The 10 Hottest Neighborhoods of 2020

Written by Keridwen Cornelius Category: Lifestyle Issue: August 2015
Group Free
Pin It

Get a jump on the competition with our roundup of the Valley’s hottest areas for living and investment... five years from today.

Why It Will Be Hot: Bargain prices, million-dollar views
Valley realtor and radio personality Melissa Sharpe says we don’t need a crystal ball to predict that gas prices and interest rates are going to rise. That means two things for the Valley real estate market: “It’ll be more expensive to commute. Businesses and living along the light rail will make even more sense. And when interest rates go up, the amount of home you can buy goes down.” With that in mind, she predicts a steep hot-factor rise for the ‘Slope, where million-dollar views often go hand in hand with fixer-upper grime. In 2016, light rail expansion will reach 19th Avenue and Dunlap, which is good news for the Arcadia-esque Royal Palm neighborhood nearby. Also, Sharpe recommends the North Central Heights area in the foothills of North Mountain Park – handy for the hip local restos and bars already gentrifying this divey indie ’hood.

Local Attractions: Timo’s shaded patio is perfect for sipping sauvignon blanc (8801 N. Central Ave., 602-354-3846, Early risers can toggle between Scramble (9832 N. Seventh St., 602-374-2294, and Grinders Coffee Company (17 E. Dunlap Ave., 602-678-0078,

“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future,” physicist Niels Bohr said. Obviously, he didn’t know about the Apple facility dropping into East Mesa, the light rail fast-tracking farther into west Phoenix, or the quantum construction leaps in South Scottsdale. And he certainly didn’t know about robotic valet.

But we do, which is why we’re boldly forecasting Phoenix’s most fetching neighborhoods of the future – including some unexpected up-and-comers.


Why It Will Be Hot: Next-gen biz, Gen X aesthetic appeal
For years, innovation hub SkySong – and its South Scottsdale surrounds – were growing at the speed of dial-up. Now, they’ve gone broadband. About 90 percent leased with cutting-edge companies like Theranos and Pyxl, SkySong recently debuted sleek apartments and a third office building. In 2016, they’ll open a fourth tower, plus 12,000 feet for retail and three restaurants. But across the street, Papago Plaza is the Woody to SkySong’s Buzz Lightyear. That may change soon: The center is in escrow, and rumor has it the new owners may give it a 21st-century makeover.

“I understand they are renovating it, but keeping the good tenants, like Papago Brewing,” says Megan Berry of The Investor Hub, a firm that guides clients to investment opportunities in emerging neighborhoods.

To the south, car dealerships are vamoosing. One is transforming into Las Aguas apartments; another now houses landscape design company Berghoff Design Group. Jeff Berghoff sees a sea change coming to SoSco: “I think it’s going to turn into this cool, hipster area [with] a young urban vibe [for] millennials or 20-somethings, 30-somethings that want to have a family.” He touts the area’s mid-century modern homes, especially in the Hy-View neighborhood, as being ripe for design-minded Gen Xers.

Local Attractions: Bike along the Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt (, which unfurls for 11 miles, then sip a cold one at Fate Brewing, slated to open this summer in a beer-barrel-inspired building (1312 N. Scottsdale Rd., 480-994-1275,


Scottsdale Airpark “Edge City”
Why It Will Be Hot: Two words: robot valets
You pull into the garage at the Sterling Collection at Silverleaf, a stunning community of Euro-condos with views of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. You ease your Lexus hybrid onto a steel tray and stroll to your private elevator that opens into your penthouse, leaving omni-directional, battery-powered robots to park your car for you. When you require it again, just press a button, and your vehicle manifests in minutes. We present: robotic valet.

This futuristic community will also boast LEED silver-certified features, plus wall-mounted iPads that control audio, video, lighting, climate and security remotely from wherever you are. It’s slated to open in 2016, with prices starting at just over $1 million. If sustainability appeals but seven figures don’t, look down the street to Scottsdale Airpark, where the city recently approved the smart-growth-minded Bahia Live, Work, Play project. Featuring townhomes above offices, retail and restaurants, Bahia is designed to minimize CO2- and stress-producing commutes. It’s all part of a spur in development that’s transforming the Airpark area into the kind of “edge city” theorized by critic Joel Garreau, with business, shopping and entertainment outside a traditional downtown.

Local Attractions: The Sterling Collection will neighbor the restaurants and shops in Market Street at DC Ranch (, while Bahia will be close to Scottsdale Quarter ( and Kierland Commons (


Why It Will Be Hot: Artsy appeal, campus expansions
The statue of a phoenix at Roosevelt and 13th streets proclaims “Garfield Rising.” Hey, if it happened at Willo and Coronado, why not here? Parts of this ’hood are about as attractive as a bowl of hair. But one also sees flashes of bright plumage like artsy Alwun House, Welcome Diner and Co+Hoots coworking space. And thanks to its proximity to Downtown, “the Eastlake-Garfield neighborhoods are nicely situated for becoming cool,” says Reinvent PHX’s Katherine Coles.

