By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
artHAUS, the first major project for local architect-turned-developer Jason Boyer, is halfway through its construction.
The 25.8KSF lot will feature 25 dwellings, ranging from three-story townhomes to single-story flats. Sizes range from approximately 560-1,900SF.
Boyer’s vision for the development at 1st Avenue and McDowell Road is to allow residents to take full advantage of the Phoenix Midtown area’s many urban lifestyle features and benefits, including transit, arts and culture, without cluttering the development and adding the expense of often underutilized amenities such as exercise spaces and community pools.
His interest in creating artHAUS was born of necessity.
“In 2011, I was the design principal for a national architectural firm in Phoenix, and they decided to leave the marketplace. At the bottom of the recession I found myself without a job and at a point nobody was hiring, said Boyer. “The artHAUS project as it is today was born back in early 2012 when I was trying to figure out what’s next.”
A colleague introduced him to the site. Boyer then put a plan together, which led to securing the property, designing the site, securing funding and starting construction. The artHAUS opportunity fit perfectly with Boyer’s interest in urban infill and residential development.
“When I developed artHAUS, I developed it with the mindset that it could grow into a bigger brand. I have a tagline, which is, ‘The Art of Living.’ What that means is that, while the project is conveniently located next to the (Phoenix) Art Museum, it’s not meant to be a literal reference. It’s meant to speak more toward a set of lifestyle preferences that I think the buyers I develop projects for are interested in. They gravitate toward good design and great location at an attainable price point,” said Boyer.
In shifting careers from architecture to development, Boyer said it has always been an area of interest for him. “I’ve always been interested in development,” he said. “I’ve worked with quite a few private developers in past market cycles. I’ve always been involved in real estate, even back to when I first came to Arizona. I’ve always had the bug.”
Boyer has continued to perform architectural work but is actively seeking his next development project, which he hopes to be along the same scale as, or slightly bigger than, artHAUS. He cites his design background as a plus for the projects to come.
“I think my skill set as an architect is a strategic advantage in the pre-development stage. It allows me to evaluate sites quicker and on a sweat equity level, rather than having to pay an architect to do that for me as a developer. There’s a complement there that works really well when you’re vetting out deals and trying to find the next project that works.”
While he will provide architectural and design services, and will handle general contractor duties for smaller projects like residential lot splits, Boyer intends to continue to hire GCs for major projects. “It’s a scale issue. Anything beyond a couple single family residential project, I’d still want to hire a GC.”
Given his longstanding ties to the community and its growth, Boyer is happy to see the strong local presence in area development.
“I think one of the things that’s unique about the current market cycle and the trending improvements in the downtown and midtown Phoenix area is they’re really being led by local leaders who have chosen to stay in Phoenix, raise their families here and make a difference. I’m hopeful that the market and the prospective buyers out there will see that those people who have made those choices and are making that investment are the ones that they want to gravitate toward,” said Boyer.
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