News

Latino Leaders Network Hosts the 63rd Latino Leaders Luncheon Series

On November 13, 2020, the Latino Leaders Network hosted the 63rd Latino Leaders Luncheon Series: “Live from The Paramount LA”  honoring Antonia Hernández, President & CEO of California Community Fund, with the Eagle Leadership Award and The Honorable Richard Alatorre, former California Assemblyman, with the Chairman’s Award.

Molera Alvarez client Coca-Cola was pleased to serve as the Premier Sponsor of the event. Please use the following link to download the video of the program: https://we.tl/t-DdowyBJNzG.

For more information about the Latino Leaders Network, please visit https://www.latinoleadersnetwork.org/.

Posted in Uncategorized |

What are GPLETs, and Why Do They Matter?

GPLET may sound like something you might serve on a Thanksgiving table, but it’s really an economic development tool used to encourage revitalization and infill in areas struggling to attract investment. The Government Property Lease Excise Tax, or GPLET, has been in place under Arizona law since 1996 and allows local governments to tax private entities that lease government property.

The GPLET has played a major role in financing some of Arizona’s most prominent commercial developments, including Phoenix’s Arizona Center, CityScape, and Renaissance Square and the Hayden Ferry Lakeside office complex in Tempe. These types of projects played a major role in anchoring burgeoning downtowns, contributing to the growing prosperity of neighboring property owners, and making Arizona a more appealing destination for investment and tourism.

The GPLET incentivizes development in designated redevelopment/blighted areas by enabling tenants to pay an excise tax to the local government for up to 25 years, instead of a higher property tax. And for eligible projects in central business districts (i.e. downtown areas) the excise tax can be abated for eight years.

Developers who receive GPLETs must improve the value of the property by 100% and excise tax funds go largely to schools and community colleges, as well as counties and cities. GPLETs are particularly useful for dense urban development where building and design costs are higher. These higher costs are due to: dealing with old infrastructure, archeological/environmental issues, and significant demolition; surrounding land vacancies making investments riskier; and difficult-to-obtain financing stemming from lower rates of return for lenders. The GPLET levels the playing field to bring in development where it might not have organically come to fruition on its own. It also creates a stronger tax base for governments and brings down property taxes for surrounding businesses once GPLET terms expire and tenants must pay full property tax.

Today, many of Arizona’s downtown areas are thriving with housing, retail, restaurants, and arts and entertainment venues on every corner – thanks in large part to GPLET developments. In the City of Phoenix alone, 22 GPLET projects have led to the creation of:

  • 3,700 new multi-family and student housing units
  • 5.2M square feet (SF): office space
  • 900,000 SF retail and restaurant space
  • 1,201 hotel rooms 
  • 679,000 SF of higher education space 
  • 8,200 structured parking spaces 
  • 17,800 new jobs 
  • $3.03B in construction capital investment 
  • $17M annual tax impact to the City

As neighborhoods, transportation corridors, and business districts change, so must use of GPLETs to ensure they are employed in communities with the greatest gaps in development.

Further Reading
Arizona Department of Revenue
City of Phoenix

Posted in Uncategorized |

Managing Partner Appointed to Board of National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

Molera Alvarez Managing Partner, Ruben Alvarez, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the National Assembly of State Art Agencies (NASAA), a professional association comprised of the nation’s 56 state and jurisdictional art agencies. Initially being appointed to serve on the board of the Arizona Commission on the Arts in 2012 by Governor Jan Brewer, Ruben has been a longtime patron of the arts here in the valley. Ruben is honored by his appointment stating, “I look forward to working with the leadership of NASAA to help advance the organization’s goals and to also help grow support for arts in Arizona at the national level.”

To learn more about the NASAA, please click here.

Posted in Uncategorized |

November 2020 Election Updates

The 2020 General Election took place on November 3rd and Arizona has been in the spotlight of national attention as one of the key swing states for the presidential and senate race. Arizona saw record voter turnout with 79% turnout and about 20,000 outstanding ballots. Former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by less than 1-point in Arizona which was a crucial state that President Trump needed to win in order to win his re-election. In the Senate race, Mark Kelly saw initial wide leads over incumbent Martha McSally which have narrowed as ballots have been counted but Mark Kelly is still forecasted to win. The Republicans kept the majority in both the State House and Senate. In LD28 in the Senate, incumbent Kate Brophy McGee is losing to Democrat opponent Christine Marsh which will leave the Senate with a 16-14 split. In the House, Republicans lost a seat in LD20 to Democrat Judy Schwiebert and gained a seat in LD4 with Joel John therefore keeping the 31-29 split.

