Developing the future. Serving ASU.
University Realty partners with the real estate development and brokerage community on numerous projects and cannot be successful without them. Development partners bring additional staff, expertise, and equity to help University Realty generate revenue for ASU and create buildings that support the university’s mission. University Realty only takes on projects with the right partners and the right opportunity to create revenue to advance higher education and provide a greater community benefit to the city and state.
University Realty was established in 2016 as a wholly owned limited liability company 501(c)(3) under ASU Enterprise Partners. It operates as a disregarded entity per IRS guidelines and operates under the same status of “public charity.” Although University Realty generates funds from various investments in land and improvements, these funds must be used for additional charitable work or reinvested to further the company’s operations. No profits are distributed to any staff, directors, or trustees. University Realty is controlled by a governing board of directors.
When ASU identifies a development opportunity for one of its properties, University Realty is treated no differently than any other real estate developer. The land is appraised and assessed at fair market value. The funds received from pre-paid land leases are then collected by the university on behalf of ABOR and utilized solely for university operations.
Gifts to ASU come in all forms – cash, checks, antique collections and even land and buildings.
Thelma Wolff donated her vacation home in Pinetop, Ariz., a few years ago to the ASU Foundation. She had no heirs and wanted to help ASU students learn through travel and exposure to other cultures.
Wolff passed away in 2017 at the age of 94, but left a legacy for students who wish to enhance their education through international study.
The sale of her home for $290,000 in 2017 endowed the Thelma G. Wolff International Scholarship for students to study abroad for a semester since traveling was a passion of hers.
In 2019, Wolff’s scholarship enabled Cassandra Savel to study in the Netherlands where she participated in research on urban transportation infrastructure and social well-being. A second student, Dasha O’Brien studied at the University of Economics in Prague, Czech Republic.
Cassandra Savel, a Thelma G. Wolff International Scholarship recipient, studying abroad in the Netherlands. While abroad, Cassandra participated in research on urban transportation infrastructure and social well-being.
This is accomplished by implementing three fundamental strategies:
Accept and monetize commercial office, industrial, retail, multifamily and single family residential, as well as vacant land received from philanthropic real estate gifts from donors.
Maximize opportunities to invest, acquire and dispose of real estate at logical points in real estate cycles.
Provide full service, ground-up development including acquisitions and entitlements of land, master planning and building design, construction, leasing, and financing of office, industrial and multifamily projects.
Real estate development that is essential to the University’s academic mission.
Real estate that provides space for the University’s ideas to incubate and prosper.
Real estate gifts received that University Realty accepts and monetizes.
Real estate that directly promotes the University’s lifelong learning mission.
Mirabella at ASU is a 20-story university-based senior housing facility unlike any other in Arizona that is scheduled to open in fall 2020. The building is located in downtown Tempe on the campus of Arizona State University and features 252 independent living units, 11 assisted living units, 20 memory care units and 21 skilled nursing units. In addition to high-end services and amenities often found in exclusive hotels and resorts — including formal dining, an indoor swimming pool, art museum, health club and dog park — Mirabella at ASU will provide residents access to intergenerational engagement including lifelong learning and cultural activities through ASU.
- Future Mirabella residents Gary and Peggy Thompson, both retired engineers, have already embraced the lifelong learning philosophy Mirabella will offer. They connected with the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and mentor student groups on venture development, product design and value creation. Additionally, they donated $10,000 to be awarded to promising student ventures.
- More than $100 million in projected in–lieu of property taxes, over 99 years payable to ASU to support its academic mission.
- $7 million in prepaid 99-year land lease to ASU
- Provides opportunities for seniors to continue learning later in life and brings mentors and expertise to the ASU campus to help other students.
