Friday, March 09, 2007

Coronado Historic District Phoenix, AZ

Coronado Historic District Phoenix
Virginia Ave., Fourteenth St., McDowell Rd., and Seventh St. Phoenix

Developers and Speculators
While initial settlement of Phoenix originated along the bank of the Salt River in the 1870's, the residential expansion and rapid growth of the city is a story of investment and land development in the twentieth century. In 1903 prominent leaders and investors began negotiation with the federal government to control the flow of the Salt River in order to resolve concerns of seasonal flooding and to provide a source of water for the city. Prominent businessmen, including Benjamin A. Fowler, Patrick Hurley, E.J. Bennett and Dwight B. Heard, induced the federal government to begin development of the Theodore Roosevelt Dam on the Salt River. The prospect of a consistent supply of water assured the prosperity of Phoenix and the Valley. A real estate speculation boom ensued which led to the development of several residential areas around the Phoenix town site over the next few decades.

On March 9, 1908, Dwight B. Heard, President of the Suburban Realty Company, petitioned for the subdivision of a quarter section of property bounded by 7th Street, McDowell Road, 12thStreet and the canal that, at the time, ran down Oak Street. This was the first subdivision of property in what would become known as the Coronado Neighborhood. Between the years 1906 and 1908, thirty subdivision plats were filed with the Maricopa County Recorder's office, three of those being in the Coronado district: Homewood Tract, Syndicate Place, and Rancheros Bonitos. These three new subdivisions on the northern edge of Phoenix would, by 1935, comprise part of the largest residential section of the city.

The initial intent of the speculators was to build a prestigious "streetcar suburb" such as the Encanto-Palmcroft and Roosevelt Neighborhoods which were established during the same period. However, land values at the time were determined by a home site's proximity to Central Avenue. Coronado's comparative distance to the east of Central Avenue and downtown resulted in more modest building restrictions than in other neighborhoods of the city. At that time, restrictions that regulated the minimum cost of houses built on a particular lot were the common means of determining the range of house size in a development. As a result, the Coronado area evolved into a more modest working-class neighborhood than the original investors had envisioned.

Growth Years
The prosperity in Phoenix after World War I brought hundreds of the Valley's new residents; mostly middle class, white and blue collar workers, into the subdivisions in the Coronado area. In 1920 alone, over 800 building permits were issued by the City of Phoenix, with contractors purchasing whole blocks and building several "spec" houses at a time. Building homes on speculation, without any financial commitment from a buyer, was a relatively progressive idea for its day. As residential construction in central Phoenix boomed, Coronado emerged as a desirable and affordable area. The average price of a residence was $1,973 in 1920. Lots were provided with city water and sewer connections, electricity and graveled streets. Other facilities in and around the Coronado area influenced its growth. The Brill Street trolley car line was extended north of McDowell Road to 10th Street and Sheridan in 1914. A small commercial node developed at that corner; the New Deal Grocery (ca. 1934), still stands to reflect the commercial activity. Good Samaritan Hospital, originally called Deaconess Hospital, was built in 1917.

The construction of Emerson School in 1921 and the location of Coronado Park encouraged young families to move into the area. Most residents were hard working, service industry workers. Workingwomen were salesclerks or clerical office workers. Men's occupations covered the spectrum of employment available in the early part of the century: firemen, policemen, bank tellers, railroad engineers, and other types of service sector employees.

Decline and Recovery
As in the rest of the community, the Great Depression significantly slowed development in Coronado. Many homeowners were forced to sell, while others converted their backyard garages into living quarters and rented out the main house. Although done out of necessity, this practice turned out to be a very positive economic strategy. Many residents were able to move back into their homes and retain the converted living quarters as rental property. The first city zoning code enacted in 1930 reflected the widespread application of this practice and it is still evident in Coronado today. As the economy began to turn itself around, Coronado became the site of the first planned, mass-produced subdivision in Phoenix. Andy Womack, who would become a prominent developer in Phoenix, built the Womack Subdivision in 1939 in the area bordered by Monte Vista, 14th Street, Palm Lane and 13th Street. Womack took the idea of 46 spec" homes one step further, by building homes on the lots, constructing what would become a tract home development. With the success of the Womack Subdivision, various developers quickly subdivided the remaining tracts in the portions of the Coronado Neighborhood east of 12th Street.

