news / press room

Ephibian wins Homebid contract

by Mac Juarez
Arizona Daily Star

The living don't seem to be encroaching on the dead yet when it comes to growth and cemetery space.

In some parts of the country, though, suburban growth has created a shortage of burial plots.

But Tucson is ahead of the curve when it comes to having future resting grounds for the deceased.

"What makes the difference over the years is the different ways they have developed cemetery properties," said Bill Addison, president of Evergreen Mortuary, Cemetery & Crematory.

The 120-acre burial ground opened in 1907 on farmland north of Tucson on Oracle Road. Today, about 65 acres remain undeveloped, Addison said.

Over the years, graveyards, like subdivisions, have been developed at higher densities. "We can get more people in them per acre," Addison said.

Plot sizes, like home lots, have shrunk. An average grave today, he said, has a width of about 4 feet and a length of about 8 feet, compared to less modern plots of 5 feet in width by 12.5 feet in length.

And "you can get them much more close together," Addison said.

Advancements in excavation technology have made it possible to dig compact graves. New techniques - including double interment - and burial alternatives - such as cremation - also have freed up space for others.

Historic cemeteries, on the other hand, are a dying breed.

Abandoned graves and Indian burial grounds continue to pop up with new development, as well as records of Tucson's historic habitation.

Unfortunately, "they cannot recover like endangered species," said Linda Mayro, Pima County's cultural resources manager.

In the 1980s, the county adopted policies that require developers to consider the impact that projects will have on archaeological or historical resources.

Preservation is the desired result.

That's why $2.1 million will be spent digging up the site of downtown Tucson's Rio Nuevo development.

Its planners hope to rebuild mission buildings and use them as a museum complex - a place where people can go to learn more about Tucson's past.

Sharon Urban, public archaeologist with the Arizona State Museum at the University of Arizona, said the riverside development should yield a bounty of Hohokam treasures.

"They are going to find lots in that area," Urban said.

Whether it be at Tucson's birthplace or in outlying areas of the county, developers will continue to unearth the past.

Consequently, more of it likely will continue to rest intact within larger developments.

"There have been some cases where a cemetery area was preserved in place and became part of an open space park," the county's Mayro said.

Better online services

Two Arizona companies have teamed up to improve online real estate services. Ephibian, a Tucson software developer, will custom develop the Web site of Scottsdale's

"Our ability to deliver Web-based solutions that are both scalable and versatile makes us a perfect choice for the Homebid project," said Teri Spencer, Ephibian's president and CEO.

Mark Armstrong, Homebid
.com's chief technology officer, said Ephibian was chosen because the Tucson firm "specializes in exactly what we are looking for - high quality software development," in contrast to other, larger companies "who try to be all things to all people."

Founded in 1998, Homebid
.com provides real estate professionals with resources to offer homebuyers and sellers a streamlined process of finding, researching and buying homes online.

New officers

Officers have been named for 2001 for two real estate-related trade groups - the Southern Arizona CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) Chapter and the Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA) of Greater Tucson.

For the Southern Arizona CCIM, new officers and their place of employment are:

* President - Margaret Larsen, Business Development Finance Corp.

* Vice President/President-elect - Tari Auletta, Mark Irvin Commercial Real Estate Services.

* Secretary - Andrew Laurie, Coldwell Banker Success Southwest.

* Treasurer - Bob Benedon, Long Realty Co.

For the Greater BOMA of Tucson, new officers are:

* President - Clayton Niles, Niles Investment Corp.

* President-elect - Dianne Grobstein, Trammell Crow Co.

* Treasurer - Cheryl Berry, 100 N. Stone L.P.

* Secretary - Diana Denny, Anthem Equity Group.

Irvington building sold

A vacant industrial building at 350 E. Irvington Road has sold for $1.08 million.

Richard and Lupita De Grave, owners of Water Tec Intl., bought the 19,500-square-foot facility that sits on 2.7 acres from R&R Joint Ventures. Water Tec manufactures, repairs and sells water treatment systems.

Water Tec consolidated its operations into the new facility from a manufacturing operation elsewhere on Tucson's South Side and a sales and service office in Midtown.

"A good portion of the building is going to be used for providing equipment for our operations in Hermosillo, Guadalajara and Mexico City," Water Tec President Lee De Grave said. Paul Hooker with Shenkarow Realty Advisors represented the seller. Steve Denny of Spring Mill Properties represented the buyer.