SBD/August 22, 2012/Facilities

Arizona State Seeks On-Campus Commercial Development To Help Fund Venue Upgrades

In its quest “for money to rebuild its aging sports arenas, Arizona State University is taking an unusual approach: trying to convert a large swath of its Tempe campus into a fee-generating commercial and residential development,” according to Anne Ryman of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. ASU has carved out “330 acres just south of Tempe Town Lake, where it wants to create an urban, master-planned development that features world-class amateur athletic facilities surrounded by residential, office and retail space.” The businesses would “pay a fee in lieu of property taxes” and ASU would “use the money to fix up its athletic facilities, most notably Sun Devil Stadium.” Some Tempe community leaders “worry that even if that vision is achieved, it will siphon off business and atmosphere from existing developments.” ASU hopes sometime next year to “select a developer or developers and complete a master plan for the land, which is now primarily occupied by parking lots and a golf course.” It could take a couple of years “to break ground, and the entire project could take 20 years or more to fully develop.” ASU AD & VP/Athletics Steve Patterson said, "It's going to happen.” Ryman notes school officials and other experts said that although “more universities are leasing parts of their land for development, they are unaware of any school attempting a project of the size and kind of ASU's.” Revenue projections “could be used to persuade a bank to lend the athletic district money to start on stadium improvements” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 8/22).
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