City of Mesa
Official Website of the City of Mesa, Arizona
City of Mesa News Article
Groundbreaking to redevelop former Escobedo public housing site in Mesa
By: Kevin Christopher
12/6/12 10:53 AM

Public Information & Communications
For Release: Dec. 6, 2012
Contact: Steven Wright
Public Information & Communications Director
480-644-2069 Tel              
            A groundbreaking ceremony was held this morning for Escobedo at Verde Vista, a new mixed-use development that will include apartments, on-site resident services and features for the disabled that will be located on the site of the former Escobedo public housing complex in Mesa.  The City of Mesa, Gorman & Company, Affordable Rental Movement (A.R.M. of Save the Family Foundation) and the West Mesa Community Development Corporation have partnered on the development.
            “We are happy to see quality private investments like Escobedo at Verde Vista coming to the City," Mayor Scott Smith said. "It demonstrates people have decided that Downtown Mesa is a great place to invest.”
            Escobedo at Verde Vista, 125 E. University Drive, will include 70 low to moderate income energy-efficient rental units which will be accessible to the physically disabled. 
            “I am very excited about the investment that has been made in this historic neighborhood.  The location of Escobedo at Verde Vista will provide access to our growing downtown area and light rail,” District 4 Councilmember Chris Glover said.
            The redevelopment on the north side of University Drive will include demolition of most of the Escobedo housing site.  It was vacated in June, 2007 after City Council voted to put the property up for sale when it was determined that the City, with its fiscal challenges, was not in a position to make the upgrades to bring the buildings up to current building code standards.  Escobedo was built in the early 1940’s and originally housed British and U.S. Air Force pilots during World War II.  After the war, the development was converted into segregated public housing for minority households living in poverty in the Washington Park neighborhood. It was desegregated in the 1960’s and continued to serve as public housing for at least 40 more years.
            “Escobedo at Verde Vista is a unique opportunity to redevelop a World War II-era public housing project and turn it into an asset to the entire community, rich with community partnerships and on-site resident services,” Gorman & Company Arizona Market President Brian Swanton said.
            Escobedo at Verde Vista, on the south side of University Drive, will include a 15,000 square foot building to house Save the Family, a non-profit organization in Mesa founded in 1988 to help homeless families become self-sufficient.
            “The new headquarters for the Save the Family Foundation will allow us to expand our housing and social services.  We began working last year with our partners to find a location for our headquarters and to build a mix of affordable and permanent supportive housing and we are looking forward to being part of Escobedo at Verde Vista,” Save the Family Foundation of Arizona Chief Executive Officer Jacki Taylor said.
             The development preserves four “legacy” units of Escobedo from demolition to honor the past history of the community.  These buildings will include a leasing office, a multi-purpose building for a before-and-after school program, a computer lab and training center, a theatre and fitness center as well as a museum to celebrate the dynamic history of the neighborhood.
            Financing of Escobedo at Verde Vista is from private equity through the sale of federal tax credits administered by the Arizona Department of Housing.

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