A brand new billion dollar waterfront development aims to boost recreation at Lake Tempe Town.
A new development on the south side of Tempe Town Lake could be the missing link in naming the man-made reservoir a top tourist destination, or as the city’s economic development program manager, Maria Laughner likes to say, “the hole in the donut”.
“We’re finally filling it up,” she says of the long-vacant plot of land along Vista Del Lago Drive in Tempe. “It will take [the lake] to a whole new level.
The lakefront land will soon house a $1.8 billion resort-inspired community with residential, commercial and office space, restaurants and an entertainment pier with a Ferris wheel at Santa’s Pacific Park. Monica. The project is called South Pier at Tempe Town Lake, and the first phase is expected to be finalized in 2023.
Development of the 27-acre strip of land was envisioned for Tempe Town Lake when it was first built in 1999. The proposed project included a Peabody Hotel, but the dot-com crash and subsequent recession postponed its plans. “This plan is an even better version of that plan,” city spokesman Kris Baxter-Ging said.
Washington-based real estate developer McBride Cohen — who recently built a similar waterfront property in Tacoma — is spearheading the project, which will include two residential towers called The Pier that are currently under construction.
“What you’re going to expect are plazas that are open to the public, shaded green spaces, plenty of places for people to sit, relax, and enjoy the outdoors,” Laughner says. “What we envision is a destination development where people are going to come and hang out.”
She adds that when complete, the development will activate more recreation and tourism at the lake, which is the second most visited attraction in Arizona. Similar projects in the area have been rejected by the public, but Laughner says feedback for South Pier in Tempe Town Lake has been purely positive so far.
“It will be a game changer for how people choose to use Tempe Town Lake,” Baxter-Ging said.