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Thursday, September 13, 2012

ASU's SkySong will add residential space

Arizona State University is preparing a major expansion at its SkySong innovation campus in Scottsdale, but this one won't be adding offices or classrooms.

Instead, it will add housing open to the general public.

Apartment construction will begin this month with a $44 million, 325-unit complex at SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center.

Numerous apartment-project proposals have been approved by the Scottsdale City Council, which would add more than 5,000 new units if they all are built. But few have broken ground.

The only construction so far has been Optima Sonoran Village, a condominium complex that will include some rental units on Camelback Road west of Scottsdale Fashion Square, said Dan Symer, senior city planner.

ASU's SkySong, at the southeastern corner of Scottsdale and McDowell roads, will have the first all-apartment project under construction, he said.

Work on the SkySong complex is expected to be under way by midmonth, and the complex will be built in four phases around the existing parking garage on the southeast portion of the complex, said Don Couvillion, vice president of real estate for the ASU Foundation.

The first 83 units will be ready for occupancy in October, he said.

The complex is scheduled for completion by April 2014. MT Builders is the construction firm, and Lincoln Property Co. will manage the complex.

For several months, 350-400 construction workers will be at the site, Couvillion said.

"We're very excited to get this project under construction because we believe it has the potential to be highly successful," he said said.

"The kind of high-quality residential component we are planning will meet a key market niche in the area and provide new residential opportunities for those wanting to live in this dynamic part of the Valley."

The apartment complex is geared toward young professionals who work in downtown Scottsdale, especially in the health-care field, as well as in the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport area and employment centers in south Scottsdale and north Tempe, he said.

"We believe we will have a number of people at SkySong living there and have been approached by a number of employers to make sure they get information on the apartments," Couvillion said.

The parking garage, which includes more than 950 spaces, will accommodate both apartment residents and people who work at SkySong, he said.

The 42-acre complex now includes two multistory office buildings totaling about 300,000 square feet. Construction also is expected to start soon on SkySong III and IV, two additional office buildings totaling 300,000 square feet.

When those buildings and the apartments are completed, SkySong will include about 750,000 square feet of development.

SkySong houses 79 private companies and eight ASU initiatives, including 44 tenant companies, 15 non-resident-affiliated companies and 20 student startup companies, representing eight countries and the United States.

It houses about 1,000 employees and is 98 percent occupied.

"SkySong has always been planned as a mixed-use development that provides an exceptional environment for living and working," said Sharon Harper, president and CEO of Plaza Cos., SkySong's developer. "With this residential project under way, we are getting closer than ever to our goal of truly revitalizing this property and making SkySong an ideal destination for the kind of jobs and industries that will have a positive economic impact on our community."

Just east of SkySong, Mark-Taylor plans to build a 536-unit apartment complex on 25 acres mostly occupied by the abandoned Los Arcos Crossing shopping center.

The proposed three-story, resort-style complex would bring about 900 residents to the area.

Lynne Lagarde, a zoning attorney representing Mark-Taylor, said the site plan and building elevations will be submitted later this month for Development Review Board approval.

Construction likely won't begin until after the first of the year, she said.

Continued expansion at SkySong could include more residential space, but "we don't have any specific plans," Couvillion said.

"As the project matures, we'll see how residential fits into our plan," he said. "(Current) zoning will allow more units."

by Edward Gately - Aug. 5, 2012 The Republic | azcentral.com




ASU's SkySong will add residential space

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