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Don B. Jan 12, 2006 10:31 PM

Tempe Projects Thread
Revised 8-1-07:


somethingfast Jan 12, 2006 11:25 PM

Awesome. Tempe is going to kick ass in no time. Details at your earliest convenience, dear sir...

bcp Jan 12, 2006 11:38 PM

that's project or three?

Azndragon837 Jan 12, 2006 11:53 PM

Go Tempe! So many projects, and so many cranes up! :banana:

soleri Jan 12, 2006 11:58 PM

Mill and 3rd St? Which corner? Hayden Flour Mills? US Airways frontage? Parking lot of the Mission Palms? Regardless, dynamite location.

PHX31 Jan 13, 2006 12:51 AM

right on Mill Ave near where the light rail is going in?


I'd venture to guess where Monti's is now. Did/are they going to sell their property? I would think Mission Palms, but I don't think they'd give up their overflow parking... but maybe.

BTW, anyone know what's going in where Long Wongs used to be? And when? I noticed they demo'ed the building a few weeks ago.

BTW2, anyone notice the small building going in at 10th (?) and Mill? It's a semi-cool, perfect infill building where the old Dairy Queen used to be. I'm wondering what it is. It looks like some kind of art space or retail. If they put something on the SW corner where the gas station used to be, Mill could definitely take off south of University even more than what's established.

We need a Tempe projects thread.

Don B. Jan 13, 2006 12:55 AM

You guys do know that U.S. Airways is planning a second, slightly taller tower next to their existing tower in Tempe? I think it is probably going to be about 12 stories, either immediately south or east of the existing tower.


somethingfast Jan 13, 2006 4:01 AM

^ Wow, Tempe is the real deal. They understand their need to go vertcial and they are taking action. Awesome. If only every major city in Arizona had this mentality. 10 years from now Tempe very well may better a decent little Phoenix DT to come.

Don B. Jan 13, 2006 4:25 AM



somethingfast Jan 13, 2006 4:59 AM

That's gonna be amazing. Go Tempe!

innov8 Jan 13, 2006 5:31 AM

I love checking in on Phoenix and Tempe, but with all the projects coming
down the line and actually happening in Tempe that cities going to look great.

Those mock-up renderings Don B. are great :yes:

Azndragon837 Jan 13, 2006 7:34 AM

Tempe is going to rival Phoenix during the next few years with redevelopment. Looks like Tempe is ahead af the game since all these cranes are up. :banana:

Azndragon837 Jan 13, 2006 7:36 AM

For the Long Wong's site on 7th and Mill, a two story mixed-use building was supposed to go up, but thier submittal expired, therefore the developer must submit a new site plan review submittal, and go through the whole city process again. The Tempe Planning Staff and I do not like the two-story proposal...we wanted something taller, so we are glad that the submittal to build a new building expired, hehehe. :banana:

combusean Jan 13, 2006 11:19 AM


For the Long Wong's site on 7th and Mill, a two story mixed-use building was supposed to go up, but thier submittal expired, therefore the developer must submit a new site plan review submittal, and go through the whole city process again. The Tempe Planning Staff and I do not like the two-story proposal...we wanted something taller, so we are glad that the submittal to
build a new building expired, hehehe.
I've always thought Mill should have a mostly 2 story street frontage, as that seems most compatible with the area. For as pioneering as it was, the Brickyard made an unruly dent in the Mill scene by building too much retail in a subpar streetscape and site plan.

I'm torn on how these projects should be decided, but you really have to approach theese major tenant-lacking retail/office projects with a higher degree of scrutiny than their residential counterparts. I haven't been down College Ave in a while but has the two-story retail annex to the ASU Foundation leased any of its space yet? How long was it vacant?

I'm under the impression that if ASU didn't need the space, the Brickyard would be similarly underleased as well.

Censored 04/25/06

phxatty Jan 13, 2006 6:22 PM

I assume you are not talking about Centerpoint right? That's has been on the boards for a long time, and they broke ground at 5th and Ash recently. Two 30 story towers, and a 22 story tower.

soleri Jan 13, 2006 6:43 PM

^different beast.

