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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Master-Planned Community Getting Support

South Mountain Park View skylinePlans for an educational and mixed-use community development, designed to serve as a catalyst for urban growth in the heart of South Phoenix, recently received a major financial boost.


The project is part of Raza Development Fund’s Adelante en Familia initiative, which was just awarded a $6 million grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.


“Right now we can’t share what the site is and when the development is going to occur,” said Victor Vidales, the project’s visionary and CEO/founder of RE/MAX New Heights Realty. “We’re still in negotiations and we’re just waiting for the attorneys to wrap up their final revisions of the contract.”


Vidales expects to announce specifics by the middle of this year. Once under contract, master planning can move forward and details will be released on what will happen on the currently undisclosed site.


The project will include residential and commercial uses.


“What we can share is that we have a major investor – in Raza Development Fund – that is going to come in and work with myself and South Phoenix residents to look at different opportunities on how to develop better housing, more connectivity to mass transportation and new educational facilities.”


The overall mission of Raza Development Fund’s Adelante en Familia is to plan, promote and facilitate development of sustainable communities that are for all income levels and connected to rail and transit. Focus areas include entrepreneurship and small business development, housing, healthcare, and education in the Phoenix metro area along the light rail, with a special focus on South Phoenix.


“One of the beauties of our community is that we, for years, have learned how to work with various ethnic groups and different cultures,” stated Tommy Espinoza, president and CEO of Raza Development Fund. “We are what I call ‘the new face of America,’ right here in our own community as we’re growing.”


The challenge now, he stressed, is finding ways to combine the area’s heritage with some of the Valley’s only remaining space close to downtown. One key location is along the banks of the Salt River, a place that Espinoza said could see a complete transformation within just 10 years.


Another test is figuring out how to proceed with future development without pushing out the people who have always lived in South Phoenix. A solution, Espinoza stressed, won’t come easy.


“It’s probably going to test our will to respect the dignity of all people in South Phoenix, but it’s worth taking on,” he added.


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