Popular parking lot for sale

As the Downtown campus has grown, so has the $5 lot's popularity among students who drive. (Stephanie Snyder/DD)

The piece of land, commonly known as the $5 parking lot, across from the Cronkite School is up for sale, resulting in mixed opinions on the future of the property and how it will affect downtown Phoenix if it is sold.

Located on Fillmore Street and Central Avenue, the two-acre lot went up on the market in July. The asking price for the land is almost $7.4 million, which amounts to approximately $92 per square foot.

Bobby Bull, the senior vice president of the multifamily group at NAI Horizon, said the lot is a unique piece of property because it is situated in downtown Phoenix and is several blocks away from CityScape, the State Capitol Building, major sporting venues, as well as the arts district.

“It is near the light rail, it allows for high-rise construction and it is a whole city block, which is rare to find in downtown Phoenix,” Bull said.

The property is on the market because the owner wants to liquidate it, he said.

The family has wanted to sell the land for a while, but has been waiting until the market was right. It was a good time to exit and reinvest the money, so it is a strategic sale on the owner’s part, Bull said.

Andrew Leckey, president of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, said it will take some time before anything happens to the piece of land.

“If the lot is sold, it would probably take several years for the purchase to be completed, a plan for a building made, approvals received and construction to begin,” he said. “This means it is not an immediate concern for students so there may actually be additional parking due to the teardown of the (Ramada Inn) motel.”

Although there is no immediate action, with the expansion of downtown Phoenix and ASU, Phoenix will have a very different urban area if it keeps evolving, Leckey said.

“Personally, it would block my view and therefore, I am against building on the piece of land,” Leckey said. “But I also realize that progress has its price. We can’t stop progress. At some point, there is going to be something there.”

Nursing freshman Abby Dugan said in order for ASU to expand, it should buy the property to build another residence hall or a recreational center because she doesn’t think the $5 lot is necessary if there are other parking lots around the area.

“The YMCA is really nice and convenient, but I wish it would have a bigger pool or an outdoor pool,” Dugan said. “It would be nice if ASU bought the lot to build an outdoor swimming pool so I can go there whenever I want.”

Journalism junior Kyra Geithman, who lives in Tempe, said the parking lot is necessary in order to accommodate everybody if ASU is thinking of expanding.

“ASU should look into more parking if there is an expansion for the Downtown campus,” Geithman said. “But if ASU doesn’t buy the property and developers decide to buy it and build something that is not ASU-related, then I hope it is ASU friendly.”

Carolina Madrid, a commuter student who often uses the $5 lot for its flat rate, said that if something were built in place of the parking lot, then she would probably have to pay for more expensive parking elsewhere, or avoid driving in general.

“When the parking lot first opened in 2008, I parked there because no one used it,” Madrid said. “But it will be sad if the piece of land is sold because I will always see it as the little parking lot I go to.”

Whatever results from the sale of the lot, Leckey believes it is most likely going to remain a parking lot until an office building of some sort were to be built because of the direction downtown is heading.

If that were to happen, Leckey said he hopes there will be communication between ASU and the developer so there will be something that attracts students such as retail stores or restaurants on the bottom level.

Currently, there have been some offers on the land from developers and speculators, but Bull said they were still waiting on a couple offers from strong buyers.

Contact the reporter at jessica.s.choi@asu.edu


  1. Downtown has a LOT of empty office space. 80M sqft, empty. We don’t need anymore yet or anytime soon.

    What downtown does NOT have a lot of, is empty housing – our residential capacity is pretty much maxed out: 90-95% occupied, even in this shitball market.

    What would benefit downtown on that land, would be 10-12 stories of middle-income housing with retail space all around set up in quadrants with alleyways servicing the back-of-the-house retail needs.

    That would be a huge step forward for downtown.

  2. Downtown Phoenix doesn’t need anymore parking unless we don’t want it to expand. By continuing to cater to commuters, we are doing the city a disservice. Why can’t students from Tempe use the “park and ride” option and support public transit so it can grow? They would save money and help cut down on the pollution that can accumulate so quickly in the denser areas of the city. I know a lot of people feel the same way and I’m disappointed that this point of view isn’t reflected in the article.

    Furthermore, an outdoor pool is not going to to the University any good in the downtown area if it is placed on street level with no barriers to pollutants or the public. In my mind, ASU should wait to do this until it builds a second dorm or apartments. Even then, downtown Phoenix is something different than Tempe and ASU students are failing to recognize that. It is evolving into a major downtown, pedestrian-friendly, area. As long as people are pushing to make it like Tempe, with it’s huge six lane roads and parking lots, it will take longer for this process to happen.