Apr 17, 2023 - Real Estate

Downtown ASU dorm's new name honors Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon

A group of people sitting on a stage outside a building that says, "Gordon Commons."

ASU President Michael Crow speaks at the renaming of Taylor Place to Gordon Commons. Photo: Jessica Boehm/Axios

ASU last week renamed its first downtown Phoenix dormitory to honor former Mayor Phil Gordon, who led the charge to open the campus more than 15 years ago.

What's happening: Taylor Place Residence Hall, at First and Taylor streets, is now Gordon Commons.

A throng of city leaders, former elected officials and university staff gathered Friday to honor Gordon, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma last year.

Why it matters: ASU's campus was the major driver in revitalizing downtown, which in the early 2000s was practically a ghost town when workers would commute home to the suburbs at 5pm Monday through Friday.

  • The influx of students led to dozens of high-rise apartment complexes and hundreds of new shops and eateries.

Between the lines: The funding for the campus — home to the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, College of Health Solutions and Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions — came from a 2006 city bond program that Gordon championed.

  • Phoenix voters passed the bond with more than 60% of the vote.

Flashback: According to Phoenix lore, Gordon and ASU president Michael Crow met for breakfast at The Good Egg on Central Avenue and Camelback Road in 2003 and drew up their vision of a downtown campus on the back of a napkin.

  • "The city manager and the chief of staff of ASU never allowed us to be alone again," Gordon joked Friday.

What they're saying: "I would say (downtown today) is beyond my wildest dreams. … But for those of you who know me, you know that I dreamt big," Gordon said.

What's next: This November, Phoenix will ask voters to pass the first bond package since 2006.

  • If approved, it will fund new fire stations, upgraded parks, safer roads and more cultural amenities.
  • Mayor Kate Gallego said she often points to downtown ASU's success as an example of how these investments can have transformative impacts.

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