MESA, AZ — The City of Mesa and local businesses are welcoming Arizona State University students to its new downtown campus.
More than 700 students are walking into the new Media and Immersive Experience Center. The new building will house students in film, video production and digital technology.
It sits right in the heart of downtown near other arts facilities to possibly help students expand opportunities.
It took about two-and-a-half years for the building to open and cost roughly $100 million between the city and ASU.
The Downtown Mesa Association says ASU’s new campus brings “a new dimension” to the city.
“ASU's Film School works at night a lot. So, they will walk out of there and go to our restaurants and frequent them at a much later rate than they would if it was just the normal thing,” said Nancy Hormann, the executive director and president of the association.
Hormann said the new campus spurred growth even before it opened. The city says nearly 400 new housing units were added to the area since 2020. Between 2010 and 2020, the city said only 254 were added.
There are more apartment complexes, multi-family complexes and housing units in the works, too, totaling more than a thousand new units in the near future.
The city also said 21 new businesses have come to Mesa since 2020 with eight more contracted and are getting ready to build.
“I think it has been a catalyst for a lot of our development that's been happening over the last two years in the interest because of the campus coming,” Hormann said.
Just down the street from ASU’s new campus, Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken was busy with its lunch rush. Assistant General Manager Chad Thessin said he’s yet to see the business from ASU come in though.
“School just started. It's only been a week. With that said, we've been busy, absolutely. I can't say that I've seen any traffic from it but I look forward to it,” he said.
The city said ASU’s new campus will bring in $7.45 million each year.