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Mesa Voters Nix Funding, New ASU Campus

By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange

Due to the failure of Mesa’s Question 1 on the Nov. 8 ballot, the city has announced it will not post RFQs for the planned Arizona State University at the Mesa Arts Center project. Question 1 would have increased the city’s sales tax from 1.75 percent to 2.15 percent for public safety and higher education projects.

According to the city’s information page about the measure, revenues raised, “Would pay for a proposed Arizona State University Downtown Mesa campus including new buildings and a 10-12-acre Civic Center Plaza; a buildout of the Benedictine University campus, new parking structures to accommodate the expansions, and additional offsite improvements totaling an estimated $108-127M.”

The measure failed by fewer than 8,000 votes, according the Maricopa County Recorder’s website.

Preliminary plans for the primary building placed the four-to-five story structure on the northern edge of the Mesa Arts Center site. In addition to the educational function, it would have also housed restaurant and commercial space.

Two additional buildings of 96KSF and 60KSF would have been constructed near City Hall and the council chambers near 1st Street. The three-phase project ultimately called for four buildings and total of 260KSF of space.

According to an announcement by the city, “On October 20, 2016, the City of Mesa released Request for Qualifications (RFQ) titled, ‘Arizona State University (ASU) at the Mesa Arts Center (MAC) Design Consultant Selection.’ As stated in the RFQ, Arizona voters had the opportunity on November 8, 2016 to vote on Question 1, which was intended to support funding for public safety and higher education.

Question 1 did not pass; the voters did not approve funding for this project.  Therefore, pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute §34-603 (i), this project is being cancelled.”

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