Next For Downtown Tempe

Next For Downtown Tempe

More Growth out of Tempe and more Tech for Arizona.
Article originally posted on Phoenix Business Journal on June 15, 2017

Greg Weaver says downtown Tempe has exactly what all those highly coveted technology and creative companies want.

Tempe’s got millennials and college students — almost 52,000 of them are at Arizona State University’s main campus. It’s got Mill Avenue’s bars, coffee shops and restaurants as well as Metro light rail and proximity to other tech and employment hubs (Scottsdale and Chandler). Tempe and Valley Metro are also building a street car system (not called desire) to run down Rio Salado Parkway and to Marina Heights development where State Farm has thousands of employees on Tempe Town Lake.

Now, Weaver is looking to bring a game changing, innovation and technology geared development to Tempe.

Weaver is executive vice president with Catellus Development Corp. The California real estate development firm is the master developer at a 330-acre district established by Arizona State University on land it owns east of its main campus.

Revenue from the ASU district will go toward improving Sun Devil Stadium and other university sports facilities.

But Weaver and ASU executives see the potentially biggest payoff in the development zone. They’ve named it the Novus Innovation Corridor.

At full build-out, the Novus development could bring as many as 20,000 jobs and 5,000 new residents to Tempe. There are already scores of jobs in downtown Tempe via ASU, State Farm and ADP (Nasdaq: ADP) which took over the old US Airways headquarters.

Weaver said demolition work is already being done on the next phase of development at University Drive and Rural Road. Plans call for Class A office space, retail and restaurant space all outfitted with Wi-Fi. Weaver said there could be a mix build-to-suit and speculative development at the Novus project.

“There could be both,” he said.

He also sees the possibility of live-work studios being incorporated into multifamily and retail components.

Catellus has those at its 700-acre development at a former small airport in Austin.

Weaver said a linchpin of the Tempe development will be its proximity to and links to ASU and its R&D operations, faculty and student researchers and resources.

Weaver said innovation and attracting technology tenants are at the top of the Novus development’s priority list.

ASU and Catellus aren’t alone with new developments in Tempe.

Los Angeles-based Fenix Development has started construction on its 1.9 million-square-foot Watermark development on Tempe Town Lake. The project includes Class A office space as well as plans for restaurants, retail and a hotel.

Lincoln Property Co. also continues to develop The Grand at Papago Center just down the light rail from Mill Avenue and downtown Tempe.

LPC is building seven office buildings totaling 1.8 million square feet of Class A office space as part of the final build out of the 3.2 million-square-foot development.

The Grand at Papago Center will include seven new mid-rise towers with 1.8 million square feet of Class A office space. The project is the final phase of the 3.2-million-square-foot complex between Center Parkway, Priest Drive, Washington Street and Loop 202 in Tempe.

There are concerns about traffic and whether all the new developments and construction might oversaturate the submarket.

There are also urban-oriented residential developments under construction or in the works in the downtown area.

Opus Group is building a multifamily high-rise development just off University Drive east of Mill Avenue. Denver-based Forum Real Estate Group also has plans on University and Ash Avenue for apartments and long-coveted Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFM).

That project is called The Local.

Darin Sender, a Tempe-based zoning attorney, has worked on a number of Tempe’s biggest and newest economic development project. That includes the Opus and Forum projects.

Sender said Tempe’s growth — including State Farm’s Marina Heights development and other post-recession projects — has been a couple decades in the making.

“Since the 1980s, Tempe mayors and city councils have had a unique, progressive vision for Tempe. Fulfilling that vision led to the downtown revitalization of the 80s, Tempe Town Lake in the 1990s, and light rail in the 2000s,” Sender said. “All of these accomplishments set the foundation to make downtown Tempe an economic engine for the entire city. As a result, great things continue to happen all over Tempe.”

Source: Innovation, Tech and a Whole Foods:Downtown Tempe's Next Big Thing, (June, 2017)

Matt Pennington Headshot
Phone: 480-251-0280
Dated: June 16th 2017
Views: 1,277
About Matt: Matt has been a licensed Real Estate Broker since 2003 and with American AllStar Realty since 2005. ...

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