ASU to buy more land near Downtown Phoenix campus

The ASU Downtown Phoenix campus will continue to grow after the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) voted Friday to approve ASU's request to purchase 0.8 acres of land near the Phoenix campus.

The land, one block west of Civic Space Park, is just north of the Sun Devil Fitness Center and YMCA on the Downtown Phoenix campus. 

It is for sale for $4.6 million, roughly $134 per square foot. ASU would be buying from Chicago-based developer Cushman & Wakefield.

The vote to approve ASU's request came after ABOR's business and finance committee moved the proposal to the rest of the board Wednesday.

Patrick Panetta, director of project management in ASU's real estate department, said the space is needed so that the Downtown campus can continue to grow.

"The Downtown (Phoenix) campus continues to grow, and to meet the projected growth needs of the campus, we needed a little bit more land," he said. "So, this was an opportunity, it was for sale and so we went to ABOR to request approval to purchase it."

The potential purchase is not directly related to the construction of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law downtown or ASU's plans to move into downtown Mesa, he said.

The University hasn't said how the land will be used, only that it plans to buy the lot. However, Panetta said there are several potential uses.

"It could be a new academic building; it could be administrative space," he said. "There's several different needs the University is going to have as the campus grows. We just knew that to meet those projected space needs, we didn't have enough land."

There has been no date set for construction. Panetta said campus expansion usually follows a campus master plan, though this most recent parcel is not on that plan.

Many students in the community downtown recognize the lack of space. 

Ryan Boyd, the vice president of Policy for Undergraduate Student Government Downtown, said he is excited about the potential purchase.

"Land is such a limiting factor for this campus," he said. "We're bursting at the seams."

As the area continues to gain new students, new schools and more resources, Boyd said there comes a need for more space.

Although the land isn't cheap, Boyd said he believes most students understand that downtown Phoenix real estate is expensive and the cost is necessary to sustain the growth of the campus. 

He said he doesn't know how the land might be used, but he is aware of the issues the Downtown Phoenix campus faces. 

"From my own position, parking needs to be part of it," he said. "I'd also like the idea of adding classroom space. Ideally, third and fourth would be housing space and more food options."

Students seem to recognize the opportunities of the Downtown Phoenix campus, and that more space might be necessary to sustain those resources. 

Hunter Green, a medical studies junior, said he feels the University should jump on the space before its price increases, because it provides unique opportunities for ASU students.

He said it's crucial to keep professional programs like journalism, medicine and policy close to the institutions that represent those fields in the city.

"I think it's good that we're expanding," Green said. "We need to get some more space somehow, which is difficult for a Downtown (Phoenix) campus."

Related Links:

ASU Downtown Alive!

Downtown ASU yearns for housing expansion plans


Reach the reporter at Arren.Kimbel-Sannit@asu.edu or follow @akimbelsannit on Twitter.

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