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  #41  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2007, 6:10 PM
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Mesa's Fiesta Lofts project moves forward

Jim Walsh
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 7, 2007 11:04 AM

Fiesta Lofts, the orange and blue six-story condominium project that replaced the soaring Fiesta Towers, won guarded applause from Mesa's Design Review Board.

Once a series of four glass-and-steel high rise buildings, the project shrunk to three five and six story buildings, but developer and architect Thomas Roszak said the latest version is more realistic.

"We felt that the low-rise, five or six stories, were more appropriate to the market we are creating here in Mesa," Roszac said. "I think the architecture has to be special. Architecture can make a market."

Board members, which include several architects, made several suggestions that Roszak plans to incorporate.

"I do have to admit I like the groupings of the colors better," said Tom Bottomley, one of the board's architects, noting changes from the initial architect's renderings. "Disorganized confetti is not my idea of good design."

When asked about his color scheme by board member Vince DiBella, Roszak said, "it's supposed to be the desert, actually, the view at sunset."

Board member Dave Richins admitted he was skeptical about the project but liked the design.

"When you start construction, I'll believe it when I see it. It would be a great addition to the area," Richins said.

But Roszak said he could start construction at Grove Avenue and Westwood, east of Fiesta Mall, in early 2008 if all city approvals go as planned. He said the project goes before the Planning and Zoning Board on June 21, to the Design Board for formal approval on July 5, and to the City Council on July 9.

The approvals are required in part because the new plan is so different than Fiesta Towers. It features 450 units, instead of 540 to 850. The original plan called for four buildings that would range from 10 to 19 stories.

Roszak also is considering lofts where artists, architects, artists and other professionals could live and work. He said he might reduce the retail area from 45,000 square feet to 20,000 to create room for the unique lofts.

"I think it will have a very interesting loft feel. We think it's a product that doesn't exist," he said.

One big advantage: the latest plan would be built all at once rather than in phases. Cathy Ji, of Mesa's economic development office, said there was no guarantee that all four towers would have been built in the initial project.

"I'm even more optimistic," Roszak said after the meeting. "Everyone will follow us. That's why we have to do a very good job."

Condominiums would range from $240,000 for a 600-square-foot studio to $800,000 for a penthouse, he said.

Ji said virtually every shopping center in the area, with the exception of ramshackle Fiesta Village, plans major face lifts in the near future.

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  #42  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2007, 11:55 PM
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I have hope for that area, I hope the project will go through and bring some new life to Fiesta Mall and the surrounds.
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  #43  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2007, 12:05 AM
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"Condominiums would range from $240,000 for a 600-square-foot studio to $800,000 for a penthouse, he said."

WOW

Who exactly is the market for that? Its way out of the price range of college kids, young urban types would much rather live in Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, the Biltmore or Kierland (or even Westgate when that residential gets built). I hope I'm wrong, but I don't know who wants to pay that much for so little space just to be near a run down mall. Maybe if/when MCC becomes a full fledge university, places like this will be in more demand.
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  #44  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2007, 12:12 AM
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I think there are people who want to stay in Mesa that might be interested in this type of development. The prices are pretty much in line with other, somewhat similar developments, so really the wild card is the location. Are there enough boomer-age Mormons who would be open to condo/loft living and yet want to stay near family? What about retirees? Where's the nearest golf course?
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  #45  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2007, 2:29 AM
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The Hilton across the street has 36 holes.
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  #46  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2007, 2:56 AM
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Mesa also doesn't have property taxes, which makes the units investor friendly. Secondly, consider who moves to Mesa--midwestern Republican retirees. These already don't fit well within the niches that downtowns Phoenix, Tempe, and Scottsdale are beginning to carve out. These units, if marketed right (the developer is from Chicago and reputable which helps) could fill up quickly. A Mesa submarket might just etch itself out for this sort of thing.

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Originally Posted by HooverDam
Maybe if/when MCC becomes a full fledge university, places like this will be in more demand.
<rant>Oh god, if only. I remember my time at MCC, staring at those blank grassy fields, parking lots, squat dilapidated permanent structures, all compared with the new Biosciences building and just imagining a new and better city if Mesa wasn't the status-quo of public government around here. Our state university system is overflowing and broken--it's ridiculous that the only place for a public business education in the metro is ASU. That monopoly needs to end, and its too bad Phoenix just further entrenched it with the downtown campus. ASU Polytechnic should be its own seperate university, ASU West should probably be the University of Arizona Glendale, etc. Expanding availability of academic programs with regional competition will only make more and better educated students. The fact that there was an opposition to expanding nursing programs of all things at the community college level only shows us how scared the bigwigs are of change. Why? </rant>

Last edited by combusean; Jun 9, 2007 at 3:09 AM.
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  #47  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2007, 7:03 PM
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Originally Posted by vertex View Post
The Hilton across the street has 36 holes.
Ummmmm, the Fiesta Lakes Golf Course is across the street, but only has 9 holes. Off the top of my head, the closest 18-hole courses are Dobson Ranch, Kokopelli, and Mesa Country Club, all within 5 miles.

