This week marked a major milestone for one of Phoenix’s most awaited developments as construction “topped off” on Block 23 — the future home of downtown’s only full-service grocery store.
The development will include a 230,000-square-foot office building, 330 apartments, retail, restaurants and a Fry’s Food Store. The project is slated to open in October.
Phoenix has committed $18.3 million in development incentives as well as a long-term property tax break on the land.
“The grocery store is the one thing that has everyone universally excited,” said Mike Ebert, partner of RED Development, the company behind the project.
RED Development is also responsible for CityScape, the $500 million mixed-use, high-rise project just west of Block 23. It is home to more than a dozen restaurants and shops, along with Kimpton Hotel Palomar and CityScape Residences.
Fry’s promises innovation and quality
Fry’s President Monica Garnes said the grocery store will be unlike anything her team has done.
“We’re really excited because this is our first store in a downtown environment here at Fry’s and it’s really going to have an urban feel,” she said.
The store will have all of the amenities of a typical Fry’s, including its online ordering and pick-up system, made-to-order sushi and a deli, Garnes said.
Garnes said Fry’s has been working on bringing the store downtown for about five years. She said she believes the store will be the final component that will allow people to live downtown while still maintaining all of the amenities of the suburbs.
“The growth of the city has just been spectacular and we’re thrilled to be a part of really anchoring everything together,” Garnes said.
Office space designed for tech companies
The office space in Block 23 will be different from most offices downtown, Ebert said.
“What we found is downtown is pretty healthy from an office standpoint but what it lacked (was) office space for a new generation of users,” Ebert said.
Each of the nine floors of the office building will be larger and taller than a traditional office — amenities that are alluring to technology companies, he said.
Ebert said he thinks downtown is losing some technology companies to Tempe because of their more appealing office designs. He hopes Block 23 will funnel the companies into the center city.
So far, financial giant Ernst & Young has committed to 20,000 square feet of office space. Ebert said he expects to fill the rest of the space by the end of the year.
He said RED Development is also working to secure restaurants. So far, Blanco Tacos & Tequila has committed.
Apartments will start at $1,500
Apartment leasing will begin in July, according to Greg Nadeau, director of development of StreetLights Residential, the developer of the residential portion of the project.
The apartment complex, dubbed The Ryan, will have 330 units ranging in size from studios to two-bedrooms. The monthly rent will start at $1,500, Nadeau said.
He said the biggest amenity that will set The Ryan apart from other apartments in downtown Phoenix is its access to the new Fry’s.
“We saw that grocery store as really being a game-changer for downtown and truly creating that live, work and play environment,” Nadeau said.
Source: Arizona Republic