Neighbors mobilize vs. 4-story office

By Doug Snover

The new Edward Jones office building in the ASU Research Park has residents of the nearby Estate La Colina neighborhood buzzing nervously as its bare steel bones rise above their backyard walls.

Members of the volunteer Estate La Colina neighborhood association reportedly planned to meet Saturday, April 16, to discuss their unexpected, towering neighbor to the east.

The new building is part two of a three-phase project being built by the Edward Jones financial group in ASU Research Park at Warner Road and Loop 101.

Edward Jones, founded in 1871, is one of the world’s largest financial services firms, with nearly six million individual investors and 8,800 offices located throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

The company moved its regional offices into a 130,000-square-foot building in the southwest corner of the ASU Research Park in late 2001 and announced plans at the time to build two more buildings on the site.

A spokesman for Edward Jones said the new structure will be a 100,000-square-foot office building similar in construction and appearance to the existing building on the site.

“Approximately 550 associates will work in the new building,  representing a significant increase in Edward Jones' commitment to its Tempe campus,” John G. Boul, manager of global media relations for Edward Jones, said in an email.

A third phase of the Edward Jones project, if built, would incorporate an additional 100,000-square-foot, four-story building, Boul said. At some point, the company also plans to erect a three-level parking structure on the site, he added.

Gabriel Carbajal moved into his house on Kenwood Lane just west of the Research Park about two years after the first building went up on the Edward Jones site.  He said he was forewarned about the future parking garage but was surprised when the new office building began rising about 300 feet beyond his backyard wall.

“My initial reaction is that it really stinks, putting it nicely,” he said. “There was no warning whatsoever.”

“I’ve got a beautifully landscaped yard and a beautiful steel building,” Carbajal lamented.

Carbajal, who operates his Solscape landscaping business from a home office, said he’d been told only that Edward Jones planned a parking garage not far from his home.

“I wasn’t too worried about a parking garage. I thought it would be maybe two stories,” he said.

Instead, he looks out his back window at a steel structure that towers more than four stories.

“My biggest issue is that I hope they put in some trees” to shield the view, he said.  It is “too late” to do anything about the building itself, he said.

Kyrene Corridor resident Kris Cartwright also lives in Estate La Colina west of the Research Park and also is asking questions about the new building.

“Those of us in the neighborhood are asking what’s going on here,” Cartwright said.

“We want to know: How high can they go? Shouldn’t they have some guidelines?”

She added:

“We’re not getting any information. That’s what’s really frustrating.”

Cartwright said residents planned to discuss the Edward Jones building at a neighborhood association meeting Saturday, April 16, at 4 p.m. in Estrada Park.

Judy Park, a spokesperson for the Research Park, referred all questions to Edward Jones’ corporate offices in St. Louis, Mo.  The site plan shown on the ASU Research Park website--www.researchpark.asu.edu--shows three buildings on the Edward Jones site and three vacant lots in the southwest corner of the park.

Boul said in his email that the current construction “complies with all zoning and building requirements of the city of Tempe and the ASU Research Park.”

He also said that a berm was built during the first phase of construction on the Edward Jones site and lush landscaping. including large sissoo trees, was installed to screen the site from adjacent homes.

Lety Rodarte, co-president of the Estate La Colina Neighborhood Association, said city officials and representatives of Edward Jones have been invited to the 4 p.m. association meeting. The neighborhood includes about 380 households, she said.