Facts and Figures
- 613,262 square feet
- 20 stories
- 252 independent living units (52 floor plans that range from 751 square feet to 2,700 square feet), 11 assisted living units, 20 memory care units and 21 skilled nursing care units
- 4 dining options
SkySong, The ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, is a 42-acre, 1.2 million-square-foot mixed-use development that, when fully built, will contain research, innovative office, retail, hotel and multifamily residential components. This project focuses on innovation and technology with the goal of becoming one of the premier economic engines in Arizona. At buildout, SkySong is expected to generate an estimated $58.2 million in annual economic output, according to a 2019 report by Elliott D. Pollack & Company. SkySong attracts some of the most cutting-edge companies to its state-of-the-art office facilities, bringing unparalleled talent and expertise from leaders around the world to the ASU community. These leaders in industry often act as mentors to the entrepreneurs who populate the incubator component of SkySong, helping students and professionals successfully bring their ASU discoveries to the marketplace. ASU’s J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute works annually with more than 500 student-led startup ventures, plus faculty, staff and community companies. One company that had great success at SkySong is WebFilings. Now known as Workiva, the cloud-based software company started at SkySong 1 in a 2,100 square foot office and now lease 36,046 square feet in SkySong 3.
- City of Scottsdale is expected to receive $362.3 million in revenue over the next 30 years, while revenue to the state, county and city will be $1.4 billion during that timeframe, according to a 2019 report by Elliott D. Pollack & Company.
- There were approximately 4,200 employees working for companies located in SkySong offices, 120 people working at SkySong restaurants, eight employees in multi-family jobs and 50 hotel employees in 2019. Collectively, the will provide a direct total economic impact of $593.09 million annually at buildout, according to a 2019 report by Elliott D. Pollack & Company.
- 42-acre mixed-use development: five multi-tenant office buildings, Element at SkySong hotel, apartments and two parking garages.
- SkySong is zoned for 1.3 million square feet of mixed-used space at build out.
- Currently constructed:
- SkySong 1: approximately 150,000 square feet of space
- SkySong 2: approximately 150,000 square feet of space
- SkySong 3: approximately 145,000 square feet of space
- SkySong 4: approximately 145,000 square feet of space
- SkySong 5: approximately 154,000 square feet of space
- Element at SkySong Hotel: approximately 99,000 square feet of space
- SkySong Apartments: 325 Units
- In Planning:
- SkySong 6/7: approximately 354,000 square feet of space
- 1 additional parking garage
- Plaza Companies is the master developer of the project in partnership with University Realty, the City of Scottsdale and Holualoa Companies.
- LEED Silver certification for buildings 1-5, the apartments have received the City of Scottsdale’s Green Building certification.
- Awarded by several real estate industry organizations:
- SkySong 1 was awarded a NAIOP award for best redevelopment project in 2008.
- SkySong 3 won a RED award for best mixed use project in 2015 and NAIOP awards for economic impact project of the year in 2013 and speculative office project of the year in 2013.
- SkySong 4 won NAIOP awards in 2016 for economic impact project of the year and speculative office projects of the year.
The Fulton Center
- Core mission project that provides office space for ASU at below market rental rates.
- Enables the ASU Foundation to be on campus to engage donors in campus activities.
- Home of ASU’s Luminosity Lab to design, build and deploy novel solutions to global challenges.
- Knowledge Enterprise that advances research, innovation, strategic partnerships, entrepreneurship and international development is based in the building. In fiscal year 2019, Knowledge Enterprise was responsible for 301 invention disclosures, 129 patents and 18 startup companies.
Facts and Figures
- 140,000 square feet
- 6 stories
- 1,200-space parking structure
- 2-story, 15,000-square-foot retail component
- ASU’s first building to earn LEED certification
The Brickyard on Mill
The Brickyard on Mill is a seven-story, 202,000-square-foot mixed-use project that extends about 2.2 acres and is occupied by retail, office and dining establishments. The ASU Foundation purchased the building in 2004 and has a long-term lease with ASU for office, meeting and classroom space. The Brickyard is home to the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering dean’s office, the ASU Art Museum’s Brickyard Ceramics Research Center and the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering. It also houses the School of Arts, Media, and Engineering, a collaborative research venture between the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and Fulton Engineering; the Center for Science and the Imagination and the Decision Theater. Other buildings in this complex include Artisan Courtyard and Orchid House. In 2005, a gift from J. Orin Edson, philanthropist and entrepreneur, established the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative and an endowment to help ASU students pursue entrepreneurial interests. A portion of the gift refurbished space for the students to work in Brickyard during the program’s early years.
