Crime-ridden apartment complex in Sunnyslope neighborhood demolished

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PHOENIX -- As part of its Neighborhood Stabilization Program, the Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department (NSD) began demolishing a crime-ridden apartment building in the Sunnyslope neighborhood Friday morning.

Sunset Manor, a vacant 52-unit apartment complex near Fifth Street and Dunlap Avenue, has been a source of crime and blight for more than a decade.

Using money from the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program as part of the Economic Recovery Act of 2008, NSD was able to acquire the 1.5-acre property at a foreclosure trustee sale in August. the price tag was just over $300,000.

Neighbors couldn't be happier about the demolition. They say the complex has been a magnet for all sorts of criminal activity.

Police reports show more than 500 calls -- sometimes as many as six police calls per day -- between 2000 and 2009, when the property was vacated and boarded up. A little less than one-third of all police calls for the entire area were somehow associated with Sunset Manor.

Calls involved everything from domestic violence to burglaries to drug-related incidents to shootings.

Back in 2001, Sunset Manor was added to Maricopa County's "Dirty Dozen" slum property list.

"Having this removed is going to do great things for all of Sunnyslope," said Councilman Bill Gates (R, District 3).

The demolition project is expected to take two to three weeks and creates the opportunity for redevelopment that dovetails with other revitalization projects planned for the area.