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Sekkle Sep 10, 2006 6:23 AM

I'm sure somebody would have posted this eventually, but I'll save you the trouble!


Centerpoint remodel planned
8-story mixed-use site would include condos
Katie Nelson
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 9, 2006 12:00 AM
A massive remodeling of one of downtown Tempe's largest developments could dramatically change one of Mill Avenue's most significant blocks.

What is known as the Centerpoint commercial project was one of the first redevelopment projects more than 15 years ago. Now, there is a plan to turn the western side of Mill Avenue, between Sixth and Seventh streets, into a mixed-use building called "On Mill" that reaches eight stories.

What's there today is one story. For the last year or more, it has had many vacancies, despite housing an area favorite, Coffee Plantation, as well as Fat Tuesday, Uno Chicago Grill, Chester's Harley-Davidson on Mill, Bath & Body Works and a smattering of other stores.

New plans would mean razing those buildings to make room for a new mix of retail, and the first condominiums directly on Mill Avenue.

There are three condo projects in the downtown area, with plans on the books for at least five more. But city leaders say this new concept fills a niche no others have so far.

"I think what you see is a different location in the market, a different lifestyle," said Neil Calfee, the city's deputy community development manager. "Compared to being 22 floors up in a condo to being on Mill Avenue will be a completely different living experience than living in something that's more of a planned, gated community."

The project is in the earliest of stages. Site sketches were submitted to the city recently and are undergoing initial review by city departments.

Much could change in the coming months, but what Scottsdale developer DMB Associates, Inc. and Phoenix architecture firm DFD CornoyerHedrick submitted to the city shows what they are aiming for. There would be 149 housing units, according to the plans. They would range from 850 to 2025 square feet.

The lower level of the building would be dedicated to retail, while the remaining seven floors would be housing. An amenity deck would be at the top with a pool, spa and fitness center along the southern edge of the building. An underground parking garage would be reserved for residents.

Both firms declined to comment as to the future of the current tenants or plans for the rest of the Centerpoint retail and commercial property.

Sekkle Sep 10, 2006 7:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vertex
I don't know about you, but I'm not willing to be stuck with the traffic this thing will create.
What about walking/biking/using public transit? I'm not trying to single you out specifically, vertex, but if downtown Tempe is to become the urban center that I think we (members of this forum in particular) are looking for, I don't think we should be doing the NIMBYs job for them. I'm sure that, if this project is built (and I'm admittedly a pessimist - I don't think it will happen in the near future, at least not at its proposed height/mass) it will create more traffic on University and the local streets in that neighborhood. But Tempe has the best transit in the PHX area, and I think LRT will help with people who might be commuting to Central Phoenix.

There are plenty of cities across the country with much more densely populated downtowns, with streets much narrower than those in the downtown Tempe area, that are great places to live. Basically, I don't think that the traffic created by this project would be detrimental to life in that neighborhood (the 6-story parking garage won't help, though). By the way, are there even any single-family homes left in that neighborhood north of University, south of "A" Mountain, between Mill and College?

loftlovr Sep 10, 2006 11:40 AM

I'm not sure if I want this or not-
("On Mill")
I love Mill Ave as it is- history, culture...
My stability rock.
We can't keep razing these buildings to make room for larger projects!
This is what we did in the 70's to all of our historic buildings Downtown...
I don't mind losing some of the less significant buildings along University to make room for University Square- but Mill seems more sacred to me!

I love the idea of a mixed use 8 story retail- condo building-
but to tear down Unos, Coffee Plantation and Fat Tuesdays?

How sad....

AZchristopher Sep 10, 2006 3:56 PM

Personally the first thing I do anytime I drive to Tempe is park either at the lake or at the garage by the theatre. DT Tempe is designed to walk through. Not drive.

AZchristopher Sep 10, 2006 3:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by loftlovr
I'm not sure if I want this or not-
("On Mill")
I love Mill Ave as it is- history, culture...
My stability rock.
We can't keep razing these buildings to make room for larger projects!
This is what we did in the 70's to all of our historic buildings Downtown...
I don't mind losing some of the less significant buildings along University to make room for University Square- but Mill seems more sacred to me!

