Arizona Takings Law on Review in January, 2014

Around Thanksgiving, the Arizona Supreme Court agreed to hold argument and consider the appeal of the City of Phoenix (joined by a number of other political subdivisions from around the state) in the matter of City of Phoenix v. Garretson. This case was decided by the Arizona Court of Appeals earlier this year in an opinion that contained some anomalies, from my perspective. In Garretson, the property owner lost its “best” access point as a result of light-rail construction to a downtown arterial, Jefferson Street, cut off from the land by a concrete barrier along the south side of the light rail tracks. By no means, however, was the parcel deprived of all access. Indeed, it appears that the owner’s remaining access to Madison Street is fairly decent.
The city made two arguments the Court of Appeals didn’t buy. First, a valid exercise of city police power (assuring public safety, expressed via putting up the concrete barrier) also “cut off” the owner’s right to compensation. Second, the access to the land was not so substantially impaired as to constitute a total taking (depriving the owner of all productive use of the land) or anything close to it – hence, no constitutional deprivation of a property right demanding “just compensation.” Of course, there was no physical occupancy of the Garretson property by the city, as the barricade is within the city’s right of way. Garretson’s counsel argued to the Court that a decrease in value resulting from the loss of Jefferson Street access raised an issue of fact on the extent of damages, requiring jury consideration and, therefore, eliminating a possible summary judgment for the city.
While the Court of Appeals didn’t rule on the merits of the “taking” argument, it did rule that there was no summary judgment available on these facts. Alas, in making this ruling, the Court did imply that there was a taking in the offing. This seems contrary to authority elsewhere. In states such as California and Texas, the general rule seems to be that a property owner is not constitutionally entitled to “optimal” access, but just reasonable ingress from and egress to, neighboring publicly-dedicated streets. Only when the access becomes a joke to navigate into the site does the deprivation of “better” access rise to the level of a taking. Our court of appeals appeared to be supporting a far more lax standard.
The other anomaly in the Court of Appeals opinion is the statement beginning on the opinion’s 28th page that while “substantial impairment” of access to the owner’s land is usually a question of fact, “a trial judge obviously retains the power to make the determination [of impairment] as a matter of law if a property owner fails to establish a genuine issue of material fact as to whether such impairment has occurred.” Huh? So, if counsel for the owner cannot demonstrate constitutionally sufficient impairment with facts, using maps, expert testimony from traffic engineers, land planners or who/what have you, the judge can intervene to pronounce substantial impairment as a matter of law? It will be interesting to see whether our Supreme Court endorses that observation. The implications of judges having the right as a matter of law to determine substantial impairment of access are doubtlessly frightening to transportation land planners working for all Arizona government agencies.

Oral argument on City of Phoenix v. Garretson will be held at the Appellate Courthouse on Washington Street near the Capitol on January 22, 2014 at 10 a.m.

Squatting takes on new meaning

Junk and unmentionables


I have previously written about a property I have been working on (for much too long), that involved a note purchase, then a foreclosure, then eviction of squatters. It has gotten even more interesting.

When I evicted the squatters, they bought or somehow obtained a small camper, and they moved into it, along with their 50 or so cats and a small amount of the furniture and stuff they kept from the house they were occupying. They finally moved, unfortunately, across the fence onto the neighbor’s property, and proceeded to make a mess of that area as well.

A few weeks ago I hired a landscaper to clear off the debris and weeds on the property, and he had it looking pretty good! I stopped by just two days ago to check on some final work I needed done, before marketing the property, and I found that there was much debris in the yard… from the squatters.

Apparently, a couple weeks ago, when the next door property owners were on vacation, the squatters sold their two prize hogs for drug money or something. When the owners came back, a fight ensued and one of the squatters ended up arrested and in the hospital. The other squatter got summarily evicted from that property … and moved to the property directly behind that one. On the way, they left garbage bags full of feces, pepsi bottles full of urine, and tons of accumulated garbage… which they tried to haul through my property to get to the other one, leaving a trail of … waste … and garbage. I had just paid someone to clean up the property and was not surprisingly, a little upset. So the sheriff is going out to cite her for criminal littering, and I called the county health department and the zoning department to see what can be done. The current parcel owner doesn’t care and is in bankruptcy and I don’t think anyone is paying rent — all squatting. The bags of human fertilizer give new meaning to the word “Squatter”.

