did not attribute any of the comments by name to encourage others to express themselves on this issue. I will reserve my comments at the end of this blog.

“As a business owner, I would love to see the city put money into “revamping” or “beautifying” the area the directly surrounds my business. Ohh but wait.. it’s my responsibility to care for my business and move it forward. It’s my responsibility to pay for the marketing that reaches my potential customers. It’s my responsibility to be open hours, and do split shifts, to accommodate my potential customers, as most don’t even get off work till 5pm. It’s my responsibility to make sure my clients are accommodated the best I can. NOT THE CITY’s responsibility!

 “It’s absolutely ridiculous how some of the downtown merchants are acting, as if they are owed something from the city and the taxpayers. Any other business owner would move/relocate if that area wasn’t sufficient enough. Granted, I like downtown Glendale, it has potential, but unfortunately it will never be the go to place in Glendale anymore. Half of the stores are rundown shops that look like swap markets. I try to make it to one of the shops before they close at 5pm to get a treat, and many times it’s closed earlier, so I stopped trying. Many need new windows and paint. And I highly doubt the city manager would deny you the breakdown of the $1million and where that money went. For the tax revenue for downtown, wasn’t it like 300-400k?? If that’s true, then that sounds like a BAD INVESTMENT.
“Where is the responsibility of the business owners? Keep complaining about the city, the mayor, the council, the city manager, or whoever else and I would fully support the potential for all of the city offices to pack up and relocate to Westgate. Getting sick and tired of hearing about the squabbling and how downtown is suffering. There are other needs in the city and more important problems that should be addressed. Don’t be selfish, put in your own time and MONEY and try to help the situation. If you have put in the time and money and it hasn’t worked, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your business.

“ I know I sound harsh and I’m apologize Joyce if I’m coming off too strong, but I’m just not understanding how these business owners are fighting the city so much. Glendale Glitters is great, but unfortunately it’s not a crowd I want to be around, I feel unsafe. I don’t know how anything will help that. It is time to change things up. Not completely redo everything, but up the ante on the vendor booths. The quality has gone down (but don’t get rid of the candy apples), and many of the booths seem to be selling trinkets. Sorry but that’s not what I’d go down there for. Maybe someone needs to do some recon on the Prescott festivals and see how they do it. Much cleaner look and reputable vendors. It come back to design psychology, if the look is unappealing, no one will stay or come back. Hope I wasn’t too blunt.”

“Glendale Glitters has very popular over the many years we have been here. My wife every year expects me to take her downtown to see the lights and sometimes walk around when not crowded. We like the stage performances which seems to be well attended.
The city overall should make money on this popular event,however add something new and I am not sure what that would be,expand the area if necessary nothing wrong with a big crowd, encourage the businesses someway to stay open. Change is good just leave the beautiful lights on please.”

“Thank you for your excellent explanation regarding the changes for Glendale Glitters 2018.Now I completely understand the reasoning behind the decision. Like everything – and everyone – else, a lot changes over 20 years time. Hopefully, this change will be for the good.”

“I am a downtown merchant & property owner. Councilmember Clark you are exactly correct in that we need to update and make changes to the festivals. The merchants will be the first to agree. We are not happy with the direction they have gone. However, it is not completely fair to compare last year’s results due to the fact that the festival vendors were greatly cut and THE BIGGEST factor is that marketing was cut by 1/3rd of the budget!!! You invite less people, less people will show… Another HUGE factor is that the person in charge of last year’s festival admittedly had no experience putting together events. She was brought in from another city department because of lack of staff. We questioned the decision to put someone in charge of the city’s biggest festival with zero qualifications. Not only was she put in charge, she was given the instructions to change it…. Again, she has NO EXPERIENCE!!!
“Merchants had zero input! Yes we need to change the festivals but I do however think that the merchants need to be involved in the changes. This cannot happen this year because of the time restraints and the city employee delays in action. It’s a shame because this is the 25th Anniversary and should have been put as a priority. The merchants are not in favor of the proposed changes in the budget to add more lights and fireworks. We need to revert back to the year 2016-2017 festival footprint and programming and start ASAP restructuring for the following year 2019-2020. This will allow the affected business community to utilize the budgeted ‘Downtown Manager’ to create a better festival plan.”