I love the idea of a mixed use 8 story retail- condo building-
but to tear down Unos, Coffee Plantation and Fat Tuesdays?

How sad....

Isn't that the block thats mostly empty all the time? I haven't walked down there awhile so I can't remember if thats the one or if that block is farther south. Anyway the best way would be to have the bottem two stories continue to be retail. That way they're actually adding more space. Not taking it away.

vertex Sep 10, 2006 4:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AZchristopher
Personally the first thing I do anytime I drive to Tempe is park either at the lake or at the garage by the theatre. DT Tempe is designed to walk through. Not drive.

If you live in downtown Tempe, you have to drive to get to other places. University is our main artery, and if you haven't noticed, it's normally a train wreck without the construction.

vertex Sep 10, 2006 4:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AZchristopher
Isn't that the block thats mostly empty all the time? I haven't walked down there awhile so I can't remember if thats the one or if that block is farther south. Anyway the best way would be to have the bottem two stories continue to be retail. That way they're actually adding more space. Not taking it away.

No this is one of the busiest retail blocks in Tempe. People are always outside using the tables (especially Fat Tuesday's), while the tourists always pile up in the Uno's.

vertex Sep 10, 2006 5:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ForAteOh
What about walking/biking/using public transit? I'm not trying to single you out specifically, vertex, but if downtown Tempe is to become the urban center that I think we (members of this forum in particular) are looking for, I don't think we should be doing the NIMBYs job for them... ...Tempe has the best transit in the PHX area, and I think LRT will help with people who might be commuting to Central Phoenix.

The problem is that Tempe is an inbound destination in the morning rush hour. As many people drive to work in North Tempe (everything north of US 60) as in DT Phoenix. The only other area of the valley with as many jobs is the Scottsdale Airpark.

If there were more light rail routes going to Tempe, I can see how it would help the traffic. For example, an LRT spur route from Tempe to Ahwautukee would be brilliant. But in it's current incarnation, the LRT in Tempe only benefits ASU students and DT Tempe residents who want to go into Phoenix. That is a main reason why we have all of the condo's being built in Tempe (in addition to keeping our current tax base).

Quote:

There are plenty of cities across the country with much more densely populated downtowns, with streets much narrower than those in the downtown Tempe area, that are great places to live.
And I've lived in some of those cities. They do have trasportation alternatives much greater than Tempe has (or will in the near future). In addition, density is a way of life, and that density is prevelant for miles around. Here, the density only occurs in small pockets, and the area is still car dependent.

Quote:

Basically, I don't think that the traffic created by this project would be detrimental to life in that neighborhood (the 6-story parking garage won't help, though). By the way, are there even any single-family homes left in that neighborhood north of University, south of "A" Mountain, between Mill and College?
If the city just forced these developers to put the garage underground, it would go a long way towards visually helping the street. But what I want to know is, where is all that traffic from the garage going to go? On to Forest Ave.? 7th St?

FYI, all of the houses left in that neighborhood were bought up by real estate predators/speculators long ago. With the exception of 2 homes, the rest are either businesses, or they sit empty.


NIMBY-ism isn't a disease, it is a symptom of really bad planning.

soleri Sep 10, 2006 6:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vertex
NIMBY-ism isn't a disease, it is a symptom of really bad planning.

Excellent point.

Azndragon837 Sep 11, 2006 3:14 AM

I knew about the plans for the "On Mill" project for a few weeks now, since I process the plans at the Planning Department in Tempe. Everyone in the office agrees that this project will be better than what is there now. Besides, all the retail will most likely return after the project gets built. I think it is a wonderful idea, and it is about time that SOMEONE has the guts to put a condo mid-rise on Mill and utilize it.

Also, the building coming down is not historic, so I have no objections for it being torn down. I just wish the redevelopment projects of the past incorporated the "living spaces on top and retail on bottom" concept. The "On Mill" project will have parking garage access from 7th Street, in the back of the building.

