Gorman & Co. has transformed a boarded-up public housing project in Mesa, Ariz., into a diverse community. The site housed African-American pilots during World War II in segregated barracks and then was converted into segregated public housing for African-American and Hispanic households. The Escobedo project was finally integrated in the 1960s but was vacated in 2007 and 2008 due to its dilapidated state.
Gorman teamed with Save the Family Foundation of Arizona, which serves homeless families, and West Mesa CDC to revive the site. The first phase of Escobedo at Verde Vista, completed in November, provides 70 units of housing for low-income families, seniors, and those with special needs. It also includes a 15,000-square-foot headquarters for Save the Family.
What’s now on the site is a stark contrast to its origins. “It’s one of the most diverse developments,” says Brian Swanton, Gorman’s Arizona market president. “And they live together in such harmony.”
The $17 million development was financed with low-income housing tax credit equity from JPMorgan Chase, syndicated through Boston Capital, and permanent and construction loans from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The second phase is expected to break ground in July.