Native American Connections (NAC) could not have picked a better day for their ceremonial “Top Out Celebration.”

Urban Living on 2nd Avenue (“UL2”) welcomed its first visitors this morning, which happens to be Bike to Work and School Day. The residential project is located at 650 North 2nd Ave. (southwest corner of 2nd Ave. and McKinley), just a block away from METRO Light Rail.

With this in mind, perhaps the most significant statistic cited during the proceedings was that future UL2 residents will not need a car because of its proximity to light rail, thereby saving residents over ten thousand dollars each year in transportation costs.

So, let’s see… A transit-friendly location in a good neighborhood? Check. A “trail blazing” nonprofit as developer? Check. Affordable, quality, rental housing in the heart of downtown Phoenix? Check and…check.

Let’s call this a win for downtown Phoenix.

Construction began in September 2012 and is scheduled to complete in December 2013.

NAC CEO Diana Yazzie-Devine, Devine welcomed guests to UL2, which will provide “vibrant homes for families.” The painting that provided the backdrop to the ceremony is by local artist Randy Kemp, who is working on another installation for the first floor of the property.


NAC Board Chair Steve Gundersen gave a bi-lingual welcome, in both Navajo and English.


“Exactly what the City of Phoenix needs.” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton referencing UL2’s proximity to light rail – and jobs.


Representing Congressman Ed Pastor, Elisa de la Vera highlighted the affordable housing options UL2 will offer, making it “a place that any person can call home.”


Michael Trailor, Arizona Department of Housing Director, lauded NAC as trail blazers and UL2 as “affordable, sustainable and, most important, location efficient.”


Phoenix Community Alliance President Don Keuth said, “We have a responsibility to create this kind of housing, which in turn supports nearby restaurants and other businesses.” He also noted that NAC is the first to open not just one, but two Transit Oriented Developments.


Joe Keeper, NAC’s Director of Real Estate Development, invited the entire construction and architectural team to be acknowledged for their efforts.


Barry Chasse, Chasse Building Team President, said they focused on making this “the best possible project.”


Debbie Welch, Welch Companies President & CEO, likened UL2 to a “majestic, mature tree,” referencing its LEED Gold Certification, with “branches” that provide shade and shelter.


The south view from the open deck of the downtown skyline.


Looking north into the Roosevelt Neighborhood, with the walking bridge and deck above.


Street level view of the deck, looking south from McKinley St.