A new multifamily housing and senior living community development is set to bring more affordable housing options to Maryvale.
Adopted by the Phoenix City Council on April 7, the project on a 27-acre lot at the northeast corner of 79th Avenue and Encanto Boulevard is being developed by Dominium Inc. The lot was previously vacant and underused, according to the city.
The development will go a toward making up a huge deficit the city has in regards to affordable housing. Phoenix is currently in need of 99,581 subsidized units, of which 9,000 are needed for seniors living in the city, according to Angie Holdsworth, a spokesperson for the city’s Planning and Development department.
“The proposed development supports the Housing Phoenix Plan’s goal of preserving or creating 50,000 housing units by 2030 by contributing to a variety housing types that will address the supply shortage at a more rapid pace while using vacant land in a more sustainable fashion,” said Ms. Holdsworth. “[It] proposes affordable housing for families and seniors and supports the goal of providing more housing units by 2030.”
The development will bring 576 units to its multifamily community, comprising 204 age-restricted, independent senior-living units and 372 multifamily residential units to south Phoenix. Vouchers from local housing authorities will be accepted to accommodate varying levels of affordability.
In addition to amenities like a pool and clubhouse, the community will also be built with pedestrians in mind.
Pedestrian pathways will twist through the site with multiple corridors providing easy access to public streets and nearby entertainment centers such as Ak-Chin Pavilion and Desert Sky Mall. It also will be located near an upcoming light rail extension. Bike lanes and sidewalks will be added along 79th Avenue with trees planted on both sides of the sidewalks to achieve 75% shading and increase pedestrian comfort, according to the developer’s plan.
Developer Dominium, a national affordable housing firm, has been working in the Valley for a decade. The Minnesota-based company has made Phoenix its Mountain West headquarters with a third of its development staff having relocated to the area.
While this is the only project Dominium has in the works in Maryvale, it is working on developments in Buckeye, Surprise and Goodyear.
“We have been operating in the Valley for about a decade and have seen the growing need, which increases by the day, for significant production of affordable housing,” said Owen Metz, vice president and project partner from Dominium. “We have been in business nearly 50 years and hope the next 50 years will include the Valley.”
Mr. Metz said the Maryvale site was chosen for a number of reasons, namely its existing infrastructure and strong community with its own workforce.
“We always prefer to build new workforce and senior affordable housing in areas where there is a strong community, which includes ample existing amenities and infrastructure,” he said. “We are seeking larger sites that can accommodate a mixed-generational development — in this case a family- and workforce-oriented development alongside an age-restricted 55-plus apartment community — each with their own amenities.”
Mr. Metz said Dominium has worked closely with the city to meet the community’s needs with this new site, placing an emphasis on pedestrians, shade and lighting — a necessity for parts of south Phoenix.
“We heard from city and village staff and neighbors that the pedestrian experience along both Encanto and 79th needed improvement, and shade trees, lighting and dense landscaping really enhance the pedestrian and bike experience for our future residents and the neighborhood,” he said.
South Phoenix will continue to see increased development, thanks to the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway and the light rail extension coming to the area. The city sees this area as a place with endless job opportunities, particularly in the construction industry as Phoenix struggles to keep up with building demands.
“South Phoenix is seeing an uptick in development interest because of the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway and the extension of light rail,” said Community and Economic Development Department spokesman Eric J. Toll. “We’ve been working to promote job opportunities for construction careers in this area to keep up with the demand from builders. The city is looking into ways to enhance development opportunities in west Phoenix and will be working on that this coming fiscal year.”