The Frank Dodd act -Otherwise known as the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

Most legislation is created to solve a problem; for example, if there are too many people drowning on a beach, then a law might be passed to increase the number of lifeguards, or the hours of operation might be restricted, or some other action taken to address the problem. Most legislation includes the problem, the proposed solution, the enforcement authority, and the method of funding.

The Frank Dodd act is a little different; it created a high level organization like the FAA or the FCC; these agencies promulgate rules to keep the airwaves fair, or the skies safe. Because Congress is not an expert on telecommunications, nor on aviation, these agencies hire experts in these areas and promulgate rules. And, congress votes on their budgets every year.

Frank Dodd is different. The biggest difference is that the scope of the Act is massive; it includes almost every financial service relating to consumer housing that exists, including HUD. But that is not the biggest issue. The biggest one is that the agency that was created is funded by an allocation each year, based on GDP, directly from the federal reserve system. This year’s allocation was about 500,000,000. Yup, a half a billion dollars.

And while this agency is designed to protect the consumer, it is likely to have a chilling effect on the housing market. Rental rates are likely to increase, and lesser qualified folks, and first-time home buyers are going to suffer. And… someone deeply involved with this agency is going to profit, big-time. Because there will be two kinds of mortgage, starting January 10 of 2014. The Qualified Mortgages, wherein the borrower is very, very low risk, and the Other (or non-qualified) Mortgages. These will not be able to be sold to Fannie or Freddie, and so they will be higher cost, higher fees, better returns for investors. Where will they go? They will be bought by a hedge fund owned by … someone who was deeply involved in this agency.

Just gotta love Washington.



Did you just ‘accidentally’ sell your new TV?

When we list homes for sale, most of us ask the seller if there is anything they don’t intend to sell. The standard Arizona real estate contract specifies what fixtures and personal property transfer in a sale. Most of the items mentioned are sensible, such as free-standing stoves, ceiling fans, outdoor landscaping, and the like.

But there are a few things that we don’t think so much about — such as your prized outdoor garden fountain. Yep, it transfers unless you specifically write in the contract that it doesn’t. Same for your storage shed, satellite dish, sun screens, water softeners…and drapes! Yup, your drapes go with the home unless you specify otherwise in a counter offer.

But the stickler is fixtures. What is a fixture? Generally it is anything that is permanently attached to the house, such as a sink, or a radiator, or anything that is built-in or screwed into the wall. And that includes your new flat screen TV! Most of these TVs are screwed onto a bracket, and the bracket is screwed into the wall.  So they are fixtures.

What other interesting things transfer? Your fireplace tools, pool cleaner, central vac hoses and attachments, outdoor lighting (such as landscape lighting), and all lighting fixtures.

So be sure you hire the right agent! It could be very costly for you if you accidentally sell one of your treasured possessions.


What’s up with the real estate market (Phoenix)? September 2013

Last week I had lunch at an event arranged by a friend of mine, and the guest speaker was from the Cromford Report, a report that analyzes trends in the Phoenix market. A year ago, I went to the same event and he predicted that we would have a buying frenzy in the spring. Partially as a result of that prediction, one of my clients decided to sell out their entire portfolio, and it really was a major frenzy. So from that experience and a few others, I give much weight to his comments about the market.

One of the interesting graphs that he showed was a plot of the average real estate price, starting from 1950. Most charts we see today look at 2005-current, or from 1990 – current. The longer term trend is more interesting. First, on average, the prices rise a little faster than inflation. We are currently below that target.

Second, there have been several “bubbles”, one being around the time of the S&L crisis, and the most recent one bottoming in 2011. In each of these cycles, in hindsight, it is pretty easy to see that there are hitches and bumps in the recovery process.

The Phoenix market has been really charged up lately — and now seems to be softening. It looks like buyers have started to back off, especially in the above 300k range. (I have a current listing less than 150k and it has been on the market for a month – unheard of, a few months ago!) The lower end is still strong though (my listing not withstanding). So is this a “top”, or just a pause?

The Federal Reserve announced at the end of this week, that they will print Even More Money. So this should alleviate interest rate concerns; and the Cromford Report presenter thinks that we are having a little buyer’s revolt around prices (up some 25%-30% in the last year). But he said that this was just a little pause, and we will continue to see a strong market, and increasing prices.

According to the statistics, we are very close to being in a more “normal” market, in terms of the number of homes for sale, the number pending (under contract), and the number of new listings each week. Still a seller’s market, but maybe not for much longer. It looks to be turning into a market that favors neither buyers nor sellers.

