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  • Writer's pictureArizona Contractor & Community

Tempe City Council Approves New Housing Developments

By Isabelle Marceles, ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism


New housing developments will offer more affordable rental units and opportunities for homeownership to Tempe residents, according to development plans approved by the Tempe City Council.


Apache Central Center and La Victoria Commons are two development projects along Apache Boulevard. Apache Central Center is located at 1235 E. Lemon St. and 1412 E. Apache Blvd., while La Victoria Commons is located near Price Freeway at 2320 and 2314 E. Apache Blvd.

Part of the Apache Central Center development site

Tempe’s efforts to increase its housing supply reflect both the recommendations of the Housing Supply Study Committee that was created by the Arizona House Bill 2674 in April 2022 and the data gathered in the Tempe Housing Inventory.


Tempe Mayor Corey Woods was a member of the Housing Supply Study Committee and stated that it provided a lot of information that proved useful in Tempe. “It made us even more determined to double our efforts in our city to make sure we had housing for people of all occupations and income levels,” Woods said.


Deputy Community Health and Human Services Director Irma Hollamby Cain explained that the developers for both the Apache Central Center and La Victoria Commons applied to seek low-income tax credits, which would require them each to enter into a development agreement with the City of Tempe.

Apache Central Center along Apache Blvd

The development agreement for La Victoria Commons passed in March 2023 and guaranteed 104 affordable apartment rental units and 19 affordable townhome units that would be available for homeownership, according to Cain.


The agreement further stated that 30 percent of the units would be set aside for households at 30 percent of the Area Median Income and would be rent-subsidized permanent supportive housing for tenants whom COPA Health, one of the developers, serves.


At the Tempe Central Center, a minimum of 50 percent of the units would be set aside as affordable housing for households between 30 percent and 80 percent AMI, according to the City of Tempe Request for Council Action on September 28. A ground-floor grocery store would also be included.


Deputy Community Development Director Ryan Levesque said that 50 percent of the development fees that the city will collect from the projects will go directly to the nonprofit Tempe Coalition for Affordable Housing, which will help fund future projects.


By entering into a development agreement, the City of Tempe was able to incentivize affordable housing without requiring inclusionary zoning.

The development site for La Victoria Commons

“It’s necessary and ingenious because this state doesn’t allow us to require it,” Tempe Community Development Director Jeff Tamulevich said.


Inclusionary zoning would allow the city to require a certain number of affordable housing units to be included in every new development, but ARS 11-819 prohibited it.


However, it is too early to know when these developments will become available to Tempe residents.


Still, these new units would provide another opportunity for people currently living in transitional housing to move into permanent housing with the help of tenant-based rental assistance, according to Cain.


“You better believe that we are looking to house some of those clients in any of these new developments,” Cain said.


She explained that the HOPE team works with people experiencing homelessness at Sue’s Espacio, the City of Tempe’s only transitional housing shelter located at 2101 E. Apache Blvd., to set them up in a more permanent housing option that best suits their needs.


Through the rental assistance program, the city would pay a portion of the tenant’s rent for two years while they continued to situate themselves.


“We want people from all walks of life to improve themselves and improve their standings,” Woods said. “That next step might be affordable housing.”

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