Frightening Plans For Downtown Tempe Development

Posted in: Mitchell Park West

One of the neighborhood workshops I went to last Saturday was "Onward and Upward" which described the planned development of downtown Tempe, which they defined as College to Roosevelt, the Lake to University. I've asked for copies of the charts but for an immediate and frightening overview of what is planned, go to the Community Development home page: and click on any of the photos. If you go down the page to Tempe Town Lake and click on it, and then click on Private Development, and then on Interactive Maps of Development and then on Hotel Development, you will see a map showing all the eventual hotels. They show 15 but I counted 14 in the list. Oh well, what's one hotel more or less.......................
The workshop presentation never put the totality together, only showing each development one at a time. But each one can be summarized as: "high rise 4-star hotel with high rise luxury condos and retail properties underneath". During the presentation I counted 6 new hotels and condos around Mill Ave. The retail properties were always restaurants, bars and high end shops. The only food market was Whole Foods in the Mosaic tower, "a two storey flagship store, upper market, like AJ's." Can you say "expensive"?? Amusingly, the low rise (5 storey) condo development along the west side of the railroad between University and the Lakes was going to be "affordable housing for those earning 60% of the median Tempe income level." So that's where the Whole Foods customers will be coming from!!
I have lived in Montreal and Toronto, both of which have a downtown of high rise developments like that planned for Tempe. In the evenings there is NO life there, just the wind blowing down the canyons between the buildings. Everyone has decamped to areas like the Old City, St. Catherine's St, Yonge St, China town, away from the high rises and where there is a very active social scene with students and "beautiful people". The stated justification for this destruction of downtown Tempe and its conversion to a hotel and condo complex was that the present downtown only caters to the students and the City wants more people living downtown and using the area to bring in more sales tax and bed tax dollars. So where will the students go? Obviously where ever they go is where the social life will develop, just like in Montreal and Toronto.
Other interesting info:
· The Centerpoint condos cost $600 per sq. foot and pay $600 per month condo fees. The penthouse will cost $2M+ and includes a pool on top. At the moment 34 condos in the first tower to be completed have been sold, one third of the total in that tower.

· The Meridian may have stopped construction because of the economy; so that will leave a nice patch of dirt for how long?

· The University Square development probably won't go anywhere because it has to be done all at once and that is not possible (because of money?)

* Most of the developers for these complexes are out-of-state or even out-of-country (like Australia!) so they won't actually have to live in or with the fruits of their destruction, just collect the development profits (if there are any in this economy) and run.

Does anybody have ANY ideas on how we might derail or modify these plans??

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  • bliddil
  • Respected Neighbor
  • Tempe, AZ
  • 10 Posts
  • Respect-O-Meter: Respected Neighbor
It's too late.

Neighborhood activists have been haggling with the city, going to meetings and workshops, writing letters, talking to the mayor and city council members, etc. about these issues for about 20 years.?  Lot's of promisies, but ultimately those with the money and connections get their way.?  The horse is out of the barn, it's a done deal.?  Furthermore, this sort of thing is happening all over the country.?  In my opinion, the only thing that will slow this down (temporarily) would be even further economic problems.

By the way, I've lived in downtown Tempe for 30 plus years.
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