(Source: AZCentral) By Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
The first phase of a project that will fundamentally reshape the east end of the Arizona State University campus and help fund the university’s athletic department is under way.
ASU and Oakland, California-based Catellus Development Corp., aim to develop 330 acres of ASU property and ultimately expect to bring about 20,000 jobs and 5,000 residents to the area.
The sports facilities district project, part of an area now dubbed the Novus Innovation Corridor, has been in the works since 2015. It could create hundreds of millions of dollars for athletic facilities over the next two decades.
The first phase of the project includes 1 million square feet of office space just north of the light rail station at University Drive and Rural Road, according to a June 7 news release from ASU and Catellus. Urban residences, a hotel, restaurants, retail space and a parking structure also are expected to be built later in the first phase.
The 330 acres, which ASU has been planning to develop for some time, did not have a name until the projects were announced.
Novus, which is Latin for new, was chosen to reflect the “type of innovation that ASU is known for,” Catellus executive vice president Greg Weaver said.
“The City of Tempe is the perfect setting for the Novus Innovation Corridor and we are excited to see its potential within our borders,” Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said in a statement.
“Tempe has fostered a welcoming culture and built the infrastructure – with light rail, Tempe Town Lake, a vibrant downtown and future Tempe Streetcar – that makes our community the ultimate hub for new ideas.”
A ‘WORLD-CLASS URBAN COMMUNITY’
ASU owns land parcels on the east and west sides of Rural Road from University to the Rio Salado Parkway, and then east along Rio Salado alongside Tempe Town Lake.
Marina Heights, the regional hub for State Farm, was recently completed on Rio Salado east of Rural Road. It contains 2 million square feet of office space with 45,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. ASU considers Marina Heights part of the broader Novus Innovation Corridor as well.
The first building in new ASU-Catellus project could be a six-story, nearly 160,000-square-foot office building near the northwest corner of University Drive and Rural Road. Catellus is in “final negotiations” with a developer, the news release said.
The project is expected to feature a retail district with shopping, dining, entertainment and strolling opportunities. Mid-rise buildings with offices, residences and a hotel will surround the ground-level retail, the news release said. A pedestrian promenade will also connect to Sun Devil Stadium and Wells Fargo Arena.
Catellus said negotiations were progressing with an urban multifamily developer on a 260-unit mid-rise housing project.
ASU hopes to bring in revenue from development to pay for capital improvements for its sports programs.
Upon completion, the Novus Innovation Corridor is expected to integrate more than 8 million square feet of private and mixed-use property along with athletic centers for ASU’s athletic department.
“The innovation corridor will be a constantly evolving illustration of how local and global enterprises can partner to put innovative research and technology into practice in the greater community,” ASU President Michael Crow said in a statement.
ASU ATHLETICS TO BENEFIT
Money generated from the district, created in 2010 by the Arizona Legislature, will go toward building and revamping ASU athletic facilities. Developments in the district will pay fees to ASU instead of property taxes.
The development projects will change the footprint of the university’s athletic facilities.
Sun Devil Stadium’s renovations are part of the project. The $256 million stadium reconstruction is expected to be completed after the 2017 football season.
The Verde Dickey Dome, ASU’s indoor football facility, will move closer to Sun Devil Stadium.
None of the names of the athletic facilities will be changed.