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Grand at Papago Park Centers Around Water

Credit: M.B. Rosen/Papago Park Center, Inc.

By Rebekah Morris for Arizona Builder’s Exchange

Focus on water as both an amenity and a celebrated resource with a rich history

SRP, one the utilities responsible for providing water to Valley residents, is also delivering one of the major employment and residential developments near Tempe Town Lake by way of the Grand at Papago Park. Central to the development is a future water feature approximately the size of a football field.

The Grand at Papago Park is going vertical with more than 3MSF of office buildings, hotel, retail and parking structures. The 58.56-acre site – directly north of Loop 202 and bordered by Priest Drive & Washington Street – is one of the major developments in the Tempe Town Lake/Papago Park area, along with the Liberty Center at Rio Salado and Marina Heights development.

The Master Developer is Papago Park Center, Inc., a subsidiary of Salt River Project (SRP).  Lincoln Property Company/Goldman Sachs is the developer of the first 220KSF office building.  The general contractor for the first building is Whiting-Turner; and the architect for the first building is HKS, Inc.

Canal Relocation

While not unusual in concept, the relocation of the Grand Canal on this site was unique in scope. Close to a half-mile of canal was moved approximately 200 feet north of its previous location, north of the L202.  Papago Park Center, Inc. did this to create a more usable site overall.  Centering the canal enabled development on both sides; creating a massive water feature in the middle to provide a focal point and amenity for residents and those that will work on the site.

JE Dunn Construction served as General Contractor to Papago Park Center, Inc., completing both the canal relocation and site improvements. Engineering for the canal relocation was handled in-house by SRP.

$5M Water Feature to Center the Development

A prominent water feature will be constructed in the heart of the campus. Paying homage to Roosevelt Dam and measuring about the size of a football field, the feature will be a focal point of the project.  Valued at approximately $5M, the water feature will sit nine feet below grade, providing a space for community events such as outdoor concerts and the like. Tied into the trail system of nearby Tempe Town Lake, the feature could easily tie into events and races that occur there.

This future opportunity is outside the scope of the development agreement with Lincoln Property Company. Papago Park Inc. is working with JE Dunn as the contractor for the water feature. Currently, the design is in the design development phase. WET Design, based out of Sun Valley, Calif., is tasked with its design.

Per the development agreement, the water feature will coincide opening with the first mid-rise office building abutting the freeway.

Connectivity & Art

Walking down the completed trail system recently, the commitment to design excellence is everywhere. Thoughtful touches like decomposed granite paths align the poured concrete paths. Lights are not only functional but artistic in every way. Stainless Steel handrails on the canal bridges are all different, with names like Swizzlesticks, Cartwheel, and Cat’s Cradle.

Local artist Mary Lucking provided the artwork on this and many other civic spaces around the Valley.  Ornamental Ironwork specialty contractor Magnum Companies brought the design to life.

Trails through the Grand at Papago connect with Tempe Town Lake to the south and the City of Phoenix to the West. Once the City of Phoenix completes its own improvements to the Grand Canalscape, the system will be cohesive, enabling users to move easily from city to city without using a vehicle.

Lighted signs highlight the deep history of water in the Valley, and how much foresight was needed to create such a sustainable city for millions.

NOTE: Paid subscribers receive additional project details in our twice-weekly PDF publication, including project stakeholder information and valuable project bidding leads. Find out more about AZBEX subscriptions or contact Rebekah Morris at or (480) 709-4190

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