- Core mission project that provides office space for ASU at below market rental rates. ASU pays rent payments that match the bond repayment and will eventually pay off the bond debt.
- Home to the ASU Art Museum’s Brickyard Ceramics Research Center’s labs, the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering and the School of Arts, Media, and Engineering, a collaborative research venture between the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and Fulton Engineering and the Center for Science and the Imagination.
Facts and Figures
- 202,000 square feet
- 7 stories
Barrett and O’Connor Washington Center is an eight-story, 100-year old building located just three blocks from the White House in Washington, D.C., purchased and renovated with $35 million in bond financing. The center is named for the legacies of two women whose contributions have shaped public life nationally and globally. The center houses about 20 ASU programs, including the McCain Institute for International Leadership; the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication; the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law; and the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes. The strategic placement of these programs enables partnerships with policymakers, influencers, think tank experts, nonprofit organizations, federal research agencies, national associations and other colleges and universities. ASU’s physical presence strengthens its voices on national issues including education, health, economic development, the environment, social justice and other global issues. Additionally, ASU students have the opportunity to engage in invaluable learning opportunities, real-world practice and rich cultural experiences that aren’t available outside of the nation’s capital.
- 16 ASU units and initiatives have full-time representation at the center
- More than 150 events are held there per year, allowing ASU faculty and students to collaborate and innovate with top government executives.
- More than 50 federal agencies are engaged through ASU programming
- Nearly 30 courses, programs and internships are available through the center
- Core mission project that provides ASU space at below market rates. ASU pays rent payments that match the bond repayment and will eventually pay off the bond debt.
- 32,000 square feet
- 8 stories
- 3 blocks from the White House and the same block as the International Monetary Fund campus
- State of the art rooftop conference facility and world-renowned Decision Theater
University Realty partnered with The Georgetown Company to redevelop the iconic Herald Examiner Building in downtown Los Angeles. The five-story, 100,000-square-foot Spanish Colonial-styled building was built in 1914 and designed by renowned architect Julia Morgan, who also designed Hearst Castle. The building is scheduled to open in 2021 with a complete renovation to its original grandeur highlighting its high ceilings, hand-painted tiles and detailed iron and wood work, while adding modernized interiors. It will be occupied by mixed-use tenants on the first floor and Arizona State University will occupy 87% of the building for programming, collaboration, outreach and research. ASU has a strong presence in California with more than 17,000 students enrolled at ASU who are from California. ASU has more than 130 venture-backed technologies, which are 80% backed by California companies. ASU is an engaged member of the Los Angeles Venture Association to drive forward the university’s technology expertise. ASU will offer programs delivered by ASU’s Thunderbird School of Global Management, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, beginning in 2021.
- ASU has more than 17,000 students enrolled from California.
- The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians donated $2.5 million that is earmarked for capital improvements to renovate the historic building.
- ASU is an engaged member of the Los Angeles Venture Association to drive the university’s technology expertise and has more than 130 venture-backed technologies, which are 80% backed by California companies.
- The university plans to offer programs delivered by ASU’s Thunderbird School of Global Management, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.
- The building is listed as a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument and is being restored to its original grandeur.
- 100,000 square feet of space
- 5 stories
- 85,771 square feet leased by ASU (87%)
- Designed by renowned female California architect, Julia Morgan, who designed more than 700 buildings in California and is best known for her design of the Hearst Castle.
- Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument
Novus 777 Tower is a six-story multi-tenant office building at the northwest corner of Rural Road and University Drive on land owned by Arizona State University. The LEED-certified building is part of the Novus Innovation Corridor, a 350-acre, multi-phased development, which will encompass approximately 10 million square feet of urban mixed-use opportunities, including State Farm Insurance’s 2.1-million-square-foot regional hub in Marina Heights. The Novus Innovation Corridor marks the next step in ASU’s vision of the New American University and the focal point of the region’s progress toward becoming an international hub of innovation. The corridor was created out of legislation that was signed into law in 2010 that enables the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to work with ASU to establish a defined district where all land is owned by the university and assessments are imposed on developments located within the district. The proceeds of those assessments are used to construct and improve ASU athletic facilities in lieu of state revenue. The building is the new home to ASU’s Herberger Gallery, University City Exchange, University Real Estate Development, Master of Design, Master of Innovation and Venture Development and the Innovation Studio. Infosys, a multinational consulting company that develops client solutions in machine learning, artificial intelligence, user experience and advanced digital technologies is leasing 60,000 square feet of space and plans to bring 1,000 jobs to the area.
- Raises funding to cover debt service in tax-exempt bonds to renovate ASU athletic facilities
- Infosys, which is ranked No. 22 on the 2019 Fortune India 500 list, is bringing 1,000 jobs to the location and announced a strategic partnership with ASU to accelerate the workforce.
- $2.1 million in prepaid 99-year lease payments plus $25,866 in fees
- $267.2 million in in-lieu property taxes collected over 99-year period
Facts and Figures
- 160,000 square feet of space
- Six-story office building
- 8,000 square feet of retail space
- LEED Silver certified
Studio 5C is a multi-tenant, three-story office and retail building at the southwest corner of College Avenue and Veterans Way in Tempe, adjacent to Desert Financial Arena, Sun Devil Football Stadium and the University Tower dorms. It sits at the northern entry to ASU and is walkable to Mill Avenue. The building was developed in 1999 and privately held until 2019 when the owner gifted part of the building and sold the rest to University Realty.
- Core mission property at the northern entry gateway to ASU
- Completes ownership of city block, along with dated dormitories to enable future redevelopment benefitting ASU’s anticipated growth
- Acquisition was made in part by a donor contribution
Facts and Figures
- 11,962 square feet of land
- 18,629 rentable square feet of lease space
- 3 stories
- 23 regular parking spaces plus one handicap space
- Across the street from Downtown Tempe’s main train and bus transit station
In addition to receiving gifts of real estate on behalf of ASU for students and faculty to pursue their passions, the University Realty real estate development team has created opportunities to enhance the community. It is made up of seasoned real estate developers who use their expertise to raise resources for the benefit of others.
While each project brings its own benefits to its surrounding community, ultimately they provide more revenue and leased space options to ASU to as it continues to expand its footprint in Arizona and nationally.
SkySong, The ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, has resulted in a significant economic impact for the City of Scottsdale and the region. The project’s five commercial buildings, hotel and restaurants were expected to produce an estimated $58.2 million in annual economic output, according to a 2019 report by Elliott D. Pollack & Company. In this same period, SkySong is projected to create an estimated $15.2 billion of total personal income in Scottsdale, and $16.5 billion regionally. Additionally, the project has driven up home prices and attracted numerous companies to the area.
University Realty’s development of the Ambassador Barbara Barrett and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Washington Center at ASU offers educational opportunities for students in the nation’s capital and leverages the expertise of world-class faculty across a wide range of areas. ASU forges partnerships with think tanks, federal research agencies, policy councils, nonprofits, national associations and other colleges and universities to address society’s challenges related to education, health, economic development, the environment, social justice and other global issues.
University Realty considers each development project and gift of real estate carefully and measures its impact on the community and benefits to ASU before moving forward.
Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director
Chief Operating Officer
Senior Vice President, commercial development
Board of Directors
Founder and President, Betts Real Estate Advisors
Senior Managing Director, Hines
Virginia “Ginny” DeSanto
CFO and Treasurer, ASU Enterprise Partners
CEO, ASU Enterprise Partners
Founder and CEO, University Realty LLC
Retired President, Del E. Webb Corporation
Executive Vice President, CFO and Treasurer, ASU
Founder and CEO, Land Advisors Organization
Founder and President, Romar Services LLC
Senior Investment Advisor, Hernreich Family