As for the MCC rant, the legislature has been introducing bills for years to expand the community college program to four years. Every time, the Board of Regents and the powers that be shoot it down. It has nothing to do with Mesa or Mesa's city government. It's all about the people at the state capitol and for whatever reason, they keep shooting themselves in the foot.
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  #48  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2007, 9:30 PM
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^These are the same people who tried to keep ASU from becoming a university, nothing is surprising.
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  #49  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2007, 7:39 PM
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Chandler looks at redevelopment incentives

Edythe Jensen
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 15, 2007 04:31 PM

Quote:
Aging shopping centers in north Chandler soon could get city-supported makeovers, zoning changes or demolition help.

The City Council backed a proposal to study sales tax revenue along the northern parts of Alma School and Dobson roads and Arizona Avenue and use the data to push redevelopment incentives and land use changes. The move came during an informal goal-setting session Thursday, June 14.

Last year, a consultant advised the council to take aggressive redevelopment actions and keep Chandler from becoming just another deteriorating, built-out suburb.

Several older intersections have been plagued by retail vacancies for years in spite of the city's longstanding commercial reinvestment program that offers grants for improvements. One, the troubled East Valley Mall at the northwest corner of Arizona Avenue and Warner Road, has had a high vacancy rate since it was built more than 20 years ago.

The largely vacant Chandler Mercado at the northeast corner of Arizona Avenue and Warner Road is undergoing renovations with help from city grants and should have new stores and entertainment centers open later this year.

Several central city centers have been purchased and renovated by Mesa developer Michael Pollack.

City Manager Mark Pentz didn't name intersections, but he said some areas may not be able to support shops and restaurants on all four corners. Zoning changes to allow apartments or condominiums as part of mixed-use projects with retail and offices could encourage redevelopment, he said.

The city may consider subsidizing demolitions and modifying development standards to encourage creativity.


"We want to promote innovation and creativity . . . sometimes our design standards can do just the opposite," Planning Director Doug Ballard said.

Ballard's department is looking at changing the zoning code to require artwork in commercial development and incorporate shade and energy conservation requirements for large buildings.
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  #50  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2007, 6:29 AM
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Bass Pro Shops at Mesa Riverview is open. I stopped in and checked it out last Saturday, the place was packed. Later that night, the wife and I went back and ate at the Chili's at Riverview and then saw a movie at Riverview Cinemark. The theaters there are new and clean and cheaper than any of the others in the valley. We've been going to movies there for a year since the theaters opened, but it's nice to finally see some of the other developments open up and people discovering the site.
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  #51  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2007, 3:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by combusean View Post
<rant>Oh god, if only. I remember my time at MCC, staring at those blank grassy fields, parking lots, squat dilapidated permanent structures, all compared with the new Biosciences building and just imagining a new and better city if Mesa wasn't the status-quo of public government around here. Our state university system is overflowing and broken--it's ridiculous that the only place for a public business education in the metro is ASU. That monopoly needs to end, and its too bad Phoenix just further entrenched it with the downtown campus. ASU Polytechnic should be its own seperate university, ASU West should probably be the University of Arizona Glendale, etc. Expanding availability of academic programs with regional competition will only make more and better educated students. The fact that there was an opposition to expanding nursing programs of all things at the community college level only shows us how scared the bigwigs are of change. Why? </rant>
I don't know anything about how universities work, but I've always thought that all of these satellite campuses of ASU were going to eventually become like those in California (granted, I have no idea how the California schools work either)... but you've got UCLA, UC Irvine, UCSD etc etc. and Cal St Fullerton, Cal St Northridge, etc. etc... they are all seemingly their own school but also sound like just different satellite campuses (they also have their own separate sports teams.)
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  #52  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2007, 7:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DevdogAZ View Post
As for the MCC rant, the legislature has been introducing bills for years to expand the community college program to four years. Every time, the Board of Regents and the powers that be shoot it down. It has nothing to do with Mesa or Mesa's city government. It's all about the people at the state capitol and for whatever reason, they keep shooting themselves in the foot.
I know expanding the community colleges doesn't have to do anything with the City of Mesa--that's not what I was saying. I meant that public government around here, eg, most of the East Valley, including Mesa, and the idiots in the Statehouse operate on Mesa's ideology--low taxes, poor service, general incompetence, wasting money, and leaving ramshackle private enterprises to haphazardly fill the gaps.

