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Update: Proposed development on 'Student Book Center' in Tempe approved by City Council

The new development, which has purposefully low parking, will have more than 200 dwelling units and restaurants


Concept rendering of new development in Tempe. 

Tempe City Council unanimously approved a trend-bucking new development planned for the corner of College Avenue and Seventh Street in Tempe after slight changes to the parking and building height plans were presented during a March 21 City Council meeting.

The now 14-floor development will be mixed-use, meaning it will be used for both residential and commercial purposes. It will have underground parking and street-level restaurants. 

Between the first and second public hearing for the development, the law firm representing the project, Gammage and Burnham, worked with city officials to amend certain aspects of the original plan. 

At the March 21 City Council meeting, Manjula M. Vaz, a Gammage and Burnham attorney, presented the changes — the most significant being the parking plans

Originally, the developer had planned for 38 parking spaces and 208 units. When City officials asked for more parking, an additional floor was added to the plans in order to offset the cost of more underground parking, bringing the total to 87 parking spaces and 239 units.

The City Council vote allows for the land to be rezoned and for height and parking requirements to be modified for the development.

The busy corner is down the street from Mill Avenue, ASU's campus and Mountain America Stadium. Currently, a dilapidated bookstore called "Student Book Center" sits on the property.

The Student Book Center in Tempe in June 1984 and concept rendering of new development in Tempe. Illustrations added on Thursday, March 14, 2024.

The project would be built on a lot including the building that used to have two off-campus University student stores.

READ MORE: Tempe commission recommends approval of mixed-use housing close to campus

The land on Seventh and College Avenues cost $9 million, and construction is supposed to begin in April 2025 and finish in summer 2027, according to Eran Fields, the developer. He said the rental prices in the building will be comparable to existing prices in the area based on increased housing competition. 

He said the building is for a mix of students and Tempe residents, saying he wants to "open it up to everyone."

Fields said the city and University have been easy to work with throughout the process and both have contributed their input to the project. 

If approved, the development would not look like the high-rises around the city with parking garages and metal facades, rather, it would have a brick exterior to match the nearby Fulton Center and the All Saints Catholic Newman Center at ASU to better fit the aesthetics of the street. 

Fields called it a "timeless" design.

"The inspiration for this building is the older warehouse buildings from the early 1900s in certain cities like New York, Chicago and Boston that have been renovated into hotels or condos, but with a modern twist," Fields said. 

READ MORE: Alumnus to open two new bars on Mill Avenue in historic Rula Bula building

It will include high-quality restaurant space on the street level, and Fields envisions multiple restaurants similar to the nearby Postino Annex occupying that space.

The proposed development would include two levels of underground parking, which Fields said was a compromise with the city from what was originally one planned level. Fields said he wanted to incentivize people to use public transportation nearby and keep the street level free of parking structures — leaving room for retaining on the ground floor.

"It's a smart design that reduces car usage and traffic impacts that is much more of a future-looking type of building," Fields said.

The building that currently sits there used to be a bookstore called Student Book Center, which opened in 1967 and closed in 2016. The other half of the building was Campus Corner, a convenience store that also sold University merchandise from 1989 to 2015.

Neither of these buildings were operated by ASU, but each were important businesses to the community from the inception of the University to recently. Now, with Tempe being a space-competitive city, high-rises like this one are being built on these types of lots. According to Fields, this could stabilize rent prices.

"I believe that because we're going to have some more buildings built downtown, that's going to have some downward pressure on rents," Fields said. 

This story was updated April 4, 2024 at 8:15 P.M. to reflect updates to the project plan and the unanimous approval of the project by City Council.

Edited by Grey Gartin, Alysa Horton and Grace Copperthite.

Reach the reporter at and follow @shanebrennan36 on X.

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Shane BrennanEditor-in-Chief

Shane Brennan is the Editor-in-Chief at The State Press. He was a sports and politics reporter, before becoming the editor of the politics desk. He has covered local and state politics for the Arizona Capitol Times and Cronkite News.

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