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Popular Tempe corner to be home to new development

PHOENIX — One of Tempe’s most popular street corners is about to get a serious facelift.

The southwest corner of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway, which is now the home of Monti’s La Casa Vieja across from Tempe Town Lake, was purchased on Wednesday by Hayden House Tempe LLC to serve as the location for two new towers.

The group that purchased the land, which is constituted of a partnership between two out-of-state-based businesses, payed about $16.9 million for the 2.5-acre space. For the first time since the recession, this price is considered to be near peak levels for Arizona land, according to the Phoenix Business Journal.

Each partner company plans to construct one tower.

San Diego-based Douglas Wilson Companies is scheduled to build a 16-story hotel, called the Kimpton Hotel, with 17,000 square feet of neighboring restaurant and store space as well as a walkway to the 3rd Avenue light rail station.

Meanwhile, Colorado-based Hensel Phelps Development LLC has plans to build a versatile office building, which so far remains unnamed.

The corner currently houses Monti’s, which is not only an iconic Tempe restaurant, but is also a city landmark. It’s the oldest continuously occupied structure in the Valley, built between 1871 and 1873 to serve as Charles Hayden’s family home. Hayden’s son, Carl, would go on to be Arizona’s first representative and set the record for the longest-serving member in Congress.

The companies plan to preserve the historic Hayden House and integrate it into the new mixed project. Douglas Wilson, CEO and chairman of the San Diego partner company, said he’s excited for the old and the new to come together in the unique space.

“This is the front door to Tempe,” he told the Phoenix Business Journal. “We saw a challenge and opportunity.”

Tempe is a fast-growing area for development, as its vacancy rates for Class A office space is the lowest in the Valley at 6.7 percent, according to national real estate research firm Costar.