A major new residential project broke ground in downtown Phoenix. Located on a 3-acre site south of Roosevelt Street, between Third and Fourth streets, the $52-million project adds fuel to a current building boom of campus-related housing in the Southwest region.

Developed by Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Concord Eastridge and Memphis, Tenn.-based EdR, the unnamed apartment complex will contain 326 units within two buildings, one seven and the other eight stories high. The ground floors will include a total of 7,500-sq-ft of retail space, to be subdivided among several tenants depending on demand.

Crews with Phoenix-based general contractor Hardison/Downey Construction began working on site infrastructure and utilities prior to the March 6 official groundbreaking. In addition to the 302,000-sq-ft structures, the project includes a five-level parking garage with approximately 400 spaces. The Tempe, Ariz. office of Ayers Saint Gross designed the project to appeal to older students and young professionals affiliated with Arizona State University’s downtown campus, University of Arizona’s College of Medicine and the Phoenix Biomedical Campus.

The project is anticipated to be complete by July 2013, with units available for leasing by the 2013 fall semester. Rent levels have not been determined.

The land, a long-empty plot located within the arts district known as ‘Roosevelt Row,’ was purchased for $3.1 million by developer/owner Concord Eastridge and majority owner and property manager EdR.

“Downtown Phoenix is experiencing a surge of new building activity, and this housing development is a fantastic addition to the city, the neighborhood and the area’s economic growth,” says Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, who spoke at the groundbreaking.

Units will range in size from studio apartments up to four bedrooms, with each bedroom featuring a private bathroom. Residents will enjoy amenities such as common areas, fitness facilities and swimming pools.

In addition to the Concord Eastridge project, Hardison/Downey is working with another developer, Austin, Texas-based American Campus Communities, on six other student housing projects in Arizona and New Mexico. The Suites and Hilltop Townhomes, two complexes totaling $42 million, will be completed in Flagstaff in time for Northern Arizona University students to occupy for the fall 2012 semester. Other projects include the $39.4-million UNM Casas del Rio for the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and three complexes for Arizona State University: the four-story Villas at Vista del Sol, a renovation of the 15-story Manzanita Hall and the three-story, 100-unit ASU West Casa de Oro.

“The multi-family and student housing market continues to be hot,” says Bob Hardison, president of Hardison/Downey, who expects to announce several additional groundbreakings in the Phoenix area later this year. “There are also a significant number of housing projects out there that we are hoping to land and be able to start construction in late 2012 or 2013.”