If you were talking about the new Marina Heights development in Tempe and said that “it’s kind of a big deal”, that might be an understatement. Actually, it is a really big freakin’ deal. It’s not so big just because we are talking about 2 million square feet of space with a $600 million price tag, it’s big also because of the changes that have already started and those that will come.
Currently, the Hayden Ferry buildings seem to be shining examples of what a successful lakeside development can be. Heck, take a look at many of the publicity pieces for Tempe and guess what buildings you see. Yep, Hayden Ferry and the lake / Mill Ave Bridge. Sure, the lake has its critics and the development has been less than what was expected, but this new Marina Heights Project will be something that turns some heads, for sure.
When I saw a recent video showing what the construction will look like, I was interested to see that Hayden Ferry could soon look a lot less massive than what it does now.
In a recent AZCentral article about Marina Heights, the developer says they are looking to create a “work of art” along the lake with a sky and water theme to fit in with the lakeside atmosphere. Like any large project, you have people that like it and people that do not. Some things seem pretty clear. The landscape is changing and a bunch of people are heading to Rio Salado Parkway.
It seems like they are moving full speed ahead. Construction is underway with a 2015 target. Fences are up, dirt is being moved, and there is no more tailgating on the north parking lots before the ASU football games.
I shot this pic last week from Hayden Ferry. You can see Sun Devil stadium on the right, and you can see where they have started moving dirt for Marina Heights. The view from this spot will look much different in a few years.
Still Waiting on Transit News:
For now, we are still waiting to hear what route they will choose for the proposed Tempe Streetcar. I imagine a few people are turning up the heat a bit to get the Rio Salado route chosen, as they learn more about how this project can impact economic development and job creation in this 85281 zip code and surrounding areas.
State Farm has made a major commitment to the area and they have already started relocating employees here to work at Marina Heights. This is certainly a project we’ll be watching closely, as a bunch of new people will soon be “Rockin’ the Rail Life.”