Approximately 100 residents attended an informational meeting at the former Thunderbird School of Global Management land showcasing proposed changes to the site general plan.
Withey Morris, who was representing Arizona State University, which owns the land, presented the changes, which showcased ASU’s plan for future development of the 158-acre property at 15240 N. 59th Ave.
Sahuaro District Councilmember Ray Malnar, city officials and representatives of ASU held the meeting to showcase the proposed new development of the land if the new redevelopment plan is approved by council.
City staff and representatives of ASU said they believe the current plan, which would allow the incorporation of commercial, higher intensity uses on the vacant land adjacent to the existing single family subdivision, would not be appropriate for the site. The proposed changes would be a less intense designation for a larger buffer area to the homes that currently exist in the area.
The proposed amendment to the general plan, which will be brought to a future City Council meeting for final approval, would add lower intensity residential designation for most of the property to the east and the south where the current homes exist.
The new changes would ensure that the residential uses would be built within the area designated residential rather than the current commercial, to ensure a green buffer area around the construction.
“We hope (residents) agree that this decrease in intensity from the current general plan, and this change to ensure that residential uses, rather than commercial, will be built adjacent to the existing single-family subdivision to the east and south,” Withey Morris representative Kirstie Kowalsky said in a press release.
While the proposed changes would allow more single-family homes, the current general plan would still allow educational as well as corporate commercial land uses. Both would remain near the middle of the property, to keep the buffer of residential around the outer areas of the land.
ASU announced March 28 it has signed a lease at the Arizona Center in Downtown Phoenix and would move the Thunderbird School of Global Management with all classes scheduled to begin at the new location in the fall. ASU acquired Thunderbird School in 2017 and announced it would close the Glendale location.
The school signed a five-year lease for 60,024 square feet of space at the Center, with the lease beginning in July. ASU will pay a base rent of about $1.8 million per year for the space that will temporarily hold the school until a permanent home can be built at ASU.