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Phoenix approves $13.5M investment to move ASU grad school downtown

(Arizona State University Photo)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council approved Wednesday a $13.5 million investment in a building that will serve as the new home of Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management.

“Downtown Phoenix is a growing hub for higher education and innovation, and Thunderbird’s presence offers even more opportunity to attract talent and grow our economy,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said in a release.

ASU announced that it would move the graduate school late last year. The school said some students could begin taking classes in downtown as soon as the fall, with all of them expected to make the move by 2021.

“This is a strategically important move for Thunderbird and the university that we believe will have a very favorable impact on the downtown Phoenix community,” ASU President Michael Crow said in the release.

“We are committed to the downtown campus and to our partnership with the city of Phoenix, so having made this decision, we want to take action as soon as possible.”

Thunderbird’s undergraduate programs will still be taught at the campus near 59th Avenue and Greenway Road.

Crow also said the move to the future building near First and Polk streets would give students more access to both private- and public-sector companies based in the area.

“This is an incredible opportunity for Thunderbird to broaden its mission and have an even greater impact on students and the businesses and organizations with which the school partners,” Allen Morrison, the CEO and director general of Thunderbird, said in a December release.

Thunderbird will be the sixth ASU college based in downtown.

The school also said it was working with the city of Glendale to repurpose the 140-acre Thunderbird campus.

“The city of Glendale has been a wonderful home for Thunderbird over the past 71 years,” Crow said in December. “We are making a commitment to Glendale and to the entire West Valley to utilize the Thunderbird campus for the benefit of the community.”

The move has, according to Glendale spokesman Brent Stoddard, “really provided an exciting opportunity … to plan a comprehensive redevelopment.”

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