Geoffrey Jacobs plans to build a two-tower development called Astra on the east side of Second Avenue just south of Fillmore Street.
Regulars at the Crescent Ballroom know the area well; the downtown concert venue sits farther south on the block from the planned site, on the west side of Second Avenue just north of Van Buren Street.
If the project moves forward, patrons who look left as they leave Crescent Ballroom will see a 540-foot tower across the street, plus a shorter tower that’s part of the same project. That’s 15 feet higher than what’s currently allowed, and a whole lot taller than other buildings on the block.
Jacobs is a partner with Aspirant Development and principal with The Empire Group, both of Scottsdale. They’re familiar names for those who followed the historic preservation debacle at The Stewart, when parts of a building the developer agreed to save were demolished instead.
Nick Wood, the developer’s attorney, explained the basics at a June 8 meeting of the Central City Village planning committee. The committee won’t vote on whether to recommend the extra height until August 6, when community members will have a chance to offer feedback.
Currently, the tallest building in Arizona is Chase Tower, which was built in 1972. Located at 201 North Central Avenue, the tower is 483 feet tall.
The developer is already working with Solomon Coldwell Buenz (SCB), an international architecture, design, and planning firm that once worked with Studio Ma in Phoenix to renovate Manzanita Hall, a residential building for ASU students that’s distinguished by its stacked triangular windows.
The 540-foot tower is slated to include residences and a hotel, along with a restaurant and bar/lounge. A shorter tower would include office, retail, and co-living spaces. Both buildings feature predominantly concrete, metal, and glass.
The design calls for a wide paseo running between the building, and the developer has already talked with city officials about the possibility of adding a third traffic lane in the area.
Interested citizens can track the project through the city’s planning and development website. Pictures of other SCB designs, including a 35-story tower that broke ground in L.A.’s arts district in February, are available on the SCB website.
“We’re really excited about this project,” Wood told the planning committee Monday night. “These are going to be some special buildings."