On April 24, 2013, ULI Southern Arizona held a Residential Futures panel discussion highlighting expert insight and conversations about the future of community development. Residential Futures brought together over 160 industry leaders from all over the state and the West Coast to discuss market and capital trends, collaborative partnerships with the public sector, and consumer desires. Bob Sharpe, Managing Partner of Rancho Sahuarita, moderated a panel of ULI thought leaders, including Greg Vogel, CEO of Land Advisors Organization; John Graham, President and CEO of Sunbelt Holdings, and David Mehl, President of Cottonwood Properties. Attendees included developers from key communities across the country, public sector leaders, elected officials, industry analysts, and home builders.
The panel discussion addressed a variety of topics, including strategies for placement of future developments, amenities and programming that drive lifestyle, the formation and benefits of public/private partnerships, infrastructure and entitlement issues, and funding for the future. Graham explained why some of the larger firms are considering entering the Tucson market, one reason being its stability and that it is not as frothy as larger markets such as Phoenix. Vogel discussed several of the Tucson region’s growth areas, with the preferred area of residential development being in the northwest and with the southwest playing an important role in the affordability of housing in the region. A takeaway from Mehl, echoed by the other panelists throughout the discussion, was that creating great places to live is the key successful master planned communities.
Prior to the afternoon program, over 50 people participated in a Real Deal, Real Numbers mobile tour of the Rancho Sahuarita master-planned community. This tour included a full overview of the development with emphasis on particular challenges and exemplary “wins”, and concluded with lunch and a special presentation by Bob Sharpe.
Sharpe concluded, “It’s great to see community leaders come together to discuss pressing growth issues. With the economy recovering, we all need to work together to assure quality development in Arizona. This event showcases the ULI spirit of information sharing and openness.”