Architectural Perspective
The impact of the Depression significantly influenced the architecture of Coronado because it slowed the development. By the time construction activity resumed, architectural styles had shifted. As a result, there are two distinct areas within the district. The area between 7th and 12th Streets dates back to the 1920s, while the remainder of the district dates to the late 30s and 40's. Approximately 600 buildings in the district date between 1920 and 1930. The predominant building style seen in the western portion of Coronado is the Bungalow which is a one-story house with a simple, functional floor plan, also characterized by broadly pitched overhanging roof gables and broad front porches with stone or brick piers. So 'me Period Revival Styles, most notably those of the Spanish Colonial traditions, can also be found scattered throughout the district. In the eastern portion of the neighborhood, there are also numerous examples of the English Cottage and Tudor Revival Styles. Garages are typically found in the rear of the lot and usually incorporate some architectural details of the main house.

A Coronado's Significance in Phoenix
The Coronado Neighborhood is both typical of the early sub urbanization of Phoenix and reflective of trends that shaped the city's neighborhoods as they developed between the two World Wars. A large portion of the Coronado district still retains much of the character of a modest streetcar suburb of the 1920s and remains as a viable middle-class neighborhood. Coronado's architectural significance comes from its diverse collection of residential styles, predominantly Bungalow, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Tudor Revival that dominated Phoenix neighborhoods from the 1910s through 1930s.

Information, maps and photographs provided courtesy:
Historic Preservation Office of the City of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department
200 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85003
(602) 261-8600

Coronado Historic Districts Homes Search

Historic Phoenix Homes Information: Cronkite at Groundbreaking for ASU School of Journalism, Downtown Phoenix, AZ

Historic Phoenix Homes Information: Cronkite at Groundbreaking for ASU School of Journalism, Downtown Phoenix, AZ

Monday, March 05, 2007

Freddie Mac to Toughen Mortgage Standards

Freddie Mac to Toughen Mortgage Standards
By Noelle Knox, USA TODAY

If you've had trouble paying your bills lately and want to buy a home, or recently bought one with an adjustable-rate mortgage, pay attention: Lenders are making it harder for people with weak credit histories to qualify for a home loan or refinance an existing one.

Freddie Mac (FRE), the nation's second-biggest financer of home mortgages, said Tuesday that it will stop buying subprime adjustable-rate mortgages and will require more borrowers to prove they earn the income they write down on their loan applications.

While these loans helped fuel the real estate boom by allowing millions of additional families to buy homes, a surprising number of borrowers couldn't afford their mortgages when the interest rates started rising after two or three years. Almost 3 million American homeowners have these subprime ARMs that will jump to higher interest rates within the next three years. Nearly 15% of them have already missed at least one mortgage payment.

HOME SALES RISE: But prices slip

If their credit hasn't improved, or if the value of their house has gone down, they may not be able to refinance.

"It's a tough situation," says Dick Syron, CEO of Freddie Mac. "There's a very delicate and difficult balance between getting as many people into houses as you can, and at the same time not putting people into houses they can't keep unless home prices are appreciating or interest rates are very low."

Freddie Mac's announcement shook the mortgage industry. Many of these lenders rely on Freddie Mac to buy pools of loans from them. Freddie Mac, which said the changes will take effect Sept. 1, is holding about $185 billion worth of these subprime loans, half of which would not meet its new guidelines.

Under the new rules, a borrower would have to qualify not only for the "teaser" interest rate, but also at the highest rate it could rise to. Let's say a subprime borrower wanted to buy the U.S. median-price home at $210,600 using a two-year ARM. The buyer would typically start with an 8.5% interest rate and a $1,619 monthly principal and interest payment.

But to get that loan approved by Freddie Mac, the buyer would have to prove he or she could afford the maximum rate adjustment to 13.5% and $2,412 a month, says Ritch Workman, co-owner of Workman Mortgage in Melbourne, Fla.

