Friday, February 29, 2008

Valley Developer John F. Long Dies

Valley developer John F. Long died this morning at age 87. He's best known for building Maryvale, the west side master planned community he began in 1954. The Arizona Republic posted an excellent biography this morning on its website. John Long built over 35,000 homes in the Valley and in his later years donated his time and busloads of money to causes he believed improved the livability factor of his hometown.

I've always had a special affection for John F. Long homes. They seem to be everywhere even though most biographers only mention "west side" and "Maryvale".  The distinctive long, narrow, low-ceilinged hallway with bedrooms sprouting on either side like mushrooms is a staple of my nostalgic trips down memory lane. I grew up in homes either built by, or influenced by John F. Long. Hallcraft built the same type of floorplans. My first listing in my real estate career was a beautiful little red brick home built by Hallcraft. It looked exactly like most of the Long homes I've toured in the years since. Even in the mid-80's in Moon Valley, where I spent my high school years in a home built by Sandahl, there were echoes of Mr. Long's building plans.

There are currently 107 John F. Long homes for sale in the Valley, and you can view most of them via the preceeding link. (There are probably way more than 107, but there are at least 107 homeowners currently for sale who know for certain their home is a John F. Long design, and whose Realtors listed that in the proper data field on the MLS.)

john-f-long-kit.jpgI found this funky kitchen picture on the MLS this morning (click to enlarge). I'm pretty certain this is an original John F. Long kitchen, with a couple of coats of white paint over the original cabinetry. That's almost certainly the original oven. I work out of a Coldwell Banker office in Gainey Ranch. For most of my 150 Realtor colleagues, this isn't a kitchen fit for even a rental property. Those Gainey types demand new, new, new and shiny, shiny, shiny. But this warms my heart. I've always had a soft spot for the quaint and the charming (two words you don't ever want to use to describe a home in the MLS if you hope to sell it!).

A fond "Adios" Mr Long. The Valley's a better place because you were here.

PS - John F. Long homes (and others like his, and from the same post-WWII era) make fabulous first time buyer homes. With sellers anxious to sell, and Zero Down financing still avaialble through AmeriDream, Nehemiah and Maricopa County Bond programs, these homes might be a great deal for your first home. Wishing you could buy but worried you won't qualify for a loan? Call and find out. One of my preferred lenders only needs about 15 minutes of your time and give you a YES or NO almost right away. You never get anything if you don't ask, right?