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Latest News in Avondale, AZ

Avondale teenager shares success story going from intern to manager

AVONDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Today is National Intern Day, and an Avondale teenager is sharing his success story from interning to managing, all thanks to a Valley nonprofit. Just three years ago, Francisco Rojas was interning at Jiffy Lube, and now he’s about to manage a store.The 19-year-old who used to play car video games now knows his way around a garage, working as a team with his fellow grease monkeys and speaking with customers about repairs. However, that wasn’t always the case for the young husband and fath...

AVONDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Today is National Intern Day, and an Avondale teenager is sharing his success story from interning to managing, all thanks to a Valley nonprofit. Just three years ago, Francisco Rojas was interning at Jiffy Lube, and now he’s about to manage a store.

The 19-year-old who used to play car video games now knows his way around a garage, working as a team with his fellow grease monkeys and speaking with customers about repairs. However, that wasn’t always the case for the young husband and father-to-be. He knew next to nothing about the automotive repair industry and preferred to stay quiet.

“I was pretty antisocial, I didn’t like talking to people,” said Rojas. “Before I was shy, I couldn’t talk to anybody.”

Rojas attended the Boys and Girls Club AZYouthForce Academy when he was just 16 years old, where he learned skills for a career in a 30-hour class. It also connected him with this internship at Jiffy Lube, one of the many companies teens can choose to work for.

“This program is about opportunity and giving those teens that don’t have those opportunities or those mentors and give them the opportunity to explore careers and be sure what they want to do,” said program director Samantha Hansen.

Now, Rojas is using the skills he learned in the program. “It helped me a lot, now I can have conversations with customers,” said Rojas. “Now, I can have a conversation with anybody.”

He also knows how to do the job. The employee who used to be told how to do repairs now tells his coworkers what to do. “It’s funny. I used to be the new hire messing up, but now I get to tell other kids how to do things and what to do,” said Rojas. He is a success story, from intern to manager; soon enough, he’ll run a Jiffy Lube.

Now he’s hoping his journey will send a positive message to other Valley teenagers. “I never thought I’d be here, be a manager and have my own store. I never thought about that, now I’m living it, so there is hope out there. Keep going; don’t let anyone turn you down.”

For more information on AZYouthForce, click/tap here.

Copyright 2022 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.

West Valley city highlights new development opportunities in historic downtown

The city of Avondale has unveiled new development and sale opportunities within its historic downtown district, which the municipality is looking to revitalize over the next several years.One of the key components of Old Town Avondale includes Western Avenue, which is considered the city's main business district with restaurants, retail, offices, and other...

The city of Avondale has unveiled new development and sale opportunities within its historic downtown district, which the municipality is looking to revitalize over the next several years.

One of the key components of Old Town Avondale includes Western Avenue, which is considered the city's main business district with restaurants, retail, offices, and other services. The city's general historic area is located south of the freeway between Lower Buckeye Road, Van Buren Street, Dysart and Litchfield raods. Western Avenue also comprises street art, parks, a historic fire station and the Sam Garcia Western Avenue Library.

"We have this incredible history and charm on a walkable street along Western Avenue," said Avondale's business development manager, Jaime Lyn Gonzales, in a recent Westmarc panel about Avondale. "It offers a rich culture and history, we have generational families that have owned businesses in this area, also combined with new investments from the city in terms of its infrastructure. We also have fun new restaurant and retail locations that have popped up."

The city owns about six properties around Western Avenue and its Old Town area. Each property ranges in size from about .14 to .72 acres and is located in the city's infill incentive district or opportunity zones, which offer tax incentives. About nine properties in Old Town Avondale that are privately owned are also listed for sale.

One of the largest properties the city is marketing is a nearly 1-acre piece of land located on the southwest corner of Western Avenue and Dysart Road. The site could be a prime spot for a restaurant, retail, entertainment or mixed-use project, she said.

"This is really the entryway from the east into Western Avenue," Gonzales said. "It does fall into the Old Town business district zoning and we do have hard corner visibility."

