Mesa is entering advanced negotiations to bring a second college to its downtown, following the January announcement that the city is working with Benedictine University to establish a branch campus.
The city has planned a Monday event to reveal which educational institution it is entering exclusive negotiations with and other details.
The development is the result of an initiative Mesa launched in 2011 to enliven its downtown with college campuses at one of several city-owned locations or where private landowners are willing to sell or lease. Also, the city is looking to place colleges in the Fiesta District surrounding Fiesta Mall.
Mesa invited more than 1,000 colleges to submit proposals and has said a number of institutions are seriously considering expansions in the city. Mesa considers the colleges important to economic development by increasing the number of college-educated residents who will be attractive to employers.
Benedictine is expecting to open in 2013 at the former Tri-City Community Center, 225 E. Main St. Mesa is offering a 15-year lease to the Illinois-based private Catholic college for the 68,500-square foot building. Benedictine expects to have up to 1,500 students within a decade.
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