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Arizona Center to undergo $25 million renovation, ASU classrooms to be unaffected

The costly move is an effort to revitalize the center and keep pace with the growth of downtown Phoenix

Renderings of the redesigned plaza of the Arizona Center.

Renderings of the redesigned plaza of the Arizona Center.

The Arizona Center, the outdoor mall frequented by ASU students and staff alike, will be undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation for the first time in nearly 30 years in early 2017, bringing changes to the complex to keep up with the revitalization of downtown Phoenix, according to the center's new owners. 

The center, opened in 1989 and acquired in 2015 by Parallel Capital Partners and Angelo, Gordon & Co., will undergo renovation starting in early 2017, and tenants will have to maneuver around the construction for approximately nine months, according to estimates cited in a press release about the renovation.

For some ASU professors and administrators, the renovations will affect them directly. The college of integrative sciences and arts, as well as a few other facilities such as the ASUPD office, take up the majority of the third floor of the center.

The college expanded to the Arizona Center in August 2015 due to the growth of the college and the lack of available real estate in the downtown Phoenix area, said college of integrative sciences and arts dean, Duane Roen. 

“Its much needed space for us,” Roen said. “When we moved in, they renovated the space just for us. There’s also classroom space that we use, and that’s much needed space.”

The new renovations will be beneficial for students when they are completed, he said.

“I’ve seen some of the architect’s renderings,” Roen said. “I think it’ll be a beautiful facility when it is done. I think it’ll be a place where students want to spend more time.”

The construction is not expected to impact the teaching environment in a significant way, Roen said, expressing faith in the construction company to work quickly and quietly.

“There might be some minor inconvenience for somebody, but in my experience, the builder does a great job of keeping the disturbance to a minimum,” he said. “I don't think (it'll affect the school). I’m very confident.”

For students, the revitalization is a needed change to give them more incentive to shop at the facility. 

“I go at least once a week,” said Devon Lunemann, criminal justice sophomore, adding that he doesn't see many other students when he is there. “There's a few restaurants, but those are more for the general public. They’re not for a college demographic.”

Despite the growth of downtown Phoenix, he said, there is little bringing college students to the Arizona Center.

“They really don't have any major attractions or anything to make people want to go to at night,” Lunemann said.

He said he was aware of the renovations and has hope that the change will help the facility attract more college shoppers.

“I want it to be useful or good,” Lunemann said. “(Maybe if they add) a clothing store that would be affordable to college students. The only fear I have is them closing down some of the stuff I like about it.”

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