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.”
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A new lounge for Taylor Place residents is the first in a series of recent additions to downtown Phoenix this semester.
Devil’s Den, located on the first floor of Taylor Place along East Taylor Street, includes a pool and ping-pong table, large screen televisions and game consoles and is open until 1 a.m. every day.
With the development of the remaining retail space on the first floor of Taylor Place, the addition of CityScape and various other changes throughout downtown Phoenix, new restaurants and other businesses will begin offering their services to students downtown.
“The college experience is not just limited to getting an education, making new friends or joining a club,” said Georgeana Montoya, downtown campus dean of students, in a statement. “I believe the college experience means trying everything that life has to offer, which includes exploring your surroundings, opening yourself up to new ideas and opportunities and getting a taste of the local culture.”
Along with the new businesses opening this semester—which include the now open Nobuo at Teeter House, an Asian-style teahouse on North Sixth and East Monroe streets, and Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge, set to open this Friday in CityScape—the existing restaurants El Portal and Hsin have begun accepting Maroon and Gold Dollars this semester.
The large investments made in the area over the past years—the Downtown campus, light rail, Sheraton hotel and others—have made downtown Phoenix an opportune market for businesses, said David Roderique, president of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership.
“Even with the economy being as bad as it is … all these things have created a much stronger market down there,” Roderique said. “That’s attracted the interest of a lot of folks that want to take advantage of that.”
Over the summer, however, the Downtown campus lost the Sbarro pizzeria on the first floor of the Walter Cronkite School and the Uno Chicago Grill located in the Arizona Center—though plans are already set for Brick Pizzeria and Wine Bar to take its spot.
“Even in good times, there is a pretty significant turnover in restaurants—it just happens,” Roderique said. “What we’re happy about is that in general the places that have closed have been replaced pretty quickly.”
Marcus Jones, a nonprofit leadership and management sophomore and staff member of the Devil’s Den, said he thinks the influx of businesses will benefit students by providing job opportunities and making the downtown Phoenix area livelier.
“It’s just more places for us to go hang out,” he said. “There’s always something going on here. It’s a great campus to be on now.”
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[Source: Shaun McKinnon, Arizona Republic] — The Valley’s light-rail system received the top prize Saturday night in Valley Forward’s Environmental Excellence Awards, a program that honors contributions to livability and sustainability. The rail system, which opened less than a year ago, was recognized for connecting Phoenix, Mesa, and Tempe with a transportation network that contest judges noted had already exceeded expectations. “While light rail won’t solve the Valley’s transportation challenges, it offers a flexible and cost-effective alternative to the automobile and was designed to be integrated with all modes of transport,” said Diane Brossart, president of Valley Forward, a community group that works on livability and sustainability issues.
The group presents its awards in more than a dozen categories each year to cities, community groups and private businesses. From among the category winners, the judges choose one to receive the President’s Award, the contest’s best-in-show recognition.
Metro Light Rail won a first place in the Livable Communities, Multimodal Transportation and Connectivity category. The awards are named “Crescordia,” a Greek term that means “to grow in harmony.” More than 150 entries were submitted for the awards. The rest of the winners:
- Civic Space Park, a 2.8-acre public space near Central Avenue and Fillmore Street in Phoenix, was honored for its mix of gathering spaces and storefronts, built with efficient use of materials.
- Her Secret is Patience, the billowing outdoor sculpture suspended above Phoenix’s Civic Space Park, won the top public-art honor. The judges saw “an important statement about fostering sense of place, community and pride.”
- Hanny’s, a restaurant and lounge in downtown Phoenix, won for its adaptive reuse of a historic building.
- Habitat, the living wall and garden at the Phoenix Convention Center, was recognized for its design and use of resources to provide a comfortable gathering place.
- Arizona State University’s Taylor Place, a student housing complex at the school’s downtown Phoenix campus, won for multi-family residential building.
- The headquarters of Sundt, a Tempe-based contractor, was recognized for its green-building achievements, which included energy-saving features and efficient use of materials.
- The Tempe Transportation Center won two first-place awards, one for industrial and public works buildings and structures, and one for its rooftop landscaping in the site development category.
- ASU’s campus solarization project was honored for an effort to generate more renewable power on the school’s Tempe campus.
- Burgis Envirolutions was honored in the environmental-technologies category for its organic-refuse conversion process, which transforms more than a ton of food waste each day into a nutrient-rich effluent.
- Phoenix’s Bag Central Station, a campaign to recycle plastic bags, was honored in the environmental education and communication category.
- A remodeled Sunnyslope office building was recognized for its side development and landscape at the remodeled 40-year-old building. Imirzian and Associates architects and Ten Eyck Landscape Architects were named in the award.
- ASU’s Polytechnic Campus was honored for transforming a site on the former Williams Air Force Base into what the judges described as a walkable, shady campus.
- The Gateway to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale was recognized for the work done to re-vegetate the site, the use of rainwater harvesting for water and solar energy to provide its power needs.
For a complete list of categories with merit award winners, click here.
In this ASU-produced video, students are welcomed “back to school” and begin moving into their downtown Phoenix campus dorms.
