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CHANDLER, AZ-Downtown will undergo a major facelift next year when work gets under way on multi-million-dollar project that will bring 36,000 sf of retail and office space along with about 60 townhouses to the city’s center.

Garrett Newland, the city’s economic development director, tells that work will begin late this year on 1,100-sf to 1,800-sf townhomes on a six-acre site along the southeast corner of Chandler Boulevard and Arizona Avenue. The second phase, which encompasses 36,000 sf of retail and office space designed to attract boutiques and restaurants, will begin once the housing component is completed, he says.

“We really think this could be the trigger for revitalizing downtown,” the city’s principal planner Robert Weworski tells of Chandler City Center project. “It’s certainly a key corner–the gateway to Downtown.”

Benton Robb Development Associates of Tempe, one of just two developers who responded to the city’s request for proposals, was awarded the contract for construction of the project, which is designed to replace an entire block of run-down buildings. Construction of the townhouses, which will sell for between $150,000 to $200,000, is expected to be completed in about 18 months.

The project’s commercial component will begin construction once the city works out final agreements with several commercial businesses in the area, Newland says. The city recently reached a settlement agreement with a Jack in the Box restaurant that will allow the fast-food firm to remain at its current Arizona Avenue location while renovations to Downtown are under way. The restaurant, which was fighting the eminent domain takeover, will be relocated to the northeast corner of Buffalo Street and Arizona Avenue, just a short distance from its current location.

Weworski says the revitalization project will be reminiscent of buildings in the early 1900s and feature Spanish mission revival-style buildings that will complement the San Marcos Hotel, Arizona’s first resort, which is located across the street from the development site. The buildings will feature clay roofs, arched windows and doorways and stucco-and-brick facades.

“Potentially, it’s going to be a nice streetscape effect that will have some historical character, ” Newland says. The city will invest $4.3 million to acquire the land, which will be deeded to the developer.

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