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Mormon Temple releases plans for massive downtown Mesa makeover

Posted at 3:59 AM, Jul 04, 2018
and last updated 2019-03-03 21:05:01-05

Downtown Mesa is undergoing a massive makeover.

The Mesa Temple, a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is closed to become a construction zone. 

On the LDS website, the church says the inside of the Temple will be updated. But some of the biggest changes are coming from demolishing the current visitors' center to help the Temple to be seen from Main Street. 

A "Discovery Center" will be added on the southwest corner of LeSueur and Main Street to replace the visitors' center. 

"This will be a combined family history and visitors’ center where visitors can enjoy various interactive exhibits, learn historical information about the temple, and do family history research. The facility will be free and open to the public," according to the website.

When September comes and if permits and zoning goes through, the construction zone will spread more than four acres in downtown Mesa. 

The plan by City Creek Reserve, a developer with the LDS church, includes adding 240 apartments, 12 townhomes, 70,000-square-feet of landscaped open space, ground floor retail and underground parking.  

The plan is to have it completed by 2020. 

ABC15 asked what pushed the excitement to expand in downtown Mesa. The answer: the light rail. 

"It starts with this transit line right behind me," said City Creek Reserve Vice President Carl Duke. "This is an enormous catalyst for development and we're seeing all up and down this line where developers are interested in pursuing projects."

Construction on the current light rail line is expanding on Main Street from Mesa Drive to Gilbert Road. 

Main Street has been dealing with that construction for years now, just in small stretches. 

Lissa Humphrey's owns LBH Custom Crafts with her husband and she said she has already seen how a portion of the finished line has benefited her business. 

"I know that it has brought in customers in here from Phoenix," Humphrey explained. "We have some customers that come regularly on the light-rail...because this is kind of a unique business."

But, she admits, if she was in the thick of the construction, she said she would be struggling. 

"I'm hoping more businesses open back up because I know a lot of them are closed right now," Humphrey said. "So, I'm hoping they open back up do good like down here!"

Valley Metro has put out the call for the public to support businesses during construction before they finish up in late 2019.