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Old Posted Nov 29, 2006, 2:36 AM
HX_Guy HX_Guy is offline
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ASU housing downtown a step closer

Ginger D. Richardson
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 29, 2006 12:00 AM

After nearly six months of haggling and negotiating, Arizona State University appears to have worked out a deal to build a $100 million student housing project in downtown Phoenix.

That is welcome news for nearby residents already worried about the lack of affordable housing in downtown and whether students would pool their money to rent houses in nearby neighborhoods.

"Market rates have pushed the rates of moderate housing through the roof. There's a void there," said Steve Dreiseszun, nearby resident and president of the F.Q. Story Neighborhood Preservation Association.
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"Consequently, affordable housing would be a need for students and faculty and middle-income individuals who want to live and work in the downtown area."

The student complex would contain roughly 1,300 beds and be built in two phases by 2009. It would be 12 to 15 stories high and on the northern end of the downtown campus, just north of Taylor Street between First and Second streets.

The property would be paid for entirely by a private developer. That company would, in turn, charge students rent.

"We are cautiously optimistic that we are going to get this in place," said Rich Stanley, senior vice president and university planner.

Permanent student housing is critical to the success of the new campus and will be sorely needed when the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism opens downtown in August 2008. The college boasts an enrollment of nearly 1,800 students, many of whom are underclassmen likely to live in ASU-provided housing.

But the development also is considered key to helping Phoenix reach its overall revitalization goals. Not only would it function as students' home, city officials believe it would encourage other development, such as restaurants and shops.

"More people living downtown will create the support for new businesses," Mayor Phil Gordon said. "It's a cycle that will repeat and continue."

Specifics of the agreement with Alabama-based Capstone Management have not yet been made public, but the university plans to seek project approval from the Arizona Board of Regents on Friday.
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