Downtown high-rise one step closer to reality

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- If all goes as planned, construction on a new high-rise development in Downtown Phoenix will begin late next year.

The 'Central Station' project recently cleared another hurdle, a vote by city councilors to approve a developer.

"It's going to be built by a Chicago-based developer that's successfully built several high-rises in Chicago," said Eric Johnson with the city's economic development office.

The 34-story mixed-use building will be located at Central and Van Buren, where the current Central Station is. We're told that will be incorporated into the new building.

"Ground floor structure that houses our transit center and other commercial and retail space," Johnson said.

The project is expected to cost $82 million.

It will also have 475 residential units ranging in price from $800 to $1,600 a month. The hope is  to attract both professionals and students.

"Hopefully those residents will be using transit, shopping, working and doing all those other things that make Downtown a great place to be," said Johnson.

Downtown business owners say affordable apartments are lacking in the area.

"I think it's missing that kind of affordable housing project; we need that," Eddie Zavurov said.

He owns the Downtown Barber Shop located in the San Carlos Hotel just south of Van Buren on Central.

He's been there for 11 years and says the area has come a long way.

"It's getting better with the light rail and ASU college; it's getting much better," he said.

However, he said there is still not a lot to do in the area after dark. So he thinks the addition of the apartments will help Downtown become more than just a daytime destination.

"Maybe hopefully come a grocery store you know. It's little by little," Zavurov said.
   
The city says there are still a few more steps until the development is a done deal including getting approval from the Federal Transit Administration.

"Hope to begin development in the fall of next year and then hopefully commence construction in 2015 with a completion in 2016, 2017," Johnson said.