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20-Story Senior Housing Tower to Tempe

Courtesy of ASU

By Ray Stern for Phoenix New Times

The Arizona Board of Regents has approved an Arizona State University plan to lease land for a 20-story, senior-housing project on a high-profile site in downtown Tempe.

“Mirabella” is the latest plan for another mini-skyscraper in the college town east of Phoenix, which has seen a construction boom in recent years. And it’s another chance for ASU to make use of land that nearly ended up as a conference center and home for USA Basketball last year before the lofty plans fell apart.

The senior-living project is a $200M, 1.5-acre tower complex slated for the southwest corner of University Drive and Myrtle Avenue, just east of University and Mill Avenue, records show. It would take up part of a 10-acre parcel of ASU land that the school has tried for years to improve. The parcel is now mostly a parking lot — a former strip mall with some of the evicted businesses converted to temporary ASU offices.

By 2020, according to an April 18 press release that flew under the radar of local news media, Mirabella could be home to hundreds of occupants living in “291 independent, assisted, memory-care and skilled-nursing units” in the double-tower complex. “The facility will engage older alumni and retired faculty, staff and friends by providing lifelong learning, a continuum of health-care services for aging adults and an environment rich in performing arts, social, athletic and research activities.”

Eighty percent of the residential area would be apartment units, and the rest would be assisted-living units.

The nonprofit ASU Foundation and Oregon-based Pacific Retirement Services company will develop the project.

The plan is in an early phase, with a marketing and feasibility study still under way, says university spokeswoman Elizabeth Giudicessi.

Giudicessi was unable to immediately say whether the senior project means that USA Basketball, the organization that governs non-professional basketball and selects teams for the Olympics, might still move its headquarters to Tempe. The $350 million-plus USA Place project was announced by USA Basketball chair and sports mogul Jerry Colangelo in 2014, but negotiations fell apart in January 2015 when the hoops group failed to deposit an earnest-money payment.

ASU still wants to turn the rest of the old strip mall and parking lot into a hotel and conference center, the Mirabella records show.

Read more at Phoenix New Times

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