New developments signal economic improvement

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX and TEMPE, Ariz. -- Developers say the Hayden Ferry complex on Tempe Town Lake is a prime example of the improving economy.

Last summer, its owners reported only 51 percent occupancy. In just seven months, they say their office space is now 94 percent full of tenants.

"The economy is starting to improve little by little," developer John Strittmatter said.

He and Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman on Tuesday announced plans to build a new 10-story tower adjacent to the Hayden Ferry buildings.

They say it's the first new tower construction announcement since 2007.

"We believe we're through the worst, the economy is on the upswing, and [the rest of our office space here] is full," said Strittmatter.

In Phoenix, construction is underway on a new mixed-use complex at Roosevelt and Third streets.  Eventually it will include more than 300 apartments, plus retail space.  The site had been a vacant lot for years.

The former home of the old Qwest building at Third Street and Earll Drive is also under construction.  A new multi-story medical building is rising on the property.

Large vacant stores are also getting new tenants. 

The old Target store, which has been empty for years at Seventh Avenue and Camelback Road will soon turn into an LA Fitness. 

Plus, what was once a Linens & Things store at the Town & Country Shopping Center at Camelback Road and 20th Street will turn into a Whole Foods store.