LFA For(u)m returns for 2017 with revamped memberships, programming, and an ever-expanding commitment to a responsible built environment in the Valley.
Launching in March of last year, the program hosted panel discussions on financing creative development, site selection, teardown culture, the community engagement process, workforce housing, and an introduction to the entitlement process. Formed around an advisory council of both young and veteran developers from Venue Projects, Joel Contreras Design, Harder Development, Sunbelt Holdings, and Wetta Ventures, the For(u)m has built a framework around which the building industry networks within itself, connects to the massive small-business pool of Local First Arizona, and advocates for policy within city government.
“Much of our work to this point has been focused on the education component,” says For(u)m program director Connor Descheemaker. “For 2017, we’re looking to refocus on what our members have expressed as our organizational strengths: connections to our local business network for potential tenants, and a solidarity network to make development of this type more streamlined.”
Remaining focused on infill and adaptive reuse development, the For(u)m is bridging what it sees as gaps within the current development industry—connecting local businesses to local developers, and local developers to local subcontractors. Current real-estate opportunities from For(u)m members will be on rotating display, and the projects of developers will be shown off as best-practices.
“We want to find cool local businesses that we can grow with,” says Kevin Rille of KLMN Properties of finding tenants for his latest project, Roland’s Market in Eastlake Park near downtown Phoenix.
And expanding on its education component, the For(u)m’s spring programming connects with new organizational partners, and goes beyond panels to include subcontractor mixers, and a bus tour of an opportunity corridor for new development.
Launching Thursday, February 16 in concert with Phoenix Urban Design Week and ASU Sustainability Solutions Festival, “Cultivating Temporary Use” gathers the policymakers and practitioners behind projects such as Valley of the Sunflowers, Agave Farms, and PHX Renews to discuss how exactly such activations happen, at an evolving example of this practice, the Ro2 Lot. Registration and details here.
Then, on Tuesday, March 21, For(u)m partners with the City of Phoenix and LISC to program a bus tour of the West Camelback Rd corridor. Already lined with light rail, the area is populated by a diverse set of locally-owned businesses, from the Newton and a series of new projects from Venue Projects, the unique Urban 188 apartment rehab, the IRC aquaponics hub, and a core of refugee- and Vietnamese-owned businesses that have long occupied the area.
Monday, March 27, as part of Modern Phoenix week, the program hosts "Repositioning Modernism Through Sustainability and High Design” in association with the AIA Phoenix Metro. The panel gathers representatives from Upward Projects, Jarson & Jarson Real Estate, Allen + Phillip, and Westroc Hospitality to discuss the modernist renaissance in the Valley, and how it relates to sustainability and reuse. Registration and details here.
Tuesday, April 18, the For(u)m goes to one of our members’ latest in-progress projects, Roland’s Market, to discuss commercial tenant selection, marketing unique properties and finding the ideal fit to complement a neighborhood’s existing character while moving into the future.
Tuesday, May 23, the program returns to burgeoning downtown Mesa, sitting at its own edge of cultural redevelopment, to discuss character areas and overlay districts, something that has proved vital to that city’s own ongoing transformation.
And finally, Thursday, June 15, LFA For(u)m combines forces with Local First as a whole to discuss subcontracting with a hybrid networking event dedicated to building a hyperlocal supply chain for development.