Reinvent PHX’s plan for this district includes splashing colorful paint and murals on buildings, planting trees, developing mixed-use and student housing, cultivating a corner grocery store, and revamping vacant buildings at Verde Park. Meanwhile, two upscale apartment complexes – 11 Capital Place and 12 Capital Place – are expected to debut soon. In the next two years, a flock of job-creating developments in the area – ASU’s Arizona Center for Law and Society, U of A’s Cancer Center and Biosciences Partnership Building – could finally help Garfield take off. It’s a long-term investment, but a sound one.

Local Attractions: Mother Bunch Brewing (825 N. Seventh St., 602-368-3580, slings local ales, while the Black Theatre Troupe (1333 E. Washington St., 602-258-8128, presents groundbreaking plays that spotlight the African-American experience.


PHM0815BP05The Triangle
Why It Will Be Hot: Hip futuristic housing, cool cafes
You don’t need a trigonometry degree to calculate a 180-degree transformation for this urban pocket bounded by Roosevelt Street, Grand Avenue and Seventh Avenue. “Though it still faces challenges now, there is a lot going on there, and it is close to everything,” says Tim Eigo, Downtown Voices Coalition chair. “By 2020, watch out!”

The hip hypotenuse, Grand Avenue, got spruced up with green bike lanes and Grid Bike Share 3-speeders. But it’s the Containers on Grand apartments that have locals talking. Fashioned from land-and-sea shipping containers, these edgy studios will be anything but square. Meanwhile, Eighth Avenue is getting exponentially classier: White Stone Studios’ Danish-style domiciles were recently featured in Dwell magazine, and the upcoming Center 8 Townhomes promise to bring two words never associated with Downtown: “timeless elegance.” On Roosevelt, serial adaptive reuser Ashley Harder is converting the vacant Carline Center into professional suites, while Walter Studios’ Kirk Strawn is angling to turn a building into an Arts and Crafts bungalow for community space.

Local Attractions: ThirdSpace (1028 Grand Ave., 602-258-1536) is a funky cafe-bar hosting events six nights a week. Adjacent cottages meet your caffeine, hairstyling and sartorial needs.


PHM0815BP06Tempe Lakeside
Why It Will Be Hot: Luxury lakeside living, new streetcar
“Tempe is a really strong leader – definitely in the Valley, if not in the whole state – in moving toward sustainable urban planning development,” says Aaron Golub, associate professor of urban planning and sustainability at ASU. “The downtown and expanding lakeside areas where the streetcar will go [in 2016] will be really interesting, very urban places in 20 years.”

Glassy towers and scaffolding are already rising like sails along the lakefront. VELA at Town Lake will bring 290 luxury apartments to the north bank in 2016. Apartment complex SALT, also slated for 2016, will feature a spa, yoga lawn and poolside cabanas. The following year, 2-million-square-foot Marina Heights will become the largest office and retail space ever built in Arizona. And the area will get another facelift when ASU completes its Sun Devil Stadium revamp in 2017.

Local Attractions: Wrangle up craft beer and cornhole at barn-size Culinary Dropout (149 S. Farmer Ave., 480-240-1601, Watch comedy and concerts at Tempe Center for the Arts (700 W. Rio Salado Pkwy., 480-350-2829,


PHM0815BP07Central City South
Why It Will Be Hot: Proximity to Downtown + dirt-cheap land = inevitable gentrification
Driving south of the tracks, you feel like Chevy Chase making a wrong turn in Vacation. Then, all of a sudden, a Walley World oasis: the Symphony Apartments ( and Matthew Henson Apartments ( If you didn’t know you were in south Phoenix, you’d think you were in North Scottsdale.

Granted, designating Central City South as a hot neighborhood takes a leap of faith, but these mixed-income communities are bellwethers of burgeoning hotness in the barrio. Expanding health care companies including WebPT and the Scheduling Institute will lure professionals to the warehouse district. And as housing prices inflate Downtown, entry-level homebuyers will seek solace in SoPho. “There are still a lot of cute, historic homes and lots,” realtor Melissa Sharpe says. “Then there are large lots and blocks being razed of their old ratty buildings to make way for new buildings. With the universities, med schools and government offices Downtown, there should be a lot of demand for these once-blighted areas.”

Local Attractions: We named Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles (1220 S. Central Ave., 602-340-1304, one of Arizona’s 50 best restaurants, while The Duce (525 S. Central Ave., 602-866-3823, is our go-to for classic cocktails and boxing classes.


