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New housing develops on the edge of ASU's Tempe campus

The community, only a block from Mill Avenue, offers easy access to active parts of the city

An artist's rendering displays a view from the east of the project, along University Drive. The plans include residential and commercial areas. 

An artist's rendering displays a view from the east of the project, along University Drive. The plans include residential and commercial areas. 

Construction has begun on a new housing community located on the north edge of ASU’s Tempe Campus.

Development company The Opus Group has partnered with EdR, a developer largely known for its collegiate housing projects, to bring the strategically-located building to the outskirts of ASU.

Developers have yet to name the complex, which they are currently calling the "7th Street (Tempe) Mixed-Use Development" on their website.

The mixed-use housing — which is slated for completion in the summer of 2018 — is set to include 407 apartments, 31,000 square feet of retail and a close proximity to life in Tempe and the light rail. 

Larry Pobuda, a senior vice president and general manager of Opus, said the vibrancy of the area was a big factor in choosing the location for this development.

“This area brings together what we think are three of the most vibrant aspects of life in Tempe,” he said. “One, naturally, is all of the positive energy and growth taking place at ASU, and so being on the edge of campus was certainly attractive.”

Pobuda said the ability to access both the entertainment and business sectors of the city are also important.

“We’re only one block away from Mill Avenue," he said. "Mill Avenue is, in my opinion, one of the best downtown areas in all of Arizona with its unique shops and restaurants and entertainment options. It also has great proximity to the Rio Salado business district.”

Pobuda said the company also wanted keep four groups in mind while planning the future of the community.

“One was young millennials who work in Tempe currently, and the second group was young millennials who are living in Tempe and perhaps are taking the light rail to downtown Phoenix,” he said. “A third group was what we described as ASU affiliates, meaning young professors, young coaches and around 13,000 ASU employees who work on the Tempe campus.”

Pobuda said the fourth group was student-oriented — it included graduate, professional, married and international students. 

Pobuda also said his group wanted to bring something different to the area.

“What we’re not interested in is being a traditional party dorm,” he said.

While appealing to all these groups, Pobuda said the company wants the building to bring in people who don’t live there as well.

“There are shared interests among groups of people at different points in their life, and that’s what we’re trying to bring together in this project,” he said. “We’re committed to having it be a great attribute and asset for ASU, for the city of Tempe and a project that everyone at the end of the day is going to be proud of.”

Hannah Rodriguez, a junior dietetics major who works at Pedal Haus Brewery on Mill Avenue, said the area already attracts a wider range of customers.

“The crowd is definitely different from normal restaurants because it’s in between college kids and adults," she said. 

Rodriguez also said adding more housing near Mill Avenue could increase the mix of age groups.

“It would definitely bring in more people and be beneficial, but it (also would be) a little reckless with all the college students here,” she said.

Jackie Bihl, a senior majoring in biological sciences who lives about two blocks from Mill Avenue, said living there has its advantages and disadvantages.

“It’s easy to walk to Mill and go home, especially as a 21-year-old,” she said. “I have been living by Mill for three years and it’s definitely gotten noisier every year, and it’s hard to find parking.”

But Bihl said she thinks having more residential buildings near Mill Avenue is a positive thing.

“I don’t think it will impact us in a negative way, and I’d rather have more people living in apartments than more buildings of people causing traffic and noise,” she said. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @karismasandoval onTwitter.

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