Posted in Community News, Legislative News |

JPMorgan Chase Commits $30 Billion to Advance Racial Equity

This month JPMorgan Chase announced a commitment plan to assist marginalized communities and provide them economic opportunity. This new plan has outlined specific areas where JPMorgan will allocate its resources, especially in Black and Latinx communities. Over the next five years, JPMorgan Chase has committed $30 billion to the cause. To learn more about JPMorgan Chase and their detailed commitments please click here.

Posted in Client News |

CoreCivic Hosts 29th Charity Golf Classic

On October 1st CoreCivic hosted its 29th annual Chairman’s Charity Golf Classic ensuring the safety of all those involved through necessary health protocols set in place. The organization felt it was important to host the event despite the struggles that have emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, to give back to areas of the community still in need of their help. To keep everyone safe, social distancing was enforced as well as mandatory health screenings, face masks, and hand sanitizer. CoreCivic was able to raise $575,000 that will aid formerly incarcerated individuals, victims of abuse and crime, and underserved youth. To learn more about the event and its beneficiaries click here.

Posted in Client News |

EB-5 Investor Visa Program

In the wake of COVID-19, there have been enough changes to immigration, visa, and international travel policies to make all our heads spin. For would-be immigrants, obtaining a U.S. visa or Green Card at this time may seem impossible. However, the EB-5 investor visa program, which helps bring foreign investment and economic growth to the U.S. economy, is still accepting visa applications. The EB-5 program—which provides Green Cards for qualified international investors who invest at least $900,000 in a U.S. business and create 10 jobs—was reauthorized by Congress on Sept. 30, 2020, as part of the continuing resolution extending federal government funding through Dec. 11, 2020. Congress is likely to extend this job-creating program, which has held strong over several administrations since its inception in 1990, and was never included in the Trump Administration’s April proclamation suspending U.S. entry for foreign nationals under several temporary visas. However, it is possible changes may be made after December, so now is the time to participate.

If you know anyone who might be interested in investing in an EB-5 project and bringing much-needed jobs to our economy, we can help. Contact Carmen Ronan at cr@ma-firm.com to learn more.

Posted in Community News |

Maricopa Association of Governments Reflect’s on COVID-19’s Impact on Tourism in Arizona

The Maricopa Association of Governments recently released an in-depth report on COVID-19’s effects on Arizona tourism and trade with North America. The white paper provides important data on how the pandemic has dealt a major blow to the leisure and hospitality sector, with tourism jobs decreasing by 61,100 since February (see graph above). It also details trilateral fluctuations in manufacturing exports and imports; notably, that manufacturing exports from Arizona to Mexico dropped 41.5% in April and are now recovering, but still below 2019 levels. It also discusses COVID-19’s impacts on Mexico’s automotive industry and North American supply chains and offers an outlook for Fall 2020.

Posted in Community News |

US Conference of Mayors’ resolution against “Fair Competition” legislation

The Hon. Stephen Benjamin, former President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors from 2018 to 2019 and current Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina recently submitted an op-ed article published by Morning Consult on the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ recently passed resolution to support local control of water infrastructure projects. In the op-ed article, he notes that infrastructure projects will be one of the best ways to kickstart the economy and states. He mentions, “according to a report from the American Society of Civil Engineers, deteriorating infrastructure and service disruptions increase costs to families, many of whom were struggling even before the pandemic. Those costs could reach as high as $14 billion by 2039 unless we take action now by investing in water infrastructure projects. The report notes that such an investment would protect almost 636,000 jobs and protect $2.9 trillion in gross domestic product.” He goes on to state “In cities, counties and other municipalities around the country, there are dedicated professionals who have the knowledge, training, and experience to know how best to deliver clean drinking water to meet the needs of their communities. They exercise their expertise when they create local community-wide specifications for their water systems. We can show our trust in them by deferring to their pipe specifications — instead of restricting their choice through heavy-handed state and federal mandates.” For the full op-ed article, please click on the following link: https://morningconsult.com/opinions/kickstart-the-economy-with-infrastructure-projects-done-right/.

Posted in Community News, Legislative News |

Molera Alvarez Managing Partner Moderates Phoenix City Council District 7 Forum

Molera Alvarez Managing Partner, Ruben Alvarez, was honored to host the Phoenix Community Alliance’s City Council District 7 Candidates’ Forum on Tuesday, October 6th.  Four out of the five City Council District 7 candidates participated. Yassamin Ansari, Cinthia Estela, G. Grayson Flunoy, and Francisca Montoya were able to give viewers insight into their leadership styles and vision for Phoenix by each answering the same questions which centered around nonpartisan issues important to city residents, specifically related to the Downtown Phoenix area. The election for the City Council District 7 seat is November 3rd, 2020. Click here to find an in-person voting location or ballot drop-off box near you.

Posted in Community News, Molera Alvarez News |