A Model for Modern Urban Cities and the 21st-Century University

How does a major research university make the best use of its last 355 acres adjacent to its main campus in Tempe?

by Charley Freericks

If you’re Arizona State University, you create a development that is a model for modern urban cities.

Novus Innovation Corridor is designed to be distinctly different, with a unique innovation ecosystem that aligns education with employment. As part of this vision, Novus will offer access to knowledge, people and ideas; empower businesses of all sizes to grow and scale at an impeccable speed; and attract new companies looking to locate in an intellectual environment. 

The results: diverse jobs; a mix of office, retail, residential, hospitality and entertainment venues; and new private investment.

The model will also generate much-needed revenues for world-class athletics facilities. Funds generated from the district will cover the cost of renovations of existing sports facilities and finance new ones. 

It’s a big undertaking. But after more than a decade of planning, ASU, in partnership with master development partner Catellus Development Corporation and City of Tempe, is bringing this vision to life.

Novus Innovation Corridor is completing Phase III of a 20-year build-out that will feature 4.5 million square feet of prime Class A office space; 4,100 residences; 1,000-plus hotel rooms; and 275,000 square feet of retail stores, restaurants and entertainment options in a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. There will be outdoor gathering places for residents and visitors, and numerous activities and events. 

The six-story 777 Tower, with 160,907 square feet of office space and 7,760 square feet of retail space, is a U.S. hub of Infosys, which provides business consulting, information technology and outsourcing services.

The new ASU research building — the Rob & Melani Walton Center for Planetary Health — underscores the university’s commitment to science. 

Tempe also has new housing options, thanks to the opening of The Piedmont, a six-story, 318-unit luxury apartment community. Transwestern Development Corporation is working on two additional residential communities.

A new dual-branded Hyatt Place/Hyatt House hotel located at Novus has 259 rooms, a rooftop pool and bar, and uninterrupted views of the Tempe skyline.

One of the newest additions, Mullett Arena, plays host to ASU’s men’s and women’s hockey and the Arizona Coyotes, collegiate men’s wrestling and women’s gymnastics, plus a host of public concerts, youth competitions and other events.

Beyond the tangible signs of progress, Novus is realizing its goal of becoming a sustainable development. The U.S. Green Building Council ranked Novus among the top 10 U.S. best-scoring LEED-ND projects — designed to combat urban sprawl and create sustainable and connected communities — of all time. Novus’s 777 Tower also achieved LEED Gold-level USBC certification, and the Rob & Melani Center for Planetary Health is LEED Platinum-certified. And ASU and Catellus are setting the standard for green living by making Novus the epicenter for transportation solutions, resource and utility usage, and responsible waste management. 

Then there is the economic impact. ASU’s Seidman Research Institute projects Novus will generate $1.86 billion in annual economic impact and add 34,000 jobs by 2035 through office, hotel, multifamily and retail operations. The economy will also benefit from Novus’s more than 20,000 temporary construction jobs. 

True to its vision, this trailblazing development will also drive employment in cutting-edge industries and bring lifelong learning, commercial, real estate, living, entertainment and research together in one location to develop the 21st-century university.

Charley Freericks is senior vice president of Catellus Development Corp.

[See more images of Novus Innovation Corridor in the CRE Top Projects section here]

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