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PHX31 May 24, 2006 2:19 PM

/\Are you sure this includes all of those properties? Wet Paint, etc. are on the east side of Forrest... the article said the project is bounded by Forrest west to Mrytle.
It does mean that Hogi Yogi will be gone, which was pretty good back in the day (it may be closed now, temporarily).
I'd like to hold off on making any comments until I see the renderings and site plan, but to raze that whole area seems excessive.

soleri May 24, 2006 3:09 PM

Amazing. Almost $8 million an acre. Some dead farmer is rolling over in his grave.

I'll miss Lorenzo's. Where else can you get good food and a $3.50 pitcher of beer? It would be great if the developer allowed for student-oriented retail but usually expensive development has expensive ground-floor rents.

The market in Tempe for high-rise condos and hotel rooms is apparently even deeper than we thought. This is the kind of success derived from basic nurturing of good urbanist principles: pedestrian-friendly streetscapes, historic preservation, good transit, and a strong, knowledge-based economic engine (ASU).

combusean May 25, 2006 12:14 AM

^ This is a pretty big project for Tempe. It's incredibly dense (i dont think there is a denser project on the line) and its varied uses will place an enormous amount of people on the streets at almost all times of the day.

We are fortunate to have Shea Commercial headquartered here. Since the Phoenix area will always have issues putting up office towers because of the lack of demand for anchor space, Shea's build to suit-office condo approach is probably the best bet at the area getting non-residential towers for a little while. I'm always glad when sprawl developers start going urban, and it looks these guys are embracing the concept head on. The Waterfront is Scottsdale's most important project right now--I have high hopes for a similar anchor for downtown Tempe.

If the City of Tempe is really that quick with their entitlements process and can get this thing approved by June, it would send a pretty clear message that Tempe's PZ&D office works and could open the floodgates for similar projects. Remember, entitlements are the first thing that puts the value into the land.

The last time I went by this block I noticed the hole it formed in the burgeoning streetwal--imagine, in a few years we should see a pretty contiguous line of high density development along University, with Cosmo, the SWC of University and Mill, the ASU gateway, and now this. I hope the Ruby Tuesday block on the NEC of University and Mill is next.

plinko May 25, 2006 12:55 AM


Originally Posted by combusean
^ I hope the Ruby Tuesday block on the NEC of University and Mill is next.

Totally agree, though the redevelopment of that lot could be all based on current return and land values. Remember that the building on that site is only 8 years old. I don't know who owns the lot, but my guess is that there's probably still alot to be paid on that land and Ruby Tuesday may have upwards of 5 years left on their lease. Sad, but possibly true.

I remember when they built that thing. Completely the wrong land use for that corner. Should have had at least 2-3 stories on top of it (office and/or housing). Same for Jack Black's building across the street which was built at the same time (where PF Chang's is).

Curious...what's going in on the SWC? There's a gas station and a Burger King there right now, correct?

combusean May 25, 2006 1:53 AM

The gas station has been tore down and they were clearing the asphalt a week ago, I'm guessing to salvage the underground storage tanks and clean the site up. I dont know what's exactly going there, however.

The Burger king is still there. What's gone is just the NW quarter acre of the block that the Mobil was on before, a popular hangout for taxis and probably the last place in downtown Tempe to get a pack of smokes and a soda. Whats this about basic retail again?


Originally Posted by plinko
Same for Jack Black's building across the street which was built at the same time (where PF Chang's is).

I disagree... for as stunted as Centerpoint was it almost made more sense that way in the end to make the unintended real signature of the project--the restaraunt/corner gateway--only one story.

I mostly want to see Ruby Tuesday gone cause I got salmonella there. But there's another side to it. Something about that corner just screams 1990's "sorry, folks!" downtown architecture that we all ended up getting after the bust. A 20+ story tower--even in that same basic ground floor plate and design would be perfect for the corner.

PHX31 May 25, 2006 1:58 AM

/\ College Store on College north of Mill has all of that stuff, smokes, beer, food, etc. I've bought several Foster's oil cans after tests/presentations at that store. I know it's not downtown, per se, but close.

Vicelord John May 25, 2006 4:54 AM


Originally Posted by PHX31
/\ College Store on College north of Mill

you do know those streets run paralell to each other right?

PHX31 May 25, 2006 5:36 AM

Good catch eagle eye, obviously I meant Univ. :tup:

Vicelord John May 25, 2006 5:42 AM

wasn't obvious to me. I don't have ESP.

Carter May 25, 2006 5:42 AM

I think he means Campus Corner, which is on College accross the street from Panda Express.