Re Sean's post, I agree the Mill Avenue streetscape ought to be considered aesthetically before any rezoning. The project Don is referring to is essentially outside the core area, however. I would like to see any project connect to the street, however. I certainly hope the Hayden Ferry projects do that ultimately. Maybe Andrew knows......?

Azndragon837 Jan 13, 2006 8:11 PM

We will all keep an eye out for the future U.S. Airways Tower, I want to know how that baby is going to look like! Same goes for the NE corner of 3rd Street and Mill Avenue area north of Mission Palms (the Hayden Flour Mill Redevelopment site, which is currently being evaluated for Archeological purposes before it gets redeveloped). As for most projects in Phoenix and Tempe (such as the U.S. Airways Tower), some are presented first to city leaders before the public, to get an idea what the response might be. It might be a little secretative, but, it helps developers "build-up" the momentum with the city before an official release is done.

Don B. Jan 13, 2006 9:32 PM

^ I still think this "secrecy" is asinine and reflective of the project's overall dubious nature. The basis for same seems laughable.

I will keep my fingers crossed. I have found that developers are notoriously difficult to get cooperation from. I can't count on both hands how many times I have spoken to a developer who promised to get me renderings and never came through. Then I've got many more instances where they just totally ignore you, to the point I'm sick of even trying.


Azndragon837 Jan 13, 2006 9:45 PM

There are also a few smaller projects going up around Tempe, like Brownstones, Millstone, and a couple of other "lofty" projects that will make Tempe more dense.

PHX31 Jan 20, 2006 1:54 AM

Andrew, do you know what is being built at about 1st Ave & Farmer or Roosevelt, just south of Regatta Pointe?

There's another lot on 1st Avenue and something that's fenced.

That whole neighborhood (River neighborhood? northern Maple/Ash neighborhood?) is densifying like crazy. There is the Vale, Merrion Square Lofts, 5th Ave Lofts, a huge brownstone project, and at least 2 mystery high-density multi-family developments U/C.

Here's the U/C 5th Ave lofts... there are a total of 7 units that sit on about 1/4 - 1/2 acre, 5th Ave and Roosevelt, just west of Mill... all units are 3-stories.

The brownstone project I am referring to is (used) to be called Brownstones at Hyde park. Here is the old rendering. I don't know if it changed as this is from a couple years ago, but the site has many of the structures erected already, they are awaiting their fininsh. I believe it is 63 units on about 5 acres:

Azndragon837 Jan 20, 2006 4:17 AM


On top of the projects you have mentioned, there is one going up called Tempe Lofts on the NE corner of 5th and Roosevelt.

plinko Jan 20, 2006 4:31 AM

Just to make clear...USAirways owns that lot? Not Hines? My understanding was that the original tower and master plan was done for Hines and that America West was merely a long term tenant? I could be wrong.

combusean Jan 20, 2006 4:44 AM

Hines is a property mananger in the sense that USAirways knows nothing about putting up a highrise tower nor how to manage it. I think that's exclusive of USAirways owning the actual building.

Azndragon837 Jan 20, 2006 5:33 AM

U.S. Airways owns the land in where its building sits on, and the large parking lot on the NW corner of 3rd and Mill. The other parking lot adjacent to the east of the Phase One Building is actually owned by Monti's Restaurant.


PHX31 Jan 20, 2006 2:28 PM


Originally Posted by Azndragon837

...On top of the projects you have mentioned, there is one going up called Tempe Lofts on the NE corner of 5th and Roosevelt.

I mentioned this one, it is the 1st rendering I posted. You can check out their website at .

Thanks for the info. :tup:

Boisebro Jan 20, 2006 9:18 PM

that's pretty amazing! i can't believe that same white crane will still be around in three years!

is the boise tower develope down in tempe now, too? ;)

combusean Jan 20, 2006 9:39 PM

I like the 1st/Roosevelt project. It's densification at its finest--where you had two SF houses before on large lots, you now have seven units in an urban setting.

