As the recession kicked development into low gear, several very high profile Valley of the Sun projects fell into limbo. Are these headlining failures finally reaching resolution?

Last month, Phoenix-based Rowland Luxury Homes was selected to complete the long-stalled Chateaux on Central, a high-end housing development on Central Avenue, north of McDowell Road in downtown Phoenix. MSI West LLC purchased the project in March for $7 million. McGraw-Hill reported the original construction value at $20 million in 2005.

Then, a couple of days ago, Vulcan Real Estate, the Seattle-based developer headed by Paul Allen (Microsoft’s co-founder), purchased the $35-million Tempe Gateway, which had been completed last year but sat empty as a result of the Opus West bankruptcy. The eight-story project sits at a prime location on Mill Avenue, right next to the main Tempe Light Rail stop. Read our project profile of Tempe Gateway during construction here.

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Tempe Gateway (left) next to a Light Rail station. The historic Hayden Flour Mill is in foreground, right. Photo: Patti Reznik Photography

The most glaring stalled project was Centerpoint Condominiums, yet even that is showing hopeful signs of moving forward. The 22- and 30-story towers in downtown Tempe have sat empty and unfinished for nearly two years since the bankruptcy of its lender, Mortgages LTD (also the lender for Chateaux). The Arizona Republic  reported last week that the lender’s successor, ML Holdings, is taking offers on the $150-million project. The Republic reports at least 75 real estate firms expressed ‘serious’ interest, and have signed confidentiality agreements and provided financing details.

Construction on the first and second towers began in September 2005. One tower includes 176 condominiums and the other 188, with floor plans from approximately 500-sq-ft studios to 2,800-sq-ft-plus, three-bedroom, 3.5-bath homes to penthouses with over 7,200 sq ft.
You can read about the construction prior to the project’s shutdown in our January 2008 article here

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Centerpoint Condominiums, Tempe, sits unfishished. Photo: CAPS 

While the 22-story tower is almost done, substantial work is needed on the taller structure. The towers are being sold as-is.

Officials at Vulcan Real Estate told the Arizona Republic 
that the firm is looking at other properties in the Phoenix market, saying that Phoenix has good growth prospects and is poised for a rebound. No word if they are one of the 75 looking at Centerpoint, though.

The firm is also making headlines in our sister publication, Northwest Construction, which I also edit. In fact, Vulcan’s headquarters in the massive South Lake Union development is the cover story of this month’s issue, which you can read here. 

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Vulcan Real Estate is developing's South Lake Union headquarters. Phase four of the project is pictured above. Photo: Michael Walmsley Photography

Mr. Allen, if you are reading this, might I suggest the purchase of several other properties that have fallen off the radar screen in Phoenix?

HOTEL MONROE  I wrote about this $75-million project back in July 2008 here.
At the time it seemed a fantastic addition to downtown Phoenix, but it was also a victim of Mortgages LTD demise. Prospects of a re-start are very dim.

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Hotel Monroe in downtown Phoenix was to become an art deco-inspired boutique hotel. Photo: Scott Blair 

ELEVATION CHANDLER This former mixed-use/hotel project has been an unfashionable eyesore of a neighbor to the Chandler Fashion Center since it ground to a halt in 2006. The multi-story concrete shell remains because the bankrupt project is mired in lawsuits; so much time has passed that it will likely need to be torn down before the site is developed. I wrote about this project in my July 2006 Phoenix hotel roundup
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Elevation Chandler now only serves to elevate the blood pressure of Chandler officials as the city's most visible eyesore. Photo: Scott Blair

HAYDEN FLOUR MILL I toured this historic structure several years ago, soon after the City of Tempe had approved a development plan by Avenue Communities (the same developer as Centerpoint Condominiums). Located near the Salt River, it was to be developed as a mixed-use project including retail, restaurants and offices, with a groundbreaking listed as Summer 2008 and then Summer 2009.
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Hayden Flour Mill -- the Valley's original frozen project, sitting idle for nearly 50 years. Photo by CAPS

Needless to say, with the collapse of the developer’s condo project, the flour mill redevelopment never proceeded. It’s almost quaint to read our optimistic opening sentence in our January 2008 story on the project, when times were better: “The new Hayden Flour Mill will be great grist for booming downtown Tempe.”

What are your top frozen Valley projects that you wish would get snapped up and redeveloped? Use the comments field below to let us know your "favorites"!

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