Construction Resumes at Centerpoint Towers (Now Called West Sixth); High-Rise Apartments to be Ready by August

Put to rest any skepticism you still harbor that the Centerpoint towers (now called West Sixth) will remain unfinished despite a recently closed sale.

Okay, we were one of the skeptics -- but only because we drive by the project (now called West Sixth) nearly every day and hadn't seen much evidence that anyone was working on it.

Today, the five-acre property at 6th Street and Maple is an honest-to-gosh construction site again -- something it hasn't been since the project's financial backing collapsed in 2008.

A couple of construction trailers from Summit Builders, the general contractor, were parked just west of the towers. Workers in hardhats moved among various equipment; some were helping set up a tall hoist.

The public will soon see cranes moved onto the site as the work progresses, says Angie Miller, spokeswoman for the company that bought the towers, the Ohio-based Zaremba Group.

The shorter Tower One, with 189 apartment units, is expected to be completed by August 1. The taller tower contains 186 units and will be done by December 1, she says.

The finished product will contain many of the ritzy amenities planned by the previous developer. The first floor will house a mix of retail and restaurant businesses -- Miller wouldn't let on which companies Zaremba has been talking to. Plans still call for a "resort-style" barbecue pit and pool area, plus a 9,000-square-foot fitness facility.

The penthouse on the top floor of Tower One won't be sold or rented, she says, but would be used by Zaremba -- for what, exactly, the company hasn't figured out yet.

Once the construction is complete, the next challenge will be to fill up the towers. A leasing office recently opened on Mill Avenue for prospective tenants.

In this crappy economy, we're expecting to see discounts on the units -- which start at about 550 square feet -- despite the lofty luxury, at least at first. With the deep pockets of Zaremba's major investor in the towers, the California Teacher's Pension Fund, we imagine that the company should be able to weather out an initial period of low occupancy.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.