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PHOENIX-Workers will begin giving the Phoenix Civic Plaza a facelift this week when they begin construction on a $600-million expansion project that will more than triple the plaza’s space.

Crews have already begun relocating the plaza’s utilities and sidewalks along Montor and Fifth streets in preparation for next month’s full-scale excavation work that will add exhibition space under the plaza’s street level. By May, crews will begin demolishing the terrace between Symphony Hall and the Herberger Theater and replace it with an underground parking garage and 367,000 sf of subterranean exhibition space. A west building, with 940,000 sf of rentable space, also will be constructed on the site. An arcade will allow pedestrian access between Symphony Hall and the theater and an atrium will link the symphony building to the plaza’s west wing. Ringing the west building will be a coffee shop, theater box offices, arts gift shop and possibly a restaurant.

Work on the plaza is expected to be completed by 2009. The new facilities are hoped to help lure conventions and trade shows to the languishing downtown area.

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