The Novus Innovation Corridor, a 355-acre master-planned mixed-use development located within Arizona State University’s Tempe campus, is nearing completion of its third phase. At build-out, Novus will comprise more than10 million square feet of retail, restaurants, residential urban living, hotels and office space.

According to ASU’s Seidman Research Institute, the economic impact of completed and active project development is estimated at $1.86 billion. The forecast also predicts the creation of 33,734 by 2035 through operations in Novus, with an additional 20,000 temporary construction jobs.

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The land that is being built upon is owned by ASU in what’s known as an athletic facilities district. Developers within Novus pay fees to ASU in lieu of property taxes, and those funds must be invested into the university’s athletic facilities.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity where a university has all this land that is being underutilized, and the market demand to create something that will successfully generate revenue,” says Brian Kearney, first vice president of development for Catellus — the master developer of Novus — at a luncheon hosted by AZCREW.

A new urban center

Development in Novus is planned for four phases. Marina Heights, a 20-acre, 2.1 million-square-foot campus for State Farm, anchored phase one. Transwestern Investment Group and JDM Parners acquired Marina Heights in 2018 for $928 million. The second phase gave Sun Devil Stadium a $375 million renovation, which was completed in 2019. An office park is planned for phase four, on the south side of Rio Salado Parkway and east of Rural Road.

The third phase, currently under construction, focuses on creating an urban neighborhood at the crossroads of University Drive and Rural Road. The 777 Tower, developed by Ryan Companies and opened in July 2020, is a six-story building with 160,907 square feet of office space and 8,316 square feet of retail. Mortenson Development built the eight-story, 259-room Hyatt Place / Hyatt House, which started taking reservations in August 2020.

777 Tower at Novus Innovation Corridor earned the 2021 RED Award for best office project more than 150,000 square feet.

In support of the surrounding neighborhood district and ASU events, Novus Place Parking Garage was finished in June 2020, adding approximately 1,800 parking spaces. “It was a better use of land to create a centralized parking structure, rather than creating three or four smaller ones for individual uses,” Kearney explains.

Projects to be completed in phase three include the Piedmont, a multifamily structure that will add 318 units to the market once finished in December 2021. Opening in the third quarter of 2023 will be 700 Novus Place, which will have approximately 147,800 square feet of office space and 11,500 square feet of ground-floor retail. A new apartment complex developed by Transwestern and slated for completion in the second quarter of 2024 will contain 200 micro-units, with 80% of the studios averaging 450 square feet.

“Most of the units are fully furnished studios with furnishings that can convert the space from a bedroom to a living room when it’s not being slept in,” Kearney notes. “This complex is not intended to be a home for high concentrations of students. Nothing prohibits students from leasing units and there will be students living in these locations, but the idea for Novus in general is to not be student-focused. It truly is a commercial, mixed-use district.”

“Development within the Novus Innovation Corridor aligns with our vision of being the leading American center for innovation and entrepreneurship at all levels,” says Michael Crow, president of ASU, in a statement. “The benefits to our students, faculty, the university, the City of Tempe and the business community are already being felt — and they will only increase as other visionaries construct new buildings and facilities to provide opportunities within Novus’ framework.”