The Old Town Avondale area also has multiple private properties listed for sale or lease. One of the properties, Sterling Plaza West, is located at 506 E. Western Ave., which has 1,500 square feet of available space for and office or retail user. Bobbie Mastracci, principal at Phoenix West Commercial LLC, is the leasing broker for the property.

Mastracci said during the panel that another property that's listed for sale, known as Western Professional Plaza, has been owned by a family for multiple generations and was built in 1973. The facility is located from 320 to 328 E. Western Ave. and comprises 9,000 square feet with a dental office, church, tax accountant, hair salon and insurance office. The property is currently listed for sale at $1.1 million.

"They're all month-to-month leases except for the dentist, so it's a great opportunity to go in there, take advantage of [the city's] incentives with the facade enhancement incentive and make it look really nice, do the parking lot. I'd love to see the monument sign readdressed, and then you can increase the rental rates and have your site sell for a nice investment," Mastracci said. "You don't get a lot of opportunities on Western Avenue, because a lot of people don't really move out — a lot of the parents or grandparents are the ones that built the buildings."

Last year, the city approved a $6.3 million plan to revitalize and revamp three historic parts of the city with high-density housing options, beautification, space for recreation and a walkable downtown with shops, restaurants and entertainment options, the Arizona Republic reported.

According to the city, Avondale has about 90,000 residents with nearly 30,000 households across 47 square miles. One of the city's most recent projects is known as The BLVD. The new city center sits on 356 acres just south of Interstate 10 and is comprised of six districts that allow for a mix of residential, education, medical, hospitality, retail, entertainment and more.

Silicon Valley vertical farming startup moves headquarters to the Valley

Vertical farming startup OnePointOne Inc. is closing its California facility as it shifts production — and its headquarters — to Arizona.The company was operating a 6,000-square-foot production and research and development facility in San Jose with about 80 employees.A letter recently sent to the state said it would be shutting down the facility, which is located at 1185 Campbell Ave., and laying off 14 workers, the Silicon Valley Business Journal ...

Vertical farming startup OnePointOne Inc. is closing its California facility as it shifts production — and its headquarters — to Arizona.

The company was operating a 6,000-square-foot production and research and development facility in San Jose with about 80 employees.

A letter recently sent to the state said it would be shutting down the facility, which is located at 1185 Campbell Ave., and laying off 14 workers, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported on Wednesday.

"All affected employees have been notified of their separation dates and that their separation from employment will be permanent, as they have not elected to relocate," the company said in the letter to the state's Employment Development Department.

The closure and job cuts will take effect by Oct. 30, according to the company's letter. The laid-off workers include two plant science technicians, a grower, six engineers and an engineer technician. OnePointOne representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

Last year, OnePointOne entered the Arizona market by leasing a new 80,000-square-foot warehouse space in Avondale for a technology-driven vertical farm. This technology has grown in popularity globally and is seen as an alternative and sustainable way to farm while using less space and water.

After starting the company in 2017, co-founders and brother Sam and John Bertram decided to open their largest facility outside of California in Arizona. The company unveiled its Arizona facility at 855 N. 107th Ave. with a grand opening in June.

The company chose the Grand Canyon State due to labor, construction and electrical costs, as well as its swifter permit process, Sam Bertram told the Phoenix Business Journal after it had leased the Avondale space. Bertram also moved his family to Scottsdale last year.

"Once we sort of discovered Avondale, we couldn't believe how closely they worked with us, how quickly they processed permitting," Bertram previously said. "Back in California, things were a lot more difficult oftentimes, and coming here was just a bloody breath of fresh air."

The Avondale facility will also serve as a production hub for the company’s affiliate operation, a personalized vertical farming service called Willo. This direct-to-consumer brand allows individual members to order items such as salads from the indoor farm through a mobile application.

In the first phase, the 28-foot tall, two-story building could develop hundreds of thousands of plants per month out of thousands of vertical boards in six cultivation chambers, while production is expected to increase by six times over 18 months.

