It could be the best 48 hours ever for Valley development and commercial real estate: three projects and more than $1B in economic impact.
In the past 48 hours plans were revealed for three major investment and construction projects in Metro Phoenix, including today’s announcement of the $600M Marina Heights mixed-used development on Tempe Town Lake.
>> Grand Canyon University yesterday selected DMB Associates’ Eastmark development in Mesa for its $150M East Valley satellite campus. GCU has the right to purchase 100 acres at Eastmark with an option to add up to 60 additional acres for future expansion.
>> USA Place, LLC, has been selected to develop a new 330-room Omni Hotel and 30,000 SF conference center on a 10.5-acre site located at the SEC of Mill Avenue and University Drive in Tempe, subject to Tempe City Council and Arizona Board of Regents final approval of development agreements. In addition to the hotel and conference center, the $350M mixed-use development will include a new national headquarters and training center for USA Basketball, a 4,500-seat event center, 500 luxury apartments, 160,000 SF of retail and up to 200,000 SF of office space, including the new home for Arizona Interscholastic Association events.
The crowning jewel of the two-day development splash was announced this morning at the Carson Center on the ASU campus. Marina Heights is a 20-acre, mixed-use development that will include five office buildings leased by State Farm, retail amenities and a 10-acre plaza to be constructed over the next four years.
The 2 MSF project, considered the “largest office deal in Arizona history,” will be constructed on ASU land and developed by Sunbelt Holdings and Ryan Companies, US, Inc. Speakers included Gov. Jan Brewer, Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell, State Farm Senior Vice President Mary Crego, ASU President Dr. Michael Crow, Sunbelt Holdings CEO and President John Graham, and Ryan Companies, US, Inc. CEO and President Pat Ryan and Southwest Regional President John Strittmatter.
“We are so proud to be a part of the team that is bringing this major corporate project and thousands of new jobs to Tempe. With the completion of this transit-oriented development, the vision for Tempe Town Lake will be realized,” Graham said.
Ryan Companies begins construction this month. The 20-acre mixed-use development will include five office buildings leased by State Farm, retail amenities and a 10-acre plaza that will be constructed over the next four years. The first 370,000 SF building is expected to be complete by mid-2015.
“Along with our design/build partner DAVIS, we are thrilled to unveil the renderings and design of this new campus today,” Strittmatter said. “We look forward to celebrating many more construction milestones over the next four years.”
Marina Heights is adjacent to ASU Sun Devil Stadium and ASU’s Athletic Facilities District.
“The groundbreaking demonstrates our partnership with State Farm who shares our strong commitment to education and the development of future generations. We look forward to opportunities to expand this partnership in new areas as advances in innovation and information technology provide opportunities for future programs,” Crow said.
The new facility will provide claims, service and sales support to State Farm customers. Once completed, State Farm will have capacity for up to 8,000 employees in Metro Phoenix.
“We are pleased to be part of this collaborative project as we expand to a multi-functional facility in Tempe,” Crego said. “This is one of many changes to position State Farm to meet the evolving needs of our customers and better serve communities across North America.”
“We are proud State Farm has chosen Tempe for this major employment center,” Mayor Mitchell said. “This corporate expansion will be the catalyst for attracting thousands of jobs and even more quality development around Tempe Town Lake. We look forward to welcoming State Farm employees into our community and hope that Tempe will be their city of choice to live, work and play.”
“Arizona has cultivated one of the premier business climates in the nation, and companies are taking notice,” Gov. Brewer said. “I thank State Farm and its development partners for recognizing everything our state has to offer. This project is great news for the Arizona economy, and testament to our pro-growth principles and highly-skilled workforce.”
Award-winning architectural design firm DAVIS completed the design portion of the Marina Heights project, the single largest office development deal in Arizona history. It will include five buildings, ranging in size from 6 to 16 stories and spanning 20 acres along Tempe Town Lake.
The multi-building design will offer retail amenities including coffee shops, restaurants and fitness facilities. The site will also feature a 10-acre lakeside plaza, which will be open to the public. Designed to complement the Tempe skyline, the complex will be an iconic landmark developed with a visionary concept that is minimalist, elegant and functional.
“We presented a bold vision for Marina Heights and State Farm: Five glass and stainless steel tower monoliths that will shimmer in the desert sun — cubist cloud towers floating above the lakefront,” said Principal Architect and project designer, Richard Drinkwater, AIA.
“The towers are minimalist with pristine, prismatic forms sculpted with deep insets and terraces strategically incised to create interlocking volumes. Tower heights are differentiated for skyline effect and are covered entirely in clear, reflective and fritted glass and stainless steel, reflecting and refracting the environment. This presents unique, ever changing views of the building as one’s vantage point changes. The design also includes a richly landscaped urban plaza, framed by metal podium structures, that engages the lake and park.”
Principals of USA Place, LLC, include Susan Eastridge, CEO of Concord Eastridge; Michael Hallmark, principal of Future Cities; and Robert Harris, CEO of Harris Sports & Entertainment.
At a board meeting on July 25, USA Basketball’s Board of Directors approved the move to Tempe and USA Place as the home of its new national headquarters and training center.