PHX31 May 25, 2006 5:51 AM

/\ Good catch eagle eye, obviously I meant Campus Corner. :haha:

Carter May 25, 2006 6:06 AM

The zoning meeting is June 8th.

Carter May 25, 2006 4:11 PM

Looks like the date has changed again to June 5th for the zoning meeting.

SethAZ May 26, 2006 10:38 PM

5th and Mill
Hello everyone! Long time reader, first time poster. :) I was wondering if anyone knows why the NE corner of 5th and Mill is still empty. I think a Coldstone once occupied that space but if I remember correctly that was a long time ago. Anything cool going in there soon?

Also, I love all the new development in downtown Tempe but so far I have not seen any new restaurants or bars planned for the area. Mill Ave is great but with all the new people living down there I don't think that Mill will be able to accomodate everyone. Any ideas?? Thanks.

combusean May 27, 2006 1:26 AM

Dunno about 5th and Mill. Is it just the retail space that's vacant or is the whole building vacant or what?


Mill Ave is great but with all the new people living down there I don't think that Mill will be able to accomodate everyone. Any ideas?? Thanks.
Most of the highrises covered in this thread take a couple years to even build to their first phase. Centerpoint is still at least a year off, and that's "only" 22 stories. That's about how long the average smaller infill project takes as well. In either case, most of these projects aren't built right on Mill, but rather divert traffic off to Rio Salado and University which are still pretty capable. Once demand starts warranting new, properly timed stoplights, moving people in and out of downtown wont be so difficult. Traffic patterns for residential highrises generally aren't nearly as intensive as similarly dense office and retail blocks tho.

It's too early to tell how many of these new highrisers will actually use light rail and the bus, but I'm led to believe that the demographics and transit/retail options available by the time everything opens will really smooth things out.

The interim construction that's the root of the current problem, on the other hand, is something the transitioning areas will just have to grin and bear. It's worth it in the long term.

SethAZ May 27, 2006 2:45 PM

5th and Mill
I'll have to go check and make sure, but i'm pretty sure it is just the corner retail space on 5th and Mill and not the whole building. It is two stories and it is all boarded up.

combusean May 28, 2006 2:34 PM

University Square

More Tempe towers proposed
By John Yantis, Tribune
May 19, 2006


Scottsdale developers are proposing to turn a square city block east of downtown Tempe into more than 1 million square feet of living, work, hotel and shopping space anchored by three towers, including one that would be 30 stories.

University Square would be larger than Centerpoint, which is under construction near University Drive and Mill Avenue.

Planning officials recently received zoning and design applications for the project. It would be built between Myrtle and Forest avenues and University Drive and Seventh Street.

“We found some errors, some inconsistencies in their numbers on parking and we have some other questions so they’re not going to the (planning and zoning) board yet,” said Chris Anaradian, Tempe’s development services manager. “They’re still working with our staff as we review their drawings, and they gave us quite a number of drawings so there’s a lot of information to go through.”

The 30-story tower is proposed to be 329 feet tall. It would have 180 hotel rooms on the first 17 floors and about 40 condos above the 17th floor. A second tower that would be 286 feet tall would have 226 condos. A 12-story office tower would be about 168 feet tall and is proposed to have 267,000 square feet of offices and 44,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor.

The whole project would be about 1.3 million square feet, not including 1,800 parking spaces. Centerpoint, which is planning three 30-story buildings and one 22-story building, is 930,000 square feet, Anaradian said. Smaller floor plates make the Centerpoint towers skinnier, he said. Centerpoint’s height will be 343 feet.

“This is a mixed-use project so you have residential, office, hotel and retail all mixed together,” Anaradian said of University Square. “That’s a good thing. We like to see that diversity in a project, so it’s not all one thing.”

The towers would jut from a “podium” that’s about five stories with four levels of underground parking. Anaradian said the project resembles a wedding cake: The bottom tier is large and then next tier up is narrower.

A partnership called University Square Investors submitted the plans. It is led by Scottsdale businessman Tony Wall and includes Scottsdalebased Shea Commercial, known for office projects. Both Wall and a Shea spokeswoman declined to provide details of the project until next week.

Anaradian said the team has either finished purchasing the property or is in the process. The project would replace the Arches on the north side of University east of Myrtle. The center has been popular with Arizona State University students, and it features restaurants, a bicycle shop and a tattoo parlor.

Anaradian said University Square is at least 1 1 /2 years from starting construction.

