PHOENIX-The city has released a draft of its downtown strategic plan, which outlines plans to add 700,000 sf of retail space as part of the new ASU Capital Center campus, which will accommodate about 15,000 students and 1,800 faculty and staff members at completion in 2015.

The city plan–”a strategic vision and blueprint for the future”–takes in the area from Seventh Avenue to Seventh Street, between Deck Park and Lincoln Street. ASU yesterday announced the area will be home to its downtown campus.

“The key to creating the retail piece in the core of the downtown is the ability to control a significant amount of ground-floor retail,” says Patrick Grady, director of the Downtown Development Office. “In order to make the retail happen, the ASU buildings would need to have first floor retail.”

Grady tells that the city will focus on bringing boutique retail and restaurants to ground-floor space in existing and new ASU buildings. “We feel is important to focus on local retail to distinguish downtown from other retail magnets elsewhere in the greater Phoenix metro area,” he says.

As part of the strategic plan, the city included a downtown retail study from Thomas Consultants that found “potential retail sales in downtown’s ‘primary trade area’ is more than $2.5 billion a year.” Plans for the new retail space cannot move forward until ASU’s expansion gathers momentum. “We can’t kick off a strong retail program without the ASU plan being more mature,” Grady says.

In the meantime, the city is evaluating whether to purchase two blocks of land along Central Avenue and a nearby half-block for ASU to move along the process.

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