“Fun to visit the first few years, got to be a major pain to actually enjoy it.
Shops are too small in size to accommodate the amount of visitors, and half close down because the traffic is too heavy for them, producing the fear of being overwhelmed and theft.
It won’t be a popular opinion, but the class of visitors is lower, as they are just seeking out ‘county fair food’ and don’t actually frequent the retail stores as patrons.
“This should be considered to be moved to a more accommodating location like cardinal stadium parking lots. The traffic setup is already there for large events, the area is very easily viewable from all around for security reasons. It certainly would allow more food truck vendors to participate as the space is available as well.”

“Downtown business leaders are frustrated with the events staff working in a vacuum. We are constantly asking to be included in the planning and find ourselves shut out. The most recent presentation to the council concerning changes to the Glitters event is one such example. I am working with other business leaders and the downtown manager seeking to make the downtown area more attractive to foot traffic. We need for people to linger in order to generate sales, and if the events are a rush in and out, without highlighting the existing businesses then what is the point in remaining open. It is lack of customers that is forcing the businesses into odd hours, they cannot afford to retain employees in order to remain open.
“The entire city is in need for an image upgrade. You know that I have often mentioned that we don’t want to be an extension of Maryvale, but the press views the city that way.
The city has a major responsibility to make people feel safe and comfortable when visiting, everything from beautification and regular maintenance to amenities and positive looking press releases are necessary to overcome the lack of comfort, lack of desire to linger, in our city.”

“Totally agree with you on this one. People want the festival but are unfamiliar with the costs and lack of adequate services for how large it has become.”

“I totally agree with you! Why are they trying to fix something that wasn’t broke until last year? Very hypocritical comments being made. There should have been a solid Merchants Association a long time ago working with the city. A lot of money has been invested in downtown and now they are throwing it away in favor of Westgate??? Oh that’s where the money is and the wealthier folks? Never mind the businesses that have hung in there hoping for more! I am really disgusted with this council and the city manager. And why aren’t they fixing the staffing issues since they seem to have money now? The library is still closed on Fridays. Enough said.”

“Well, according to Kevin Phelps (City Manager) they spend $1,000,000 on downtown annually, but we have made repeated asks to break that down. That 1 million is more than the city gets in sales tax revenue downtown, so it isn’t like this is a profit center, but it does go a very long way toward impacting the perception of Glendale as a whole. Westgate, as Joyce points out is not apples to apples. 
“We have a superbowl coming up, so now is the time to decide if downtown is worthy of a renewed focus, or be written off as a loss. 
“I myself am trying to convince staff and our council to revive it, which is going to take some new priorities new business incentives, and unbudgeted expenses.”

 “So if Westgate is paying for itself, then why is downtown being ignored? Where is the money??? Follow the money. I’m sorry folks but when they “cut” the festivals when the financial crisis hit they KEPT Glitters because it MADE money for the city – the others did not. That was public information. Now all of a sudden it loses money? Last year part of the problem is they cut the vendors out, etc. People come to these events for all different reasons. I never heard a complaint until last year. Not everyone hates crowds!”