OnePointOne now lists Avondale as its headquarters on its website.

Silicon Valley Business Journal reporter Sonya Herrera contributed to this report.

Keep Digging

Enviro-Log manufacturing facility to open in the West Valley; 5 other real estate deals to know

Fitzgerald, Georgia-based Enviro-Log Co. LLC is planning to open a new recycling and manufacturing facility in Glendale.The new location will be located at 7676 N. Glen Harbor Blvd. and will be used for recycling waxed cardboard boxes (WOCC) and manufacturing Enviro-Log products.The company, one of the largest recyclers of WOCC in North America and the third largest producer of manufactured fire logs in the U.S., said it will work directly with produce leaders, grocery retailers and recyclers to recycle large volumes of WOCC fr...

Fitzgerald, Georgia-based Enviro-Log Co. LLC is planning to open a new recycling and manufacturing facility in Glendale.

The new location will be located at 7676 N. Glen Harbor Blvd. and will be used for recycling waxed cardboard boxes (WOCC) and manufacturing Enviro-Log products.

The company, one of the largest recyclers of WOCC in North America and the third largest producer of manufactured fire logs in the U.S., said it will work directly with produce leaders, grocery retailers and recyclers to recycle large volumes of WOCC from Arizona, California and the western U.S.

WOCC is typically used to transport fruits and vegetables to grocery stores and restaurants, the company said. The recycled material is then used to manufacture Enviro-Log's "earth-friendly" fire logs, which it says saves thousands of trees from being used as firewood and millions of pounds of WOCC from going into landfills every year.

The new facility will employ about 50 people once fully operational. The company said it is looking to hire people for its operations and production teams including equipment operators, line workers, electrical and mechanical maintenance, logistics, shipping and more.

Kansas City, Missouri-based VanTrust Real Estate LLC recently broke ground on a new industrial facility in southwest Phoenix.

The new speculative project, dubbed VT 202, will feature two buildings totaling 181,000 square feet of class A industrial space on about 12 acres on the northeast corner of Watkins Street and 59th Avenue.

The facility will be developed on an infill property less than a mile from two interchanges on the Loop 202. The buildings will be able to offer space for tenants looking for 38,000 to 181,000 square feet.

“VT 202 is truly a rare opportunity in the current industrial market, especially in southwest Phoenix,” said VanTrust director of development Jenna Borcherding, in a statement. “We feel that this infill parcel, with great freeway access, is a perfect location for efficient, high quality industrial space. There continues to be incredible demand from small to mid-size users, and VT 202 is ideal for those tenants.”

Building A will comprise 104,687 square feet with 32-feet clear heights, 30 dock-high doors and two grade-level doors. It will also have significant freeway visibility and a secured concrete truck court. Building B will be 76,319 square feet.

Construction started at the end of July, while the facility is expected to be completed in February of 2023. The architect is Butler Design Group. The general contractor is Wespac Construction. Colliers International will handle leasing for the facility.

In other industrial news, almost a year after acquiring eight properties in the Valley, Toronto, Canada-based Oxford Properties Group sold two of them to a Chicago-based real estate investment trust. An entity connected to RREEF Property Trust acquired 188,391 square feet of industrial space at 401, 441, 601 S. 53rd Ave. in Phoenix. Those buildings are right next to one another, according to a map on real estate database Vizzda.

According to an affidavit of property value recorded in Maricopa County, RREEF Property Trust purchased the properties for $31 million. Packaging Corporation of America is a tenant at 441 S. 53rd Ave. Oxford purchased the two buildings for $23.9 million from New York-based KKR Co. last September, part of a $2.2 billion industrial portfolio acquisition totaling 14.5 million square feet across a dozen U.S. markets.

This looks to be RREEF Property Trust's first acquisition in the Grand Canyon State. RREEF Property Trust's portfolio includes multifamily, industrial, retail and office across 10 states. The firm could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Salvation Army paid $1.8 million for a 15,750-square-foot medical office building in Phoenix, according to Vizzda LLC real estate database.