Another interesting statistic was about rental properties. Something like 20% of the homes in Phoenix are rentals. Most of us know that the lower end of the market has been dominated by hedge funds and REITs such as Colony homes, Blackstone, and others. These funds have been buying many, many homes. However, they account for a very, very small number of the rental homes! Most rental properties in Phoenix are owned by individual investors!

The effect of the funds buying in the low end has not had much effect, unless you were a buyer yourself trying to compete against their offers! It has been very difficult for a first time home buyer using financing, for example, to buy an inexpensive home.

Rental rates for single family homes have not increased very rapidly; only the larger apartment complex owners have been raising their prices. This is partly because credit has loosened, the foreclosure crisis is all but over, and FHA is willing now to allow people with a foreclosure or short sale to get financing much sooner.

Finally, he had a chart of the population change in Maricopa County since 1950, and alongside this chart, the number of new homes built each year (including apartment units). These two trends followed each other closely, until this year. This year, immigration is up, but home starts have not kept pace. It looks like there is now, or will shortly be, a shortage in starter homes. An opportunity for some builders?

So all in all, we are coming into a set of more typical market conditions, and it looks like prices will continue to rise. the below $200,000 market remains strong, and the higher end is seeing longer days on the market. Inventory is rising. This little pause we are having right now might be a great time to buy, if you have been frustrated by all the institutional buying that has been hammering the lower end of the market.


The Real Estate Profession in Arizona

When I got my real estate license, my co-blogger and friend Mike told me that I would probably be able to pass the test without taking any classes. I had been an investor in real estate for a long time, and I decided to get my license because my flips had gone from 55k homes to 155k homes, and I didn’t want to give away an extra 6% on every deal (3% in, 3% out). So I went to the Arizona School of Real Estate and Business, and for about $1,000, took 120 hours of classes (all in a row, two week crash program because I thrive on immersion), and took the test a week later, with a 95%+ score.

So could I have passed without the classes? Probably not, because there was some stuff I didn’t know (mostly that doesn’t matter in regular real estate, such as how the Baseline and Meridian survey system works, how many people are on the real estate board, what the commissioner’s powers are, etc.) although there was some stuff I didn’t know that is important (how to fill out a HUD form, how agency law applies in real estate, stuff like that).

Generally the classes were really interesting to me, and I had a blast taking them, looking forward to being down there every day. The classes were broken into a math section and a non-math section, because there is lots of math they think you need to know to be a real estate licensee. Since I have a math degree, the classes that most people find daunting, were really boring.

The other fun thing about the classes is that it appeared that lots of the students thought it was really a fashion show… but I digress.

After going through all the classes and before you take the state exam, you have to pass the school exam; I studied for the weekend (last class was on Friday) and took the school test Monday. Then it was off to the test center to take the state test.

After all was said and done, I felt pretty much ready to practice real estate as a profession. Wow, was I wrong. I had no business trying to help people sell real estate at that point. Sure, it was legal, and I had all the knowledge, right? Not exactly…

In a similar experience, I went through the (very brief) classes for, and took the state test, to be a financial advisor. I passed all the tests, and then ultimately decided not to get the license. Again, I had no business being a financial advisor at the time, even though it would be legal.

These are two professions in which the public entrusts some of the biggest, most important, most life-altering decisions to a state licensed person.

What about when you go to get your hair cut, or your nails done? How much education is required for that? And experience? This was shocking to me:

BARBER LICENSE: 1500 Hours (Call Board of Barbering)
ELECTROLOGIST LICENSE: 500 Hours (Call Board of Radiology ARRA)
COSMETOLOGY INSTRUCTOR LICENSE: Cosmetology License for 1 Year + 650 Hours
ESTHETICIAN INSTRUCTOR LICENSE: Esthetician License for 1 Year + 500 Hours
NAIL TECHNOLOGY INSTRUCTOR LICENSE: Nail Technician License for 1 Year + 350 Hours

Real estate license: 120 hours

Is it any wonder that real estate agents often have poor reputations, one up (maybe) from used car salesmen? For sure there are some great options (but not requirements) to be a much better real estate agent, such as the GRI designation and lots of others. What about brokers, as opposed to “regular” agents? Pretty much you go through the exact same set of classes over again, another 120 hours, and take pretty much the same test again. Not much difference, except you have to take a brief “broker management” class that has a few more of the legal record keeping and agent legal procedures information tidbits in it. But as for getting more information… no.

