May 6, 2005
The development team planning the ASU Scottsdale Center for New Technology and Innovation says it has included every guideline drawn by a residents committee in its preliminary designs.
Developers said this effort likely ensures the major research facility at the former Los Arcos Mall site will reflect neighbors’ desires for south Scottsdale when construction begins at year’s end.
However, two members of the residents committee said this week that although many of the guidelines were incorporated, little information has been provided about what the center will ultimately look like.
And when final plans are submitted later this year, neighbors will probably still have reservations about the massive redevelopment project, said A. Thomas Jelinek, a committee member and pastor at Los Arcos United Methodist Church.
"I’m not sure that there’s any one plan that could meet all of those needs simultaneously to the point that everyone would be excited about it," Jelinek said. He is concerned his church, located across the street from the research center, will be completely hidden by commercial development.
Construction is scheduled to start by year’s end on the 42-acre site at the southeast corner of Scottsdale and McDowell roads. The Arizona State University Foundation, an independent fundraising organization, is to operate the center, with the university moving research programs into it.
It is envisioned to be a place where students mix with professionals as private firms rent out space at the center to be near research. Shops and restaurants are expected to line walkways and community spaces.
Scottsdale is budgeted to spend $130 million on the center.
Sharon Harper, CEO of the Peoria-based Plaza Companies, said the development team’s plans have been "written and blessed" by the committee. All key committee recommendations — which detailed how the research center should interact with surrounding neighborhoods — have been adopted by the developers.
Plaza is the lead local developer on the research center.
On Tuesday, the committee was briefed on the developers’ plans.
The presentation was sparse, said Margaret Dunn, a committee member and owner of a downtown Scottsdale trolley service.
"They had some new concepts but . . . I guess it wasn’t in the format that I was envisioning," Dunn said. "It was still very preliminary and I felt that with our time frame we would have had a little bit more to look at."
ASU Scottsdale Center for New Technology and Innovation timeline
March 27, 2004: ASU President Michael Crow and Scottsdale officials announce plans to build a major research center on the former Los Arcos Mall site.
July 6, 2004: Scottsdale City Council fails to provide enough votes to approve the deal by a 6-1 margin, as was required by an emergency clause that would have prevented residents from launching a referendum to overturn it.
July 8, 2004: Proposal is restructured to exclude the emergency clause and require only a council majority. Scottsdale agrees to purchase the 42-acre site for $41.5 million from the ASU Foundation, which had purchased it from developer Steve Ellman. July 16, 2004: Scottsdale Taxpayers Opposed to Ellman’s Demands, or STOPPED, forms and begins a petition drive to force a referendum on the research center.
Aug. 5, 2004: STOPPED fails to gather enough signatures to force a public vote.
Aug. 9, 2004: Research center deal is finalized; Scottsdale commits to spend $130 million on land and infrastructure improvements.
Nov. 1, 2004: Scottsdale hires Pittsburgh-based Urban Design Associates to develop site plan guidelines for the center.
Nov. 16, 2004: The council selects 11 residents to serve on a committee working with Urban Design Associates on the research center guidelines.
Feb. 28, 2005: The ASU Foundation selects Chicago-based Higgins Development and Peoria-based Plaza Companies to lead the development team.
May 3: Developers meet with the residents committee and adopt its guidelines.
May 10: An open house is scheduled to present zoning change for site.
August: Design plans for the first phase of construction are expected to be provided to the city.
January 2006: Construction on research center’s first phase is set to be under way.