The Tempe City Council approved the new 250 Rio development at its most recent meeting on June 23.
It was the second and final public hearing for the project, which was seeking a zoning map amendment and a General Plan Land Use Map Amendment in order to move forward. The site, which will soon house the 14-story office building with ground floor commercial space, is located at 250 West Rio Salado Parkway. The project will also include the preservation of historic Ash Avenue roadbed.
Developer Hines is also responsible for nearby 100 Mill, another new office building in the downtown area.
Five votes were required and the resolution passed 5-0, with Vice Mayor Randy Keating and Councilmember Jennifer Adams both absent from the meeting.
“We are very pleased that the City of Tempe recognized the vision for this property and how it can truly enhance the downtown area,” said Brandon Dillingham, Managing Director with Hines, in a prepared statement after the vote. “We are looking forward to celebrating and activating the Ash Avenue roadbed and integrating it into 250 Rio in a way that will make it a historic community asset.”
250 Rio will include pedestrian zones to increase walkability from downtown Tempe to Tempe Beach Park.
Mayor Woods and Councilmember Robin Arredondo-Savage both lauded the developers for working closely with the city’s historic preservation committee to make the Ash Avenue portion of the project work. Arredondo-Savage particularly was pleased with the roadbed’s preservation, which will help lead to the creation of a Veterans’ Memorial adjacent to the site – a longtime passion project of hers. Woods also praised the "iconic' design of the building.
Only one community member spoke against the project during the meeting due to its focus on office space amid a housing crisis in Tempe, though he admitted that the developers’ plans to donate money to the city’s affordable housing fund and local public schools are positive.
But Dillingham said office space is of interest as the city comes out of the pandemic and companies flock to Tempe.
“This is an incredible and unique opportunity for not only a successful mixed-use development, but the creation of a new public amenity that honors Tempe’s history while improving the visitor experience at Tempe Town Lake,” Dillingham said. “We look forward to continuing to expand our presence in Tempe and to create a project that will make the community proud.”
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