In 1956, the 320-acre Jones farm was acquired with funds from the Arizona State College Foundation (now the ASU Foundation) and was utilized by the college as an experimental farm. In 1979, the University disbanded its agricultural program and began to formulate a plan for re-use of the farm. The actual formation of the Research Park took several years, and required collaboration by a number of governmental agencies. Enabling legislation was enacted in April of 1983, authorizing the use of improvement bonds for infrastructure, and prescribing the formation of a park authority.
In July of 1983, the Arizona Board of Regents authorized ASU to form a not-for-profit research park corporation, and in May 1984, under the leadership of ASU President J. Russell Nelson and Dean Roland Haden of the College of Engineering, the experimental farm became the ASU Research Park. Municipal improvement bonds were issued by the City of Tempe to construct the Park’s infrastructure, with repayment generated from long-term ground leases of park land. The infrastructure improvements included streets, utilities, landscaping and lake system that users of the Park enjoy today.
The official groundbreaking occurred in December of 1984, and the first ground lease was executed with Transamerica in April of 1985. Currently the Park has ground leases in place with twenty-four different lessees in twenty-six buildings totaling 2.2 million square feet. The Park is currently home to 48 companies employing over 6,000 Arizonans.