$450M USA Place Breaks Ground in February

By Eric Jay Toll for Arizona Builder’s Exchange

The capital of Valley infill development is Tempe. Just about any undeveloped parcel is being spec’ed, explored or planned for development. “Tempe is the happening place for urban development,” says Susan Eastridge, CEO of Concord Eastridge. She’s readying a February groundbreaking of USA Place, a $450M unique mixed use development with retail, office, residential, hotel, events center and the headquarters of USA Basketball.

The project is on ASU property, leased to the joint venture team for 99 years. The USA Place LLC team is Eastridge; Michael Hallmark, principal of Future Cities; and Robert Harris, CEO of Harris Sports & Entertainment. The project is being designed by Future Cities, Architekton and Miller-Hull Partnership, LLP. It’s being built by GC Turner Construction Company.

Primary design consultants—civil, landscaping, structural—have been selected. Turner will be hiring the specialty trades and construction subs.

The project’s diversity makes it impossible to define in terms of square feet or units alone. The massive multi-block project incorporates hospitality, sports, conference, retail, office space as well as residential in a continuous series of complementary buildings and dense city siting. It’s a project that looks as if it defines what a downtown is supposed to build.

Omni Hotel and Conference Center
The 390 room, 14-story Omni Hotel—a top-ranked Class A hospitality flag—will anchor the development at the southeast corner of University Drive and Mill Avenue. The hotel sits atop 30KSF of conference space. Although Omni just purchased the Montelucia Resort and Spa (see story in Commercial Real Estate news on page 14) in Paradise Valley, the Omni USA Place was its first announced hotel in Arizona.

On the Job
Volume: $450M
Owner: USA Place LLC Joint Venture Concord Eastridge, Future Cities, Harris Sports & Entertainment
Design: Future Cities, Architekton, Miller-Hull Partnership, LLP (Residential)
GC: Turner Construction Company

Events Center and Exhibition Hall
Adjoining the hotel is a 65KSF events center—which can also serve as an exhibit hall. The events center features six training courts and flexible seating for 4,500. In addition to its use by USA Basketball, the facility will be filled throughout the year with Arizona sports through the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA). The events center will be home to high school state championships in all court events. Already between AIA and USAB, there are more than 200 events/year booked in the facility.

Street-Level Retail
On street level, with some mezzanine space, USA Place is building 180KSF of sports-wellness-directed retail space. The idea is lessees will be retailers complementing the sports focus of the complex. The anticipated mix of retailers will complement Mill Avenue shops and provide life-health balance to the downtown residents. Eastridge anticipates a neighborhood grocery tenant in the complex. The addition will provide fresh produce and groceries within walking distance of the various downtown residences.

Class A Office Space
Above the retail and fronting Mill Avenue, the complex hosts 240KSF of office space in two buildings. Portions of the five- to six-story offices are preleased to the headquarters for USA Basketball and the AIA. With 25KSF floor plates, the offices are designed as Class A additions to the downtown Tempe market.

Class A Multifamily

The pièce de résistance is high end, professional housing in 545 rental units. The four- to five-story residential complex sits in the space between the hotel and ASU campus. USA Place apartments are expected to fill with young professionals seeking an urban living environment close to the nearly 4MSF in offices open and developing in downtown Tempe. While there is no prohibition from students living in the complex, the agreement with ASU prohibits USA Place from marketing the residential component as “student” housing.

One Phase, First Quarter 2016 Opening
USA Place plans to develop the facilities in one phase. Construction components will start with site demolition next month and construction of multilevel underground parking. The hotel and events center will rise from the parking area. USA Place plans to build the apartments in a consecutive series of buildings so that all 545 units will not come onto the market at the same time.

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