Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

Tucson’s 15.9% rental vacancy rate: Mini-dorms in a sick housing market

Each August Tucson– like college towns nationwide– sees a flurry of activity as students move back to town and scramble to find lodging.

In recent years, local mini-dorm developers have gone wild– buying up cheap houses (thanks to record foreclosures and a glut of houses for sale), unceremoniously leveling the said houses, and constructing mini-dorms– the scurge of Tucson’s University-area neighborhoods.

This year– with a 15.9 percent rental vacancy rate— Tucson is a renters’ market. For rent signs abound. Good for students and other renters. Not so good for landlords and mini-dorm developers.

Back in April, I pondered the fate of the mini-dorm market— given dramatic hikes in tuition at The University of Arizona. Tucson’s recent designation as the “sickest housing market in the US”, its recent designation as the most impoverished city in the Sunbelt, and its glut of unrented rentals make my question even more poignant: Will mini-dorms become empty monuments to greed?

How much you wanna bet that mini-dorm developers Michael Goodman and Richard Studwell try to sell these architectural behemoths to the city when they can’t rent them?

One comment on “Tucson’s 15.9% rental vacancy rate: Mini-dorms in a sick housing market

  1. Proud to be a friend of Pam's
    August 8, 2011

    Didja hear the latest? That mini-dorm mogul Michael Goodman and the city are going to mediate? Details here:


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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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