One project that I still am iffy about is University Square, which recently got FAA approval from what I heard. That massive project is taking away some lovely mom-and-pop shops, most likely to be replaced with high-end chains. Also, another project I am opposed to is the CVS on Mill and University, which will take away the building where Long Wong's is and an independent barber shop.

Azndragon837 Sep 11, 2006 3:19 AM

And speaking of University Square.....


http://www.azcentral.com/community/t...do0909Z10.html

FAA OKs 300-foot University Square project

Katie Nelson
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 9, 2006 12:00 AM


The Federal Aviation Administration has approved plans for the height of the tallest structure ever in Tempe.

University Square's 300-foot proposal has gotten the official OK from the FAA to build its $500 million project in the downtown Tempe, enabling it to become the largest mixed-use project in the city.

The project had gotten a notice of "presumed hazard" May 1, as the first step of an approval process most construction projects must go through. But upon further review, FAA officials approved the project proposal.

"The structure would have no substantial adverse effect on the safe and efficient utilization of the navigable airspace by aircraft or on the operation of air navigation facilities," reads the notice letter sent to University Square's developer, Tony Wall.

Two objections to approval had been filed but were ruled unfounded by the FAA. One came from the Phoenix-run airport's Falcon Air Traffic Control Tower, but the FAA said those concerns could be addressed with obstruction marking and lighting.

The other came from Alaska Airlines, which was worried the building's height would conflict with an "engine-out procedure" used if one engine failed while an aircraft was in the area. That, too, was rejected by the FAA, which decided there wasn't enough of an adverse impact.

loftlovr Sep 14, 2006 7:19 AM

http://www.azcentral.com/business/ar...point0913.html

Developers envisage 8-story Tempe project

Katie Nelson
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 13, 2006 12:00 AM


A massive remodeling of one of downtown Tempe's largest developments could dramatically change one of Mill Avenue's most significant blocks.

What is known as the Centerpoint commercial project was one of the first redevelopment projects more than 15 years ago. It takes up several city blocks over 21.5 acres.

Now, there is a plan to change a portion of that, the block that sits on the western side of Mill Avenue between Sixth and Seventh streets, into a mixed-use building called On Mill that reaches eight stories.

What's there today is one level high. It has had many vacancies despite housing an area favorite, Coffee Plantation. Other tenants include Fat Tuesday, Uno Chicago Grill, Chester's Harley-Davidson on Mill, Bath & Body Works and a smattering of other stores.

New plans would mean razing those buildings to make room for a new mix of retail and the first condominiums directly on Mill Avenue.

There are three condo projects in the downtown area, with plans on the books for at least five more. But city leaders say this new concept fills a niche no others have so far.

"I think what you see is a different location in the market, a different lifestyle," said Neil Calfee, the city's deputy community development manager. "Compared to being 22 floors up in a condo to being on Mill Avenue will be a completely different living experience than living in something that's more of a planned, gated community."

The project is in the earliest stages. Site sketches were submitted to the city recently and are undergoing initial review by city departments.

Much could change in the coming months, but what Scottsdale developer DMB Associates Inc. and Phoenix architecture firm DFD CornoyerHedrick submitted to the city shows what they are aiming for. There would be 149 housing units, according to the plans. They would range from 850 to 2,025 square feet.

The lower level of the building would be dedicated to retail, while the remaining seven floors would be housing. An amenity deck would be at the top with a pool, spa and fitness center.

"It would be worth noting that this was one of DMB's first commercial projects, so we've been a part of Mill Ave. for many years," said Shanna Wolfe, a company spokeswoman. "We expect our legacy and stewardship with the community of Tempe to continue as we move forward through the planning and redevelopment process."

Both firms declined to comment as to the future of the current tenants or plans for the rest of the Centerpoint retail and commercial property, saying it was still too early in the planning process.

combusean Sep 14, 2006 4:51 PM

Open space at a premium
'Critical moment' arrives for a city on growth wave
Quote:

Katie Nelson
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 14, 2006 12:00 AM

There is little question Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Balboa Park in San Diego, and Central Park in New York help shape their cities.

