Monday, January 04, 2010

Local Conditions

Golf is big business in Arizona and it's been hit pretty hard by the recession.

As the commercial-real-estate crisis worsens in Arizona, many golf-course owners find themselves deep in the rough and struggling to stay in the game.

About a dozen golf courses in the state have gone through foreclosure or bankruptcy since commercial properties started facing serious financial problems in 2008, according to Mesa-based real-estate-analysis firm Ion Data, and many others have been listed for sale.

Hotels are also hurting although one area in the valley is looking up.

Hotel business in every part of the Valley plummeted with the economic downturn in 2009, except one: the West Valley.

The region was the only metro area in the Valley to have a month of positive growth in hotel occupancy compared with the previous year, Smith Travel Research reports.

Finally, a metalworking business changes its focus to survive the commercial building downturn.

When All Things Metal LLC director of operations Timothy Rock and owner Greg MacLiver opened a residential division in 2009, it was a last-ditch effort to save the 7-year-old business.

The Phoenix company had focused exclusively on commercial projects. But when the construction industry tanked, a lot of jobs got canceled as funding for projects evaporated. Rock said notices went to employees, warning that the staff of 49 would likely be reduced to four by July.

"We knew the commercial work wasn't going to carry us through," Rock said. "It was either do this or die."

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