Taylor Place plans to convert some of their empty retail space along East Taylor Street into an area for additional socialization called the Devil’s Den and open it Aug. 1, Taylor Place officials said.
Chad Izmirian, senior vice president of Capstone Development, the company in charge of managing Taylor Place, said the company has been planning the project for several months. Izmirian said the project will cost about $100,000 and will be around 2,000 square feet.
“The whole impetus behind it was that we have some vacant retail spaces in Taylor Place, and instead of them sitting empty, we wanted to create some additional lounge space for students,” Izmirian said.
Nate Fish, director of operations for the project, said the current concept is not finalized, but should include “some light recreation space including gaming tables, soft seating, televisions with porting for game systems, wireless Internet access and vending.”
Dining concepts are also anticipated for two of the remaining retail bays along Taylor Street, said Fish. He said ASU and Aramark will be working in concert to develop these dining options.
Fish said the space was initially intended for retail.
“The economic softening of the retail market nationwide after construction has led to challenges leasing the space to retail clients,” said Fish. “Devil’s Den is the result of the thoughtful repurposing of that space during this downturn to bring a different type of value to the students who live at Taylor Place.”
Fish said a main motivation for the opening of Devil’s Den is to keep students in the area.
“We wanted to be able to use available space in a way that provided added value to students who choose to live at Taylor Place,” said Fish.
He said students have communicated that they would like to see more options available for after hours and late night times in downtown Phoenix. Students asked for a venue where they can gather groups of friends without having to travel a significant distance, said Fish. He said feedback for the concept of the project so far has been positive.
Brandon Pliss, a criminal justice junior, said he chose to stay Taylor Place for a second year because of the convenience factor.
“I can literally wake up two minutes before class and walk to class,” said Pliss.
He said most of the options downtown are for people who are 21 and up.
“It’s downtown; there’s nothing to do here,” said Pliss. “Tempe is where it’s at. You go to Tempe to have fun.”
He said there are theaters downtown, but many students right out of high school probably would not be interested in attending. He said he likes the idea of the Devil’s Den because it would provide a place where students can hang out close to the dorm.
Pliss said he hopes the Devil’s Den can provide a casual hangout spot on the weekend, and double as a party spot at night for Taylor Place residents.
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