Patience (and a lot of it) is beginning to pay off for City of Mesa officials. The state’s third-largest city has long had a reputation for slow, careful development, and nowhere has that deliberate process been more apparent in the East Valley than in the downtown Mesa submarket. The area has had precious little development since the Mesa Arts Center was completed in 2005. However, that trend appears to be changing and East Valley construction projects are changing that trend fast.
Currently, there are four, large-scale developments underway in downtown Mesa with a fifth, even larger development in the planning and city approval stages.
“I think from city leadership, to the elected officials, to the city staff, they’re thrilled to see the movement on these projects and others in the pipeline,” said Bill Jabjiniak, economic development director for the City of Mesa. “It’s been a long time, but these new developments are so important. It’s like building blocks to build a very active downtown core, one that is certainly in the process of redefining itself. We’re excited and expect to see great things.”
Those four developments include the Mesa Temple renovation project that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints began in 2018. City Creek Reserve, the development arm of the LDS church, is building Phase I of its large, mixed-use development next door to the Temple. Next to the City Creek Reserve project, Palladium Enterprises is working on The GRID, a mixed-use project that will feature retail, office and multifamily. Just over a block west of The Grid on Main St., Arizona State University is building its $130 million ASU at Mesa City Center campus.
“ASU is going to drive a lot of economic activity just with having students there,” Jabjiniak said. “Everyone likes to see a very active and vibrant downtown, and in Mesa’s case The Grid and ASU at City Center will become a hub of innovation and arts and culture and entertainment and education. All of that together creates a vibrancy that I think is important.”
Mesa has been preparing for this influx of vibrancy for more than a decade, expanding the Metro Light Rail line through downtown and out to Gilbert Rd. The city has also invested in improving infrastructure in the area, with upgraded sewer, water and power capabilities. Also, the city has been making street improvements on Mesa Dr. from the Superstition Freeway all the way to downtown.
“We’re doing all kinds of road improvements, road widening and street scape improvements,” Jabjiniak said. “It’s really going to change the dynamic in the entrance to downtown.”
Here’s a breakdown of the four developments in the construction phase in downtown Mesa:
Porter Brothers Construction is in the closing stretch of this massive, two-year “refresh” of the iconic Mesa Arizona Temple. The details of the work inside the 75,000 square foot Temple won’t be released to the general public, but landscaping changes on the north side of the Temple opened up the views of the main building. The visitors center has been torn down and will be replaced by a new 18,000 square foot visitors’ center and interactive Family History Discovery Center on the corner of Main and LeSueur as part of City Creek Reserve’s project.
Just west of the Temple, City Creek Reserve has begun transforming part of the historic Temple District neighborhood. City Creek is building on 8.2 acres of property and is in the middle of work on Phase I, which is comprised of 243 apartments and 7,500 square feet of retail space. A 450-stall underground parking lot creates room for 70,000 square feet of open space, which will include landscaped gardens. Phase II will be comprised of a mix of apartments, townhouses and retail space. Phase I is expected to be fully completed by first quarter of 2021.
Palladium Enterprises is delivering a true, mixed-use project to Mesa with The GRID. It will feature modern design and takes advantage of an under-utilized parking structure. The project will have 14,000 square feet of co-working and office space, as well as ground floor retail and dining spaces that will have glass walls and roll-up doors to open the businesses to the street. The GRID will have 196 apartments built on top of the Pomeroy Parking Garage, 75 urban flats, which are micro units of 450 square feet, perfect for students at Benedictine University Mesa, which is just west of The GRID. There will also be 15, three-level, walk-up rowhouses that can be privately owned.
The last project to get started is perhaps the most dynamic. DPR Construction is in the early building stages of this 118,000-square-foot education facility located at Main St. and N. Centennial Way, just east of the City of Mesa municipal offices. The new ASU campus facility will be where students study programs in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, including digital and sensory technology, experiential design, gaming, media arts, film production, and entrepreneurial development and support. The facility will host about 800 students, and include a large exhibition gallery, screening theaters, production studios, a fabrication lab and a cafe. It is expected to be open in time for the spring 2022 semester.
