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Phoenix Looks to Turn City-Owned Land Into Affordable Housing

By July 10, 2023No Comments

By Corina Vanek | Arizona Republic

A goal to develop a piece of city-owned land near Park Central Mall is the latest step in Phoenix’s plan to grow and preserve affordable housing in the city.

The city is preparing to seek proposals to build a mixed-income housing development on the 3.2-acre site near Central and Columbus avenues. The site is one of about 20 city-owned pieces of land identified in Phoenix’s 2020 housing plan as suitable for affordable housing development.

Phoenix is aiming to create or preserve 50,000 housing units, across all ranges of pricing, by 2030. One strategy involves leveraging city-owned property that could serve as a location for affordable development. The site on Central and Columbus is the second to go through the process of seeking a developer for new affordable and mixed-income housing.

“This is a key site that’s in proximity to the light rail,” said Samantha Keating, deputy housing director for Phoenix.

Phoenix’s housing department has worked for a few months gathering feedback from neighbors about what they would like to see on the site. In the fall, the city plans to release a formal request, asking developers for proposals for a project that will include mixed-income housing and some commercial space, Keating said.

The development must offer at least half of the units as affordable to people earning less than 80% of the area median income. The site’s zoning allows for buildings reaching up to 100 feet, so a new project could bring hundreds of new units. According to Phoenix data, a couple earning 80% of the AMI would earn a combined $56,550 per year.

Housing generally is considered affordable if a person spends one-third or less of his or her gross, or pre-tax, monthly income on it. The rest of the units could either be market-rate or workforce housing, depending on what developers propose.

The city also is asking that responders include some commercial or public space on the ground floor, which was a priority for those living nearby, Keating said.

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