How does Tempe approach this sort of thing? The Riverside neighborhood seems to have the widest housing variety in the state--large lot single family, apartments, condos, now high rises. Are neighbors welcoming this densification? How much opposition is there to these smaller 3 story infill projects?

Regardless, Tempe is definitely holding out as the urban front runner in this state. The zoning code is intelligent, simple, and well layed out with defined logical standards rather than the arbitrary legalese that fill's Phoenix's approach. The Land Use element of the general plan has mixed use all over the city--Phoenix is still hammering that out as they have been for months.


Originally Posted by Don B.

It should be noted this image is a bit "short"--Centerpoint is actually somewhat taller than Hayden Butte (A Mountain), and I'd say Phase 2 of HFL looks a bit short as well. Not to mention the other towers for Tempe that have been proposed... the 3 for Mill/3rd, two 15's for the old Club Rio site and the Rio East site which I guarantee you will grow much taller.

I second renaming this thread to The Tempe Projects Thread.

Azndragon837 Jan 20, 2006 10:57 PM


Originally Posted by combusean
I second renaming this thread to The Tempe Projects Thread.

Is there a thread already? If not, I suggest to make a brand new thread instead.


Don B. Jan 20, 2006 11:37 PM

It is done. I'm working on a list now.

BoiseBro, you're right, I should have edited out that crane, which is building the 12-story second phase of Hayden Ferry Lakeside.

Combusean, you are correct. I just didn't want to be accused of over-reaching. :D


oliveurban Jan 21, 2006 12:33 AM

Yea, making a Tempe thread was a great idea ...

Don B. Jan 21, 2006 2:36 AM

Okay, here's my preliminary Tempe projects list:

(being revised)

Some renderings:

1. Cosmo:

2. Vela:

3. Mondrian:

4. Merrion:

5. through 8. Revised Hayden Ferry Lakeside renderings:

9. Bridgewater:



combusean Jan 21, 2006 2:53 AM

Any update on Vela? I saw a rendering of it on and have heard nothing of it since then.

Vicelord John Jan 21, 2006 2:59 AM

what are they building on Rio Solado drive just east of Priest... Looks to be a high rise because there is a crane on the river banks.

Don B. Jan 21, 2006 3:04 AM

^ I think that's the Tempe Arts Center.

Sean, I saw this on that "We Know Urban" website while doing my research today:

Point 1: Vela was proposed by Pulte.
Point 2: "525 Town Lake" is also proposed by Pulte.

Ergo, maybe the latter is the latest incarnation of Vela? Who knows?


PS: Found this on Pulte's website:

combusean Jan 21, 2006 4:30 AM

^ Vela looks dead. :(

525 Town Lake is 67 units on 3.3 acres, maximum 3 stories. Neither Tempe nor Google understand how PDF linking works, so click here for the nitty gritties.


has some somewhat useful information

and there's another one titled something like Neil's Redevelopment Projects that I can't find.

Don B. Jan 21, 2006 4:43 AM

^ We don't know that Vela is dead. I prefer to think of it as "idling." :D

This 525 project appears to be something entirely different. I need to add it and the ASU Gateway center to that list.


oliveurban Jan 21, 2006 7:56 AM

Nice list, Don.


Originally Posted by Don B.

Question: What is that white 6-7 story structure on the left? Office? Retail? Parking garage? The angle in the picture has me a little turned around. Is the other side of that building going to be fronting Rio Salado then?

combusean Jan 21, 2006 8:29 AM

Pulte Homes has owned the 520 parcel for a while now--for 11 months its been recorded in the assessor's office, so I figure there's been some idea that they were going to do something with it.

It's the same parcel that Vela was supposed to be on, so unless they have another site lined up it seems unlikely that we'll see it in its current incarnation.

combusean Jan 21, 2006 10:05 AM


Originally Posted by camelback_road
Nice list, Don.

Question: What is that white 6-7 story structure on the left? Office? Retail? Parking garage? The angle in the picture has me a little turned around. Is the other side of that building going to be fronting Rio Salado then?

From ...

