The East Valley city of Tempe is transforming into the Metro Phoenix’s second urban center, as high-rise buildings begin to fill in around Arizona State University, one of the biggest development magnets, if not the biggest, in Arizona. Much of that development is occurring along the traditional avenue, Mill. Currently, there are four major projects in the Mill Avenue corridor set to be completed in 2019 or early 2020. Those projects, the Westin Tempe, Mirabella ASU, Tempe Hilton Canopy Hotel and The Local, will do much to add to the urban feel of Tempe.

But Mill Avenue isn’t the only area of rapid development in Tempe or the East Valley, as the urbanization of Rural Road is well on its way.

Currently, there are four major construction projects underway along Rural Road, north of University and spanning across Tempe Town Lake where Rural technically turns into Scottsdale Rd. The most notable project is the massive Watermark development on the north shore of Tempe Town Lake. The 656,041 square foot structure is rapidly taking shape, as is the neighboring Aura Watermark Apartments. Those two structures dominate the north shoreline.

“We’re really following through with the vision that we’ve had all along to have buildings around the lake that compliments it,” said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell. “It’s exciting to see The Watermark grow and it’s going to complement what (the Novus Innovation Corridor) is doing and all of the other Class A office space. You can’t have enough Class A office space right now. It’s really the center of the Valley now.”

While Watermark is shaping the north side of the lake along Rural Road, the Novus Innovation Corridor enters Phase 3 of its massive development along Rural Road south of the lake. The first two phases were the five buildings and 2.1 million square feet of space that comprise Marina Heights. Phase 3 is the transformation of the northwest corner of Rural Rd. and University Dr. Two projects are already underway in Phase 3 of the Novus Innovation Corridor. Mortenson Construction is working on a 259-room dual-branded Hyatt House + Hyatt Place hotel, which will be 151,000 square feet and open before school starts in the fall of 2020. The seven-story hotel will feature a rooftop pool, bar and outdoor gathering areas, as well as a restaurant and bar on the ground floor.

“It’s pretty exciting for me, personally, to have a great hotel coming out of the ground on Day 1 here at Novus,” said Charley Freericks, senior vice president for Catellus, the developer of the Novus Innovation Corridor along with Arizona State University. “As master developer, our commitment is to attract world-class businesses and developers to the Novus Innovation Corridor and champion and celebrate the vision for this world-class development. We’re confident that the Hyatt flag will serve as a magnet for other major companies to bring their newest and most progressive ideas and projects here to Novus.”

The other project underway is a 175,000-square-foot, Class A office project that Ryan Companies is building.

The hotel and office projects will soon be joined by a multifamily residential project as well as more office space, as the Novus Innovation Corridor rises up along both sides of Rural Road.

“We realize that this is an opportunity to redefine the north end of our Tempe campus, our largest, most research-intensive, oldest campus,” said Dr. Morgan Olson, Arizona State University Vice President who oversees the university’s development. “We’re the largest research university in the country and we’re increasingly global in terms of our activities. We’re looking for high-quality organizations that value that type of relationship and we see that with what we have happening here in the Novus Innovation Corridor.”

The skyline along Rural Road north of University Drive will be transformed by the Novus Innovation Corridor, as office buildings, apartments and retail projects fill in the entire half-mile stretch to Tempe Town Lake and then eastward to McClintock Rd.

“The Novus Innovation Corridor is projected to bring 24,000 jobs and 5,000 residents and that’s going to grow our corridor,” said Mitchell. “This is going to help Tempe provide the lifestyle experience that really fits into our urban core in the city. And, it’s going to continue to provide the much-needed employment as well as residential for our city where families will want to live, work, play, as well as attend the best university in Arizona State University.”

East Valley Project Updates


The Local

JE Dunn Construction is nearing completion of Forum Real Estate Group’s mixed-use project that will feature 286 apartments and a ground floor, Whole Foods Market on the NW corner of University Dr. and Ash Ave. Mark-Taylor Residential is the management company for the apartments.

Updated completion date: Apartment leasing has begun, Whole Foods to open in October

The Grand Phase 2

Exterior work is completed and Whiting-Turner crews are working on interior finishes of the 352,000 square foot, DAVIS designed office building. The Grand at Papago Park, developed by Lincoln Property Company, will ultimately bring in 1.8 million square feet of office space, and 1.4 million square feet of multifamily, hospitality and retail product.

