Episode 71: Developing with Creativity

Our guest is Tim Sprague, a Principal with Habitat Metro in Phoenix, Arizona. As an infill developer, Tim has worked on a range of projects, many of them near light rail.

Portland Place condominiums in Phoenix, designed in soft desert colors with many ledges and windows. Developed by Habitat Metro
Mpact Podcast Episode 71 with Tim Sprague shows the exterior of one building (Portland Place) and the interior of another (Oasis on Grand)

Tim Sprague is a Principal with Habitat Metro. A developer with an affinity for downtowns, he has worked projects ranging from luxury condos (Portland Place and Portland on the Park) to retrofitting an old Best Western into the Found:RE museum hotel and an old SRO hotel into affordable housing for artists: Oasis on Grand. He is currently working on two housing developments, EcoPHX and EcoMesa, that he hopes will set a standard not only for sustainable design and construction but also for the very approach taken by consultants and contractors.

Being a developer, he says, brings out his creative side. He thinks buildings are successful when they help create community. From the beginning of his work in downtown, he jumped at the opportunity to be near light rail. He and his partners were inspired in part by the experience of seeing the transformation of Portland’s Pearl District due to light rail. Into music and the arts, they wanted to be build a more vibrant downtown. The Roosevelt neighborhood was ready, he says, “not NIMBY and pro good development.”

The population downtown has boomed, from roughly 5900 in 2014 to 23,000 today. He describes both the vibrancy of the area  – jazz clubs, artists, First Friday on Roosevelt Row – and the crushing need for more housing. Listen to the podcast for this and more – including his work on EV charging, affordable housing financing and the 3 things he looks for in deciding where to locate his work.

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