Biosciences central to draft blueprint for downtown Phoenix makeover

September 30, 2004

By hammersmith

An extension of the future biomedical campus into the historic Evans-Churchill neighborhood was among the draft plans unveiled at last week’s Phoenix City Council meeting, in which city officials presented their vision for a new downtown Phoenix. Two days later, they invited feedback at a public town hall at the Herberger Theater that drew more than 300 people.

The plan shows the biomedical campus extending farther north than in previous plans. The new real estate extends north to Garfield Street and into the Evans-Churchill neighborhood, one of the city’s oldest with homes dating back to the late 1800s. The proposed campus borders are now Monroe Street (south); Garfield (north); 6th-7th streets (east); and 4th-5th Street (west).

The biomedical campus will ultimately include a combination of institutions from the academic, health, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors. Current plans include the Translational Genomics Research Institute, Arizona Biomedical Collaborative of the three state universities, and the Phoenix Biomedical Campus of the University of Arizona medical school and Arizona State University.

The plan, called “Downtown Phoenix: A Strategic Vision and Blueprint for the Future,” focused on the integration of the Arizona State University Capital Center, a new arm of ASU. The downtown campus will serve 15,000 students, 4,000 of whom will reside in some of the 10,000 housing units planned for a three-block sector nested between Central Avenue and the biomedical research campus.

The town hall marked one of several forums the city is holding to introduce the plans to the public and invite feedback. The Arizona Republic reported that most of the community members who attended the town hall were pleased with the welcome their comments received and impact their input had on the city planners’ revisions.

The blueprint delineates locations for education, entertainment, retail, and the arts. According to the Republic, the plans will be brought before the City Council for formal approval in mid-November.

“We’re not interested in taking away the old,” ASU President Michael Crow said to the council members. “We’re interested in using the old, using facilities that are already built and fantastic and can be converted and renovated.”

The ASU Capital Center is just one piece of the widening jigsaw puzzle of “knowledge-economy” downtown renovations and additions slated for the next 10 years, including the biomedical campus, the light rail system, a $600 million expansion of Phoenix Civic Plaza, and the completion of the $46 million Phoenix Bioscience Center, future home to the Translational Genomics Research Institute and the International Genomics Consortium.

For more information:

Phoenix OKs deal to buy land for ASU,” Arizona Republic, 09/23/2004

ASU campus keys multibillion-dollar makeover,” Arizona Republic, 09/22/2004

ASU expansion to bring big changes to downtown Phoenix, report says,” Business Journal, 09/20/2004

City of Phoenix Downtown Development Office