Holualoa pays $12 million for 2 acres in Tempe to build workforce housing

Holualoa Companies to Develop Innovative New Workforce Housing Project in downtown Tempe.

Earlier this month, the Tempe City Council unanimously approved a zoning change to a two-acre parcel at the intersection of 5and Street and Farmer Avenue to enable the construction of a new 129-unit multi-family project called Dwell: A Work @ Home Community. The new community will complete a long-envisioned mixed-use development called Farmer Studios and provide new housing options for residents working in downtown Tempe, Arizona State University and other locations.

Holualoa Companies recently closed the two-acre parcel to be developed in a $12 million transaction. The workforce housing units will be integrated into two new existing office buildings and a pocket park on the site to create a true mixed-use development.


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Dwell is a unique infill project positioned to provide an accessible downtown housing model where property values ​​are the highest in the valley. Holualoa plans to create a new, innovative work-from-home housing project at labor rental rates for each unit without government subsidies, with the goal of being the lowest rental rates for comparable residences.

The new multi-family project will include a number of attractive amenities to make it not only a cost-friendly living and working environment, but also:

• Extensive landscaped pedestrian areas and pocket park on Farmer Avenue

• Live/work oriented amenity rooms for residents, as well as “Zoom” rooms with green screens and private meeting rooms

• A fitness center and equipment adapted to dogs

• Easy and walkable access to light rail, streetcar, restaurants and other amenities

The design of the proposed building integrates seamlessly with the award-winning architectural design of the existing Farmer Studios buildings on the site, enhancing the pedestrian experience along the 5and Street and avenue of the farmers. Development of the site has been planned since the mid-1990s but has evolved over time.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to build this innovative new community on this exceptional site adjacent to downtown Tempe,” said Stan Shafer, COO of Holualoa Companies. “This is an ideal location for workforce housing and will create a unique residential and work-from-home experience.”

Architekton — which is located on site — and Worksbureau are the architects of the project. The architectural design of Dwell will be consistent with the existing office buildings – development which has been designed in a context-sensitive way – to appropriately integrate the different phases of development. At ground level, the buildings are positioned to engage pedestrians and create a pedestrian urban interface along the street frontage.

Tempe is expected to add nearly 1.9 million square feet of office and retail space and 962 hotel rooms within half a mile of the site. Steve Betts, general manager of development for Holualoa Companies, said Dwell will contribute needed housing to support Tempe’s growing workforce in the downtown core where rents continue to climb out of reach for employees.

“Tempe is one of the fastest growing communities in the Valley, and it’s critical that residents have the ability to access workforce housing to support the local economy,” Betts said. “Dwell will be an important step in creating more housing options for Tempe residents while ensuring the completion of a quality mixed-use project.”

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