After an agent has closed 50 or 100 deals, they are usually ready to perform transactions. So how does an agent get to 50 deals? The best way is for them to have a mentor, someone who guides them through the first bunch of transactions. There will be lots of initial handholding, but after 10-15 transactions, this is minimal and there are just occasional questions. Still, unusual situations still arise. I closed a large number of transactions in the first half of the year, and there were a few surprises. I closed one just this week in which I got a surprise. This after several hundred deals… we are all still students, still learning.

The first thing that needs to happen to our industry is a dramatic increase in the requirements to get a license. This will weed out all the weekend warrior agents, and that alone will do wonders. The agents who have held a license for 10 years and have done 20 transactions are not generally busy enough to really understand the market and the business; for them to represent clients is a disservice, in my opinion.

The second thing is a required mentorship. Many brokerages are starting to require it, but there are just as many that will sign you up if you have a license and a pulse, and let you go about your business. This is because the prevalent broker models in Arizona are more about renting office space for a monthly fee than promoting agent quality.

And before a licensee heads out on their own, they need a certain number of transactions under their belt, and they need to be signed off by a mentor.

The laws regarding real estate licenses are strict; they have a moral turpitude clause in them, among other things. The department can revoke a license if they feel that a licensee is acting with poor moral character! I think this is rarely done, but there it is. Perhaps we need similar requirements for public figures such as movie stars and sports figures. More about that in another post.


Not your mother’s America’s Cup

I have been a big sailing fan for many years. I grew up with America being the only nation to hold the America’s Cup — and Dennis Conner was the winningest skipper. At least, until Australia beat us!

When they were still building the yachts according to the 12 meter rules, building the monohull boats, and flying spinnakers … I loved to watch the tacking duals, the protests, the close races. It was exciting.

During those days, a small business on the island of Saint Martin acquired a bunch of old 12 meter boats, namely Stars and Stripes from the Australia challenge, and several Canada boats. I was in the islands for the first time, and I got to take a ride on Stars and Stripes, as a “crew member” (they charge you $60 for a 1 or 2 hour “race” against the other boats, mostly for cruise ship passengers.)

When we were there, though, a hurricane had just rolled through and torn up lots of the island. And I was sitting on the dock in Phillipsburg, the day before I was supposed to leave, and this Englishman walks up to me and asks me, when are you leaving?

“Tomorrow,” I said. “Well that’s too bad, I am looking for crew members.”

“For what?”

He smiled, and explained that the Heineken regatta was two weeks away, and he needed some sailing crews to man his boats that he was entering. Well it was Colin Percy, who owned the “Sint Maarten 12 Metre Regatta” business, and he wanted me to crew … a 12 meter Armerica’s cup yacht! How could I say no?

I talked to my boss at work (at the time I was the principal engineer at a local Phoenix company that built network test equipment), and his response was pretty much “How can you say no? Go!” So I flew back to the USA for a few days to take care of some things, and went right back down to Saint Martin, and started training with the rest of the crew.

I got to crew for one of Dennis Conner’s skippers, and for Chris Dixon, who was an America’s cup skipper and a 3 time world match racing champion. Even had a drink with him, in the bar.

On one of the race days during the regatta, we had a “guest” on the boat, admiral Ellis of the USS Enterprise. He was a burly guy, so he got to be the main grinder — our tactician was a smallish Scot, Roddy Anderson, who really knew his stuff, and the whole race he was yelling at Ellis, “C’mon, man, put yer back into it!” Later I asked him if he knew who our guest was… “You mean I’ve been yelling at a bloody Admiral??” Later, Ellis invited us over to the Enterprise, he gave us a nice tour. Wow. I can say I have been on the bridge of the Enterprise!

After the race, I offered to buy the sailing crew dinner at a local restaurant. We ran into a table of really cute girls. It was Playboy magazine, they were on the island for a shoot… It was a fun night. Heck, it was a fun month.

Since then, the cup regatta has changed lots. There has been lots of time spent in courts, talking about the rules, there was a one sided race between a monohull and a catamaran, lots of crazy stuff.

This year, though, is different. The 12 meter boats were lucky to make 18 mph. These boats… 50(!!) mph. Take a look:

America’s Cup 2013


I like to fish.

