El Rancho Del Arte, Mesa, AZ
Goal: Celebrate the strong local Latino culture and provide critically needed workforce housing for families with children in a Transit Oriented Design (TOD) location and invite in the surrounding community.
Situated just outside of Phoenix in the bustling arts city of Mesa, El Rancho del Arte is one of CDP’s first acquisition, demolition, and new construction projects of a blighted motel. Completed in July of 2015 and serving Mesa’s low-income families earning 40-60% of the area’s median income (AMI), El Rancho del Arte’s 66-units sits on 1.4 acres and is comprised of 2 and 3-bedroom units. The local community has a large artist contingent as the City of Mesa has invested heavily in pursuit of creating a local culture conducive to supporting the arts. We worked closely with local artists to create a product that engages the community in the arts through public art pieces. In addition to the public art elements, there is also a large communal gallery, a flexible studio space for children’s after school programming, a media room, computer lab, an outdoor dining area, a community garden, and a pool. Onsite services include after-school programming with Cultural Coalition, community gardening and cooking classes offered through Local First Arizona, and opportunities to engage with El Rancho del Sol, the adjacent sister property, and their onsite operating providers such as Local First Arizona and WeCycle.
El Rancho del Arte was the first phase of our Mesa El Rancho community, born of a distinct vision for low-income family housing that also provides enriching, culturally relevant experiences and supportive services. This project came to fruition after CDP established a relationship with a 1940’s motel owner/operator who was a patient Seller and appreciated CDP’s vision for the property and mission to serve the community. By analyzing the Arizona Department of Housing’s Qualified Allocation Plan closely CDP had identified that a TOD project in the City of Mesa located along the light rail line would be competitive for 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits, especially given the blighted nature of the existing motel.
Number of Units: 66
Lot Size: 1.4 acres
Density: 47.1 units/acre
Unit Size: 842-1,072 square feet
Unit Mix: 5 2BD/1BA, 36 2BD/2BA, 25 3BD/2BA
Parking Spaces: 69 spaces
Affordability: 40% / 50% / 60% AMI
Sustainability: ADOH Prescriptive Path
Architect: Perlman Architects
Contractor: ICON Builders
Property Management: Celtic
Non-Profit Partner: Integrity Housing
CDP is proud to partner with these organizations, dedicated to bettering the lives not only of El Rancho del Arte’s residents, but of those lower-income residents in surrounding communities.
Bringing vibrancy and emphasizing the community’s cultures at El Rancho, Cultural Coalition operates onsite leading programming that focuses on the education and promotion of the indigenous cultures of the area. Cultural Coalition’s goal is to provide community engagement through unique cultural programs and to celebrate diverse cultures, serve families, provide cultural education and create new traditions. Cultural Coalition leads the after-school programming for kids living at the El Rancho properties, incorporating music, arts, dance, and provide homework help. Additionally, the organization has created a space for teenagers that promotes civic engagement.
Local First Arizona
To bring an entrepreneurial spirit to the El Rancho communities, Local First Arizona was engaged to lead programming and micro-entrepreneurship courses in the commercial kitchen and offices at El Rancho del Sol. Local First Arizona is a nonprofit organization that celebrates independent, locally owned businesses. They support, promote and advocate for a strong local business community and raise public awareness of the economic and cultural benefits provided by strong local economies. Local First created the El Rancho Kitchen program where residents and community members can go through their Dreambuilder and Fuerza Locale courses and once they graduate, can operate their food businesses in the El Rancho Kitchen space regularly. Additionally, Local First engages with the residents at del Sol through offering cooking classes in the kitchen, gardening classes that contribute to their farm to table program, and hosting donation-based community meals once per week at no or very little cost to residents.
As a friendship developed with Zarco it quickly became apparent that integrating artwork from a local artist into the project would be a cornerstone of creating pride of place for the community which was located in a historically Latino area. Zarco, as an expert mask maker and master of many other artistic endeavors is a third generation Mesan of Mexican descent. His process of creating the art that adorns the interiors and exterior of El Rancho Del Arte was a thoughtful one and the experiential nature of the public art is something that every resident experiences every day. We’re grateful for Zarco welcoming us into his community and for being a part of the El Rancho community.