Monday, March 27, 2006

Phoenix High Rise Buying - Demystified

By Will Daly

Our website gets over 4,000 unique visits per month from people looking for more information on “urban” properties in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe and beyond. Of these visitors about 300 call or e-mail me looking for additional information on lofts and high rise condos (defined as ten floors or greater). In general these people are overwhelmed with the number of properties currently available for sale or advertised as “breaking ground” for new construction in the near future. They spend hours on the web researching their options but mostly reading a bunch of hype. Finally, they’ll call or e-mail me to get the real story. Here’s what I typically tell them.

For the most part, if you want high rise your first decision is whether you prefer an older building or a newer one. Older units typically sell for no more than $350 per foot while the post 2000 era buildings START at $450 per foot and go way up. There are six buildings which fit into this category. They are: Executive Towers, Landmark Towers, Crystal Point, Embassy High Rise Condos, Regency House High Rise and Phoenix Towers. If the price or style of older buildings sounds like your speed then you are geographically limited to the Central corridor, starting at approximately Camelback Road and then south to about Roosevelt. For your dollar you will get thirty to forty year old common areas (although a couple of the buildings have had recent facelifts), SOMETIMES antiquated air conditioning systems (master chiller systems vs. individual heat pumps), SOMETIMES common laundry facilities vs. individual laundry hookups, and SOMETIMES only one parking space vs. two or more. NOTE: THE exception to all this is Crystal Point, built in 1990, which has all the modern amenities plus THE BEST VIEWS IN TOWN. Dollar for dollar I’ll put this building up against anything in the valley, new or old. Once you figure this out you just have to narrow down which building you like the most and then wait to find the unit that is just right for you. In most buildings you’ll have a choice between completely renovated units (for a higher price) or a lower priced unit which needs work.

With newer high rise buildings you will ultimately have more choices. However, today there are only three newer high rise buildings in the entire Valley which are completed and ready for occupancy. They are: Esplanade Place, Optima Biltmore and Orpheum Lofts. Everything else is either under construction or in the dream/planning stage. Buildings which are currently under construction include: 2211 Camelback, Optima Camelview, Portales Place, Scottsdale Waterfront, Edgewater at Hayden Ferry (phase 1) and Bridgeview at Hayden Ferry (phase 2). I have intentionally omitted a couple buildings which have construction fencing around the property but very little happening at the sites. Again, keep in mind that prices in these newer buildings start in the low $400 per square foot range so a relatively small 1,000 square foot home will be $400,000 and up.

I think you’ll agree that if you are truly interested in enjoying high rise living in the Valley that the choices are not over whelming. Once you cut through all the hype you can see that there are only a handful of projects that might work for you. At that point you can really get focused and hunt for that perfect home.

Copyright © 2006 Will Daly. All Rights Reserved.

Will Daly, a Realtor with RE/MAX Excalibur in Phoenix and owner of the marketing labels and combines years of experience, a thorough understanding of current real estate markets, and cutting edge technology to provide his clients the best advice for proven results. He specializes in Loft and High Rise Development/Sales and Condo Conversions. You may reach him directly at (480) 510-8755 or by visiting his blog at


Anonymous said...

I differ with your opinion on Crystal Point having the best views-the way the building is constructed keeps you from seeing the view unless you are on your balcony for the most part.

Regency House has much better views in my opinion, and some units have both north and south balconies providing 270 degree views.

We-Know-Urban said...

I too really like the views in general at Regency House.

I find the views from the mid-level to lower floor homes at Crystal Point to be spectacular from the moment you walk in the front door, and from deep within almost every room. Now I would agree that when you're on an upper floor you have to stand closer to the windows to see what's going on below.

OK so just my opinion. I'm ALWAYS happy to hear from a high rise enthusiast even when they don't agree with me LOL. W

P.S. We'll be touring the Central Corridor next month and discussing (not visiting) Regency House. Join us.