Novus Innovation Corridor
The Novus Innovation Corridor in the eastern edge of Arizona State University’s main Tempe Campus is rapidly coming into focus. The Novus Innovation Corridor is a partnership between master developer Catellus Development Corp. and ASU. Construction activity within the 350-acre development continues, as buildings within in its Phase III development footprint begin to open in the second half of 2020. Infrastructure is also rolling into the Athletics Village on the former Karsten Golf Course.
Phase III is a 19-acre parcel, bounded by University Drive on the north, Rural Road on the west, Veterans Way on the east and Sixth St. on the south. Phase III construction includes Class A office space, a multi-use parking garage, multifamily residences, hotels, and additional space for restaurants, shops and services.
777 Tower at Novus
The 160,000-square-foot 777 Tower at Novus is a six-story, L-shaped Class A office building that was designed by DAVIS and is scheduled to open in the summer of 2020. The building, which is being built by Ryan Companies US, Inc., includes 8,000 square feet of ground-level retail space of the initial 27,000 square feet comprising the pedestrian-friendly Novus Place retail district.
Hyatt House/Hyatt Place Hotel
A summer 2020 opening is planned for the new 259-room dual-branded Hyatt House / Hyatt Place hotel. Mortenson is the general contractor for this eight-story hotel immediately adjacent to Wells Fargo Arena. This hotel will be well-suited to visitors attending Arizona State University athletics games and campus events.
Tempe Novus Place Garage
The 1,800-space shared-use Tempe Novus Place Garage will provide parking space for people using office, hotel and retail amenities beginning in the summer of 2020, and will provide an additional parking option for ASU event-goers.
Urban Residential Community
Construction is in progress on a six-story, mixed-use, urban residential community with 318 units. Austin, Texas-based Aspen Heights is the developer on the multifamily project, which is projected to open in 2021. The complex includes ground floor restaurants and shops along Novus Place. Amenities include a rooftop deck, pool lounge, outdoor terrace and a pet park.
On the Horizon in Phase III
Remaining Phase III development will include construction of two additional 160,000-square-foot office buildings being planned by Catellus. There will also be two residential communities, a potential second hotel, two public plazas and an additional 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space in the Novus Place plaza.
Master developer, Catellus is continuing to invest in completing Phase III water, sewer, storm drain, electric, gas and telecom improvements.
East of Rural Road, the existing Athletics Village is also undergoing major changes, as the first wave of converting the former Karsten Golf Course is underway. The ASU tennis and track and field programs will see their facilities moved into the Athletics Village as part of the expansion, this summer, recreation and sports fields for Sun Devil athletics and student intramurals are being installed in a new, world-class village setting.
While the east side of the ASU campus is getting a lot of new buildings, so is the west side. Downtown Tempe currently has four construction cranes on projects, including the 18-story Westin Tempe, which is located on Seventh Street between Mill Ave. and Myrtle Ave. CAI Investments is the developer on the project, which was designed by RSP Architects and is being built by Beal Derkenne Construction, LLC. The new high-rise hotel will have 290 guest rooms, a rooftop deck and pool, a full-service restaurant and convention space. The project is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2021.
This 530 bed (252 dwelling units) student housing community is rising up 20 stories at 707 S. Forest Avenue. Trinitas is the developer of the projects, which is being built by Beal Derkenne Construction, LLC. The project totals 344,462 square feet and features five levels of above ground parking, 4,656 square feet of ground floor retail space, two amenity decks, including a rooftop pool on the 20th floor. The project is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2021, in time for the 2021-22 school year.
