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Phoenix Strives to Be An Owner of Choice

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"We've been in transition for some time now" between aging at the core and growing on the fringes, Bearup says, adding that the city must balance adding new services to support continued growth and expansion while focusing more and more on maintenance in the city's core.

"It isn't one or the other in our case, it is both at the same time in different areas," he says.

Troy Hayes, engineer at Phoenix Water Services, says projects like the two $6-million to $7-million, 3-million-gallon concrete water reservoirs under construction in north Phoenix are related to growth at the city's edges, and are typical of the types of projects that the city undertakes on a regular basis to foster this growth.

"We knew where we were going to need storage to support the system, but it got delayed when the economy slowed down," Hayes says. "Now we are anticipating more development, so we are moving ahead to get these reservoirs into the system."

The $726.7-million water program is funded with water operating revenue, nonprofit corporation bonds, impact fees and a partnership with the city of Mesa on the Val Vista Water Treatment Plant joint venture.

Nothing Left Up in the Air

The balance of renovation and new construction are evident at Sky Harbor Airport, owned by the city and one of the busiest airports in the world.

The $244-million second phase of the PHX Sky Train, being built by a joint venture of McCarthy and Kiewit, will make airport shuttle buses a thing of the past. The train is scheduled to serve all terminals by early 2015. The Phoenix office of Hensel Phelps Construction built the $644-million first phase, which began operating last year. In 2012, ENR Southwest awarded Sky Train's first phase with its Best Project award in both the transportation and safety categories.

The city is also launching an approximately $500-million renovation of Terminal 3 in late 2014 or early 2015. Although renovating the 35-year-old building is still in the planning stages, the goal is to complete the job in phases over the next six years. The 310,000-sq-ft project will include two new security checkpoints of 40,000 sq ft and 20,000 sq ft each. A new concourse will also be added to the south side of the terminal and will total 270,000 sq ft.

"Right now, we are doing conceptual design," says Kyle Kotchou, acting aviation deputy director for Sky Harbor Airport. "At this point the budget isn't really going to be set until the pre-planning phase is over. We are still assessing the existing conditions by doing things like laser modeling."

Security is typically high at most high-profile construction sites, but operating a large international airport brings federal guidelines into the equation. All trucks must be escorted if working in the operating area and stockpiling of supplies and materials is nearly impossible.

Just as is the case with most other city departments, the airport is proceeding with projects of all sizes. For example, Terminal 4 will undergo flooring and other changes in the coming year.


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