It's a 10 level parking structure with a three story retail annex. B-1 is built, 8 stories, B-2 is under construction at 12 stories, B-3 is on its way at 10. I think 3 levels are completed and below ground tho i'm not sure.

oliveurban Jan 21, 2006 11:25 AM

Ah, above ground parking and retail.

Thanks Sean.

PHX31 Jan 21, 2006 2:18 PM

what's the deal with the Cosmo? I noticed the food store is still alive and doing business, I would have thought they'd close by now...

oliveurban Jan 21, 2006 2:38 PM

^ Yea, I believe they're supposed to relocate to Southern/ Mill Ave. But, not until July.

Don B. Jan 21, 2006 4:12 PM

Guys, I need some help rounding up all of the ASU projects to the Tempe list above. Currently, it doesn't have any of the stuff going up on campus. The scope: All buildings completed since 2000, proposed or under construction.

I appreciate your help in advance. :)

Sean, I see what you mean about Pulte's intentions. Hopefully, they can line up other land and Vela may still happen, and this doesn't end up being a zero sum game.

I would imagine some developers are worried the condo market in downtown Tempe may not be all that deep, especially with the planes roaring overhead, the powerlines, and the semi-funky nature of the neighborhoods around downtown. Thus, many projects are probably on hold while Centerpoint, Bridgeview phase I and Cosmo move forward. If they sell out fast, like Edgewater's eight-story building did (at $400 per square foot no less), then many of the other rumored/proposed projects should start moving forward. Also, I don't feel Tempe's downtown has really "made it" until something happens to the old flour mill and land adjacent thereto. That would be an excellent location for affordable housing, which is sorely lacking in all of these projects.


combusean Jan 21, 2006 4:49 PM

^ That seems like a fairly large scope. I mean, what's the reference to skyscrapers here?

That being said, there's Coor Hall, ITSB 1 and 2, the two biodesign buildings, McAllister Academic Village (2,000 residential units in two phases), 2 Msqft for the Arts and Business Gateway, and 1.45 Msqft for "South Campus Housing"

I think the condo boom is being staved off by astronomical construction and land acquisition costs rather than an inherent limited demand for units. Let's not forgot that prices here are substantially higher for condo units than other cities in the US.

Moreover, the market's in a bit of a correction. Investors are bailing out en masse and there's a fairly large number of units availalble given the largely untested market here. I'm certain things will in due time stabilise--but in the long term owner occupiers market, I think we've barely scratched the surface.

Most of all Don I think your final assessment about the Mill's renovation playing a signature role in modern post-urban Tempe is dead on accurate. It is the single biggest block aside from Mission Palms that interrupts the Mill Avenue motif from University to the lake.

The numerous challenges (i call them opportunities) the site poses will likely mean that it will be the last and largest major parcel in Tempe's City Center district left--after that building anything new will likely require tearing something else down.

Don B. Jan 21, 2006 5:57 PM

^ Thanks, Sean. If you look at my list, I tried to include every project of at least three stories in the downtown area. I figure ASU's new buildings (especially the taller projects) shouldn't be left out.

I totally agree about the construction costs being an issue. That, and the relative inexperience of our builders at creating high-rises.


Azndragon837 Jan 22, 2006 12:11 AM

Hey guys,

For your information, the 16 story Cosmo Building has been redeisgned (the one you have Don is the old design). The project received comments from nearby neighbors in the Maple/Ash Neighborhood, and their concerns were addressed.

Don B. Jan 22, 2006 4:06 AM

^ Thanks, Andrew - you 'da man! :)


combusean Jan 22, 2006 6:56 AM

Trillium Residential is 4 floors and 466 units. I calculated the du/acre to 38 which isn't too bad, it's a little more than your average apartment complex around here.

Another measure can be calculated from the site plan. You should have a pedestrian entrance about once every 25 feet according to good urban design standards, this project has an entrance about every 62 feet fronting Washington, excluding Center Parkway which bisects the property.

combusean Feb 3, 2006 2:52 AM

Found this one but forgot to link to it.

