Council Considers Tempe Crossroads

Credit: City of Tempe

By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange

Tempe Crossroads, a new mixed-use development planned at the NWC of South Terrace Road and East Orange Street, is scheduled for final consideration by Tempe City Council on Thursday, Aug. 9.

Plans call for two residential buildings – one at five stories and one at seven – consisting of 264 student-oriented residential units and six live-work spaces for a total of 837 bedrooms. Also included in the proposal is 13KSF of amenity space, 9KSF of commercial area and a six-floor parking garage with 473 total spaces. The total proposed area for the development is more than 580KSF. Tempe Crossroads will replace an existing 56-year-old garden apartment development currently occupying the site.

In the submittal on behalf of owner Collegiate Development Group, Senior Urban Planner Noel Griemsmann of Snell & Wilmer requested a General Plan Land Use Map Amendment, Zoning Map Amendment, Planned Area Development Overlay and Development Plan Review. These were initially heard and approved at the June 28 city council meeting, with a final consideration planned for Aug. 9.

The submittal points out Tempe Crossroads is located in close proximity to its target tenant demographic from Arizona State University and has convenient access to major transit offerings, such as light rail. It notes, “Increased density along the light rail is critical for increasing ridership, which generally promotes the long-term viability of the light rail.” The submittal also points out that by providing 13KSF of restaurant/retail and office space, “the street level will be activated and livability in the general area will be enhanced, as residents and neighbors will have a nearby option for their ancillary dining and retail needs,” and that the project promotes a walkable urban environment.

Describing the project’s vision, architectural firm Hensley Lamkin Rachel, Inc. notes the design makes use of horizontal elements that unify the development “while allowing the massing to step down from a taller presence on the busier South Terrace transit corridor into the residential neighborhood along Orange.”

Buildings will be in close proximity to the street with a two-story base to create a pleasant experience for pedestrians. Above the base, the buildings will follow the course of Orange Street that will “break down the façade length into smaller residential blocks.”

The design includes a series of courtyards for both commercial users and residents connected by landscaped sidewalks. Additional shade features include both vertical and horizontal fins, recessed windows and a third-floor overhang. Other amenities include a club space, fitness area and pool on the rooftop.

A key benefit and consideration for the project, the submittal points out, is that by replacing an existing multifamily complex, there is little anticipated need for additional core infrastructure or public services, such as police and fire.

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