Meet your Neighbor: John Beerling
Huge project doesn’t keep exec from #1 priority: His family

By P.J. Standlee

Somehow Kyrene Corridor real-estate developer John Beerling admirably finds time to take the weekend off to see his son’s basketball tournament. Also to dedicate time to his family after spending as much as four days a week in Flagstaff, where he is overseeing development of his company’s multi-million-dollar golf course and residential project, Pine Canyon Club.

To say John Beerling is a busy man is an under-statement. And, with all the responsibilities he holds as a successful real-estate developer, it would seem all too easy to lose track of family obligations.

With almost 15 other development projects of various sizes in the works, the president of Lone Tree Investment LLC says he shoulders a lot of responsibility to make sure the 263-acre Pine Canyon Club with an 18-hole golf course is a success. 

However, Beerling, who graduated from ASU in 1984 and has lived in Tempe ever since, said he gets a lot of help from his wife, Lisa, to keep him grounded in his family life.

“All the credit goes to her,” Beerling says.

He points proudly to the rest of his family, made of up three daughters: Katie, a freshman at Arizona State University; Krista, a junior at Corona del Sol High School; Alyssa, an eighth grader at Aprende Middle School; and a son, Johnny, a sophomore at Corona.

“My wife keeps me focused on the family. If I start to wander off, she reins me in.”

In addition to overseeing everything from zoning, layout of the golf course, housing construction, finances and marketing of the Pine Canyon development, Beerling says his biggest challenge in life—and his greatest accomplishment—is the success of his family.

“They all have straight A’s. They are all involved in activities and sports, and are really good kids,” Beerling says.

However, staying in Phoenix and with his family has become a luxury for Beerling. He spends a considerable amount of time closer to the project that has almost become a second “family”—the Pine Canyon Club, which just finished its first phase. Turnkey houses in the development range from 2,000 to 2,900 square feet, with prices starting at about $500,000. 

Pine Canyon boasts 700 lots for houses, either in predetermined plans or as custom-build homes, amid the high elevation of Flagstaff, just south of Interstate 40 and west of John Wesley Powell Boulevard.

The project started five years ago when Beerling’s partner, longtime Valley developer Conley Wolfswinkel, offered to help develop land that had been donated to Northern Arizona University by the Riordan family of Flagstaff.

It turned out to be what Beerling calls “an incredible piece of property,” one of the only large parcels left near Flagstaff available for development.

After acquiring the property, Beerling said the next step was to work out the myriad details with the city of Flagstaff, from zoning to water infrastructure.

“It’s a lot of pressure,” Beerling said. “But it’s also fun—knowing that your partners are relying on you to pull it off…but the trick is to have fun and deal with the pressure.””

With 180 lots already sold, Beerling says Pine Canyon has been a huge success, which is also attributed to the incredible scenery, world-class golf course developed by Jay Morris, tennis, hiking and even an aggressive stewardship of the surrounding forest, which was noted as a model for fire prevention by Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano in February.

Beerling said a water retention program allowed the club to produce most of its own water and create a number of streams and brooks throughout the property.

Beerling, though, said besides all of the success with Pine Canyon, he remembers when he was just a lowly accountant earning $18,000 a year at a certified public accounting firm.

With as much pleasure as he’s getting from his latest challenge, nobody would think to call those times “the good old days.”