PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A Scottsdale-based developer is trying to tackle Phoenix's ongoing affordable housing crisis.
"Cabana on 12th" is a new apartment complex that recently went up near the intersection of 12th Street and Indian School Road. It's aimed at middle-income individuals, with studios starting at around $850 per month.
"We bring a lot of our workforce population the ability to come in and live in a real cool apartment building at a very affordable price," said Robert Lyles, a partner with the developer Greenlight Communities.
The apartment complex bucks a trend of rising rents throughout the Phoenix area. According to Colliers International, Phoenix rents climbed three times faster than the national average during the past year, and apartment rent is up 40% since 2014.
"People making minimum wage cannot afford to pay the rent. And a lot of people who are working are becoming homeless because they can't afford a place to live," said Lisa Glow, the CEO of Central Arizona Shelter Services.
Cabana on 12th doesn't have the countless amenities offered by other apartment complexes going up across Phoenix. Instead, Greenlight Communities opted to cut costs by only bringing in what people use the most, like a pool and a gym.
"Just fun things that create more social value and that people will use. That's the important thing," Lyles said.
The developers were also able to save money by duplicating floor plans and room designs, cutting down on material costs and construction time.
That allowed for the inclusion of nice touches like stainless steel appliances.
"So it's new, of course, the grounds look great, inside the units it's great," said Kareem Neal, a special education teacher at Maryvale High School and Arizona's 2019 Teacher of the Year.
Neal recently moved into the apartment complex after searching for an affordable place to live.
"It's gonna be tough for even professionals out there," Neal said. "I remember when I first moved to Arizona 20 years ago, I did think it was affordable. Particularly in the place I first moved to. And now I'm like, whoah!"
Neal says Phoenix needs more affordable housing options. Otherwise, the city will risk losing residents.
"When prices get too high, people will go you know well maybe I can go to another state and get a beautiful place and do the exact same job that I love and I'm passionate about."
Leasing is underway at Cabana on 12th as well as at a similar property located near Washington and 53rd Street. Potential renters can come check it out in person or take a virtual tour.