Arizona-based real estate investment and development company Harvard Investments, has gathered extensive insight for its new Mesa master-planned community – Cadence at Gateway (http://cadenceaz.com/) and assembled a team that both understands and reflects who will be an essential decision maker—women.
“This should come as no surprise to anyone. Women tend to lead the way in this area. But what we’ve done to respond to this is new and refreshing.” said Craig Krumwiede, president of Harvard Investments.
“In addition to anticipating that many of our residents will come directly from the East Valley, extensive research has indicated that they will be women searching to find the best new home to fit their needs or the needs of a family. They’ll lead the way in weighing the merits of a community, evaluating floor plans, touring models, selecting elevations and finishes and spearheading decision-making at Cadence at Gateway,” said Krumwiede. “So we’ve made it a priority to see that all aspects of Cadence, from the larger details such as the diversity of amenities, to the smaller details in how we best communicate and respond to their needs.”
Expertise within the community’s development has included many voices along the way, with a rich percentage of them women. Included are Katherine Astrom, CFO of Harvard Investments; Claudia Sieb, principal of The Sieb Organization Marketing Firm; Susan Demmitt of Gammage and Burnham Law Offices; Christine Zielonka, director of Development Services for the city of Mesa; Heather Miles Austin of the public relations firm, The Ferraro Group; and others. Each of these leaders bring a unique set of skills that positively impact the development of this 485-acre, fully amenitized master-planned community in the Mesa Gateway Corridor.
As the chief financial officer of Harvard Investments, Astrom has been involved in the development of Cadence at Gateway since the beginning, six years ago. Her experience in finance, accounting, audit, and tax reporting for real estate land development and investment has been invaluable to the project.
“This is a milestone project for Harvard Investments and the significant time and money invested before breaking ground indicates the commitment Harvard has for the East Valley and local families.” Astrom explained. “From extensive research and ongoing collaboration with the city of Mesa, to the world-class talent assembled, we’re working to create a unique and interconnected master-planned community complementing the lifestyles of our buyers that will stand the test of time. Cadence at Gateway will be abundant in parks, trails, amenities, and open spaces, all accessible by foot or bicycle – creating an integrated and cohesive place to live and also play.”
As a global marketing expert specializing in real estate and high-touch brands, Sieb led the initial research efforts that shaped conversations about the specific needs of potential Cadence buyers. Principal of the Sieb Organization, she specializes in research, branding, marketing and communications for master-planned communities both nationally and globally.
“Immediately I felt Craig, Chris, Kathe and Tim (Harvard Investments) valued what our team brought to the table, and were incredibly willing to discuss what research indicates was an important direction to take. Preferences relating to the importance of community connectivity, health, wellness and fitness, indoor-outdoor living, neighborhood design, and creating an extremely high quality of life for every variety of family fit perfectly into their vision,” said Sieb.
She added, “New ideas, with thoughtful, analytical back-up has been the hallmark of Cadence. The fresh array of amenities, neighborhoods and home types will allow a variety of households – from empty nesters like me, to young families, couples, single parents, multiple generations under one roof, as well as individuals – to find their place at Cadence.”
Christine Zielonka has been creating solutions between residents, business owners and city officials for more than a decade as the director of Development Services for the city of Mesa. Originally in the private sector, Zielonka transitioned to the city 21 years ago, and has been working to create healthy neighborhoods in various leadership roles ever since.
“Working with former Mayor Scott Smith, our current Mayor Jim Giles, City Manager Chris Brady and others, our focus has been on helping push ourselves and colleagues to think outside the proverbial box to create solutions that make sense for our neighbors (Mesa residents), business owners and the city’s long-term health as together we move Mesa forward,” Zielonka explained.
Zielonka’s role includes analyzing how Mesa residents want to live now and in the future so that her team can create the best infrastructure to prepare for sustainable, positive growth.
“We work to create a foundation that encourages healthy lifestyles, walkable communities, higher quality development, connectivity between neighborhoods, plus the flexibility to change as homeowners’ needs change,” she said. “Working with Harvard Investments the past five years, we see they share our commitment, and through Cadence at Gateway are creating a more defined sense of space – a community we think Mesa residents will be proud to call home.”
Susan Demmitt of Gammage and Burnham serves at Harvard Investments Land Use, Zoning and Real Estate attorney for Cadence at Gateway, collaborating with Zielonka and the city of Mesa. Originally an architectural school graduate, Demmitt shifted her career and for the past 21 years has been focused on land use entitlement and economic development.
Demmitt works to find ways to ensure the amenities and features that research has indicated will be important to buyers can fit seamlessly within the zoning and legal framework developed by the city. She also listens to local residents, businesses and politicians and works to educate and create awareness for what Cadence can become through collaboration. The problem solving skills she uses at work translate to her personal life as a mom of three boys.
“You know, long-term creative problem solving skills we put to work at home raising our boys are the same skills I use every day with developers, municipalities, neighborhood organization and political actions groups,” she said. “The phenomenal thing about this project is we’ve worked with the city to custom craft – from scratch – a plan that will govern what this project looks like, how it can function socially, and what amenities will be flexible enough to meet today’s and tomorrow’s residents’ needs.”
Demmitt added, “Harvard had the wherewithal to work through all the technical details before we broke ground, and thereby create the regulatory framework that allows better solutions such as turf-lined streets, an interconnected series of parks, and other amenities driven by knowledge of what our buyers prefer.”
Currently the Phoenix managing director of Cadence at Gateway’s public relations firm, Austin has been developing public relations and social media strategy for 16 years. She grew up in the East Valley, as did several members of her team, and now raises a family in Mesa.
“We support clients in multiple states, but always relish the opportunity to combine professional expertise with personal connections in the East Valley,” Austin explained. “I’m proud to have grown up amongst many of the people who will become Cadence residents—hard-working, down-to-earth individuals and families that I think will welcome the new options and opportunities at Cadence.”
Together Astrom, Sieb, Zielonka, Demmitt and Austin, along with the rest of the project’s leaders, will ensure Cadence at Gateway reflects East Valley values, potential resident’s needs and exemplifies the characteristics that make so many proud to call this part of Arizona home.