As pioneers in the Opportunity Zone space the Caliber team has had the privilege to attend several exciting events recently. From Caliber CEO, Chris Loeffler and Snell and Wilmer Partner, Marc Schultz, presenting at the 2019 SALT conference hosted by Skybridge, to helping further the discussion through panels and interviews, we’ve felt very fortunate to share our knowledge as thought leaders among this buzzworthy new topic across the country.
Last Wednesday was a new milestone for Caliber, our partners, and the amazing state of Arizona as we had the opportunity to spend the day exploring Opportunity Zones with Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, Scott Turner.
First Stop - Phoenix
Our first stop was Phoenix, one of the fastest growing cities in the United States and home to many Caliber investments. After driving through downtown, we stopped at our Crowne Plaza Hotel located by Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Where Caliber President, COO and Co-Founder, Jennifer Schrader, gave Mr. Turner and Arizona Commerce Authority's Matthew Contorelli a look at what we've accomplished since acquiring the hotel in 2012. Additionally, Schrader divulged Caliber’s plans to utilize opportunity zone funds to develop another hotel in the same area – a 95 room Avid by IHG.
Downtown is Looking Up
After exploring Phoenix, we headed towards Mesa, where Caliber recently acquired 9 retail buildings along the downtown core. Here we met up with Mayor John Giles and Arizona State University representatives, Kristin Irwin, Associate VP of Community & Municipal Relations and Economic Development, and Rick Naimark, VP of Program Development. Mayor Giles led a brief walking tour down Main Street while explaining how both city officials and like-minded developers are planning to breathe new life into the once thriving downtown.
Following the walking tour, we all sat down at one of the buildings within our Mesa portfolio, 202 W Main, where Irwin and Naimark discussed the details around ASU’s new campus coming to downtown Mesa. As one of the most innovative universities in the country it was no surprise to hear how the campus aims to be a world-class hub for digital innovation.
Caliber’s plans to breathe new life into Main Street with the revitalization of retail buildings, in conjunction with ASU’s new campus, city official’s commitment to the success of the project, and other like-minded developers’ involvement really left us feeling energized about the project.
Heading Back to Phoenix
After an exciting morning touring Arizona’s high potential Opportunity Zones the team headed back towards Sky Harbor Airport so that Mr. Turner could catch his flight back to Washington. With a bit of time remaining before his flight, we decided to take a quick detour to the Roosevelt Townhome project, an energy efficient townhome community being developed by Caliber. This community is centrally located in a designated Opportunity Zone in Tempe, just moments from Mill Ave, and is one of two projects within the Caliber Tax Advantaged Opportunity Zone Fund that is actively under development.
We wrapped up the tour with one final stop - lunch at the Burger Theory restaurant which opens to the courtyard of our Holiday Inn and Suites at Phoenix Sky Harbor. It was a pleasure to show Mr. Turner another one of Caliber’s projects by discussing the $1.3 million renovation of the 7000 square foot restaurant as well as the value and jobs it has contributed to the Phoenix community.
Caliber has been completing Opportunity Zone style projects for years which has positioned us to execute on our fund very well, and has additionally made us thought leaders in the space. We were thrilled to have been able to spend time with Mr. Turner showcasing what we’ve done so far as well as what we, our partners, and like-minded developers have in store for the communities across Arizona.