Phoenix To Demolish Senior Complex For More Affordable Housing

By Christina Estes
Published: Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - 11:00pm
Updated: Thursday, June 25, 2020 - 7:48am

sign outside apartment complext
Christina Estes/KJZZ
The Phoenix City Council approved a redevelopment plan on June 24, 2020, that calls for demolishing Deck Park Vista.

Dozens of senior citizens will be forced to move because Phoenix plans to demolish their low-income apartment complex located downtown.

Phoenix is partnering with Native American Connections to redevelop Deck Park Vista, a city-owned complex just off Third Street, south of McDowell Road. The proposal, approved by the city council Wednesday, calls for tearing down the current 56 units to build 201 new apartments. Of those, 126 will be labeled affordable and 75 will be workforce. 

Specific income guidelines for affordable and workforce housing were not discussed but KJZZ recently broke down the numbers as the city was working on its affordable housing initiative. Last week, the City Council approved an affordable housing plan with a goal to create or preserve 50,000 affordable housing units by 2030. 

Deck Park Vista, which opened in 1992 for low-income seniors, is in Councilmember Carlos Garcia’s district.

“I have had meetings at the site itself, I literally walked through talking to all the neighbors, and I want to assure them that the Housing Department and all of us will be taking care of them,” he said. “We’ll be making sure that they get moving fees,that they find a place whether it’s new permanent home or a temporary home as they’re able to come back to the property once this project is fully developed.”

The city promised to cover moving expenses and help seniors find apartments in other complexes starting in the spring. Construction is expected to begin in October 2021. Deck Park Vista residents also have the opportunity to move back when the project is completed in late 2023. 

Nearly 20 people provided written comments opposing the project. Some, who identified as Deck Park residents, felt abandoned and expressed concern about moving to properties where they don’t feel safe. 

fence outside complex
Christina Estes/KJZZ
The redevelopment plan includes demolishing Deck Park Vista's 56 units and building 201 apartments labeled as affordable and workforce.

A woman who identified as Kenda Lake wrote: “I oppose and so does my auntie and her friends that in deck park. They’re vulnerable seniors and don’t use smart phones or computers. If this was in person as planned, they’d show up along with their church friends and community. The ACLU wanted to come. Underminding everyone is unethical business practices. Throwing grandparents great-grandparents handicapped veterans out of their homes to slums across town like trash. How can you live with yourselves? Postpone this. Stop ignoring calls em.”

Councilman Jim Waring was the only member to vote against the plan. He told KJZZ he had concerns over the written comments opposing the project.

A handout provided to residents by the city’s Housing Department says one-bedroom households will receive a $900 relocation stipend and two-bedroom households will receive $1,000 to hire a moving company for local moves. The department also says is has provided 

Deck Park residents with a list of “13 other senior housing sites owned by the city of Phoenix” to consider, however, KJZZ could not obtain that list by deadline and the department’s website only lists four senior housing apartment communities.

When the Housing Department discussed Deck Park Vista redevelopment in 2016 the early idea was to build 400 units that would include a mix of affordable and market rate.

Deck Park Vista Timeline

  • February 2021 — Relocation meetings begin.
  • March-September 2021 — Residents move.
  • October 2021 — Construction begins.
  • November 2023 — Project complete.