Council sees renewed hope as it gives nod to Village at Surrey Hills

By Linda Bentley | March 3, 2010

| More

paul sharpe of village at surrey hillsPaul Sharpe of VRE Carefree LLC displayed a rendering of the scaled-down condos proposed for the Village at Surrey Hills. The 1,575 square foot units would offer three floor plans and would have a base price of $310,000, which Sharpe believes is more marketable than the previous owner’s plan.   Photo by Linda Bentley

Vice mayor admonishes commercial property owners in town to lower rents to keep tenants

CAVE CREEK – Call to the Public brought former Councilman Thomas McGuire to the podium during Monday night’s council meeting to praise the town manager, staff and council for Cave Creek’s ability to survive the worst economic meltdown in its history.

Councilman Steve LaMar’s motion to approve an amendment to the lease agreement between Maricopa County and the town for the lease of 4,432 square feet of office space for Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office carried unanimously.

The amendment will lower the annual lease from $78,000 per year to $72,000.

According to Town Clerk Carrie Dyrek, MCSO did an extensive study on commercial lease rates revealing they have gone down due to the economy.

Town Manager Usama Abujbarah told council he agreed with the study’s findings.

Vice Mayor Ernie Bunch, who seconded the motion, admonished commercial property owners in town to do the same in order to keep tenants during this economy.

Council also voted unanimously in favor of site plan and final plat amendments for the Village at Surrey Hills, which would increase the number of units without increasing the lot coverage or disturbed area.

Applicant Paul Sharpe of VRE Carefree LLC said the previous plan was difficult to market before and was even worse in this economy.

He said the units would all be 1,575 square feet, offering three different floor plans. The buildings would be fourplexes, with two units on the bottom floor and two above, with exterior stairs to the upstairs units.

The units would have a base price of $310,000, which Sharpe said should be more marketable along Cave Creek Road than the previous plan, which were in the $700,000 to $1 million range.

Sharpe said they changed the configuration of the garages with some front loaded and some side loaded.

Councilman Dick Esser asked if these were going to be marketed as second homes that will be vacant much of the time.

Sharpe said that was a good possibility and they planned to do a lot of marketing in western Canada.

When Councilman Ralph Mozilo asked what he planned to do with the three existing units, Sharpe responded, “That’s a good question.” He then said they would probably market those units at the end of the project, stating the building looks pretty lonely all by itself.

Planning Director Ian Cordwell said there were no stipulations included with the request since all the infrastructure was already completed by the previous owner.

Sharpe said he’s had an office at Rancho Mañana since 1994 and due to that relationship VRE will be offering a free golf membership with each unit.

Bunch said he was delighted to see anything move forward in this economy and wished Sharpe luck.

fire at 36237 n. 50th st cave creekMozilo said he concurred and hoped their marketing works.

Councilman Adam Trenk said he echoed things already said by others.

LaMar voted an “enthusiastic yes,” while Mayor Vincent Francia said he hoped this was a sign of things to come.

Photo: Rural/Metro Chief John Kratz publicly thanked Vice Mayor Ernie Bunch during Call to the Public for installing a fire hydrant on his property, noting it came in very handy early Sunday morning when the house next door to Bunch was extensively damaged by an electrical fire.   Photo courtesy Ernie Bunch