“The majority of the businesses are not asking for more than for the city to maintain its own property and to remedy safety, reputation and appearance issues. We are asking for a level of maintenance that downtown once had but were abandoned during the downturn and looking for the city to enforce its own codes. Apparently things like some sign codes are now unenforceable yet remain on the books.
“Most strong businesses have already moved away or closed, the remaining businesses are hanging by a thread so money to improve downtown is not coming from them. If the downtown area is to be reinvigorated it will have to come through attracting new businesses, not through blaming the existing businesses. Apparently it sounds like whining if we ask the city to work on improvement in order to attract new business, and through those new businesses attract more potential customers in the area. The city could help with new business incentives to bring in fresh blood.
“I already moved my business, so I certainly do not have a horse in the race any more, yet I continue to invest my time toward a vision of a thriving downtown. I get no benefit back so I am certainly not whining or looking for a handout. 

“Some issues are unique to the downtown area. Like the sidewalks, they are not owned by the building owner, in fact you need special permits and enhanced insurance to place anything on the sidewalk. There is an assumption that the business owners should maintain the sidewalks in front of their store, and some do, but what do you do about the city sidewalks in front of empty buildings or that are not adjacent to any business? It isn’t like a mall where the mall property management maintains common areas, the city is the property management in this case, but doesn’t maintain the common areas except directly around city buildings.
“Another unique issue is having normal access to your business blocked during the large events. Events that may not attract your typical customer. Now imagine a generator for lighting and barricades for foot traffic placed in front of your doors. Events bring a lot of issues with them, so is it really unreasonable to ask the event staff work with the businesses, and strive to increase communication with the businesses they may inconvenience?

“Nobody said the City manager refused to provide the information, only that is hasn’t been forthcoming. The claim was made four months ago, and the past three months have been the busiest time of the year for his office –the closing of the budget cycle. I am currently digging through the budget on my own to be able to help businesses know the impact of the requests they make. We want to understand what any tradeoffs would be. Like giving up an event to get sidewalks and crosswalks cleaned. 
“Even with the downtown manager and some of the staff working with us things happen very slowly and get frustrating.
“I will say that Glendale Star and other press have not helped in how they portray the remaining businesses as whiners (well Ok, some are), we actually have a partnership, but it doesn’t look that way from the outside.”

“Downtown has a lot of potential to be a destination and I think some of the merchants there are working towards that. Cuff and Off the Cuff are great examples, but they operate like a business. The Astrology store is cool too. I used to try to do all of my holiday gift shopping downtown and in Catlin Court but the shops were rarely open. I’d love to see more restaurants, cafes, and fun boutiques so that it is a destination where I can hang out. That isn’t going to happen with a few events a year, it’s going to take time, effort, and institutional changes.”

What these comments reflect is a great deal of disunity and confusion. Some believe the purpose of the festivals is to drive shopping traffic into the surrounding businesses during the event. Some believe it is to familiarize people with the downtown to attract potential customers in the expectation that they will return to shop. Merchants, what is your ultimate goal for downtown Glendale?

Many expect the city to use its resources to beautify the downtown. There is much that can be done. But there is no articulation of priorities in terms of what the beautification should be. There are some actions that the downtown merchants can take without anything other than working with the city for approval. One is the idea of unified signage. Here are some examples:

The merchants can get together, decide on a palette of approved signage and ask for the city’s approval if the designs are not allowed under the current code. Amendments are made to the city code all the time. Another action could be the use of sidewalks in front of a shop. That doesn’t mean a tacky sandwich board but creative use that protects the pedestrian’s free movement along a sidewalk. Again, merchants have the freedom to create a proposal and present it to the city as a code amendment. What about a schedule of cleaning not only in front of your store but your window displays? As a former bookstore owner I changed my window display weekly. Is the front of your shop clean? Does it look appealing and inviting to a potential customer? Elbow grease does wonders.

Downtown merchants must form their own Merchants Association that will finally afford them some political clout with the city. Dues don’t have to be exorbitant. They could be as little as $5 a month. 50 merchants would generate $250 a month or $3000 a year; 100 merchants would generate $500 a month or $6000 a year. It may not seem like much but it’s a start to fund some small collaborative and collective actions that benefit all and just like saving your loose change in a jar…after awhile it becomes real money.

