The development, which the Arizona Legislature approved the creation of in 2010, includes two hotels, 3.5 million square feet of office space and thousands of apartments.
It also involves the relocation of Arizona State football's practice facility, the Verde Dickey Dome, closer to Sun Devil Stadium.
Sun Devil Stadium is in the middle of renovations scheduled to be completed by 2017 that will allow the property to become a 365-day, mixed-use event space for occasions other than football games.
Revenue generated from businesses in the area will go toward building and revamping ASU facilities.
Developments in the district will pay fees to ASU instead of property taxes, the AZCentral.com report said.
"Creating a revenue stream with the district will allow ASU to compete even better in Pac-12 Conference athletics," said Morgan Olsen, the university's CFO said.
"But that's only part of this great opportunity because we will be able to also create a walkable urban environment that complements what we already have in downtown Tempe."
The first phase of construction on the project could start before the end of 2015.
- Will Green