Updated completion date: July 2019

Westin Tempe

CAI Investments is very close to delivering the latest high-end, full-service hotel to downtown Tempe. The 290-unit hotel is located on Seventh St. between Mill Ave. and Myrtle Ave. Designed by RSP Architects, the Westin will rise 18 stories and include a rooftop pool and lounge.

Updated completion date: August 2019

Alliance Broadstone Rio Salado

Tempe has a sliver of land that sits east of the Loop 101 along Rio Salado Pkwy., and that is where the 276-unit Broadstone Rio Salado is rising up. The Alliance Residential luxury apartment complex is within walking distance to Sloan Park, spring training home of the Cubs, and a very short drive to either Mesa Riverview or Tempe Marketplace.

Updated completion date: First apartments to open August 2019


The Lotus Project

Conor Commercial Real Estate is just over a month away from delivering the 473,516 square feet of industrial space in four buildings in this prime location at the confluence of the 202 San Tan Freeway and Interstate 10. McShane Construction is expected to finish up a month ahead of schedule and CBRE has already preleased 25 percent of the space, including a full building lease on Building 3 (118,383 SF).

Updated completion date: August 2019

Allred Park Place

The latest phase of this massive development along Price Rd., south of the Loop 202 will deliver more than 600,000 square feet of office and high-tech research and development space. Willmeng Construction expects to finish on buildings 15 and 16 in July and buildings 17 and 18, home of the new Orbital ATK campus, will be finished in September. CBRE has already fully leased the 150,000 SF Building 16 and has leased 40,000 SF of the 120,000 SF in Building 16.

Updated completion date: September 2019

San Valencia

This Mark-Taylor apartment community is part of a boom of new complexes being developed along Germann Rd., just south of the Loop 202. San Valencia is the largest multi family residential project to be recently built in Chandler with 556 units.

Updated completion date: Community has begun renting and expects to be fully completed by October 2019.

Chandler Freeway Crossing

This Mark IV Capital development will deliver 153,370 square feet of office space to the Price Freeway corridor. This buildinig is Building No. 4 in the development, with another Class A building in the planning stages.

Updated completion date: August 2019


Gilbert Spectrum – Phase 1

The building, known as Building One, is one of five new buildings – totaling more than 435,000 square feet – that SunCap Property Group will develop at Gilbert Spectrum. Graycor Construction is making progress on the 135,745 SF flex industrial building that sits at the southwest corner of Elliot and McQueen roads.

Updated completion date: July 2019

Gilbert Crossroads Business Park

EastGroup Properties is launching a four-building, two-phase industrial park on land near Gilbert and Germann roads. The first phase is two buildings, one 58,000 SF and the other 82,000 SF, both speculative buildings.

Updated completion date: November 2019

The Commons at Rivulon,

Buildings C and D

Layton Construction is currently working on a pair of two-story office buildings in the East Valley, one 102,400 SF and the second 97,250 SF. These two Class A office projects developed by Nationwide Realty Investors sit right next to Deloitte’s new Arizona offices along Pecos Rd., just east of Gilbert Rd.

Updated completion date: Spring 2020


The Landing at PMG

Marwest Enterprises is delivering 281,050 SF of Class A industrial product to Mesa’s Gateway Area. In total, there are six buildings at The Landing, ranging in size from 11,945 to 112,748. The project is located on the southeast corner of Ray and Sossaman roads. CBRE has already signed three tenants for the property.

Updated completion date: June 2019

Metro East Valley Commerce Center II

Graycor Construction is nearing completion of this two-building, 363,530 SF light industrial project for Metro Commercial Properties. The East Valley project is located on 21 acres on the southwest corner of Auto Center Drive and Horne Street.

Updated completion date: July 2019

Fat Cats — Family Entertainment Center

A.R. Mays Construction is currently building this 64,050 SF family entertainment center at 5846 E. Longbow Parkway. The center features eight theaters, 20 bowling lanes, arcade, nine-hole glow in the dark mini golf, party room, virtual reality area, bar and restaurant.

Updated completion date: November 2019