Construction on $52 million apartment complex begins in downtown Roosevelt Row arts district

Mayor Greg Stanton spoke before the groundbreaking ceremony for the apartment complex Tuesday. The $52 million project will be tailored to downtown university students and recent graduates. (Evie Carpenter/DD)

Clods of dirt flew into the air Tuesday morning at the groundbreaking ceremony for a $52 million mixed-use housing development for students and downtown residents.

An apartment community spanning 2.89 acres will be built in vacant lots at Third and Roosevelt streets. The apartments are being built by real-estate development firm Concord Eastridge, which partnered with housing developer EdR.

A reception at Bliss/ReBar preceding the groundbreaking ceremony featured Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Concord Eastridge CEO Susan Eastridge.

“Our downtown is a work in progress, but were going in the right direction,” Stanton said.

Located between Fourth and Third streets, the project will feature two apartment buildings, each seven to eight stories with 325 apartments. Apartment options will include studios as well as one, two, three and four bedroom apartments. Each bedroom will have a private bath. Apartment sizes will range from 500 square feet to 1,250 square feet.

The complex will offer common areas, study rooms, fitness facilities and swimming pools. All utilities will be included along with wireless internet, and 60 percent of the apartments will be fully furnished. A parking garage with over 400 parking spots will also be in the complex.

The name of the project and rent prices have not been decided, according to a press release from Concord Eastridge.

The press release states that Concord Eastridge, based in Scottsdale, focuses on mixed-use developments geared towards universities and colleges. EdR, from Memphis, is a major developer and operator of university housing, and this is the company’s first development in Arizona.

“It’s great to be working locally to provide much-needed housing and contribute to the vibrancy of the area,” ASU alumna Eastridge said in the press release.

The vacant lots were obtained in 2000 and purchased for $3.1 million from ML Manager, a firm which administers commercial real-estate loans.

Along with apartments, an estimated 7,500 square feet of retail space will be included along Roosevelt and Fourth streets. Amy Heisler, director of media strategy, said that the total amount of retail space is not “set in stone” and they have yet to determine which businesses will go in the retail space.

The project took into consideration the needs of students and recent graduates.

The apartments will be located near the Downtown campus, University of Arizona College of Medicine and the Phoenix Biomedical campus.

Eastridge said they held focus groups with students and faculty to determine what amenities would be beneficial.

“We had seen the public and citizens of Phoenix put enormous importance into education downtown,” she said.

A lack of student housing downtown was another reason to make the apartments with the university in mind, Eastridge said.

But she stressed that the apartments are still a private development and will be open to all downtown residents.

“We want to see a diversity of residents,” Eastridge said.

Greg Esser, a board member of the Roosevelt Row CDC, was present at the groundbreaking. Esser said the project could have a huge positive impact for the surrounding area.

“We need this area to continue to evolve,” he said.

Steve Schnoor, Concord Eastridge senior vice president, said in the press release that they plan to work closely with Roosevelt Row businesses and residents. The apartments are located in the middle of the Roosevelt Row arts district.

Stanton said he has heard concerns about the impact of the development on First Friday events, but said First Friday isn’t a static event or even a physical location.

“In terms of where the action is with the arts, it moves,” Stanton said. Stanton said artists downtown are great at evolving and adapting.

“Artists’ investments (in the downtown community) have helped pave the way for projects like this,” he said.

The entire project is scheduled to be complete in June 2013.

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  1. While it’s great to see new construction downtown, I have to wonder how affordable these apts will be?

  2. Add this to your focus group: Only allow locally-owned businesses to occupy this new sprawling retail space or risk shutting down the smaller shops that have been feeding and watering the people believing in your downtown vision for the last 10 years.

  3. I really do worry what will happen to all the small galleries and other businesses once ASU (my alma mater) and U of A and other big businesses have come in and taken over the land. While everyone has been pushing for a more successful, prosperous downtown, I feel like it might backfire on all those who have worked so hard in this area for the past several years. RoRo is so dynamic now, I hope it will retain its flavor.