A billion dollar project to transform the south shore of Tempe Town Lake

Developer proposes to transform long vacant waterfront property in Tempe Town Lake into a $ 1.8 billion ‘resort-inspired’ community with apartments, shops, restaurants and a jetty that s ‘advance in the water.

The project, known as the South Pier at Tempe Town Lake, is planned on Vista Del Lago Drive on the south shore of the lake, east of Rural Road.

It is part of a larger development known as Pier 202 which includes three developments, including the tallest buildings on the lake under construction. The third element is a small plot and the plans are still being worked out.

The development of this expanse of land was part of the original vision when Tempe Town Lake opened in 1999. The plans then requested a 29-story hotel with a conference center, known as the Peabody, which would have been the largest hotel in the state. The dot-com crash in the late 1990s eliminated this and blocked other projects around the lake because developers couldn’t get funding.

Tempe Town Lake turns 20:After 20 years, high costs and even a dam failure, Tempe Town Lake has finally found its place

Various iterations of the plan have been presented to the board over the years, but development on the ground has largely remained dormant. In the mid-2000s, the city awarded a contract to Californian developers to redevelop the land into mixed-use space. They installed the road infrastructure that exists today, but the project never got off the ground when the Great Recession hit.

South Pier is in the early stages of planning and more details on the project are expected to be presented to city review committees and city council later this month.

South pier

Tempe, which owns several of the lots at Pier 202, appealed to developers in the spring of 2019 to have someone buy or lease the property and build a mixed-use project that was “complementary to the other lakeside properties on the side. south, “according to city documents.

Other nearby developments include the 2 million square foot Marina Heights complex that houses State Farm and Carvana, Hayden Ferry Lakeside offices, and luxury condominiums.

South Pier Tempe Holdings, a subsidiary of McBride Cohen Management Group, was the only company to submit a response to the city’s request and city council approved the opening of negotiations with the developer in July 2019.

South Pier will span 12.4 acres and be built in seven phases over 15 years, according to city documents.

The project provides for 600,000 square feet of office space, 2,400 residential units and 110,000 square feet of retail space, a city spokesperson said. The Washington-based developer has built a similar waterfront project to Tacoma.

Renderings from the project show several skyscrapers with a grassy promenade along the shore of the lake. A proposal by the Arizona Coyotes to build an arena, shopping district and apartments on the other end of the lake, near Priest Drive and the Rio Salado Parkway, has come under scrutiny by the Sky Harbor International Airport due to the height of the buildings and proximity to the airport. The South Pier project is not likely to experience the same setback as it is approximately 3 km further east and in an area of ​​different height and noise level.

A jetty with a Ferris wheel is planned on the east side of the development. The proposal is expected to be reviewed by the Maricopa County Flood Control District before the city can approve the concept, city spokesman Kris Baxter-Ging said.

A pedestrian bridge connecting the north shore of the lake is also planned.

Planners are reviewing plans for the first phase of the project, which includes residential towers with retail on the ground floor. The plans are expected to be heard by the Development Review Board in late January or early February before being presented to city council, Baxter-Ging said.

Details on the sale of the land and future phases will also be described at future council meetings.

Developers will benefit from tax incentives

In December, city council approved a retail development tax incentive deal with the South Pier developer.

The city will refund a portion of the unlimited sales tax and use tax levied by the city on construction projects until December 31, 2027. The city will refund 50% of the sales tax collected for an amount not exceeding not $ 1.5 million over five years.

A city-funded financial analysis found that the project is expected to generate $ 4 million per year in direct tax revenue for the city when completed, more than double the amount of the incentive, according to city documents.

The developer said he would not have chosen to build in Tempe without the incentive and was considering other project sites, according to city documents.

Other projects under construction, planned nearby

Pier 202, the development that includes South Pier and two other projects, calls for a mix of dense residences, street-level retail, offices, a hotel and green space on 27 acres.

Construction of the first development of Pier 202, two large residential towers known as The Pier, is underway. When completed, these will be the tallest buildings on the waterfront.

The pier will rise 24 stories over 2.6 acres along Tempe Town Lake. The 1.5 million square foot project includes 586 apartments, just over 18,500 square feet of retail space on the first floor, and an 8,000 square foot food court with a large outdoor dining area overlooking on the lake and underground parking.

The towers will be connected by a bridge on the third floor, and the apartments will include a fitness center and courtyard with a reflecting pool and lounge.

Springbrook Development developer Rob Fransway is behind the project, which is slated to open in 2023.

A third developer is proposing a residential project, Baxter-Ging said.

Arizona State University, which owns the land east and west of Pier 202 which includes the shuttered Karsten golf course, plans to build offices and apartments as part of its Novus Innovation Corridor development.

Baxter-Ging said the projects would help activate this part of the lake and attract new residents, workers and visitors to the nearly 100 acres of Rural Road at McClintock Drive between the lake and Rio Salado Parkway.

Contact reporter Paulina Pineda at [email protected] or 480-389-9637. Follow her on twitter @ paulinapineda22.


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