The Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
April 13, 2012
by Catherine Reagor
DMB promoted Charley Freericks to president this week. Here are some of the Arizona real-estate veteran’s opinions on the housing market and DMB’s future.
Question: How would you describe metro Phoenix’s current housing market? Economy?
Answer: There is significant anecdotal evidence for the beginning of a recovery. In housing, in retail, office and in employment. I look for it in discretionary-spending places — if restaurants have wait lists, if at sporting events seats are filled and there are lines at concessions. DMB’s communities and commercial centers tell the same story: Month to month and year over year, the negative trends have reversed, and the numbers are going the right direction. Consumer confidence is returning, and that is when recoveries get traction.
Q: What will Eastmark do for Mesa? Verrado for West Valley?
A: Eastmark is something very special. This new DMB community will help redefine the Gateway area. In the past, we have been market- and place-makers with communities such as DC Ranch, Superstition Springs and Verrado. But with Eastmark, we are reshaping and enhancing an already established area and serving as a catalyst for new activity in this center of regional importance.
Remember, this area was formerly Williams Air Force Base, and following its closure, it was repurposed as the regional reliever Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. The combination of ASU Polytechnic, the aerospace-aviation employers and the airport itself has produced a significant, and emerging, center of commerce.
Verrado, another former desert proving ground, continues to evolve and grow as our long-term vision is realized. Banner has their new medical facility under construction, retail and offices are filled, and housing is in recovery. Verrado has performed better than many areas in the West Valley. It’s a testament to DMB’s community life and neighbor engagement. Homebuyers in this market want a place to call home and invest in their community. We are also under way on attracting employers to the region so the vision for a true live-work-educate-play community can be realized.
Q: What’s next for development in Arizona for DMB?
A: Today, we have one of the finest portfolios of large-scale communities and mixed-use commercial properties in the West. DMB is fortunate to have great sponsorship and commitment for the long term. We have been selective in order to achieve our goal of creating the country’s finest living environments. For now, we are working to capture every housing and employment opportunity that will help us achieve the vision for our communities.
Q: When do you think metro Phoenix’s homebuilding market will recover?
A: The recovery is starting here now. It’s tempting, but impossible, to forecast the bottom or top of a market. But here is what I know about recoveries: First you crawl, then you walk, then you run. While we may not be running right away, we are in recovery.
One of our primary differentiators is thinking about how people will live in our communities, and we make every effort to create places that will live well over time. As we move forward, buyers are again looking for how they want to live and where they can be proud of their home, neighborhood and community. People want to live where they can be engaged, involved and connected. Our communities are recovering faster because people value places with stability and engagement.
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