Officials with USA Basketball, the national governing body responsible for choosing the U.S. Olympic teams, announced Wednesday that they are relocating their headquarters to Tempe as part of an Arizona State University development project that includes a conference center and hotel.
The Arizona Republic reported in June that the basketball organization planned to move from Colorado Springs, Colo., to Tempe, although officials wouldn't confirm the move at the time.
The $350 million project called USA Place is expected to break ground later this year and to be largely complete by the end of 2015. It will be developed on 10.5 acres at Mill Avenue and University Drive, land owned by Arizona State University. The project will be built with private money.
The complex could draw more than 300,000 people to Tempe annually, developers said. In addition to the Olympic teams, USA Basketball chooses rosters for the world championships and other international competitions and holds tryouts and training camps for national teams of various ages.
"This is a big-time move for USA Basketball, one that I personally have been dreaming about for some time," said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball chairman and former Phoenix Suns chairman/CEO. "All of amateur basketball will flow through our facility. It's going to make its mark on the game that I feel so passionate about."
Colangelo said the men's and women's National senior teams, made up of NBA and WNBA players, will use the Tempe facilities at times. The men's team has an ongoing training arrangement in Las Vegas.
Plans call for a 330-room, luxury hotel connected to a 30,000-square-foot conference center, both operated by Omni Hotels & Resorts. The developer, USA Place LLC, also plans 500 luxury apartments and office and retail space for the site.
The basketball facility will include five full courts and two-half courts for national team tryouts and training camps. The courts can be configured to seat 4,500 for public scrimmages and for Arizona Interscholastic Association playoffs in a variety of sports.
A Chili's restaurant, parking lots and a former shopping center are on the property now. The project is separate from ASU's planned athletic facilities district.
"In a lot of ways, we think this will invite even more development to happen in Tempe. I think it is very synergistic," said Susan Eastridge, CEO of Concord Eastridge, Inc., an Arizona company that has partnered with Future Cities to form USA Place LLC.
Tempe officials have said the project will be a boost to the downtown, bringing additional visitors who need food and lodging.
Tempe spokeswoman Nikki Ripley said various aspects are being negotiated.
"When City Council is presented with specific agreements, then we'll be able to elaborate," she said.
In June, the Arizona Board of Regents, which oversees the state universities, gave ASU permission to enter into a lease-option agreement for up to 99 years with a private corporation, USA Place LLC. That agreement is still being finalized, said Morgan Olsen, ASU's executive vice president and chief financial officer.
The financial terms haven't been completed, but Eastridge indicated ASU would receive revenue from the hotel and rebate a portion of that up to $800,000 annually to the conference center for 20 years.