Valleywise Health sold the property, which was built in 1991 on 2.43 acres at 4011 N. 51st Ave. and once housed the Maryvale Community Health Center.

Land Advisors Organization’s health care strategy team composed of Michael Brinkley, Michele Pino and Laurie Sandau, represented Valleywise Health, which is operated by the Maricopa County Special Health Care District. The buyer was represented by Kevin Helland with Avison Young.

Phoenix-based Universal Technical Institute (NYSE: UTI) has moved its Motorcycle Mechanics Institute to its 287,000-square-foot campus in Avondale.

MMI has moved out of 173,000 square feet of leased space at 2932 W. Deer Valley Road in Phoenix to take 60,000 square feet on the UTI Avondale campus.

The move consolidates all of UTI's Arizona training programs at one location in an effort to reduce costs and further the company's real estate optimization strategy.

Phoenix-based ABI Multifamily closed on its 100th property so far this year, with those 2,857 units totaling more than $740 million.

The most recent deal to close was on Aug. 8, for a 176-unit Midtown on Seneca Townhomes in Tucson that sold for $28 million.

ABI Multifamily's Phoenix-based Institutional Apartment Group of Alon Shnitzer, Rue Bax, Eddie Chang, and Doug Lazovick represented the buyer and seller in this transaction.

With offices in Phoenix, Tucson and San Diego, the brokerage recently opened an office in Las Vegas.

Editor's note: The real estate deal wrap is published regularly by the Phoenix Business Journal. Send new real estate transactions and retail/restaurant leases to managing editor Erin Edgemon, eedgemon@bizjournals.com.

Goldrush Reveals First Wave of Artists on 2022 Lineup

Excision, Bob Moses, Chris Lake, Da Tweekaz, Kaskade, and more are set to head to Arizona this October for Goldrush: Neon Dreams.After crafting up yet another larger-than-life edition of Goldrush Music Festival for its return in September of 2021, Relentless Beats got right back in a groove to start planning for this year. This week has seen plenty of hype generated as they teased the initial artists who will play the upcoming edition, which is set to take place at the Phoen...

Excision, Bob Moses, Chris Lake, Da Tweekaz, Kaskade, and more are set to head to Arizona this October for Goldrush: Neon Dreams.

After crafting up yet another larger-than-life edition of Goldrush Music Festival for its return in September of 2021, Relentless Beats got right back in a groove to start planning for this year. This week has seen plenty of hype generated as they teased the initial artists who will play the upcoming edition, which is set to take place at the Phoenix Raceway in Avondale on October 7-9 – and now it’s time to get ready to grab your tickets if you plan to attend.

True to past iterations of Goldrush, the upcoming weekend in the fall is set to bring some of the best artists in the scene to the stage from a range of genres. House music lovers will be stoked to see Chris Lake, Dom Dolla, AC Slater, Noizu, and Kaskade on the lineup, while those looking for more chilled-out vibes will surely flock to Jerro’s set. Bass continues to reign supreme as well with major names like Excision, G Jones, Ghastly, Netsky, Space Laces, and Seven Lions found on the first wave, while 1788-L and REZZ will offer some captivating midtempo soundscapes.

Related: Want to know what the Goldrush experience is like? Check out our review from last year’s edition!

One of the most unique artists on the initial lineup for Goldrush is dynamic duo Da Tweekaz, who have become renowned for bringing the hard dance heat wherever they go. And there are plenty more artists still to be announced by Relentless Beats in the coming months, so stay tuned to their social media channels for those updates as the lineup continues to swell.

Tickets for Goldrush: Neon Dreams go on sale Friday, July 22 at 10 AM PT via their website with options including General Admission, VIP, and Platinum 3-day passes. Payment plans are also available for a low downpayment and free shipping is available during the first weekend of sales.

Goldrush Music Festival 2022 – Phase One Lineup:

Goldrush Music Festival 2022 – Phase One Lineup By Artist:

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