University and City Join Forces
Steps for implementing ASU's new plan includes amending the City's general plan, which currently does not allow commercial development on university property. Tempe is also creating a new zoning category to accommodate the plan. "The university's land would be designated as a special district" which will be under the oversight of a newly created board. "Except for a few areas near homes, development in the district would be subject to very few restrictions. There would be no height restrictions on buildings, no landscaping requirements, and no criteria for spacing between buildings -- elements usually strictly governed under modern urban planning practices." An ASU official noted that the university is not subject to those development restrictions in the present.
Some critics have expressed concerns over the fact that ASU, as an educational institution, is straying from its mission by pursuing land development projects. However, schools officials say that the money from rents would go to paying for new academic facilities. In addition, the City would benefit from the sales and property taxes from commercial uses on university land, which is currently is not taxed.
The article cites precedents at other universities, including Ohio State University, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgia Tech and the MIT, as well as the Brickyard on Mill, a building that ASU has developed in downtown Tempe.
Thanks to Connie Chung