Arizona home development’s course changes with downturn

The Arizona Republic |
February 18, 2012
Article by Catherine Reagor

On the western edge of metro Phoenix, nearly 2,000 homes surround a small downtown. Spanish- and Craftsman-style houses line the quiet side streets, their front porches facing out to greet visitors.

Approaching from the Interstate 10 freeway, there’s a view of the golf course with the White Tank Mountains in the background. The main road passes a community swimming pool. Closer to the mountains is a grassy field where dog owners go for jogs.
In the center of town, a homey Main Street holds a coffee shop, wine bar and a grocery store.

When Tracy Simmons stepped into the Bashas’ store on a weekday afternoon, she passed shoppers picking up supplies for the evening. She is director of marketing for DMB, the developer that built this community, Verrado.
“It’s great Bashas’ has been able to stay open here,” she said, scanning the gleaming store.

She and other DMB executives are looking forward to the day when the store can stay open on its own — that is, when the company can stop subsidizing it.
In the 1990s, few Valley developers were as ambitious as DMB, which captured the industry’s attention with the landmark DC Ranch in Scottsdale.

Today, retrenching after the housing crash, the company remains one of the most prominent and profitable developers in the West. In Arizona, it has a new strategy and a massive new project in the East Valley that it believes will also succeed.

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