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PHOENIX-A local developer has put a seven-acre parcel near Downtown under contract and plans to build a $50-million mixed-use development that will include retail, office and residential.

Phoenix-based Gray Development Group has the northwest corner of Central Avenue and McDowell Road tied up with plans to build Central Square, a mixed-use development that will have 75,000 sf of office space, 25,000 sf of retail and 384 apartment units.

A six-story building on a corner would provide the office space, with retail going on the bottom floor, says Bruce Gray, president of Gray Development Group. In addition, the four-story buildings along both Central Avenue and McDowell would include retail on the bottom story with residential units above. A major restaurant company has already expressed interest in taking space, Gray says.

“That’s unheard of in Phoenix but something that people in other parts of the country take for granted,” he says. “This kind of urban mix is common place. Some people like that kind of activity and vitality, and being able to walk to the corner for a quart of milk.”

It would be the first residential development of any size in central Phoenix to offer a mix of office, retail and residential. A Post Properties apartment development, which recently began leasing a half-mile to the south of Gray’s proposed development, has only a few thousand sf of retail.

With the addition of professional sports teams, refurbished and new museums and theaters, and a phalanx of new restaurant and bars into Downtown Phoenix, the area has once again become a place that’s desirable to live near, Gray says. Leasing is strong at two of Gray’s recently completed apartment projects in the Downtown area, he says.

Gray is petitioning the city to rezone the parcel as “urban residential,” a new zoning designation that allows for the mixture of commercial and residential space in the central core. Gray hopes to begin construction by next summer, with units available for lease by summer 2002.

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