Daily Archives: February 25, 2011

A Potential Tenant for Vacant Cronkite Space in Downtown Phoenix

[Source: Caitlin Cruz, Downtown Devil]

Evie Carpenter/DD

ASU expects to finalize a lease with an undisclosed tenant who would occupy a vacant retail space in the southwest corner of the Walter Cronkite School building’s ground floor within a week, a university official said on Wednesday.

Negotiations have been in progress since November, and the potential tenant hopes to open his eatery during the spring 2011 semester, said Patrick Panetta, associate director at the University Real Estate Development Office.

Panetta did not disclose the identity of the potential tenant as the deal is not yet official, but he said one of the specifics preventing the completion of the agreement has been the inclusion of ASU’s Maroon and Gold Dollars program.

“We would like him to take M&G Dollars,” Panetta said. “That’s one of the finer points we’ve included in the lease.”’

Recently, downtown businesses have voiced concerns over the high fees associated with M&G, but many students still feel the M&G program has merit.

“These shops (around the Cronkite School) are convenient, and I would like it if they would use M&G, not just Sun Dollars,” said Aly Galt, a freshman kinesiology major.

The retail space, one of two currently vacant in the building, was occupied by Sbarro Italian Eatery until August 2010, and despite the equipment that is already in place for making pizza and similar foods, the potential tenant wants to execute a different restaurant concept, Panetta said.

Panetta said one possibility that has been considered is a salad and smoothie eatery.

However, he said, “that is not the main thrust of the project. There will be other facets.”

Kate Rosenberg, a graduate social work student, said she would welcome a salad and smoothie alternative. Rosenberg said she spends one day a week on the Downtown campus and eats at Subway.

“Only Subway,” she said. “Nothing else is good.”

According to Panetta, the tenant hopes to make a few changes to the equipment and layout of the space. Depending on how quickly the changes can be made, the new restaurant could be opened as soon as late March, Panetta said.

The potential tenant “wanted to get open this semester to announce to the ASU community that he was there,” Panetta said. “This is what he’ll be offering and will see everybody when they are back from summer.”

In addition to filling the spaces in the Cronkite building, the University Real Estate Development Office is responsible for finding tenants for the empty spots on Taylor Place’s ground floor.

“We’re still actively looking for tenants for all the spaces,” Panetta said. “There have been some tentative interest from some local restaurants, but it hasn’t gone very far yet.”

A relocation of Wells Fargo Bank, currently at the Arizona Center, is “potentially in the future” for an open-retail space in Taylor Place, Panetta said.

“They would have to approve the space,” Panetta said. “That is kind of why it isn’t a done deal yet — they haven’t agreed on anything yet.”

Contact the reporter at caitlin.cruz@asu.edu

Public meeting on west Phoenix light-rail extension

azcentral.com

Metro light rail is inviting the public to a meeting next Wednesday so residents can learn and comment on details of the agency’s plan for light rail’s west extension through west Phoenix.

The proposal under consideration by Metro’s advisory board involves laying track from Central Avenue along Jefferson Street, past the Capitol and state buildings to Interstate 17, then north to Interstate 10, where it would then head west to 79th Avenue.

Barring any serious funding issues, the 11-mile west extension could be up and running by 2021.

Some residents in the St. Matthews neighborhood near the state Capitol grounds oppose the proposal, fearing the extension could affect the historic homes in the area. But representatives from various neighborhoods, including Maryvale, have supported the proposal.

And some critics have argued Metro light rail should create a faster commuter line, instead of using the much slower light rail trains, to serve west Phoenix.

Metro has been studying the west Phoenix area for a possible extension since 2007.

The meeting is from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, at the Isaac Middle School cafeteria, 3402 W. McDowell Road.

For more information, contact Terry Gruver at (480) 664-2631or via e-mail,tgruver@metrolightrail.org.

– Emily Gersema, emily.gersema@arizonarepublic.com