By Tasha Anderson for AZBEX
The City of Mesa wishes to transform 27 acres of city-owned land at the SWC of University and Mesa drives into a “vibrant and cohesive urban mixed-use project” and is requesting a partner to help with that vision.
On May 6, the City of Mesa issued a Request for Qualifications for a developer to help redevelop the currently vacant Opportunity Zone site, also known as Transform 17.
The conceptual masterplan for Transform 17, as recommended by Mesa City Council on March 21, shows “a significant amount of residential; dining and retail including a grocery store; an innovative office quarter; public park amenities; and a comprehensive pedestrian path-way (or mobility loop) linking the site to downtown and light rail,” according to the RFQ.
The conceptual plan envisions development to include amenities that are missing in the area and bring the district to life all year round, to be sensitive to the character of surrounding neighborhoods and provide plenty of open spaces, provide a variety of building types to create a “distinctive place”, and supports and strengthens the downtown core.
Portland-based, Crandall Arambula, was hired back in September 2018 as an urban planning consultant to create three different conceptual masterplans based on community stakeholder input and market research.
Two community workshops were held, the first on November 13, 2018 and the second on January 29, 2019 in order to gather community input. A presentation of all three concepts along with the recommended concept was made on March 21.
The site itself formerly held a 1920’s-1950’s single-family neighborhood before the city acquired it in the 1980’s. At that time, the plan was to redevelop the site into a resort/convention center, but the concept, along with several other concepts, never came to fruition.
Now, thanks in part to the regional light rail extension being a “catalyst for new growth and development,” according to the RFQ, Mesa City Council has once again made the redevelopment of the site a priority.
According to the RFQ, “At 27-acres, this site would be the largest parcel to be developed in the downtown area and could be the largest single development opportunity within downtown for many years to come.”