That's not to say Mesa could do more--I mean, Phil Gordon was right in his recent speech...education is front and center in the Phoenix and it's not even on the radar screen anywhere else. Expanding MCC to a 4 year program would be impossible without huge amounts of money that probably wouldn't come from an MCCCD bond nor the Statehouse. Phoenix was able to bring ASU downtown by throwing it in the 2006 bond that passed 2 - 1. Mesa doesn't even have a property tax and is far too broke to "pay as you go" into a new system.

And yes, it's really broken here that Phoenix had to pay to expand ASU. ABOR needs to be dissolved.
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  #53  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2007, 9:01 PM
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Duplicate.

Last edited by DevdogAZ; Jun 19, 2007 at 9:11 PM.
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  #54  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2007, 9:05 PM
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Duplicate

Last edited by DevdogAZ; Jun 19, 2007 at 9:22 PM.
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  #55  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2007, 9:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHX31 View Post
I don't know anything about how universities work, but I've always thought that all of these satellite campuses of ASU were going to eventually become like those in California (granted, I have no idea how the California schools work either)... but you've got UCLA, UC Irvine, UCSD etc etc. and Cal St Fullerton, Cal St Northridge, etc. etc... they are all seemingly their own school but also sound like just different satellite campuses (they also have their own separate sports teams.)
California's statewide higher-education system is very different from Arizona's. California has two tiers, the University of California tier, which is generally considered higher, and then the California State tier, which is considered lower. Schools like UC Berkely, UCLA, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCSD, etc. are in the first tier, while CS Fullerton, CS Northridge, etc. are in the latter. They are each an independent school, but are "governed" by the same body at the tier level.

Arizona, due to size and population, has no need for a two-tiered system, although we kind of do by default, with the three major universities (ASU, UA, and NAU) and then the junior colleges (Eastern Arizona, Arizona Western).

However, community college issue is completely different, because they are run at the county level. All of the CC's in Maricopa County are under the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) and are not part of the state-sponsored university level, although I believe the funding and the determination about whether they can offer four-year degrees still rests with the legislature.
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  #56  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2007, 11:57 PM
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A large part of the community college mission is to provide degrees that qualify people to receive good incomes with two years of schooling, the occupational and technical trades. At Chandler-Gilbert CC we offer two-year degrees in nursing, aviation maintenance and piloting, police science, and several other specific industries. These are partially economically-supported by employers who work with the instructional program administrators in tailoring class work to meet their industry needs. The four-year programs would only be offered for certain degrees in which universities are challenged in completely meeting the demand for skilled workers, such as producing more teachers. Of course Michael Crow doesn't want to see this happen, community colleges taking some of his potential customers, and pretty much has the legislature in his pocket in that regard. The recent articles in the Tribune and Republic about community college problems conveniently coincided with talk about cc's and four-year degrees.
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  #57  
Old Posted Jun 26, 2007, 5:03 PM
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TOD Close to Reality in Mesa

Here is a follow-up to this post back in April:

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Yay, TOD arrives in Mesa.

Mesa project plans spurred by light rail

Jim Walsh
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 18, 2007 12:00 AM
MESA - The city's past and future are merging in the first development planned to take advantage of Metro light-rail service.

Light-rail housing/retail project moves forward

Jim Walsh
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 26, 2007 08:09 AM

The art of compromise goes a long way in politics and Planning and Zoning, with a few key changes moving Mesa's first light rail-oriented project closer to approval.

The Mesa Planning and Zoning Board recommended approval of West Main Street Station, only six weeks after voting to reject it, after developer Dan Randall agreed to a series of changes that made the development somewhat more palatable to nearby residents.

Designed to capitalize on the Metro light rail line, the project's success may prove pivotal in the redevelopment of West Main Street. It combines 55 townhouses with 13 shops at 1350 W. Main St., the site of a former automobile dealership and, later, Tracker Marine, a boat dealership.

A zoning change, to allow higher density residential development, is scheduled to go before the Mesa City Council on July 9. The development is not oriented toward light rail alone because it still offers parking for residents and visitors.

