As construction of a $94 million arts complex continues, the Mesa City Council gave its staff the go-ahead Thursday to seek companies to redevelop three other areas in what they hope will be a resurgent downtown.
The council will solicit companies with the means to redevelop about two blocks of mostly city-owned land, using land-use recommendations made by a consulting firm in 2002.
The city also will turn to the consultant, Marylandbased Hunter Interests, for its database of developers from around the country in order to widen the field, redevelopment director Greg Marek said.
While a soft economy has halted interest in many major projects, City Manager Mike Hutchinson said this is a prime time to catch the eye of the development community.
"Many developers are using this time period to start their planning so when the economy picks up they’re ready to work and start implementing these projects," he said.
The sites involved are:
• About 30 acres bounded by University and Mesa drives, Second Street and Centennial Way. The Hunter report concluded up to 472 townhouses, apartments and lofts, along with commercial and office space, should be built there.
• Much of the city block bounded by Main Street, Mesa Drive, First Avenue and Hibbert, including the Tri-City Community Center building, a restaurant and a parking garage. The report recommends office and residential uses be sought for the area.
• A retail building along Main Street that houses Segura Art and other stores and offices in front of the arts center site at Main and Center streets. The tenants are signed to short-term leases, and officials hope to find a company to renovate or replace the building.
Most of the land is cityowned, and Mayor Keno Hawker said he was not interested in trying to condemn any more land downtown.
The council also approved changes Thursday to the terms on which it is negotiating to bring the Arizona Bronze art foundry downtown, shifting from a sculpture-for-land basis to a land purchase.