Transwestern Development Breaks Ground on Lakefront Property

Transwestern hopes to attract young professionals seeking an amenity-rich lifestyle with its purchase of a lakefront site in Tempe.

Transwestern Development Co. has broken ground on VELA at Town Lake, a 290-unit luxury apartment community at 555 N. College Ave. in Tempe, the developer announced Friday.  The 4.57-acre lakefront site, which Transwestern purchased with its partner, FL Lakeside Investor L.L.C., formerly was a stable, a Transwestern spokesperson told Commercial Property Executive.

VELA at Town Lake is adjacent to the Tempe Town Lake marina and directly across from the new regional headquarters of State Farm and Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium.

(Tempe Town Lake is a reservoir that occupies a roughly two-mile portion of the usually dry riverbed of the Salt River as it passes through Tempe. The riverbed is normally dry because an upriver dam diverts all of the river’s water into canals for drinking and irrigation water for metro Phoenix.)

Financing for the project was provided by Bank of the Ozarks and Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers L.L.C. (The development’s projected cost was not disclosed.)

Transwestern vice presidents Jack Hannum and Bret Zinn negotiated the land sale, and Transwestern associate vice president Josh Delk is leading the development team.

The two buildings ranging from three to five floors will wrap around a 410-space parking garage.

The site features 500 feet of south-facing lake frontage, and the community will include a resort-style pool with luxury cabanas; a fitness center with touch-screen cardio equipment and free weights; an indoor lounge overlooking the lake with a catering kitchen, fireplace seating area and TV area; an activity courtyard with a moveable movie projector, gaming area, fire pits and grilling area; indoor bike storage; and an outdoor-covered lounge with kitchen, grilling areas, pool table and TV area.

In addition to stainless-steel Energy Star appliances, each unit will have quartz countertops, gourmet prep islands, custom wood cabinets, full-size washer and dryer connections, floating vanities and private balconies.

Of the 290 total units, there will be 40 studio apartments, ranging from 543 to 594 square feet; 171 one-bath, one-bedroom apartments, ranging from 693 to 938 square feet; and 79 two-bath, two-bedroom apartments, ranging from 1,087 to 2,114 square feet.

The first units are scheduled for delivery in February 2016, with full completion in September 2016. Lincoln Property Co. will lease and manage the property, Transwestern told CPE.

“The lakefront property is unique and will attract young professionals seeking an amenity-rich lifestyle near major employment and retail hubs,” Delk said in a release.

The project was designed by Wilder Belshaw Architects and Davis Architects, the general contractor is MT Builders Cos., and the civil engineer is Hilgart Wilson L.L.C.

The multi-family situation in Phoenix is a mixed one, according to a 2015 forecast by Marcus & Millichap. On one hand, employment is projected to rise by 44,600 (2.4 percent), while the single-family market remains lackluster. On the other side of the scale, nearly 8,000 apartment units should be delivered this year, as compared with almost 5,000 in 2014.

What all that adds up to, per Marcus & Millichap, is a modest overall rise in vacancy, to 6.7 percent, and just a 2.1 percent average hike in rents.