COVID-19 has had unexpected effects on apartment construction in Prescott. The pandemic and subsequent quarantine have changed work patterns and habits for thousands, especially those used to commuting to offices or work sites but who now are compelled to work out of their homes.
Lafferty Companies Owner and President Mike Lafferty explains it this way: “I’ve had 38 years of professional experience in business development and construction. Nothing in the past has had such dramatic impact upon our occupational lifestyles. Organizations, companies and individuals have figured out that a lot of very professional work can be done out of a house or apartment. They also learned the technological advances we now have access to – innovative and versatile laptops with cameras and excellent sound systems, for example – make it possible for people to meet and confer comfortably without all being in the same room. And commuting long distances to work? We now know that may not be necessary if we can work productively from our homes.”
That awareness created a major shift in Lafferty’s approach to building apartments. Lafferty, whose home office is in Phoenix, said realization of workforce changes because of the pandemic happened at a propitious time. “I’ve been able to modify construction of my 200-unit upscale apartment complex.”
Lafferty said the cost for the project is an estimated $32 million, to be built at 2051 Willow Lake Road near Hwy 89.
“I’m rebranding that project totally. Because it is so modern and innovative, I’m calling it simply ‘2051’—which is its address and shows it’s headed ‘out there,’” he said as he motioned to the horizon.
The development is on the front edge of construction. “Our architects are able to change designs and introduce innovations that make 2051 truly unique. For instance, the entire complex will be WiFi-ready. Renters will be able to connect all their devices – computers, smartphones, laptops, tablets – to a WiFi network that has no cable connections.”
The team is also modifying plans for additional soundproofing and insulation between walls and in the floors and ceilings. “Transfer of noise from one room or apartment to the other will be virtually eliminated,” he said.
Renters will be able to choose from several options among the 21 floor plans, with some units including home-office space.
Lafferty says a bonus for tenants will be unparalleled scenic views to the east, north and west – picturesque Prescott Dells, Willow Lake and Granite Mountain among them.
The 7.5-acre apartment site will feature 200 apartments, ranging from 500 square-foot studios to 900-square-foot two-bedroom units. When complete, the complex will have four three-story apartment buildings.
First Phase to Open by December
Lafferty said Phase 1 of construction is for 104 apartments – 20 studio, 47 one-bedroom, one-bath; and 37 two-bedroom, two-bath units. Barring complications and unexpected delays, Phase 1, Building 3 should be open for occupancy by December 2020. The rest of Phase 1 construction is expected to be completed in January 2021, with total cost estimated at $19 million.
Phase 2 involves building 96 units, with construction continuing through 2021, with a total cost of about $13 million.
All apartments will contain modern amenities, including washers and dryers, stainless steel appliances, water-efficient bathroom fixtures, microwave, dishwasher, quartz countertops, custom cabinets and walk-in closets. Some have patios or balconies. Covered parking also is available.
All occupants will have access to the 2,500-square-foot clubhouse. “It will contain our community room, game room, meeting room, multipurpose room, fitness center and dog bath,” Lafferty said. “Occupants will have access to a heated pool and barbecue area.”
All rentals are pet friendly, with access to trails and open space immediately behind the complex. Landscaping will be designed with low use water requirements and native plants.
Lafferty and Project Superintendent Rick Oelke say they are committed to using local sub-contractors and local suppliers as much as possible. While the primary contractor is Bayley Construction, which has an office in Scottsdale, the majority of workers are local. “At least 80 percent of our sub-contractors are from the area. We want 2051 to be considered a boost to the local economy.” More than 100 people are currently employed at the project.
Both Lafferty and Oelke praise the City of Prescott administration and its staff for its efficiency, support and cooperation. “Everyone – the mayor, city staff – everyone has been excellent to work with. I especially appreciate the city staff for prompt attention to permit requests, water, planning and zoning, and inspections,” Lafferty said. “During these past several months, when things have been difficult, staff personnel take time to address issues and solve problems. I’ve been in the development business for almost four decades. Without hesitation, folks in Prescott deserve the highest recommendation possible.”
Lafferty said his experience in Prescott has convinced him to build a home here and to find other development projects that he believes can contribute to community growth and the economy.
“I’ve never experienced anything quite like the positive feeling and enthusiasm I find in Prescott. I hope it never changes,” he said. QCBN
By Ray Newton, QCBN