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ASU Disses USA Place in Statement, Will Seek New Developer

As reported Jan. 8, plans collapsed for the $350-million-plus downtown project that would have brought a hotel, conference center and the Colorado-based USA Basketball organization to Tempe. Rendering credit: Future Cities

By Ray Stern for Phoenix New Times

Arizona State University released a harsh statement Jan. 9 about the end of negotiations with USA Place, essentially accusing developers of lying.

As reported Jan. 8, plans collapsed for the $350-million-plus downtown project that would have brought a hotel, conference center and the Colorado-based USA Basketball organization to Tempe. The project was announced to great fanfare in July of 2013, promoted by sports mogul Jerry Colangelo, chair of USA Basketball.

[Last week], ASU confirmed the split in a lengthy, interesting statement that reveals the frustration felt by university officials about alleged broken promises.

From ASU’s statement:

“Arizona State University has consistently required throughout the exclusive negotiating period that USA Place demonstrate its commitment to the transaction by making a substantial deposit to reinstate the option to lease. USA Place repeatedly pledged to provide a deposit to secure its commitments but never did so.”

The project’s development team includes: Susan Eastridge, CEO of Concord Eastridge; Michael Hallmark, principal of Future Cities; Robert Harris, CEO of Harris Sports & Entertainment; and Sean Duncan, a former senior designer with The Jerde Partnership.

This week, through a public-relations firm, USA Place told New Times that it had “made the required deposit” of $1M in escrow for the project. As ASU’s statement indicates, that wasn’t quite what happened.

This latest statement by ASU seems to put the kibosh on any future dealings with USA Place.

The property now consists of mostly surface parking, a sandwich shop, plus several old buildings from the former strip mall located there, some of which are being used as ASU classrooms. The popular Chili’s location on the corner closed last year in anticipation of the development. Looks like the corner will remain rather drab and unproductive for some time to come.

Read more at Phoenix New Times