It remains to be seen, however, if any Valley cities will develop park space that can influence the area's identity on the same scale.

Tempe is going to try starting this year, and although the end result might neither be as massive nor serve as many people, it could prove to be just as important.

"Tempe is poised for a wave of unprecedented growth right now, with upwards of 5,000 new residential units in the immediate future," said Eric Hansen, a city planner who is overseeing the project.

"The time is now to create a project that will serve to enhance the quality of life for our ever-expanding downtown. We are at a really, really critical moment in Tempe's history."

As buildings inch upward and outward in Tempe, a New York City non-profit agency, Project for Public Spaces, is devising a way for the city to preserve the areas in between - making sure there are pockets of shade and places to linger for residents, tourists and employees.

During the next year, the non-profit's staff will conduct a study and draw out a plan for Tempe's downtown area that can be put into place along with the dozens of coming development projects.

To do so, the nationally recognized non-profit will examine current and future needs for paths, parks, pocket parks, historic parks and preserves, streetscapes, signage and publicly accessible private amenities, and how they all fit together. Its staff will establish maintenance standards and determine funding mechanisms for Tempe's public spaces.

A Public Spaces staff member was in town for preliminary work Monday, but the process will likely officially kick off in October.

"It is as important to ensure that we retain the open spaces and the connections among those open spaces to make downtown the inviting place it was intended to be," said Mayor Hugh Hallman, who said he emphasized this sentiment with PPS this week.

"It's all about the kind of space and quality of space and the care with which it is connected."

Project for Public Spaces was among five groups that put in bids for the project earlier this year. But PPS stood out to the selection committee because of its depth of expertise, city officials said.

It was founded in 1975 and since then, its employees have worked to strengthen communities with better public spaces throughout the country and around the world.

It has worked on parks, plazas, squares, transportation, civic centers, public markets, downtowns, mixed-used developments and campuses to enhance a sense of place that gives a community an identity, according to the company.

Notable projects include the Congress Street Master Plan in Tucson, the Yale University College and Chapel District redevelopment, Bryant Park and Rockefeller Center in New York, Freeway Park in Seattle and Fort Worth Square.

Tempe leaders have been pushing toward implementing a similar plan for the downtown district for about a year, Hallman said.

Doing it now will mean front-loading the placement of parks while land is still available or under construction, Hansen said.

It will also mean avoiding the potentially expensive and complicated process of doing it after the development boom is done.

The city is paying Project for Public Spaces $300,000 for its services, which will take an estimated eight months.

oliveurban Sep 16, 2006 10:39 AM

More on that CVS:
 
Mill Avenue corner interests pharmacy
Katie Nelson
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 16, 2006

Downtown Tempe could get its first pharmacy in years, marking yet another step toward a transformation focused on urban living.

Site plans have been submitted to the city by CVS Pharmacy. The documents put to rest rumors circulating for months about the future of the vacant southwestern corner of Mill Avenue and University Drive.

The five-page proposal tells more than just plans for bricks and sticks, according to city leaders. It signifies a coming lifestyle change.

"The location of a full-services pharmacy in the downtown and adjacent to the surrounding neighborhood helps bring back to the community the services and goods that improve the quality of life that makes it easier to live in the area," Mayor Hugh Hallman said.

Other community-focused amenities coming to the area include a Whole Foods Market inside the proposed Cosmopolitan project, now called KML Mosaic, that is slated to be located on University Drive at the site of Gentle Strength Cooperative.

Other mixed-use proposals are touted to have support services such as food markets for coming condo dwellers, as well.

Still, CVS is the first such project to come to the area and stand alone.

The nearly 1 acre had been the site of a Mobil gas station for about five decades. City records show it was likely a filling station before that.

In recent months, crews have been dismantling the remains of the gas station.

Preliminary plans submitted to the city could change as they are reviewed by city staff during the coming months, according to Steve Venker, a city planning and zoning manager. For now, the building would be a maximum of 30 feet tall.

The CVS building would be situated on the front of the lot to encourage pedestrian traffic.

The proposed plot stretches beyond the gas station footprint and into at least part of adjacent retail lots.

