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Mesa’s $23M Escobedo at Verde Vista Gets Additional Funding; Moves to Phase II

Original sources: The Arizona Republic and East Valley Tribune

Escobedo at Verde Vista is under construction in Mesa, located on University between Center and Mesa Drive, shown Friday, June 28, 2013. Photo Credit: Tim Hacker / East Valley Tribune

Escobedo at Verde Vista is under construction in Mesa, located on University between Center and MesaDrive, shown Friday, June 28, 2013. Photo Credit: Tim Hacker / East Valley Tribune

Faced with a monumental bill to rehabilitate the decaying units, Mesa closed the Escobedo apartments in 2008. The tenants got vouchers for reduced rents in other quarters. Mesa sought a developer with a concept, and Save the Family and Gorman & Company proposed a new affordable apartment development.

With 62 units under construction, the recent win of Arizona Department of Housing tax-credit financing allows the city and developers to move forward with 62 units adding to the 70 under construction, which also received funding.

The Escobedo neighborhood was first built in the 1940s for pilots training in Mesa during World War II. It was later converted to segregated public housing for low-income families in the Washington Park area.

The city decided to take a different direction with the neighborhood, closing the bungalow buildings about six years ago. Save the Family initiated the new project in 2011.

Total investment in Escobedo at Verde Vista is estimated at $23 million. The first families are expected to start moving in later this fall.

Only Seven Arizona Tax-Credit Projects in 2013

Overall, the list of approved housing projects statewide — only seven — is far shorter than the 18 issued by the department last year.

And while last year’s projects included nine in the Phoenix metro area, this year there are only two, both in Mesa.

In addition to Escobedo, the department approved a 78-unit complex proposed by Scottsdale-based Algarve Partners on the site of an old motel at 950 W. Main St. The Algarve Apartments complex will be adjacent to a light-rail extension under construction, complying with the housing department’s goal of building as many units as possible next to public transit.

The record 18 projects who received last year’s tax credits, which totaled more than $20 million, were required to speed up the construction timetable, and ground was broken for Escobedo and two other projects in Mesa late last fall.

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