"It brings a nice breath of fresh air to an otherwise distressed part of Main Street," said Rich Adams, the planning board's chairman, who voted against the proposal June 2. "I think it would have sent the wrong signal" to recommend the council reject it again.

Mesa also hopes to capitalize on its one mile of light rail, which ends at Main and Sycamore, across from the East Valley Institute of Technology. A downtown extension to the Arizona Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints already is in the planning stages. The rail line is scheduled to open in December 2008.

City officials and the Mesa Grande Community Alliance are hoping light rail transforms the area from urban decay to urban chic, with high-destiny residential housing built for commuters looking to ride the line to work, Arizona State University or even downtown Phoenix attractions such as Chase Field and US Airways Arena.

"Any development we get in there would spark interest," said John Wesley, Mesa's Planning and Zoning director.

Adams said the key factor in winning the planning board's endorsement was changing the townhouses from an east-west orientation along Main Street to a north-south orientation. The change eliminates the possibility of townhouse residents looking down into the yards of Pepper Place neighbors.

Two-story townhouses are planned along with the three-story "live-work units," designed for professionals to live and work at the same location. In addition, a driveway onto Rogers Street was eliminated to reduce fears of residents about increased traffic.

Although some neighbors still oppose the abandonment of Standage, "no one really made a good argument on how that would impact them," Adams said. "In an overall context, it looked like the neighborhood in general was in favor."

If approved by the council, architect Fred Woods said West Main Station Village would become a guinea pig, with developers watching to see if it is successful before they redevelop other properties.

"If it sells like we're hoping it will, a lot of developments like this will come," Woods said. "If it works well, we're geniuses. If doesn't, people will say, 'look at your neighborhood.' "


>> Still looking for renderings. If you know of any, feel free to post them.
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  #58  
Old Posted Jun 26, 2007, 5:36 PM
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Here's a site plan and elevation for the West Main St. project.



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  #59  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2007, 4:55 AM
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If anyone is interested, I came home from vacation to find a large fence around the "Downtown Ocotillo" development. It appears construction is starting.

Although sprawl develepment is not that exciting, this area will have buildings up to 75 feet tall, restaurants, and the valley's first Tesco. It will be completely walkable and bicycle friendly - and hopefully will bring enough people to support a rapid bus line to the area.
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  #60  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2007, 2:55 AM
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New news -

Quote:
Phoenix-Mesa Gateway might be new name for airport
David van den Berg
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 16, 2007 01:59 PM

Although it's in Mesa, Williams Gateway Airport may soon have Phoenix in its name.

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport was discussed as a possible new name at this morning's Williams Gateway Airport Authority Board meeting.

No action was taken, and the matter could return to the board for a vote in September.





The name would not only acknowledge Phoenix, which has joined the government entities operating the airport, but would cut a tie to the former Air Force Base that was on the site.

Williams Air Force Base was named for First Lt. Charles Williams, a Fort Huachuca native and military pilot who was killed in 1927 in an aircraft accident off Hawaii.

In a memo, airport executive director Lynn Kusy said one or more buildings at the airport could bear Williams' name, and said the phrase "at Williams Field" could be used as a further descriptor in some contexts.

"Our responsibility as board members is to do whatever we need to do to make this airport successful," said Gilbert Mayor Steve Berman, the board chair. "I would support putting the Phoenix name on the airport - if it's going to make it more successful. It sounds like a good plan."

Scott Somers, a Mesa city councilman who represented the city at Monday's meeting, said the move is a "business decision."

"It's bound to be an emotionally charged issue for many that we would drop the Williams name," he said. "We need to remove the emotion from it."

Somer said there should be a way to honor the Williams name somewhere at the airport, perhaps naming the terminal for him as terminal four at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is named for former U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater.

Five airlines responded anonymously to an airport survey about the name, and urged the airport to change it. Responses included "Currently there is no identification between Williams Gateway and the Phoenix metropolitan area, which is a very dynamic market" and "A typical passenger will ask what the heck is a Williams Gateway?"

Williams Air Force based closed in 1993.

The property is now home to the airport, educational institutions including Arizona State University's Polytechnic Campus and Chandler-Gilbert Community College's Williams Campus.

Gilbert, Queen Creek, Mesa, Phoenix and the Gila River Indian Community comprise the Williams Gateway Airport Authority, which owns and operates the airport.

Also at its meeting Monday, the board elected a new set of officers, with Gila River Indian Community Lt. Governor Jennifer Allison-Ray being elected board chair.
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