That could affect the continuation of several local businesses, including Sahara Middle Eastern Restaurant and Long Wong's on Mill Avenue, which reopened at the site this year.

loftlovr Sep 20, 2006 6:32 AM

http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/ind...dest=STY-74113

FAA to review proposed Tempe high-rise
By Garin Groff, Tribune
September 15, 2006
A second developer is about to find out if its proposed 30-story high-rise in downtown Tempe is a hazard to commercial airliners, a week after federal aviation officials said a taller condo project is safe.

Avenue Communities asked the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this week to review its proposal for the 343-foot Centerpoint Condominiums tower.
An answer could come within weeks.

The developer proposed the high-rise — and two other equally high buildings — last year, but it has just recently requested a building permit from Tempe. It has to seek FAA input as part of the permit process.

Phoenix aviation officials said they might not be happy with the project even if the FAA doesn’t object.

Some airliners would have to carry fewer passengers to follow their safety procedures — a possibility Phoenix doesn’t want.

“Our concern about inhibiting airport operations is it limits our ability to serve the community,” said Deborah Ostreicher, a spokeswoman for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Centerpoint Condominiums would be about 2 1 /2 miles from the end of Sky Harbor runways. It’s not planned under the flight path, but would be in a region where some pilots would steer an underperforming plane if an engine failed during takeoff. Some planes would carry fewer passengers or less cargo to ensure they’d have enough altitude in that rare circumstance.

The FAA ruled last month that the proposed 370-foot University Square development in downtown Tempe was safe despite objections from Alaska Airlines. That was the only airline to complain to the FAA because its pilots would turn above this part of Tempe if an engine failed.

After the FAA started that review, Tempe limited the building to 300 feet based on other factors. An Alaska Airlines representative told the Tribune anything taller than 189 feet on that site is a safety issue for their flights.

Alaska Airlines is studying a possible challenge to that project.

Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman questioned Phoenix’s objections given that federal aviation officials didn’t have a problem.

“It raises the specter that this is about something more than safety,” Hallman said.

Some Tempe business leaders and elected officials argue that Phoenix objects to Tempe’s rising skyline because it envies the smaller city’s economic development. Under this theory, Phoenix wants to discourage dense development in Tempe and steer it toward its downtown.

Phoenix officials say they’re fighting even the smallest issues that could reduce the airport’s capacity because passenger and cargo operations are so vital to the Valley’s economy.

The FAA review of Centerpoint Condominiums could take from a few weeks to several months, said Ian Gregor, an FAA spokesman based in Los Angeles. The FAA already said a 258-foot, 22-story building on the site is not a safety hazard. That tower is already under construction on the site, part of the larger Centerpoint shopping and office complex.

The FAA doesn’t have zoning authority and cannot stop the developer from constructing the 30-story building even if it declares it a hazard. Only Tempe can limit the height. Hallman indicated Tempe wouldn’t necessarily stop the project if the FAA found it a hazard.

“The city has no right to interfere in that process,” Hallman said. “Federal law dictates the process and the developer and the FAA have to work those issues out.”

About half the units in the 22-story tower are claimed in the presale stage, Avenue officials said. They’re selling from the mid-$300,000s to $2 million. The project will eventually have 800 units.

ArtDecoFan Sep 20, 2006 6:30 PM

Tempe condo complex previews luxury lifestyle
 
Tempe condo complex previews luxury lifestyle

Katie Nelson
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 20, 2006 12:00 AM


The push toward bringing the "lux" life to Tempe has received a solid shove.

A well-regarded independent chef, Michael DeMaria, who owns Michael's at the Citadel in north Scottsdale, is moving his fine-dining philosophy to the downtown district when a new condo complex opens.

The announcement is one of the first signs that the culinary world is following developers' drive to add additional tastes into Tempe's current tendency toward burgers, bar food and inexpensive restaurants.

Avenue Communities made the announcement amid an abundance of fine wine, food and fresh flowers it was using to publicly present the lifestyle it hopes to offer at Centerpoint Condominiums when the project opens in mid-2008.

