CityScape � the largest private investment in downtown Phoenix history � is nearing completion of the $400-million phase one.

Upon build-out, the $980-million, 2.5-million-sq-ft, mixed-use project will unite three city blocks, First Avenue to Second Street and Jefferson to Washington streets. The lead team includes the Phoenix offices of RED Development and the Barron Collier Co.; the architect, Seattle-based Callison; and the Phoenix offices of Hunt Construction and the Weitz Co.

As part of phase one, Weitz is completing the 115,325-sq-ft retail component west of Central Avenue on the former Patriot�s Park plaza and above the five-level city parking structure. Weitz began above-grade construction in September.

The firm�s approximately $27-million contract includes two two-story retail buildings � a 21,255-sq-ft north and a 91,070-sq-ft south building � centering on a water-featured plaza. Facade components are storefront/curtain wall, EIFS, CMU veneer and metal panel.

A new ramp for the parking structure was also completed as part of the contract, scheduled for completion this month.

Hunt Construction has substantially completed its construction manager-at-risk component of phase one on the block east of Central Avenue to First Street. The approximately $145-million contract includes a 1,300-space, five-story underground parking structure; 600,000-sq-ft, 28-story Class A office tower; 44,000 sq ft of retail; and a central plaza.

The phase one tower is almost entirely leased for retail and commercial space, says Jeff Moloznik, project manager for RED Development. �Tenants have begun moving in and will continue to do so over the course of the summer,� he says.

A grand opening is scheduled for October.

Hunt began construction on the project in December 2007 and delivered it to RED Development in February, as scheduled.

When building the underground parking structure on the eastern block, RED and Hunt designed the parking structure to support the phase two south tower, says Deputy City Manager David Krietor. As a result, Hunt has constructed a majority of the loading and service areas for that building and is constructing the podium on which it will be built.

With start as yet undetermined, the second tower is envisioned as a 250-room luxury boutique hotel on the first 10-12 stories, with about 50,000 sq ft of lower-level retail. The second phase will be either office space or residential units depending on market conditions, Krietor adds.

Phase three � two additional towers have received entitlements � will be coordinated by the Barron Collier Co. for the easternmost third block of CityScape between First and Second streets. These improvements, however, are not expected in the near future, Krietor says.

The Weitz retail component has been in two phases: first, the demolition of the existing Patriot�s Park and subsequent improvements, and then the construction of the two-story commercial buildings and area reconstruction.

�One of the more difficult challenges for Weitz was to keep the parking structure in operation as much as possible during the entire process� because it�s in an area where many civic, sporting and entertainment events take place, Krietor says. Both contractors coordinated with the city to minimize inconveniences on the adjacent roadways and walkways for downtown workers, residents and visitors.

Preplanning was critical, adds David Cress, project manager for Weitz. �Different streets and/or walkways were shut down in order to build portions of the new buildings around existing stairs, elevators and entrance/exit ramps,� he says.