Old Tempe grocery, industrial sites find new potential - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Old Tempe grocery, industrial sites find new potential

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Posted: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 4:25 pm

Two high-profile Tempe properties that never met their potential now have new owners who plan to revive them.

The former Gentle Strength Cooperative property — which was supposed to become a condo tower with a Whole Foods Market — is being considered again for a grocery store.

And a developer has plans to add office buildings and two hotels to a former Motorola plant along the Loop 101.

The Gentle Strength land was bought by Canadian developer Brookfield Properties, which owns two office buildings at Centerpoint on Mill. It plans to expand parking for those offices across the street at the northwest corner of University Drive and Ash Avenue. Brookfield has told Tempe it plans a single-story building with a grocery store, said Lisa Collins, deputy development services director.

Tempe would have liked a project more like the 18-story Mosaic condos that was planned before the recession, Collins said.

“Mixed use would be great but to have a grocery store component would be nice,” Collins said.

Brookfield has showed Tempe “very preliminary” plans for something about the size of a Whole Foods, she said. The city hopes construction will begin within a year.

The former Motorola site will likely take years to complete. Phoenix-based Wentworth Property Company plans to add more than 1.5 million square feet of buildings to the property at the northeast corner of the Loop 101 and Elliot Road. Plans include four office buildings of up to eight stories, two hotels with 400 rooms and other buildings to the 135-acre site.

Motorola had only built a portion of what it originally envisioned there in the 1970s, Collins said. Freescale Semiconductor took over the property and will remain as new buildings fill in the rest of the site.

A neighborhood adjacent to the site has objected to some of the plans.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6548 or ggroff@evtrib.com

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