A conceptual rendering shows the proposed changes to an office building that is planned to become an apartment complex in Phoenix.
Tampa, Florida-based Cedar Grove Group is planning to transform an office building into new apartments a couple miles east of the former Metrocenter mall in Phoenix.
The three-story office building is located at 8900 N. 22nd Ave. along the new Valley Metro light rail extension, which will connect across Interstate 17 to the Metrocenter redevelopment mixed-use project, the Village. It’s also in an Opportunity Zone, or an economically distressed area that offers incentives for developers investing in the property.
Cedar Grove Group, MODE Commercial’s client, is proposing to convert the building into 145 multifamily units with studio and one- and two-bedroom units with new amenities such as a pool, pickleball courts and a dog park.
The developer is currently requesting to rezone the property from industrial park to multifamily through the city of Phoenix. The city’s planning commission is scheduled to vote on the rezone April 13 following a recommendation for approval from the North mountain Village planning committee in March.
Alex Balan, director of development for Cedar Grove, told the Business Journal that this project is the company’s first in the Phoenix metro, which they were attracted to because of the growth in the region.
A proposed site plan shows potential changes to an existing office building that’s now slated to be reused for apartments in Phoenix.
ARCHITECTURAL COLLABORATIVE TEAM VIA CITY OF PHOENIX DOCUMENTS
The facility was first developed in the 1980s and totals about 125,200 square feet and also includes an adjacent four-story parking structure, according to real estate database Vizzda.
Jason Morris, a partner at Withey Morris Baugh PLC, said that the current market, demand and location of the office building, which has been vacant for some time, have made this a good opportunity to convert into apartments.
“The pandemic was really a final nail in the coffin of office use particularly in this submarket because there is a significant amount of inventory in this area,” said Morris, who is representing Cedar on the rezoning application. “All of the stars aligned on this one.”
Morris said it’s easier to find an existing building like this as opposed to trying to find the land, labor and construction to build a new project. It’s also an opportunity to provide more housing options in the Valley and decrease competition for other active office buildings in the area.
“This is a trend we’re seeing and it’s a positive trend,” he added. “It’s making use of both hospitality sites that maybe have aged out and served their purpose and are not competitive anymore, and that’s the same for office.”
The Northwest Phoenix submarket, where the office facility resides, had the second highest direct vacancy across the metro at 19.8% in Q4 of 2022 compared to 14.3% in the metro overall, according to Colliers International. The submarket also consists of mostly B and C office space.
Developers have been turning more aging hotels and office buildings in the Phoenix metro into apartments amid a housing shortage across the Phoenix region. Connor Devereux, director of market analytics for CoStar Group, said actual conversions from office to multifamily have been relatively limited in Phoenix.
“Phoenix still faces a structural shortage of housing, particularly at affordable price points, and there could be an opportunity to repurpose underutilized office buildings to