Medistar Plans Major Downtown Phoenix Project

Article originally posted on Globe St. on April 9, 2019

Houston-based developer Medistar Corp. has announced plans to build a $231 million transit-oriented mixed-use project in Downtown Phoenix. The proposed project is on a ground lease with the city, and will include a 150-key InterContinental Hotel and restaurant, a 30-story 300-unit apartment complex, an 18-story student-housing tower with 600 beds, and ground-floor retail and office spaces. It goes up for City Council review next week, but there is already a lot of buzz about the development and the impact it could have on the Downtown Phoenix market.

“The timing was right because of high interest in Downtown Phoenix development, and the city once again offered this prime property for competitive development proposals. This site was offered several years ago, but the selected developer faced an internal challenge and withdrew from the project,” Christine Mackay, director of Phoenix community and economic development at the City of Phoenix, tells GlobeSt.com. “With time and economic surges in Phoenix, we were ready for a new proposal that benefits from this Main and Main location with the central multi-modal transit center at its heart. This is the right time for this project in Phoenix. We based our recommendation on the quality of the national proposals that we received and the great national partners that Medistar assembled for the project, including Greystar, POAG and Intercontinental. Medistar Corporation would have to speak to its impetus, but for the city of Phoenix, with all the development occurring, the time is right.”

Downtown Phoenix is rapidly growing and has one of the most active development pipelines in the Greater Phoenix market. However, this project is a little different. “The Central Station project brings a new combination of land uses into Downtown Phoenix,” says Mackay, director, Phoenix Community and Economic Development. “While Downtown has successful multiple use developments, Medistar Corp. proposes a unique mix of retail, office, rental residential units, student housing and hotel. Integrating this entire development over structured parking and public transit facilities creates a significant transit-oriented development for Downtown, and could be a model for future projects.”

This is the perfect location for an project that houses each asset class, because of the central location and access to transit. “Central Station fills needs in each of these market sectors. Its balanced design adds additional square footage into Downtown’s supply, while not overdeveloping one use over another. We believe this allows for a faster absorption into the market sectors,” Mackay says. “Long term, this project will likely generate new demand for services and uses on adjacent blocks. Its location is in the center of the nearby education, research, convention and office uses in the area.”

The location isn’t the only draw for Medistar. There is also tremendous demand in Downtown Phoenix, and despite the development activity, the new supply is being absorbed. “Our data shows that as new apartments open, demand is rapidly filling the developments. Our City Council wants to maintain a diverse supply of housing for all economic sectors within an easy commute of Downtown employment, and development of this scale helps accomplish that goal,” says Mackay, director, Phoenix Community and Economic Development. “The City and developer believe that the additional supply is needed, and with this unique combination of uses and location will be absorbed quickly.”

Medistar is likely to get approval next week. According to Mackay, there is support from City Council Aviation and Transportation subcommittee and the Citizen Transportation Commission. “The full Council will review the Medistar Corp. proposal at its April 17 meeting,” she says. “City Council will make the decision that they think is in the long-term best interest of the community.”

Christine Mackay

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