I have fished with lures, with worms, trolling, casting — lots of ways. And I thought I knew, pretty much, how to catch fish.

My brother and I go out on a lake in New York from time to time, and we fish. We catch bass, pike, perch, other stuff, but mostly bass and pike. Some people think pike are a trash fish, but trash or no, it is really fun to pull a 10 pound pike into the boat. Heck, it is fun to pull almost any fish into the boat.

A few years ago (ok more than a few…) I made friends with Gary Senft, who is the bass pro at Bass Proshop in Phoenix, and is also sponsored by Nitro, Lowrance, and a bunch of other bass fishing related companies. Gary has taken me fishing, in Arizona, many times; and we ALWAYS catch a bunch of fish. He knows the lakes, he knows his methods. They work.

So this year we invited him to come stay at our New York place, and, well, do some fishing. Now he did not use lures or plugs or anything like that. In fact, he brought his “tackle box” which consisted solely of a bunch of hooks he uses on Arizona lakes, and a large bag of random rubber worms and stuff. “This will be interesting,” I thought.

At least I thought it until he pulled in some 20 fish in a couple hours on a lake he had never fished before…

Of course, now I think he is spoiled, because while it has been 119 around Phoenix, we were fishing in cloudy to partly cloudy (and sometimes rainy) weather where the high was about 80. Gary showed us, my brother and me, how he fishes in Arizona, and how it works just fine. The bass in New York apparently are the same personality as the ones in Arizona.

He had some locals invite him to compete in a local bass tournament, and I am sure he would have done well, but he had to get back to his Arizona lakes.

So now my brother and I are fishing with rubber worms and funny looking hooks… I miss using a Meps or a Jimmy  Houston weedless spinner.. but I can’t argue with success!


Joint Tenancies – A Residential Escapade

marijuana-leafI have been representing an out of state property owner for several years. Recently, they contacted me to list and sell some of their properties, mostly tenant occupied. For the most part, this is a simple process of finding investors who want to keep the property and tenant just as they are, and they will perform a minimal inspection to make sure there are no issues. A few do a regular professional inspection after a walk through if they think that there might be some issues.

We try not to disturb the tenants, requiring a signed contract before we permit inspections; this has worked pretty well, and it also has the effect of driving out the potential buyers who aren’t as serious or perhaps as experienced. Mostly the tenants are nice, and we arrange a mutually agreeable time when we can inspect, and that’s that. Every now and then, we have tenants who will not permit the inspection, and we have to serve a two day notice, and show up with a locksmith. It is rare, and in one instance we discovered that someone was illegally subletting the property. In another instance, the tenant was growing weed in the unit.

When we filed the notice to inspect, the tenant called me in a panic, now saying we are not allowed to go into two of the 3 bedrooms…. because he is growing a certain medicinal plant, all legal he says. And opening the doors will “damage” the plants.

I spoke with the department of Health and they say if he has a permit to grow them, then it is ok, the permit renews annually and if there is a dispensary within 25 miles then they won’t renew it. Oh and he can grow 12 of them. And if he is a care giver, for up to 5 other people and has care giver cards, then he can grow 12 for each of them, so up to 72 plants.

We recently had the forcible detainer hearing, and the tenant showed up with a pro-bono attorney who was actually well prepared. Our attorney, for reasons I do not understand, chose to file based on a violation of the crime free lease addendum which specifically states that the tenant will not do anything in violation of the federal controlled substances act. (Personally I would have just notified them based on an inability to inspect). 

Their attorney argued that this was a state eviction, a state matter, and if we were to evict based on a federal statute, that we should be in federal court. Our attorney argued that it is a simple contract dispute, because the tenant signed the crime free lease addendum and the landlord had an expectation that nothing illegal was going on in the unit, specifically addressing the federal statute explicitly named in the addendum.

There was lots of posturing but ultimately the judge ruled for us, and granted summary judgement, which they said they would appeal. So the story continues. I’ll write a future post detailing how this all works out.


Pondering Pela’s Paradox, Part Four

In this post, I wrap up musing about Robert Pela’s challenge to implement authentic retail shopping experiences in downtown Phoenix, an issue he raised during Urban Planning Week in early April. When it comes to retail shopping, I’m inclined to libertarian thinking. Just as consumers verify what they desire in consumer goods, I think the market tells you where to locate the marketplace. Our city has unique assets to experiment with, allowing “crowd wisdom” of downtown dwellers to determine the best city center locations for appropriately-sized stores. Consider all the vacant lots and buildings in the downtown grid south of I-10 and north of Jackson Street between 3rd Avenue and 7th Street. These vacant lots and underdeveloped sites support installing local shops to test market demand for various types of food purveyors like bakeries, deli/cheese shops and other specialty food shops – and optimal sites for these merchants.

