MCO Properties, the land and investment firm responsible for the growth of Fountain Hills, closed its local office June 15.

“It’s the end of an era that has greatly affected our community,” said L. Alan Cruikshank, president of Western States Publishers, Inc., publisher of The Fountain Hills Times.

“McCulloch Properties, the original master developer of Fountain Hills, basically cleared sections of land and sold lots. When MCO took over as the master developer, they began creating neighborhoods such as SunRidge Canyon, FireRock and North Heights,” recalled Cruikshank.

MCO Properties, a subsidiary of a subsidiary of Maxxam, the parent company in Houston, Texas, created custom lot communities that balanced residential growth with the preservation of nature and open space.

Closure of the office is attributed to the business selling the remaining lots in Eagle’s Nest to MCO Realty and equity partners. Toll Brothers acquired unsold home sites in Adero Canyon.

In May 2017, Steve Vargo purchased MCO Realty from MCO Properties.

Moving forward, Vargo said “the completion of Eagles Nest will follow the same thoughtful development plan preserving the beauty of the land and appreciation of the residents.”

Cruikshank said MCO played an active role in town politics, including incorporation efforts.

“They fought the first and second efforts since there were anti-MCO people primarily leading those efforts. They backed the third effort and it passed,” he added. “MCO has been a good corporate citizen since incorporation. Their contributions to local clubs and organizations will be missed, I’m sure.”

Some of the philanthropic activities which benefited the community over the years included the creation of the MCO Charitable Contributions program which, for years, supported local needs.

The development and operation of the Fountain Hills Mentoring program that benefits Fountain Hills school district students also is a result of MCO Properties’ involvement.

After managing the program for 10 years, it was turned over to Golden Eagle Education Foundation to continue operating.

The thoughtful land planning, larger lots and dedicated open space will be appreciated by future generations, thanks to the visionaries who worked at MCO Properties, said Vargo.

MCO Properties is retaining one administrative employee, Cassie Hansen, as a consultant to provide support for any legal situation that may arise in the future.

Hansen became the first employee when the town was incorporated in 1989. Before she was hired as the town clerk, she worked as a volunteer out of her home.

“MCO was a good neighbor in town,” said Hansen. “It had a positive role in the community and provided a rich history.”

Hansen can be reached at the existing MCO Properties telephone number, 480-837-9660.