The former ASU Annex on Sixth Street and College Avenue is being remodeled to become a dual restaurant space, and one of the units has already been taken by Postino WineCafe.
Lessee David Wetta said the project has been underway since early December to remodel the 7,323 square-foot building.
"This is a 1952 school building," he said. "Everything other than the concrete floor, the red brick and the tongue-and-groove roof has to be replaced."
The building is split nearly in half by its two units, with a larger northern unit of 3,838 square-feet committed to by Postino, which Wetta said is a major relief at this stage of the remodeling process.
"With a tenant committed for half the space … it's a major hurdle to clear this early on," he said.
Wetta added that the second smaller unit of 3,484 square-feet still does not have a tenant, but Wetta said he's had interest.
"We got a promising lead, it's still premature but promising," he said.
Construction on College Avenue has been underway for a year on ASU's 137,000 square-foot College Avenue Commons, across the street from the Annex and more projects are in store for the area.
The College Avenue Commons is expected to finish construction this summer, but before the congestion can get better it will get worse, as Wetta said the city is also planning a remodel of College Avenue in beginning next month.
"College Avenue will get this all new street scape, it will really be a plaza kind of feel," he said.
Wetta said the city will remodel the road, which will include leveling the sidewalks and street to the same height in an attempt to make a more connected feel between the buildings.
He said the College Avenue remodel should be completed by July, while the Annex remodel will finish in spring. Wetta hopes Postino will open by early fall.
"We'll finish our shell work in May, (and) they could be open in late August (or) September," he said.
The new project is being completed just blocks from Tempe's Mill Avenue, ASU's Tempe Campus, the Wells Fargo Arena and Sun Devil Stadium as well as the Fifth Street Light Rail stop.