Belgravia News May 12, 2022

Why This Chicago Developer Selected Phoenix for Initial Out-of-State Expansion

A Chicago developer of luxury condominiums is expanding outside of its state for the first time in its 70-year history and has honed in on Arizona. Here’s why.

Chicago-based Belgravia Group Ltd. has selected metro Phoenix for its first out-of-state expansion in its 70-year history, with plans for huge growth in the Valley.

With plans to invest $100 million to develop its first luxury condominium in north Scottsdale, the developer views metro Phoenix as the land of opportunity.

Speaking of land, Jonathan McCulloch, co-CEO of Belgravia, said he's scouting for suitable parcels for future projects in the region.

"We're looking," he said. "We have nothing definitive at this point. But part of what's worked well for us in Chicago is building strong leadership, whether that's contractors, engineers, subcontractors and other agencies we've worked with time and again. Our first project in a new market will be the first start of creating those relationships. I hope we find some great partners."

Its first project, called Portico - North Scottsdale, will feature 112 luxury condominiums within DMB Associate's One Scottsdale development, a mixed-use project that will include up to 2.8 million square feet of retail and office space, 2,000 residential units and 400 hotel rooms upon completion.

Homes will be priced starting in the mid $500,000s up to $1.7 million, McCulloch said.

When the Belgravia team started talking about expanding outside of its Chicago headquarters, Belgravia Chairman Alan Lev suggested metro Phoenix. He had spent 20 years visiting the area, and purchased a winter home here about six or seven years ago, McCulloch said.

The fundamentals of the Phoenix economy made sense, he said.

"As a homebuilder, there are a couple of core economic data points we always want to look at," McCulloch said. "One of the strongest is population growth."

Belgravia sees opportunity in mid-priced luxury product

Not only has the population been growing in metro Phoenix over the past several years, but the coronavirus pandemic has created even more demand, he said.

"We saw a supply/demand balance on a broad scale," he said, especially when it comes to a mid-priced product that's not ultra-custom luxury; likening it to a BMW rather than a Bentley.

"We see an opportunity for us, sticking to our bread and butter of a very nice luxury product without having to shoot for the top of the market," he said.

McCulloch said he also doesn't have a goal to be the biggest producer of condominiums in metro Phoenix.

"We've always been an intentionally mid-sized company, and it's served us well," he said.

The communities Belgravia will develop in the Valley likely will range anywhere from 50 to 150 units.

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