The location, described by the developers as one of the most important urban sites in the Southwest, is adjacent to ASU’s main campus and Tempe’s Mill Avenue District, a short walk to light rail stations and minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
The mixed-use plan created by Future Cities emphasizes walkable urban neighborhoods with four- and five-story residential units above retail shops, restaurants and services. Parking is designed to be primarily below grade and in one parking structure at the corner of 10th Street and Myrtle.
The full-service Omni Hotel will be Tempe’s first four-diamond hotel. With 58 distinctive luxury hotels and resorts across North America, Omni Hotels & Resorts is recognized as a market leader for group and transient business as well as with leisure travelers. The adjacent 30,000 SF conference center will feature a grand ballroom capable of seating 1,000 for dining, a junior ballroom and meeting space.
The site’s other major anchor will be USA Basketball, which will relocate its national headquarters and training center to USA Place in the fall of 2015. Currently based in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball serves as the national governing body for men’s and women’s basketball in the U.S.
It is officially recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) as being solely responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA sponsored international basketball competitions, including the Olympics and World Championships.
Led by Chairman Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball’s programming for men and women includes U16 (16 years old and under), U17, U18, U19 and the national teams. USA Basketball also features national teams for 3×3 competitions, and a youth development program which provides kids, parents and coaches with instructional and educational resources. USA teams are the reigning men’s and women’s champions in the Olympics and currently rank No. 1 in all five of FIBA’s world ranking categories, including men, women, boys and girls.
A new multi-court event center, with seating up to 4,500, will serve as the training site for USA Basketball primarily in the summer months and for regional youth and adult recreational and competitive athletics programming the rest of the year. A third USA Place development partner, former Phoenix Suns V.P. Robert Harris, will manage the facility and create original programming for the center including tournaments, camps, leagues and clinics.
“This is an exciting and an incredible opportunity that offers nothing but positives for USA Basketball,” Colangelo said. “USA Place will offer USA Basketball an excellent site for the development of its office headquarters, a training center and event center that will provide the organization with a first-class site for hosting junior level events and will allow USA Basketball to continue to evolve.”
“The new USA Basketball headquarters and training center will be first-class, state of art facilities, something I know we will be very proud of.”
In addition to USA Basketball, the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) will also host programming at the event center, which will include post season state high school tournaments for boys and girls basketball, volleyball, wrestling, badminton and spiritline. High schools will also have an opportunity to participate in regular season “Games-of-the-Week” there. AIA is the primary governing body for high school athletics in Arizona.
The AIA’s Chuck Schmidt said he believes the move will create more opportunity for high school programs.
“We’re very excited to have a permanent home where we can host our events. Being able to share a home court with USA Basketball will be a remarkable experience for our kids,” he said.
Omni executives recognize the Tempe site and development concept as important to Omni’s brand.
“USA Place is our first property development in the Valley, which is important to our brand development strategy as well as for our guests,” said Mike Deitemeyer, president of Omni Hotels & Resorts. “The complex presents Tempe with great synergistic opportunities, and we are committed to ensuring that the Omni Tempe Hotel, and our team, is engaged Tempe community, Greater Phoenix region and state.”
The site is located next to ASU’s Tempe campus on land owned by ASU. USA Place, LLC, is entering into a long-term ground lease with a base term of 99 years. ASU and the City of Tempe have formed a partnership to support the creation of the conference center and as a result, the conference center will revert to public ownership after twenty years.
Construction of the project is planned to begin by year-end with the hotel, conference center, event center and first phase of residential, retail and office scheduled to open during the second half of 2015.
GCU at Eastmark
Other sites considered for the new GCU campus were Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek and Tempe.
“In selecting the Eastmark site, we were especially impressed with the integrated community concept DMB is creating,” said Brian Mueller, president and CEO of GCU.
“This environment will give our students, faculty and staff an exciting place to learn, work and play while being an integral part of the East Valley community. We believe our presence will benefit the entire region by providing the option of a low-cost, high-quality Christian education to all its residents,” Mueller said.
DMB’s Eastmark community will be situated on 3,200 acres in the center of the Gateway region in Mesa, just minutes from the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.
“We are thrilled to be the future home of GCU, its faculty, students and staff,” said Charley Freericks, president of DMB. “DMB communities feature a focus on lifelong learning and GCU’s unique model for post-secondary education will bring a wealth of learning opportunities to Eastmark and to all of the East Valley.”
Construction of the new campus is expected to begin in 2014, with a prospective opening date in 2015. The university’s plan is to purchase up to 160 acres located east of Ellsworth Rd. and Point 22 Blvd. The 7-year build-out of the campus will include offices and administration space, classrooms, labs, library, a student union, student dorms, recreational fields and parking.
“The East Valley, and specifically Mesa’s Gateway area, is emerging as a destination for high-quality higher education. We are honored to welcome Grand Canyon University to Mesa, Arizona’s newest college town,” said Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.
Until the opening of the new campus, the GCU team will have a space in Eastmark’s visitors and community center this coming year for prospective students to come and learn more about the school as well as the new campus.
So that they can begin offering classes in the fall of 2014, the university is looking into leasing space in the Eastmark area. When the campus opens in 2015, those students would then transfer to the new location.