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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Gardens, Trees, Community Focus of New Area Housing Development

blooms-arborsThe Arbors will not be the type of housing development where families leave in the morning and come home at night, shutting themselves in by closing their garage door behind them. It is meant to be a place where people know their neighbors, who sit out on their front porches on summer evenings and work in their gardens growing their own food.

“This is going to be special,” said Scott Ward, the developer.

The South Mountain development, which is expected to break ground in January, is at the corner of Vineyard and 24th Street. Vineyard is the street a half mile between Baseline and Southern, just north of the Legacy Golf Course. It will cover 48 acres and will offer 149 lots and 15 different floor plans large and smaller. The homes will be priced from $250,000 to $450,000. It will have a soccer field, a community park, tot lot, multi-use trails and a community garden. The first homeowners should take possession in early 2018.

Ward said the area is in demand because of the difficulty of commuting to and from jobs downtown, Sky Harbor and the medical centers all of which are expanding.

“We came in with a group of investors four years ago with a goal of bringing quality housing to South Mountain,” he said.

But, generally anyone wishing to develop large plots of land in the area, is met with stiff opposition from area activists wishing to keep the area as rural and uncluttered as possible.

Anyone who has lived in the area for a while remembers acres of citrus groves, nurseries and roadside fruit stands.

They fear development will damage the rural character of the mix of small farms and less dense housing.

“The Arbors is located in a very special area of Phoenix. Both the community and I wanted to see a project that reflected the unique history and character of the neighborhood, a project that wouldn’t fit in anywhere else in Phoenix,” said Phoenix Vice Mary Kate Gallego. “The original proposal, then called Versailles did not meet the test. I appreciate the developer and the community members spending many long hours to create a project that eventually won over many of the initial skeptics.”

She said the project now includes many amenities that reflect the heritage of the community that have not been seen in other projects.

“We hope to set higher standards with each project and I expect many of the innovative elements in this project will become new standards,” she said.

Ward said he wants to return the area to the 1940s, when people planted trees for shade, when their houses had front porches, a side-loading garage and most had their own gardens.

“We will have tree-lined streets. Our entry gate looks like an old garage,” he said.

He said the project is his tribute the Bartlett/Heard families each early prominent families in Phoenix.

“It was our goal to make it very lush and we are planting over 600 trees to make it look like old world agrarian,” he said. “We have multiple trees, oleander hedges and grape vine trellises. We have a community garden visible on 24th Street.”

“Basically it is managed by the HOA and the homeowners can reserve a plot of land and have the ability to grow flowers, carrots, radishes, melons and tomatoes,” he said. “I cannot tell you what a great learning and social environment a community garden is.”

We have developed community gardens in the past. We have one in Tempe. Every Saturday morning there is a get-together where the community garden people bring over coffee, teas and different sweets. They show off their melons and zucchini. They putter around. It is a tremendous social gathering.”

The development company is on the verge of hiring local garden experts from Dig It Urban Gardens + Nursery to oversee the garden in its planning stages.

“We will be building the garden and maintaining it until the plots can be assigned to the prospective homeowner,” said Tim Bishop who co-owns the nursery along with Ryan Jerrell.

Bishop said his company will provide the watering systems and some plants including trees which might provide not only shade, but fruit like peaches and citrus.

“We are open to helping any way we can,” he said.

Bishop said he and his business partner may be opening a new branch of the nursery in the area of 24th and Vineyard. They already have the land and are thinking of offering special packages to homeowners at The Arbors.

“We really like South Mountain. We like the cultural base and we are an advocate of helping the Roosevelt School District,” said Ward, who is a Chandler resident.

He is also active in the YMCA and his church.

To learn more about The Arbors call Ward at 602-377-6553.

 

 

 

 

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