The Monday evening event marked the opening of the massive condo complex's sales center at 110 E. Seventh St.

The green Discovery Center building is just east of Borders and blocks away from where Avenue Communities plans to build towers that would be the highest points in the East Valley at 30 stories.

Avenue Communities has begun a 22-story tower. It reached grade-level Monday after months of digging and concrete pouring in the four-story pit for underground parking.

Avenue is awaiting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to get the permitting it needs from the city to build the other towers at 30 stories.

A large architectural model showing those plans was among the reception attractions. Yet people seemed most interested in the fancy food prepared by DeMaria and chef Troy Thieverge.

"They really did their homework because it's the luxury, not the condos. It was the luxury that attracted us," Joyce Lew said after she bit into a forkful of Barolo-braised short ribs.

Lew and her husband have reserved a studio unit on the 14th floor of the first tower.

They bought it for their 17-year-old daughter while she attends Arizona State University.

The Lews were among more than 100 people who listened to speeches by developers Ken Losch and David Dewar and Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman.

"We have one of the best opportunities in all of Arizona to create a real urban experience," Losch said.

sharpie Sep 23, 2006 3:36 PM

What does everyone think about Tempe giving ASU $6 mil to help upgrade Sun Devil Stadium? Personally, I'm ticked off about it. Didn't ASU have a chance to have the new Cards stadium right on campus (not the site north of the 202), and they snubbed the TSA? Now they want Tempe to give $6mil of my taxes to help fix up that dump? ASU should be pounding the pavement looking for corporate sponsership and campaigning the Alums for money.

Don B. Sep 23, 2006 3:52 PM

^ Your taxes? What are we talking about? A total of $7.58?

--don

plinko Sep 23, 2006 4:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sharpie
What does everyone think about Tempe giving ASU $6 mil to help upgrade Sun Devil Stadium? Personally, I'm ticked off about it. Didn't ASU have a chance to have the new Cards stadium right on campus (not the site north of the 202), and they snubbed the TSA? Now they want Tempe to give $6mil of my taxes to help fix up that dump? ASU should be pounding the pavement looking for corporate sponsership and campaigning the Alums for money.

No. There never was ANY plan to have a new stadium on campus. Sites all around the river and lake from Priest all the way east into Mesa. Neither Tempe or ASU ever snubbed the TSA, both planned all along to have the stadium off campus along the lake. It would have allowed Sun Devil to be torn down. The City of Phoenix screwed all that up when they started the whole FAA hazard thing (despite the fact that as a result the SRP headquarters in Phoenix was discovered to be MORE of a hazard) and the TSA got nervous and re-opened the bidding to other cities.

Still, if Tempe wants to keep ASU football, they should pony up. I'm sure Glendale (or even Phoenix at Chase Field?) would be happy to have it and it would provide just another lame demonstration on what's wrong with development at a regional level in the Valley.

I'm not exactly sure what the renovation plans are, but $6M is a pittance considering the stadium was built in 1958 and sits on horrible soil (it's actually sinking).

HooverDam Sep 23, 2006 5:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plinko
It would have allowed Sun Devil to be torn down......

Still, if Tempe wants to keep ASU football, they should pony up. I'm sure Glendale (or even Phoenix at Chase Field?) would be happy to have it .

What? There were NEVER any plans to tear down SDS even if the Cards stadium was built near by. Why would ASU tear down a beautiful, historic stadium and decide to pay rent to the Cardinals- an organization they are sick of butting heads with? Furthermore, even if Tempe never gives ASU a dime, the team wouldnt move to Chase Field or Cardinals Stadium. ASU is lucky enough to have their stadium on campus, in a central location, they arent stupid enough to change that.

Sure Sun Devil Stadium needs renovations (permanent seats, finish off the lower bowl, better lit concourses, new bathrooms, better food, etc) but its still a gem as far as college stadiums go.

I've been to Arizona Stadium, LA Coliseum, the Rose Bowl, Northwesterns Stadium (whatever they call it) and Kinnick Field (Iowa), and Sun Devil Stadium puts them all to shame.


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