City subcommittee approves Request for Proposals for 2 vacant lots

During a meeting Thursday, the Sustainability, Housing, Efficiency, and Neighborhoods Subcommittee discussed excess real estate owned by the City of Phoenix. (Nicole Neri/DD)

The Sustainability, Housing, Efficiency and Neighborhoods Subcommittee approved Requests for Proposals to be sent out for downtown vacant lots and an affordable housing project.

During a meeting Tuesday, the subcommittee discussed excess real estate the city owns, the Matthew Henson Hope IV affordable housing project, and a vacant lot downtown located at 814 N. Fifth Ave.

The Mathew Henson Hope IV lots are near Seventh Avenue and Buckeye Road. The project started in 2001, but the lots were purchased with non-general funds from 1995-2008, according to the subcommittee agenda. The funds that were used to acquire these lots restrict development from building anything other than affordable housing.

After the economic downturn during the Great Recession, the construction of affordable housing was stopped and the lots were left untouched.

The revitalization of this project is proposing for 34 of those lots to be built for single-family owned units. The proposition was unanimously approved, meaning the process of selecting the developer will now begin.

“Housing department is currently maintaining them vacant, they are all dust-controlled, weed-controlled … up to $15,000 a year maintaining them,” said Cindy Stotler, Housing Director for the City of Phoenix.

The other development up for discussion was the vacant lot near Roosevelt Road located at 814 N. Fifth Ave, adjacent to the coffee shop The Teapot. The city purchased it in 2002, and in 2005 it suffered severe fire damage. The lot is now available for potential developers to take over. Negotiations will begin for the sale and development.

“I’m glad to see us reinvesting into our communities,” said Vice Mayor Kate Gallego. “We work hard on those plans and want to make sure we are moving them forward when we have an opportunity.”

The city council subcommittee also discussed the disposal of lots owned by the city that are determined to be “excess property.” Lots will continue to be examined through the spring to determine if they are deemed excess property, and if so, they’ll be added to inventory for sale.

The goal of this is to create a qualified vendor list by July that will allow the city to have a number of brokers from which departments can choose properties for sale.

Along with this effort, the subcommittee announced they will launch a new online resource that will enable the public to view city properties that are on sale to facilitate the disposal and reinvestment of these lands.

Several Request for Proposals for the excess real estate were discussed Tuesday. Approval of the proposals will allow for developers to be chosen, and negotiations for the sale of these lands to begin.

Correction: February 24, 2017

Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the meeting was on Thursday. It has been updated to show the meeting was on Tuesday.

Contact the reporter at ccruz20@asu.edu.