Phoenix puts out RFP to develop big downtown lot


PappasBy Philip Haldiman, Editor-in-Chief | Dealmaker

High hopes stretch across a 7.6-acre piece of land in downtown Phoenix.

The property, on the south side of Fillmore Street between 4th and 6th avenues, is the last sizeable vacant lot downtown and with popular gathering places such as The Vig, Cibo and Crescent Ballroom nearby, it has the potential to become a landmark in the area.

And the city has officially put out a request for developers to make it happen.

A pre-proposal meeting will be held May 18.

Officials say the site could offer a number of uses from retail and restaurants to education facilities, along with other uses to support an emerging part of the urban Phoenix community.

However, the site is proposed to be largely multi-family with many residential options, including a mix of apartments, condos and affordable housing for more than 1,000 possible new downtown residents.

Jim Belfiore, president of Belfiore Real Estate Consulting, told Dealmaker the property is an opportunity to transform not only the land it will be built upon, but also the neighboring areas immediately south and west.

His firm conducted a market feasibility study on the property.

He said timing for the development downtown is good with significant employment and resident changes over the last decade, including the expansion of biotechnology and universities as well as dozens of new eateries and events.

“Creating a sense of place is challenging in infill locations,” Belfiore said. “This site, though, is large enough to create a unique sense of place, an environment of its own, which makes it one of the most desirable downtown residential sites to come to market in a long time.”

One of the proposed design elements includes Taylor Street Paseo, a pedestrian connector running east west on the property, ultimately to connect Seventh to Central avenues.

The concept plan for the project, written by architecture firm Ayers Saint Gross, says the element “is an effort to break down the existing large scale blocks and to emphasize a smaller, more urban character to the area.

The Thomas J Pappas Elementary School once occupied the property. The alternative school opened in 1992, providing education to homeless children in the area, and served more than 630 students at the height of enrollment. It closed in 2008, and was demolished in 2011.

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