Tempe buys Pollack Apache Center for affordable housing, retail, grocery store to meet area needs

The Pollack Apache Center strip mall, 1328-1348 E. Apache Blvd., will be redeveloped into a hub of affordable housing with new grocery store and shopping in an aging, low-income neighborhood.  — Michael A. Pollack Real Estate Investments photo

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Tempe-area developer-philanthropist Michael Pollack has agreed to sell his Pollack Apache Center strip mall to Tempe, which, in turn, plans to redevelop it into a hub of affordable housing as well as a new grocery store and shopping in the aging, low-income neighborhood.

Pollack, principal of Michael A. Pollack Real Estate Investments, is selling the 3-acre site, 1328-1348 E. Apache Blvd., for $10.7 million. The deal, using the city’s General Fund unrestricted fund balance to purchase the property, was approved unanimously by Tempe City Council.

Pollack recently reopened his popular Tempe Pollack Cinemas in South Tempe after massive renovation made during a shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michael Pollack

He said he looks forward “to passing the key to the future progress of the Apache Corridor” to the city.

Tempe gladly grabbed that key in its latest acquisition along Apache Boulevard to support its Hometown for All affordable housing initiative, launched in 2021. Pollack Apache Center becomes the sixth city-owned property along Apache set to be “reimagined,” as the city describes it.

Tempe envisions more affordable homeownership opportunities for low-to-moderate-income residents, as well as mixed-income developments, on the stretch from Rural Road to just east of Price Freeway along Apache.

“Anyone who wants to live in Tempe should be able to,” Mayor Corey Woods said. “We are working hard to make that a reality for more people and more families.”

Woods said he is especially excited about bringing a grocery store back to the neighborhood to benefit current and future residents. Food City in Pollack Apache Center recently closed.

“This acquisition also meets another really critical goal: Ensuring that all communities share in the prosperity we are seeing across Tempe,” Woods said. “With light rail and new affordable housing planned for the corridor, we are determined to see this area thrive.”

Pollack Apache Center is adjacent to EnVision Tempe, the city’s new one-stop resource center opening this year. The center will provide job and housing assistance, educational classes, health programs, heat relief and assistance with emergency preparedness.

–Tempe graphic

Pollack Apache Center is zoned Commercial, Shopping and Services. Rezoning will be required to transition to mixed-use residential housing.

Potential grocers interested in locating in the Apache neighborhood may contact Tempe economic development director Donna Kennedy at Donna_Kennedy@tempe.gov.

Apache Boulevard, with its central location and access to light rail, is expected to see major additions to affordable and workforce housing.

Last March, City Council approved $1.2 million for first-phase site preparation on five parcels. Another $1.5 million is available for additional work as needed. That facilitates as many as 325 rental units and 50 homeownership opportunities on city-owned lots along Apache.

The city is working with development partners and seeking a new partner for a parcel just east of Price Freeway. That parcel includes four vacant lots.

15 apartments and homes dedicated for affordable rental housing

Tempe late in 2021 dedicated 15 apartments and single-family homes for affordable rental housing through the Hometown for All initiative. That brings the number of permanent affordable units in the city to 100.

Increasing affordable housing was among the pillars of Woods’ mayoral campaign two years ago.

“I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish so far through the Hometown for All initiative,” Woods said. “Whether purchasing an apartment complex, buying land to create new homeownership options or partnering with a developer to bring more affordable and workforce housing to Tempe, these actions mean more individuals and families who want to call Tempe home have that opportunity.”

The 100 affordable and workforce units are scattered citywide and are all leased. The units are operated by the Tempe Coalition for Affordable Housing, a nonprofit affiliated with the city’s Public Housing Authority.

Tempe graphic

City Council in late 2021 conveyed 15 apartments and homes owned by the city, from small apartments to a five-bedroom home to expand the types of housing, to Tempe Coalition.

The Council approved a Hometown for All initiative, with its dedicated funding stream, a year ago. For every development project in Tempe, the equivalent of 50 percent of certain permitting fees paid to the city’s General Fund goes to Tempe Coalition. More than $6 million came through Hometown for All during its first year. That includes cash received, projected permitting fees and pledges of voluntary contributions.

Funds are used to buy and rehabilitate properties, develop city-owned land, and buy land and partner with developers or nonprofits to build affordable or workforce units.

Hometown for All, coupled with the city’s Affordable Housing Strategy, has a goal of adding 11,000 affordable units by 2040.

More about Hometown for All click here.

Lee Shappell
Lee Shappell became a journalist because he didn’t become a rocket scientist! He exhausted the math courses available by his junior year in high school and earned early admission to Rice University, intending to take advantage of its relationship with the Johnson Space Center and become an aerospace engineer. But as a high school senior, needing a class to be eligible for sports with no more math available, he took student newspaper as a credit and was hooked. He studied journalism at the UofA and has been senior reporter, copy desk chief and managing editor at several Valley publications.

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