Stalled Tempe towers now booming as West 6th condos

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TEMPE, Ariz. – A financially embattled condo tower, which nearly collapsed under the weight of the recession, could finally open this summer and this development's success could be good news for the entire City of Tempe.

The sound of construction is music to the ears of Mill Avenue business owners and the sight of hundreds of construction workers back on this cite is really exciting for residents to see.

Many are looking at it as a sign that the worst is behind us, because what was once the embattled Centerpoint Towers is now the booming West 6th.

The stalled Centerpoint Towers had cast a shadow over downtown Tempe since 2008. Tom Glenn who works nearby says, “It became a bit of an eyesore and was a reminder of the depression we were really in.”

Now those same towers, with new ownership and a new name, shine a light on Tempe and its economic revival.

Mike Aiton, general manager of Robbie Fox’s Public House says “We've been at the base of this tower for a while watching it sit vacant. We're happy to have a group come in take over and get it going again.”

Cleveland-based Zaremba Group set its sights on this property they now call West 6th, some two and half years ago.

Kent Chantung, director of residential development, says he went looking for “a high-profile project that had stalled or lost its financing, had a compelling story to tell, could be bought at a huge discount and was adjacent to a renewable residence base.”

The embattled project sat empty across from Arizona State University in the heart of the Mill Avenue district for years in the wake of Mortgages Limited going bankrupt in 2008. Chantung spent the better part of two years getting this deal done and finally closing in February.

Aiton says, “When they closed in the beginning of the year, everyone on 6th Street and in downtown Tempe had smiles from ear to ear.”

Chantung says he can understand that excitement. “It has traveled and had a sordid history but with the name change and our involvement with seeing potential residents come through this building signals a new day.”

Tower One was already 90 percent complete and tower two 65 percent complete when the project stalled.

The luxury condos, initially intended to be sold, instead will be leased and Zaremba plans to have Tower One of West 6th open by August 1.

No matter who the tenants are at West 6th, they are sure to eat and shop in the Mill District and Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman is happy about that. “This will bring more people into Mill Avenue and continue to build on the energy we have.”        

As far as this transition from the Centerpoint Towers to West 6th being a sign that the recession is over the mayor says, “Many people look to the end of the recession and point at this as the end of the recession, I don't need to predict that. As mayor and council we need to support and let the private sector get a good toehold.”

Whether it’s the end of the recession or just a really good sign for the future Tempe residents will take it and the Zaremba Group is happy to deliver it. Chantung says, “It’s signaled to the community that something has restarted, the transaction is completed and a new day is coming.”

Already all the three-bedroom units at West 6th are leased but other options, ranging from studios to the penthouse, remain available starting as low as $900 a month.