"There are going to be a lot of middle and moderate-wage earners who are not going to be able to qualify anymore," he said.

Dave Tucker, owner of website in Castle Rock, Colo., said he received at least a dozen e-mails Tuesday from lenders who were eliminating loan programs or raising qualification standards in response to Freddie Mac's news.

Freddie Mac also said it is developing a hybrid mortgage that will provide lenders more choices for people with scuffed credit. The products will reduce the amount rates can jump, offer longer fixed-rate periods at the beginning of the loan and increase the time between rate resets.

If you want a Realtor who is an expert on home loans, contact Laura B. today. She will guide you in the right direction and counsel you like you've never been counseled before. She will be able to determin if any lenders you've been talking to are rip-off artists. If you want to hear the truth, click here and contact Laura B. today.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Feedback Good for Infill Homes in Garfield Historic District

Feedback good for infill homes in historic area
By Linda Helser ~ The Arizona Republic

PHOENIX - They're open and modern on the inside, but appear vintage and historic on the outside.

The four new single-family infill houses just completed in the downtown Phoenix Garfield Historic District are proving to be all-around winners.

A joint project of the Garfield Organization, Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix and Phoenix's Neighborhood Services Department, the new construction infill homes were designed to fit in rather than stick out in an otherwise historic neighborhood dating back to 1883 through 1942.

"That's the most important feedback we got during neighborhood meetings," said Jonathan Peiffer of Roberts/Jones Associates, the principal architect who designed the four bungalow-style homes. "They wanted the garage in the rear and the big porch in the front and they wanted the houses to look like all the others in the neighborhood."

Peiffer designed two floor plans with two elevations but with eight different options. An open house was Tuesday for a 1438-square-foot, three-bedroom and two-bath model at 1025 E. Portland St.

Thomas Wilson of Neighborhood Housing Services said the other three-bedroom homes are at 1138 E. Garfield St. and 1105 E. Pierce St., while a four-bedroom, two-bath model is at 326 N. 13th St. Moon Valley Builders constructed the Portland, Garfield and Pierce homes while Arizona Built Rite Construction built the four-bedroom model.

Search for a home in or near the Garfield Historic District.

Search for homes in any of the 36 historical districts in Phoenix, AZ.

Cronkite at Groundbreaking for ASU School of Journalism, Downtown Phoenix, AZ

Cronkite at Groundbreaking for ASU School of Journalism
By Kellie Hwang ~ The Arizona Republic ~Feb. 22, 2007 12:00 AM

Trust was an overlying theme at the groundbreaking ceremony for the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in downtown Phoenix on Wednesday.

Trust in the City Council to approve $71 million for the school. Trust in the public to vote in favor of the bond issue that paid for it. Trust in the university for a smooth transition. Trust in developers to keep on schedule. And trust in the man for which the school bears its name.

The six-story, 223,000-square-foot journalism school will be adjacent to the University Center on 411 N. Central Ave. The doors of the new school will open in August 2008 if everything runs on schedule.

Walter Cronkite, who spoke at the packed event at the University Center, called it "a great day, truly a great day." He said the groundbreaking signified "the rebirth of downtown Phoenix."

Mayor Phil Gordon said the school's future journalism students will get to help build a new downtown and report on these changes at the same time.

Chris Callahan, dean of the journalism school said the location is ideal.

"The campus is right in the middle of everything, within walking distance to a big newspaper, TV stations, and major public relations firms," Callahan said.

Another plus, Callahan said, is that "it gives students the chance to cover a big city."

The deadline for finishing the project is tight, but builders are confident they'll meet it.

"We all knew what to expect going into this project, everyone knew the mission and its terms," said Eric Hedlund, senior vice president of Sundt Construction. "If there are any obstacles, they will be overcome. There isn't any other option."

The new school will be five times the size of the school on the Tempe campus. It will also house the Channel 8 (KAET) PBS affiliate and ASU-operated TV station.

Search for a home near downtown ASU.