Silk Stocking
Why It Will Be Hot: The Row, the bungalows  
When this central Chandler neighborhood was built in the 1920s, folks had a saying: “Anyone who can shell out $3K for one of these homes can afford to buy his wife silk stockings.” These days, the area has a runner in its pantyhose, despite earning a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.

But that could change soon with the December 2015 arrival of The Row, a mixed-use complex helmed by Arizona’s first Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. This Austin institution isn’t your typical theater-bar-restaurant. Wired magazine called it “the coolest theater in the world” thanks to shindigs like a Bridesmaids Champagne Party and Quote-Along. The Row will shift gentrification north from Chandler’s hip-historic downtown, and it’s only a matter of time before this nearby neighborhood of Craftsman bungalows, early Ranch-style homes, and Spanish Colonial Revivals is as neat as a new pair of nylons.

Local Attractions: Chill with a cold brew at Peixoto Coffee (11 W. Boston St., 480-275-2843, or savor a Zen Bowl in the misted breezeway at the Original ChopShop Co. (35 W. Boston St., 480-426-0216,


PHM0815BP08Mesa Eastmark
Why It Will Be Hot: Perfect for breeding tech pros
It’ll be like Mayberry meets The Jetsons. Kids pedaling their custom orange Eastmark cruisers from Ampere Avenue to Curie Way. Couples meeting for a drink in Selenium Park after a hard day working at Apple. This is the future of the master-planned community. “It sounds traditional, but it’s really innovative in the way it’s being executed,” says Cassidy Campana, Eastmark’s director of public affairs. “It really does have a cutting-edge feel to it because [neighbors are] so connected socially, personally and online.”

A new worldwide Apple Inc. headquarters is coming in 2016 or 2017, bringing jobs and possibly copycat tech companies. The area already houses Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, AZ Labs and ASU Polytechnic. Two high-performing charters within Eastmark, BASIS school and Sequoia Pathfinder Academy, will be joined this fall by Gateway Polytechnic Academy. In the coming years, new homes will mushroom around the community, which will feature a 55-plus district and 40 acres of parks, plus commercial, retail and entertainment hubs.

Local Attractions: Let the kids burn off energy at AZ Grind Skatepark (8743 E. Pecos Rd., 480-888-0499, or Club Dance Studio (8743 E. Pecos Rd., 480-888-2342,


PHM0815BP09Victory at Verrado
Why It Will Be Hot: Working vineyard, Boomer-tailored
We love the smell of grapevines in the morning. It smells like... Victory. Yes, this in-the-works Buckeye district will have a working vineyard where residents can enjoy first-crush parties and wine-making classes. This isn’t your grandma’s retirement community. Forget shuffleboard, tapioca and cookie-cutter homes. Victory is tailored to the modern Boomer. That means wood-fired pizza, revolving craft beers, cooking classes, paint nights, Spanish lessons and Zumba. Hiking and biking trails will thread through the property. Weightlifting machines will overlook the White Tank Mountains. Homes are being designed by multiple architects offering diverse styles. And the Tom Lehman 18-hole course’s looped layout will give golfers the opportunity to guiltlessly play five, six or 12 holes. So you can cart back to the Vic Clubhouse in time to sip cocktails and watch the sun melt behind Tiger Mountain.

Some of the planned 3,500 homes are complete, and the first residents may move in this summer. The Vic Clubhouse is slated to open in December, and the golf course should be swingin’ in 2016.

Local Attractions: The Ciao Grazie Pizzeria Winebar (21051 W. Main St., 623-853-1717, and Verrado Coffee Company (1829 N. Verrado Way, 623-215-6000, both keep Verrado’s West Valley colonists in their cups.


Bonus: Top 5 New Home Developments
These in-the-works master-planned communities will be humming in 2020.

1. Queen Creek Station: This Fulton Homes community is well-positioned to service the roughly 50 percent 10-year population rise predicted for the QC, with homes in the $200s and the company's first at-home refueling stations for natural gas vehicles.

2. Vistancia: Located in booming Peoria, this mega-community in the northwest Valley has reaped the fruits of Loop 303, with homebuyers filling 14 new neighborhoods, including a singles-oriented loft plan from Mattamy Homes.

3. Adero Canyon: Want a hot inside tip? Luxury builder Toll Brothers recently broke ground on a new 431-acre development on the pristine western edge of Fountain Hills. The 61 semi-custom homes will have access to McDowell Mountain bike trails.   

4. Sun Valley Parkway: You thought Verrado was the edge of civilization? Not for long. Built for a failed development in the 1980s, this 30-mile road west of the White Tank Mountains may yet hum with commuters. It runs through a long-delayed development called Tartesso.

5. Hidden Rock at Cave Creek: For an upscale desert living fantasy, you won’t do much better than this 60-home development near Black Mountain, with its sleek, Wright-esque, live-work elegance. The Phase I floorplans are just coming online.