Chandler Council set to vote on fate of ‘Elevation’ - East Valley Tribune: Chandler

Chandler Council set to vote on fate of ‘Elevation’

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Posted: Friday, August 29, 2014 12:14 pm | Updated: 11:28 pm, Fri Sep 5, 2014.

The long-awaited demise of the Elevation Chandler building is now entering its final stages.

Final development agreements about the project are on the agenda for the Sept. 8 Chandler City Council. The six-story tension steel skeleton will be down near the end of the year if all is approved.

“It has been a mess of a property … we want to get the development agreement done to move forward and close on the land,” said Chandler Vice Mayor Rick Heumann.

Elevation Chandler, which will remain the name of the property, has been abandoned since 2006 when original developer Jeff Cline had financial issues and construction was halted.

The city is taking precaution after the failure of the first project eight years ago. Chandler City Councilmember Nora Ellen said the city is inserting impact fees into the agreement with Hines — the developer looking to purchase the land — that will include a non-refundable demolition fee. The worst-case scenario for the city is the current eyesore will be gone.

An in-with-the-new process will begin for Elevation Chandler, pending the aforementioned approvals. First priority for the new Chandler Veridian project is a multi-family housing development on the south side of the plot. The housing development may even break ground before or during the taking down process of the current structure as they are on opposite ends of the property.

Class A office buildings and a hotel are also in the plans. The hotel, whose brand has not yet been announced or agreed upon, will be on the northwest corner of Frye Road and Galleria Way. The nearly 240,000 square feet of space cleared for office buildings will be built right around where the existing structure sits.

Retail shopping is not an immediate concern for the plot. Chandler City Councilmember Kevin Hartke believes the area calls for more housing and office buildings than shops as it is located across the street from Chandler Fashion Center.

“One of the things we don’t want there is a whole lot of retail. We don’t want to over-retail or under-house the area,” he said.

While there may not be a necessity or an overwhelming demand for shopping in the area, there will still be a handful of stores located within the shopping center. This could, however, provide a challenge when filling out the property. Heumann said finding tenants for the retail portion will be a difficult process when the time comes, as the vicinity to the mall and the surrounding of office buildings does not make it a desirable spot for consumers.

The entire project could take up to two years until it is fully completed, but the good news for residents and frequenters of the area is that construction should not drastically impede or obstruct traffic on the road. The majority of the work will be done far enough inside the property where there will be no need to block off any roads, said City of Chandler Planning Administrator Jeff Kurtz.

“There won’t be exceedingly exhaustive construction making its way onto the roads” he said.

While the final phases and documents are yet to be completed and filled out, anticipation and excitement for the removal of one of the biggest structural blemishes in the city of Chandler remains high.

“It’s a shame the building can’t come down in a day. We were ready to have a wrecking ball party, but we probably will celebrate at the beginning and the end of it,” Ellen said.

• Tony Gennario is a student at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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