This may be the toughest nut to crack. The downtown merchants (and throw in the Catlin Court merchants) are like the Hatfields and the McCoys; or the Democrats and the Republicans. There are factions and some hate each other. As long as this persists the downtown will never succeed. It’s time to bury the hatchet, hold your noses, and cooperate with one another for not only your ultimate survival but ultimate success.

If you’ve ever listened to President Trump he rails about the U.S. being a ‘sucker’, for example, with NATO. We pay the most to protect European nations while many of these countries pay little toward their obligation. The city, at times, feels like a ‘sucker’. It pours tens of thousands of dollars annually into downtown with few merchants paying anything that could be viewed as their ‘fair share.’ The merchants can’t get along with one another to present a viable goal for downtown. Is it any wonder they don’t get along with the city as well?

I have not lost hope. There is much the downtown merchants can do at little to no cost if they can just come together and adopt a unified approach. Create your vision. Collectively adopt your goals, both annual and long term. The city wants to be your partner but it should not continue to pour money into the downtown aimlessly only to be berated because it wasn’t want you expected or envisioned. Heck, we have no idea what your vision is…do you?

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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.

A week or two ago we were advised by IKEA management that they were not going to pursue building a new store in Glendale. The location would have been on the southwest corner of Bethany Home Road and 95th Avenue.

Why, why, oh why, have they gone away? I, personally, am so disappointed. I was so looking forward to our very own IKEA just 5 minutes away. That sure beats over an hour drive to get to the one in the southeast part of the Valley. The current distance to its only location was a shopping killer for me. I visit the current location once a year, if that.

There was so much pent up demand and excitement in the West Valley. I can’t tell you the number of people who have personally shared their excitement about its coming to Glendale. Everyone was disappointed with their recent announcement. Apparently IKEA had planned to build 10 new stores in the United States. All have been scrapped. Why?

Well, IKEA has decided it wants to migrate to an E-Commerce business allowing consumers to purchase their merchandise online. They are going to completely revamp their business model. It wasn’t that Glendale had been obstructionist or done something to chase them away. To the contrary, they praised Glendale for its effectiveness and ability to work with them in an expeditious manner. They liked Glendale and were happy to do business with us.

As many may know, Glendale committed to building 95th Avenue between Bethany Home Road and Camelback to provide easy access to IKEA. Construction will be complete by the time football season begins this August. 95th Avenue is still important to the city despite IKEA’s departure. It opens up another very valuable access to the University of Phoenix Stadium and all of Westgate. It should alleviate the tremendous traffic loading on 91st Avenue and make many local residents happy. Now people can park at the new lot on the south side of Bethany and use a new pedestrian bridge or tunnel to cross Bethany into the Westgate area.

It also makes the acreage that IKEA would have used very, very valuable and allows the city to pick and choose which project a developer brings to the table as being the best fit for the area and the city. There is already interest in the IKEA site and the possibilities are exciting and will add value to the city and to the area.

Yes, we are all disappointed that IKEA will not be coming and wish that the company’s senior leadership would revisit their decision but we are confident that the land will be developed with something equally meaningful to all stakeholders.

Bye IKEA. We will miss you and wish you well. Yet we are excited about the new opportunities their decision has created and look forward to the next chapter for such a prime parcel.

Part of the 95th Avenue project includes a bridge spanning the Grand Canal and the Linear Park as well as a tunnel below Bethany Home Road. There has been lots of progress on the pedestrian bridge. As you can see in the first picture the bridge across the canal is about as simple as it can get. The second picture shows the bridge that spans the Linear Park way to the stadium. The third picture is not very clear but they already have the tunnel built under Bethany home Road and you can see the top of the structure. The roadway in that area is elevated approximately 3 to 4 feet.

By the way here are a few photos of the progress on Top Golf’s construction:

As you can see, with or without IKEA, Glendale and most particularly the Westgate area continues its unparalleled  growth in activity.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner

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