[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — Roughly 850 Arizona State University students are expected to move into Taylor Place dorms in downtown Phoenix this week. The two-tower, 1,250-bed complex at 120 E. Taylor St. was completed in 2008 and provides beds for ASU’s fledgling downtown Phoenix campus. This is the first year that the second tower will be open to students. That means up to 550 additional students will live on campus, compared to last year.
Overall, about 12,000 students and 200 staff members are expected to move into residential housing across ASU’s four campuses this fall, according to university estimates. ASU has about 62,500 students, according to spring enrollment figures. [Note: Read the full article at Downtown Phoenix ASU campus springs back to life as students begin fall move-in.]
[Source: Salvador Rodriguez, ASU Web Devil] — The sandlot near Taylor Place on the Downtown campus may stay vacant for at least another year despite city attempts to attract developers, a Phoenix official said. The city put out a request for proposals almost two years ago to develop the property, which is managed by the Valley Youth Theatre and located between First and Second streets.
But the city did not receive any responses that fit the criteria of the request for the nearly 28,000 square feet of property and does not anticipate receiving any in the near future, Phoenix Redevelopment Program manager Jeremy Legg said. “That site is underutilized, and we would like to see something happen there,” Legg said. “But given the economy and the lack of responses to the first request, I don’t see anything occurring in there this year for sure.”
By closing the request for proposals, the city could then reissue it with looser criteria in hopes that it would appeal to a broader audience and get more proposals, Legg said. “Part of the reason that possibly nobody responded to it was because of the detailed criteria in [the first request for proposals],” Legg said.
Some of the criteria in the proposal included developing mixed-use facilities for residential, retail, and commercial spaces as well as conforming to the area’s aesthetics. The proposal also asked that developers incorporate the youth theater into plans or assist in funding a new youth center. There have also been discussions about the property becoming available to the University in the future, possibly for more student housing, should the Valley Youth Theatre relocate, said Patrick Panetta, assistant director of ASU Real Estate Development. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]
[Source: Eric Gudino, Community Relations, Arizona State University] — For businesses and non-profit organizations wishing to communicate their products, services, or events to ASU downtown Phoenix students, faculty, and staff, here’s the process by which to do so.
In order for the information to be circulated throughout the campus, the organization/business must have an affiliation with ASU. It’s an easy, painless, and free process. To tap into the ASU community, organizations/businesses need to enroll in the “Use It Here” program.
The program offers ASU students, faculty, and staff some type of deal, i.e. a free soda with the purchase of a sandwich, 10% – 20% off, the offer is entirely up to the business. In exchange, the businesses receive access to internal marketing channels (at no cost) that are otherwise not available or have a fee. The channels include distribution to students living in the Taylor Place residence hall.
All the students, faculty, and staff have to do to receive their special offer is show their ASU I.D. (Sun Card) at the point of purchase. The offer can change at anytime — no coupons, no extra costs. All that is needed is the promotional offer, a jpg copy of the organization’s logo and the establishment’s information in a jpg/gif (ratio of 640 x 480; 72 dpi). For more information or to participate in the program, e-mail your information to Steven Harper, Director of Marketing & Communications for ASU’s downtown Phoenix and Tempe campuses.
Businesses may also sign up to participate in ASU’s Sun Dollar program. It’s a pre-paid service with an account that runs through the ASU Sun Card Office. It’s similar to a debit card. Money is put into the account and when checking out at a store, or paying for a meal, the Sun Card is presented to any of the participating merchants. For details, click here.
The campus website is also being revamped to include a more robust community event calendar.
For more information or if you have questions, contact Steven at 602-496-1038 or e-mail.
[Source: Janessa Hilliard, Special for The Republic] — A few extra homeless will be sleeping on the streets of downtown Phoenix on Friday night. Arizona Student Public Interest Research Group, in affiliation with students at Arizona State University, is hosting an overnight campout to raise awareness of hunger and homelessness. The event will take place on First Friday from 9 p.m. until midnight in the Shade Garden outside Taylor Place, the student residential complex on the ASU Downtown campus.
The students plan to spend the night sleeping in makeshift box housing and sleeping bags, creating what they are a calling Box City. In addition, those attending the First Friday art walk, will see students dressed to appear as part of the “homeless” community, carrying signs proclaiming “Keep Your Coins, We Want Change.” The goal is to educate fellow students and the public about the growing plight of the homeless in the Phoenix area. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]
[Source: Andrew Conlin, Special for The Republic] — For nearly two decades, we’ve heard confident predictions that downtown Phoenix was on the brink of a crucial “tipping point,” when public investment would no longer be needed to generate new development that was both vigorous and self-sustaining. A term like “tipping point” is a kind of mental shorthand, useful in summarizing complex ideas but sometimes misleading when it comes to making decisions or drawing conclusions.
In reality, we won’t see the beginning of a significant shift from public to private investment until downtown achieves the requisite critical mass. This will be the moment when the collective energy generated by the diverse collection of downtown businesses, retailers, residences, entertainment venues, and academic and cultural institutions fuses into the nucleus of an energetic and growing community. Private investors will be drawn to this energy, creating new businesses and helping to further enrich the downtown scene. This will inspire more people to live and work here, generating new opportunities that will draw new investors. This development “chain reaction” will, we hope, be self-sustaining and transformational. [Note: To read the full opinion piece and comments, click here.]