MESA, Ariz. (AP) — The City Council in Mesa is poised to consider approving a resolution authorizing the city manager to sign an intergovernmental agreement aimed at having Arizona State University put new higher-education facilities in the suburban city’s downtown.
The proposal would put hundreds of students and dozens of staff members in a new building — a much smaller project than one rejected by Mesa voters in 2016.
The first phase of the project could include a five-story building on city-owned land that is currently a parking lot next door to Mesa’s City Council chambers, according to the proposal.
City councilmembers will consider entering into the agreement with the Arizona Board of Regents on Monday, according to city documents.
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The university development is the backbone of Mesa Mayor John Giles’ plan to transform downtown, The Arizona Republic reported .
“Absent an anchor like ASU, we will continue to tread water in downtown and won’t make any meaningful progress,” Giles told The Arizona Republic.
This isn’t the first time Mesa has considered bringing Arizona State University downtown. Voters turned down a sales tax hike in 2016 that would have created a satellite campus.
At the time, the Arizona State University development was projected to cost $102 million.
The cost of the new project is unclear.
At Mesa’s Feb. 15 City Council study session, Jeff McVay, downtown transformation manager, said this proposal is about half the size of the development laid out in the 2016 proposal.
In the new proposed plan, the initial building would host a minimum of 750 students and 40 staff members, including faculty, within the first five years.
Under a 99-year lease, Arizona State University would rent the space for $100,000 a year and reimburse Mesa for the salary of a city facilities manager.
“They want to duplicate the success that they saw in downtown Phoenix in downtown Mesa,” Giles said.
Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com