Tempe, Ariz.

Key Players

Owner/Developer Follett Higher Education Group

Lead Design Firm Gensler

General Contractor Okland Construction

Structural Engineer PK Associates

MEP Engineer Henderson Engineering

Subcontractors ISEC Inc., MKB Construction Inc., Wholesale Floors, TD Industries, Kearney Electrical

Located within College Avenue Commons, the Sun Devil Marketplace is a new take on a shopping area within a secondary education facility. The 35,000-sq-ft space integrates retail options not typically located in a single facility: merchandise space, a market, a bar and community areas.

On the first floor, students can purchase meals, snacks and small grocery items at a “grab-and-go” market. The second floor features an adaptable community room that floats above the marketplace as well as a coffee and wine bar with terrace seating overlooking the plaza.

Refined architectural elements designed by Gensler include geo-pods, exposed concrete, exposed steel handrails and wood paneling. To bring the elements to life, contractor Okland worked with the architecture team in the project’s early stages to determine how to bring design to fruition. For example, the spatial volume accommodates a series of pavilions encased in reclaimed wood that serve as small specialty shops within the store for major retailers such as Apple and Tillman. Building a retail area out of reclaimed wood without mock-ups was labor intensive and required precise attention to detail that could not be described in plans.

As part of identifying a new kind of university store to students, the marketplace was strategically positioned on the ground level but projects a two-story volume to the urban street edge. Solar protection features in the host College Avenue Commons building provide a glazed facade to capture the urban view while limiting the Sonoran sun.