“This is pretty early in the process and just because somebody submits 1.3 million square feet and we review it, doesn’t mean it’s going to get built,” he said. “There’s a lot that goes on on financing and lot of things the city doesn’t have control over.”

While it’s great somebody wants invest in the community, he said the size of the project could be problematic.

“There’s only so many square feet of office and residential that are going to get bought or leased in any particular year,” he said. “That’s just the market demand. A project like this comes in and . . . if it actually gets built all at once or even in phases, it’ll suck up tenants from other projects that are also in here right now being reviewed. Only so many of these projects are actually going to get built.”
Downtown Tempe block may tower
By John Yantis, Tribune
May 26, 2006

A mostly vacant city block in downtown Tempe may one day be a glitzy, towering $500 million project that will feature office space, a downtown hotel, boutique shops and dozens of high-rise condominiums, according to plans released by developers Thursday.

Under the proposal, three groups of investors will transform an area between Seventh Street and University Drive and Forest and Myrtle avenues into the 1.5 millionsquare-foot University Square.

The plan includes a 30-story hotel condo tower with 225 rooms and additional condo units, a 23-story residential tower that would feature an outdoor swimming pool on the top floor and a round office tower with 12 floors. Retail shops and upscale restaurants would go on the ground floors.

“We’re totally stoked on this project because it’s got a phenomenal location in a vibrant town and huge growth potential with having (Sun Devil Stadium) and (Arizona State University) nearby and Mill Avenue,” said Jim Riggs, founder and president of Shea Commercial, one of the developers.

The project will feature parking above and below ground.

Here are the players:

Scottsdale-based Shea Commercial teamed with 3W Companies and Triyar to develop University Square. It’s the biggest project Shea has ever done, Riggs said. The company is in the midst of doing 20 mixed-use projects in nine states. Triyar is a private real estate development company based in Westwood, Calif. with offices in Scottsdale.

Most recently, it developed the W Hotel in Scottsdale.

Scottsdale-based 3W Companies looks for developments in the Valley and the southwestern United States.

And then, there’s the land. An article by Business Real Estate Weekly of Arizona on Shea’s Web site says the investors paid just under $24.5 million to assemble the 3.2-acre site. A trust and a company formed by Sidney Joseph of Tempe were the sellers of most of the site in two deals totaling just over $23 million. Biltmore Management of Tempe was the seller of a small parcel for just over $1.39 million.

Businesses in some of the buildings that will be razed for the development will remain open for a while.

“Our timeline is not totally clear, so we’re in the middle of discussions with them because we want to keep everybody open as long as we can,” Riggs said.

The financial impact could be substantial. Developers estimate University Square will increase spending in and around Tempe by an estimated $1.16 billion during the construction of the project. By completion it is expected to create nearly 1,500 jobs. University Square will generate more than $100 million in fiscal benefits for Tempe and the Tempe Union School District, the developers said.

Mayor Hugh Hallman said drawing permanent residents to the Mill Avenue district will stabilize the Tempe economy for years to come.

Development services manager Chris Anaradian called University Square a milestone project that promises to be an asset for residents, retailers and visitors.

Formal zoning for the project was filed on May 9 and is expected to be approved in late summer. Riggs said construction is planned to begin in the first quarter of 2007.

“We’re going to go down with the parking lot and work on that,” he said. “That’s going to take a while to dig that hole.”

Tenants would begin moving in in early 2009.

soleri May 28, 2006 8:52 PM

I'm usually a little skeptical about wow projects like this, but there are so many positive forces in Tempe right now that this doesn't seem like such a stretch. If the real estate market doesn't tank altogether, I can see this happening. Still, it's a legitimate question how many high-rise condo towers Tempe can support. The location here is very, very good, so I'll give this one an edge on the competition.

The architecture is pleasant enough, comfortably ensconced between midcentury and mid-Wilshire. If this means generic, so be it. This is the kind of success which breeds more success.

oliveurban May 29, 2006 11:55 PM

University Sq. is definitely massive. I like it.

There is definitely a genuine ball rolling in Tempe right now, and I too wonder how far it will go.

It's interesting to see how ASU markets it's new downtown Phoenix campus as this eventual and quintessential big-city "urban campus", when, in probably just a matter of a few years from now, it's main campus in Tempe will nearly be offering that exact same product/ experience. Definitely not a bad thing, just interesting to see all of this more larger-scale organic development happen in Tempe, while we wait for the same in downtown Phoenix.

PHX31 May 30, 2006 12:46 AM

I like that little pedestrian walkway that jets over Forest, if that's really what it is. I doubt anything like that will come to fruition, though, because of air rights and what not over a Tempe Street.

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