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Community Centered

The country’s first housing development for those with special needs opens its doors in the Valley.

By Nickole Byrn

A housing development unlike any other in the nation has rooted itself in North Phoenix. Luna Azul is the first for-sale residential community in the country designed for adults with special needs.

Situated on the southwest corner of 16th Street and the Loop 101, this gated neighborhood is open to all but is intended for those with intellectual, developmental, acquired and physical disabilities. 

Though many housing developments focus mainly on the walled-in environment of individual homes, Luna Azul pushes past the walls takes a step further. Using the concept of pocket neighborhoods, created by Seattle-based architect Russ Chapin, the community intends to provide a collective sense of ownership through shared common spaces. 

“Neighborly interactions are very conducive to the environment we have created,” says property founder Mark Roth.

Many people living with disabilities face an overwhelming reality of isolation. Studies conducted by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, as well as the disability charity Scope, suggest that nearly half of all people with intellectual disabilities or impairments are chronically lonely.

1. The units at Luna Azul boast modern, open-concept interiors. 2. Fully outfitted kitchens give residents autonomy and independence. 3. The community club house offers space for residents to congregate, share meals and enjoy amenities. 4. A comfortable sitting area in the club house is furnished with stylish club chairs and a chess board.

Luna Azul is addressing the problem through the central idea of an inclusive community. The community offers shared green spaces, neighborhood events and an active club house.

According to Roth, families that support adults with disabilities desire to not only give their loved ones a sense of inclusiveness but also safety, permanence and independence, which Luna Azul aims to provide. The campus has 24-hour on-site staffing, as well as a traffic-free environment. A key element Roth is giving residents is the cost-effective permanence of owning a home free of uncertainty that renting can bring.

Additionally, Roth says that within the neighborhood he is most proud of the central club house. This building was the first to be finished on the grounds and has hosted many events, such as neighborhood barbecues and mocktail hours, even before residence moved in. With a media room, teaching kitchen, pool areas and a community garden, the building is the epicenter of events put on for the neighborhood.

Four housing options are available ranging from a 1,100-square-foot, 2-bedroom model to a 2,000-square-foot, 3-bedroom house. Each of the 30 cottage-style residences are designed with open living spaces and large front porches that face a shared courtyard.

Each unit is also prewired for smart systems which can assist residents with turning on/off lights, adjusting the thermostat, locking doors and even turning the stove off. With remote operation from around the world, the system can also provide distant parents and caregivers reassurance that crucial safety elements are being taken care of.

Home prices range between $350,000 to $550,000.

Learn more at www.lunaphx.com

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