May 13, 2005
A group of Tempe property owners fighting the planned Marketplace retail center announced their support Thursday for the competing Mesa Riverview at Dobson retail project.
The Tempe Property Owners Against Governmental Theft, who could face condemnation from Tempe to allow Vestar Development to build Tempe Marketplace, said a vote against Riverview will only help Tempe and the developer looking to displace their businesses.
Mesa voters will decide Propositions 300, 301 and 302 on Tuesday. All three propositions must be approved for the Riverview project at Dobson Road and Loop 202 to move forward. Riverview is less than two miles east of Marketplace.
"Given the choice, I’d rather see Riverview go since it doesn’t violate anyone’s rights and they don’t have to steal property to do it," said Del Sturman, owner of Desert Composites, one of 20 businesses Tempe is looking to condemn. A court hearing has been set for Aug. 16.
Sturman said his group is not being funded or assisted by the Yes on Riverview campaign. Yes on Riverview campaign spokesman Doug Cole said his side is not involved.
The Tempe group criticized Dan Harkins, who is building at Tempe Marketplace and has contributed nearly $350,000 to the "No on Riverview" campaign, as well as former Mesa lawmaker Jeff Groscost and political consultant Jason Rose, both of whom worked for the Tempe project before being removed by Vestar Development during the Riverview campaign. Groscost funded the Riverview referendum effort. Rose represents Harkins Theatres and is the No on Riverview campaign spokesman.
Rose said Harkins is opposing Riverview because the subsidized development will make it impossible for him to move forward with his planned Fiesta Mall expansion.
Rose added that Riverview and its $84 million incentive package will cripple or shut down existing west Mesa businesses.
"I’m sorry but this is about Mesa and only about Mesa," Rose said.
Also Thursday, the Yes on Riverview campaign announced Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group as the developer of the 48-acre Riverview office park.
Lowe Enterprises senior vice president Kent Merselis said his company hopes to break ground by early next year.
Merselis said the first phase of the office park would likely have two, two-story buildings. He said the site would eventually have four or five buildings, either two or three stories high.