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One Answer for the Housing Shortage:
A Stackable Modular Housing Project in Mesa

By July 27, 2023No Comments

By Maritza Dominguez | Arizona Republic

Concept of ZenCity, a modular stackable apartment project coming to downtown Mesa.
Concept of ZenCity, a modular stackable apartment project coming to downtown Mesa.


Developers of ZenCity, a new 90-unit stackable modular apartment project in downtown Mesa, hope its housing model will help address shortages that face the state.

Arizona is home to some of the fastest-growing communities in the country and Maricopa County is the fastest-growing county, according to 2022 United States Census Bureau data. Arizona needs between 100,000 and 270,000 additional homes, depending on various studies.

The modular homes are the brainchild of former state Sen. Bob Worsley, who sees the ZenCity project as a step toward addressing that shortage.

Worsley knows the area well and what its needs are because he spent seven years representing the area in the state Legislature. “This was my base,” Worsley said. “That’s why I wanted it done here” first, he said.

Developers will invest about $30 million to build the five-story building on the half-acre property along Main Street. The first floor will be reserved for a grocery store. The project could wrap up construction by summer 2024, Worsley said.

Councilmember Jenn Duff, who represents the area, reminisced about the combination of historic and New Age buildings in the downtown core.

“This project is a peek into our future,” Duff said.

Futuristic features and amenities

Studio or two-bedroom units take advantage of every square inch by utilizing robotic features, like converting the bedroom into the living room by raising the bed into the ceiling.

The units come furnished with all major appliances, including an electric oven, microwave, dishwasher, fridge, and a stacked washer and dryer. It also comes with energy efficient amenities like a smart thermostat and tankless water heater. Made of steel, the units are built to withstand high winds, snow loads and earthquakes.

“This thing is built like a tank,” Worsley said. It will be a mid-rise building with high-rise density, he said.

The available units at ZenCity will be studios or two bedrooms and the monthly rent could range from $1,000 to $1,200, Worsley told The Arizona Republic.

Worsley said he imagines the building will be filled with Arizona State University film students, adjunct professors and working professionals.

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