Developer Buys Land at Central & McDowell, Plans 24-Story Tower Near Phoenix Art Museum

Article originally posted on AZ Central on April 26, 2024

A Scottsdale-based developer bought 3.3 acres of vacant land on the southwest corner of Central Avenue and McDowell Road and is moving forward with a plan to develop a 24-story apartment tower with ground-floor retail and restaurant space.

Aspirant Development, a development arm of Empire Group, the developer of several high-rise apartment towers in downtown Phoenix, bought the land from Donnelley Financial Solutions for $13 million, according to real estate database Vizzda. The sale closed in late March. Donnelley had long had an office building on the site, but the building was razed before the sale.

An artist's rendering shows a planned high-rise apartment building at McDowell Road and Central Avenue. A Scottsdale-based developer bought the site and plans to break ground next year.

“We are a huge believer in that area,” Randy Grudzinski, a partner at Empire, said. “We love being on Central, that’s right on the light rail line.”

Aspirant developed the Stewart at Central and McKinley Street, which is less than a mile south of the new site.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find a better site,” Grudzinski said of the Central and McDowell location, which is within walking distance to the Phoenix Art Museum, Margaret T. Hance Park and many nearby restaurants.

Retail and restaurants planned on ground level

Aspirant plans to develop an “L-shaped” building, with the tower on the hard corner of the site, and lower-rise commercial space along McDowell. Grudzinski said the company would like to see a large anchor retail tenant, like a specialty grocer, lease some of the commercial space, but said so far there has not been any commercial leasing activity for the project.

The smaller spaces are likely going to be mid- to higher-end dining, he said.