523-Unit Mondrian Developer Sues Tempe
City failed to expedite lake work, suit states
Jahna Berry
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 20, 2006 12:00 AM

A developer building a $100 million project on the northern shore of Tempe Town Lake has slapped the city with a lawsuit.

Gray Development Group alleges that Tempe cost the company "tens of million of dollars" because the city failed to "fast track" the project, according to the complaint filed in Maricopa County Superior Court on Jan. 6.

"The City broke its promises, breached its contractual obligations and failed to act fairly and reasonably toward the Plaintiffs. . . . Because of the City's wrongful actions, the Plaintiffs have incurred millions of dollars of damages including increased expenses, lost opportunities and lost profits," the lawsuit states.

Tempe's lawyer said she expects that the city and developer will patch things up. It's important to keep the project on track, said City Attorney Marlene Pontrelli.

"We have a great working relationship with Gray, and we think we will be able to come to a solution that's mutually beneficial to both parties," Pontrelli said.

Several calls to Gray Development Group officials were not returned Thursday. John Moshier, the company's attorney, said his client has not authorized him to comment.

Mondrian Tempe Town Lake is a 523-unit development that will include apartments and condominiums. It's scheduled to be completed in March.

According to the lawsuit, project negotiations began in 2002, when the apartment market was in the post-Sept. 11 doldrums. The project took so long that the real estate market recovered, which forced the developer to pay more. Delays also led to higher design and loan costs, the suit states.

oliveurban Feb 13, 2006 7:34 AM

10-story condo project planned for blighted area of Tempe
Katie Nelson
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 13, 2006

It will take years before sleek light-rail cars slide through the Valley. But rail-inspired redevelopment is already cropping up in a long-ignored section of Tempe.

A 10-story condominium complex may be built in a desolate area of the city, along the same street where police see the highest concentration of prostitution and blight.

The portion of Apache Boulevard that straddles Loop 101 is covered with a smattering of empty lots, trailer-home parks and small businesses, some of them boarded up or run-down. And while there are appealing aspects, such as a tasty mix of ethnic restaurants and an active community center, city leaders and residents have long stewed over how to rejuvenate the area.

The city has taken steps to revitalize the locale, such as investing in a fire department headquarters and a new police substation, which broke ground in December. Despite those efforts, the section of the boulevard has received little attention from private developers.

But now, the new Tempe Union Station Lofts project is proposed.

If it is ultimately given the go-ahead by the City Council, it would be the first upscale private investment in that part of the boulevard in years. The public will get its first glimpse of the multiuse buildings proposal tonight at the city's Apache Boulevard Project Area Committee meeting. It still has to go through the Planning and Zoning Commission before going before the City Council.

The Lofts' backers are hoping to cash in on middle-income folks who will be lured by easy access to two light-rail-line stops and the Loop 101 freeway, only a half-mile away.

"Light rail is going to change the perception of how people get around," said Steve Barduson, the project's architect. "And while there is probably nowhere lower on the food chain in Tempe than Apache right now, we're banking on what it could be."

If it materializes, the project would take up three lots and replace Tradewinds, a decaying batch of tiny apartments and trailer homes now at 1900 E. Apache Boulevard. The new buildings, one 10 stories and one five, would include more than 400 condominiums or live/work spaces, underground parking and retail with space for a restaurant. The design will be aimed at recent college graduates, baby boomers in the market for a second home and anyone else looking to shun suburbia for an urban lifestyle, Barduson said.

Lately, project proposals like this aren't rare, said Phil Amarose, chairman of the Apache Boulevard Project Area Committee. But he doesn't take them lightly and hopes the proposals are a sign of what is to come thanks to light rail.

"Apache has to change over from being an old state highway, which is contributing to the deterioration," Amarose said. "You need something to inject this new feel for the area."

The Tempe Union Station Lofts could be a step toward that new look, he said.

"Some of the people say they want it the way it was," he added. "But for every one of them there are nine boarded-up businesses. Change of some magnitude is coming as fast as those light-rail cars are coming. We need to keep up with it."


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