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ASU’s 'College Town' plans move forward


March 12, 2007

Arizona State University has selected a partnership of three nationally recognized developers to enter into formal negotiations to design and build a mixed-use project appropriately dubbed “College Town” on the eastern boundary of its West campus.

Trillium Residential, a developer and manager of award-winning, high-quality multi-family communities; The Plaza Companies, a highly acclaimed leader in the development and management of medical office, biotechnology office, and senior living communities; and Vestar Development Co., a leader in the development and management of commercial and retail real estate, partnered to respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP) issued by ASU to develop a 60-acre site located at 43rd Avenue and Thunderbird Road.

“The innovative nature and extensive experience of these three great companies coming together to design and build a ‘College Town’ on ASU's West campus incorporating new trends in mixed-use development, is what impressed us the most and led to the award of the RFP to this partnership of developers,” said Steve Nielsen, university assistant vice president of university real estate development.

The master-planned community will include approximately one million square feet of retail, office space, senior living, and multi-family residential to be built on the 60 acre property. Vestar will develop approximately 300,000 square feet of retail, The Plaza Companies will develop approximately 125,000 square feet of office space and 130,000 square feet of senior housing, and Trillium will develop approximately 500,000 square feet of multi-family residential. The team is currently working to refine the project’s design.

“To ensure the residential and commercial components complement each other, Trillium, The Plaza Companies and Vestar joined forces to respond to the independent commercial and residential RFPs in one collaborative effort,” said David Dewar, Trillium principal. “Each company’s respective expertise allows for an exceptional and high-quality mixed-use development.”

ASU’s West campus was created in 1984 by Arizona Senate Bill 1245, directing the Board of Regents to “maintain an Arizona State University in western Maricopa County.” Today, the campus is home to over 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

“We look forward to working with the university and are proud to be considered the innovative leaders for this type of development,” said Sharon Harper, president and CEO of The Plaza Companies. “ASU at the West campus provides an ideal opportunity for seniors to live in a vibrant, social and eclectic community with incredible university amenities nearby. In addition, delivering quality office space will provide linkages between the university, regional hospitals, and the neighboring community.”

A collaborative design team has been assembled by the new partnership – VTP Partners – and includes notable architectural firms Nelson Architects, DFD Cornoyer Hedrick, McLarand Vasquez Emsiek & Partners, and Gould Evans Associates.

“Our innovative approach to this development will revitalize the surrounding community and establish this area as a true live-work-play destination,” added David Larcher, founding partner of Vestar. “This mixed-use development will further integrate the academic environment with the community with social gathering venues, shopping and dining experiences.”

The eventual build out of the 60-acre site will represent the first major construction at the West campus since the construction of Las Casas in 2003, an innovative living-learning residence village with apartment-style living arrangements for students.

“This is a significant first step in ASU’s goal to bring innovation and cutting-edge concepts to ‘College Town,’” said Carol Campbell, ASU executive vice president and chief financial officer. “We believe this type of partnership works best for this project and the critical blending of components – retail, office space, senior housing and multi-family residential. We’re very excited about the opportunities and possibilities this partnership and the ultimate realization of ‘College Town’ will bring to the community.”