It’s being hailed as “urban living at its finest” and that’s what Mesa leaders hope Southern Avenue Villas, 855 W. Southern Ave., located between Extension and Alma School roads, will bring to west Mesa. It’s the first major apartment development in Mesa’s Fiesta District in more than 20 years.
In a time of high-quality east Mesa housing development, the west side has seen its share of vacancies with shuttered strip malls that are skeletons of what was the once booming Fiesta District that everyone talked about and frequented for so many years.
City officials are banking on their luck turning as they cut the ribbon last week on Southern Avenue Villas, a 354-unit high-end apartment complex that offers one-, two- and three-bedroom units starting at $860 and going up to $1,410 a month. Each resident has covered parking, garage options along with a host of resort-style amenities.
“This is part of the rebirth of the Fiesta District,” said Mesa Mayor John Giles. “The Fiesta District is full of opportunities for high energy, creative projects like Southern Avenue Villas. Developers willing to take a chance are getting in on the ground floor of its resurgence.”
Giles said there are jobs coming back to the Fiesta District to places like the nearby National General building and long vacated Bed, Bath and Beyond shopping center.
“With National General vacant and not utilized for years now hundreds of quality jobs will be coming to that building because the economy has changed,” Giles continued. “This intersection of Southern Avenue and Alma School Road has always been the most economical for Mesa and I am pleased to welcome Southern Avenue Villas to Mesa and I wish them the best of success.”
The complex has eight buildings that are three stories each. The development has several significant amenities such as a cabana for social gatherings; a large pool with a spa, shade canopy and tanning ledge; a spacious clubhouse with indoor basketball, fitness center, business center, game room and large clubroom; a sand volleyball court; and a dog park.
“Southern Avenue Villas is an attractive new eastern gateway into the Fiesta District. This is the first new housing in the Fiesta District in more than two decades and provides a much needed higher-end living option for southwest Mesa residents,” said Mesa Vice Mayor Dennis Kavanaugh, District 3 councilmember, who first envisioned this type of new housing project in 2003.
The Southern Avenue Villas site was the largest infill parcel in all of west Mesa, according to Kavanaugh so city officials decided to focus on what do with the site. He noted that all the experts said the area needed new housing “and that we need upscale not affordable housing.”
The Frankel Family Trust, which owns the 20-acre site, privately financed the development. Foursite Consulting was the construction manager and Chasse Building Team of Mesa was the general contractor.
Mike Kron, chief operating officer for the Frankel Foundation Trust, got to know Kavanaugh well in working with him on the project for the last 10 years.
“This is a truly big day for the city of Mesa and the Fiesta District,” Kron said. “Everyone’s efforts and partnerships with the city make us all glad to be here today. We’ve gone through a lot to get here and 16 months ago we wondered what this project would look like and it’s even better than we envisioned.”
Kron said he was proud of the LED lighting and solar panels they have installed to offset electricity demands.
Barry Chasse, president of Chasse Building Team, a Mesa-based general contractor, said the project took a village to build at an aggressive schedule. He added that they’re proud to have not had any on-site construction accidents throughout the project.
“The city of Mesa has been fantastic to work with,” Chasse said. “We’re thrilled to have been tasked with building this project and we love to maintain a sense of place and to figure out what should be in the neighborhoods we build in and we’ve done something different here and it makes sense.”
According to Kavanaugh, the June 2008 housing development took a hit but this has turned out to be a positive development for Mesa, just taking longer than expected.
“We redesigned the project to reflect the guidelines to get it done. It’s been a long development process, but a positive one.”
For more information on the project, visit SouthernAvenueVillas.RentAnApt.com or call 480-247-9900
– Kelly Mixer is managing editor of MyNewsMesa.com. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.