How can the City move forward the experiment? First, revise the Downtown Code to authorize for limited periods “pop-up” facilities to house small merchants. If food trucks can attract hundreds of customers living and visiting downtown, why should pop-up stores (without wheels) be less attractive? Merchants should be allowed to erect small shops in repurposed ISOs – cargo storage containers – on vacant lots and even on rooftops of buildings having strong flat roofs, such as city parking garages. What would be the result of having a pop-up group of stores on a few public garages downtown open at least during October through April when air conditioning doesn’t have to run 24 hours daily? (I’m not arguing that air conditioning isn’t needed during peak shopping hours where perishables are sold. Still, a merchant can supply a room-sized air conditioning unit to sufficiently cool the shop’s interior for a few hours daily.) The experiment would reveal the optimal permanent locations for these stores. LOT-EK is spearheading the use of a series of ‘incuboxes’ – re-purposed shipping containers that will be used as pop-up shops and concept stores – in the total makeover of Pier 57 in downtown Manhattan. New York’s City Council has backed the plan. The shops will reside topside of the redeveloped pier center. You can read about the concept and see renderings of the Pier 57 proposal at Does using an insulated cargo storage container as a store on office rooftops or garage top floors sound nutty to you? Well, do you plan on parking on the exposed top floor of a public garage if you can avoid it? The uncovered rooftops of public garages generally are reachable by elevators; and they’re empty most of the time on weekends, evenings and otherwise most of the time when employees of public agencies have any choice at all over where they park.

The second city initiative is to promote City government as an “authority entrepreneur,” to borrow from Edward H. Ziegler. Let the City donate (or rent at nominal sums) sites to promote the experiment – sites turned over to merchants under temporary licenses with all necessary utilities lines installed for connection and otherwise ready for occupancy when the ISOs are anchored in some fashion to avoid adverse effects of occasional inclement weather and danger to shoppers. Indeed, the City could provide each merchant with a standardized “pre-wired and plumbed” ISO to move onto an available site. Since ISOs are fundamentally indestructible anyway (corrugated steel walls, floors and roofs, “compromised” only to the degree of openings cut for doors, windows and air conditioning units), the containers can be recycled and moved between locations when one license lapses and another commences. The City ought to make these units available to applicants for a retail license who can prove prior experience in retailing and the financial capacity to be able to cover its business expenses for a minimum period of one year. With a license and an ISO available, all the new downtown merchants need provide are staff, merchandise, floor and window coverings, food handling and other health/safety licenses and proof of liability and property insurance insuring themselves and the City. (Yes, of course it’s more complex, but this is the picture from 10 thousand feet aloft. Big ideas require one not to get lost in the minutiae at the moment of the idea’s inception.)

Phoenix will recoup some of its outlay to merchants by imposing a modest business license fee/tax on sales from temporary locations. Why should Phoenix make this investment? One, because it’s time for our City to be proactive, not simply reacting to downtown initiatives inspired from the private sector. Two, our citizens across the City (not just downtown) have everything to gain by an in-migration of skilled workers and members of the so-called “creative class” who want to live in a more vibrant downtown. Three, by enabling retailers other than hotels, bars and restaurants to succeed downtown, the City messages the development and mercantile communities that government is “on board,” welcoming commercial density that doesn’t diminish the pedestrian scale – which in turn will encourage other “big ideas” for making our city’s center livable, that is, eliminating the need to bust out of downtown to find the commodities of daily residential life.

After a few years of experimenting with various “pop-up” locations for specialty food shops and small groceries around downtown, consumers (both permanent dwellers and students in dorms) will tell downtown Phoenix where they want to buy their eggs, meat, dairy, paper products and baked goods. Perhaps the answer will be “Circle K,” if its business model is superior to those of small merchants. Maybe a few “micro-centers” will be identified downtown optimally serving the local population. Then, the city can determine where local public transportation ought to “daisy-chain,” delivering residents to and from those shopping nodes by jitney-style transportation, where there is a more or less fixed route, with occasional deviations for a special stop–like Houston is doing in its downtown. Let the experiment begin!