In mythology, a phoenix is an immortal bird that flies far ahead to the front, always scanning the landscape, always with a vision of the future.
The developers of Discovery Business Campus, at the northwest corner of Elliot Road and Loop 101 in south Tempe, hope for those qualities and more as they give new birth to a onetime Motorola property, now the site of Freescale, one of the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturers.
With new tenant lease ups, which are anticipated to begin after the first of the year, Wentworth Property Company has invested about $10 million to renovate and expand the amenities on the 136-acre Freescale site by adding new parking, access roads and landscaping—including, so far, about 900 trees.
“We’ve greened up the look and improved the overall appearance of the property,” said Matt Brucker, director of asset management for Wentworth, a commercial real estate developer with a 40-year track record in the Phoenix market.
“We’ve also added a pond feature along with patio tables and chairs.”
The mixed-use office park is the largest infill development site in the area and features roadway access from all four corners. The surface streets offer a full diamond interchange adjacent to the property, providing direct access to downtown Tempe, Chandler and Scottsdale. It is situated in the heart of the Valley’s technology and science center.
“When the project is completed, traffic will funnel through six different entrances and exits, so that drivers can easily access each section of the campus,” said Brucker.
Currently, the primary access to the property is at Warner Road and Los Feliz Drive, with a lighted intersection shared with ASU Research Park.
“At the southwest corner of Elliott Road, we plan to add about 9, 000 feet of retail shop space and hope to attract small businesses such as a coffee shop, pizza parlor, cell phone store, etc.,” said Brucker.
On the northeast corner of the campus, the developer wants to attract a hotel to the mix.
“We want to offer a complex that provides a complete office park for the tenants,” added Brucker.
The developer went through an extensive public outreach process with Tempe before starting construction, and continues to maintain close ties with the city’s Economic Development Office.
“We are very excited about this development and work closely with the developer, James Wentworth, who has been a great partner with the city of Tempe and has invested millions of dollars to redevelop the former Freescale campus,” said Shannon R. Shelby of Tempe’s Economic Development Office.
Wentworth Property and a partner, Northwood, purchased the land for the Discovery Business campus for $53.7 million in cash, with no special tax incentives or fiscal impact on Tempe city funds.
Wentworth is coordinating the leasing efforts with the Cushman & Wakefield office in Phoenix.