Mirabella at ASU
McCarthy Building Companies is still hoping to complete this transformative mixed-use, senior-living facility by the end of 2020. Exterior work is close to completion and interior work is moving along at this 613,992 square foot project at University Dr. and Mill Ave. Mirabella at ASU blends a senior community lifestyle with the learning and recreational environment of Arizona State University, delivered with resort-style amenities in spacious penthouses and apartments ranging from 751 square feet to 2,665 square feet. The 20-story tower includes four dining venues, three of which are located on the penthouse level, an indoor pool and wellness center, an event center, a wood shop, game room, on-site physical therapy, a library and underground parking. The project is being developed by Pacific Retirement Services (PRS) in partnership with University Realty.
Canopy by Hilton
Sundt Construction completed work on this project in the first quarter, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the grand opening until June 16, giving crews ample time to get the facility fully ready for guests. This 14-story hotel is the first Canopy branded location in the Southwest United States. Developed by Driftwood Capital, the hotel has 198 guest rooms and suites, a full-service rooftop pool and bar and a ground-level restaurant.
Mercy Medical Commons II
This new, 58,647 square foot medical office project is in the heart of the rapidly developing area around Dignity Gilbert Mercy Medical Center. Mercy Medical Commons II, designed by Ware Malcomb is the largest medical office project in the area and Balfour Beatty US is currently nearing completion on the project. Chicago-based MedProperties Group is the developer and had locked up a 20,000 SF lease agreement from The CORE Institute before construction began in November of 2018. Colliers International in Arizona is the leasing broker on the project.
Soltra at SanTan Village
Space in and around the San Tan Mall in Gilbert is filling up, and one of the largest developments in that area is the Soltra at SanTan Village apartments. Leon Capital Group is the developer behind this 380-unit luxury multifamily community that sits at SanTan Village Parkway and Ray Road. McShane Construction Company is the general contractor and Todd & Associates was the design firm. Completion is expected to be in the second quarter of 2021.
Vedura Residential has two multifamily projects in the San Tan Village Mall market, the largest being the 297-unit Elevation SanTan, which is located along SanTan Village Pkwy. and Boston St., just south of Williams Field Rd. The complex is a highly-amenitized, urban community with a prime location in the heart of Gilbert’s largest retail market. Todd & Associates was the architect on the project, which is being built by MT Builders.
Elevation at the Village
Vedura Residential is also the developer at the 214-unit Elevation at the Village. Construction is scheduled to be completed by late 2021. Elevation at the Village will be west of SanTan Freeway (202 Loop), and on San Tan Village Parkway between Loma Vista Street and Coronado Road. Todd & Associates Inc. is the architect of record, while MT Builders is the general contractor.
LGE Design Build and its development arm, Creation, wrapped up construction on The Collab in Gilbert’s Heritage District in late May. The four-story, 40,500 square foot mixed-use project will have dining, retail and office users moving in during the Summer of 2020.
New Square Chandler
Spike Lawrence Ventures has delivered a new, mixed-use center in downtown Chandler. New Square pushed back its initial grand opening from March to June due to COVID-19. Located on 4.7 acres along Arizona Ave. and Chicago St., the development includes a 110-room Hilton Garden Inn (the first hotel to be built in downtown Chandler in over a century), a 50,000 square foot Class A office building and a 10,000 square foot retail building that is home to The Stillery, a Tennessee-based restaurant, bar and music venue. The office building has secured tenants like Great Western Bank and WellSky, while DC Steak House is already up and running in a 5,200 square foot location on the ground floor of the office structure. The development also includes a five-level parking structure and ample outdoor event space. Layton Construction performed the work on the office and retail portions of the development, and McCarthy Building Company built the parking structure.
LGE Design Build is in the early phases of delivering a manufacturing and warehouse space for SOLLiD Cabinetry, a Tempe-based company that builds semi-custom kitchen, bathroom and office products. The project is located along Germann Rd. in the Chandler Municipal Airport submarket. The building will be 251,066 square feet with office, warehouse and manufacturing space all under one roof.