By Catherine Reagor and Paulina Pineda| November 19th, 2019
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An apartment development with no parking for its expected 1,000 residents is planned across from a light-rail station in Tempe.

The $140 million development will have scooters, bicycles and some ride-sharing cars. It also has plans to offer residents of the 636 apartments deals on light rail, buses and rides with Uber or Lyft.

Developers of the complex called Culdesac Tempe, which will be on 16 acres near Apache Boulevard and River Road, say it will be the first car-less apartments built in the U.S. It's scheduled to open to renters across from the Smith-Martin light-rail stop in fall 2020.

Apartments without resident parking

“We want our residents to see life from their doorstep, not stuck behind a windshield,” said Jeff Berens, who with Ryan Johnson founded the San Francisco-based firm Culdesac with $10 million in venture capital.

Culdesac is partnering with veteran developer Sunbelt Holdings led by John Graham to develop the apartments.

"To our knowledge, this will be the first apartment complex built without parking for residents," said Graham. "It feels like the timing is right. The number of people I know who are carless now is amazing."

The development wouldn't be entirely parking-free. There would be guest spaces on site for visitors and parking for the development's commercial retail. 

Other apartment developments in the United States and metro Phoenix are experimenting with limited parking, and some with no parking are planned in Los Angeles and on the East Coast.

“We are witnessing the first generation of people choosing not to own cars,” Johnson said.

1st project with limited parking outside downtown

As part of Culdesac’s development agreement with the city, Tempe waived its parking requirements.

The Development Review Commission will vote next month on a zoning map amendment and development plan review for the first phase of the project. The request is expected to go to the City Council on Dec. 12, said Chad Weaver, community development director.

Weaver said developers are expected to pull building permits early next year after they close on the property.

LOVE OR HATE THE TRAINS:: Light rail boosts home values in metro Phoenix

Though the city has approved projects with reduced parking in the downtown area, this will be one of the first such projects outside of the city’s core, he said.

He said staff hopes this will help alleviate traffic in the area.

“We’re happy folks are bringing us unique ideas and we hope that we can take more use of the transit that has been invested in and is right at their doorstep,” he said.

The project falls within one of Tempe's opportunity zones, which could allow investors to take advantage of federal tax breaks.

Rental prices?

Rents for the no-car apartments will be market rate at about $1,400 to $1,500, say the developers.

The average rent in Tempe is about $1,360, according to ABI Multifamily.

The developer thinks a big part of the draw for millennials will be saving money on transportation costs.

Metro Phoenix is in the midst of an apartment building boom. More than 3,000 other apartments are currently under construction or recently completed in Tempe, including River at Eastline Village, a 56-unit affordable development across the street from the Culdesac site.

Culdesac Tempe will also have a pool, park, separate dog park and gym.

There will be some parking at the site for the development's retail space that could include a grocery, coffee shop and co-working space.   

Reach the reporter at [email protected] or 602-444-8040. Follow her on Twitter @Catherinereagor. Reach the reporter [email protected] or 602-444-8130. Follower her on Twitter @paulinapineda22.

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