photos courtesy City of Mesa; J2 Engineering & Environmental Design; Angelina Aragon

Land Zo! – (Not Just) Phoenix Rising

Written by Lauren Loftus Category: Valley News Issue: May 2018
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Downtown Phoenix gets all the attention, but these three Valley suburbs are also jumping on the downtown revitalization trend.

MESA
“In five years you’ll see noticeable differences,” says Jeffrey McVay, Mesa’s manager of downtown transformation.

The East Valley city’s renaissance is kicking off with the Valley Metro light rail expansion on Main Street from Mesa Drive to Gilbert Road, plus several large-scale projects expected to break ground by 2019: The Grid (rendering above), a $59 million development with 300 apartments and 18,000 square feet of retail, office and restaurant space; 200 more apartments and retail space at Country Club Drive and Main Street called the Residences on Main; and a new FOUND:RE arts-themed hotel with luxury apartments.
Marilyn Hawkes

CHANDLER
As part of a revitalization effort, downtown Chandler got a facelift this year. The alteration included transforming an old lateral ditch on Commonwealth Avenue into an artsy pedestrian pathway beside the historic Hotel San Carlos (walkway rendering above) at Chandler Boulevard and Arizona Avenue.

“We wanted to activate the downtown space,” says Chandler’s downtown redevelopment manager Kim Moyers.

Moving in are new restaurants (including Hidden House, across from the canal), retail and mixed-used development, as well as 1,000 additional living spaces beginning this spring.
Jackie Dishner

GLENDALE
Last summer, Glendale hired its first director of downtown development. Katy Engels is now nearly a year into her five-year contract with the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, aiming to work with local businesses to create a redevelopment plan to move in a more modern direction.

In July, councilmembers approved a resolution designating Glendale Avenue from 43rd to 61st avenues an “entertainment district,” making it easier for businesses to obtain liquor licenses. But just a few months later, they ixnayed the planned light rail extension, so it remains to be seen just how booming this West Valley city will get.
Lauren Loftus

 

RUMOR RANCH
Mo Land, Mo Milk Money
Arizona is at it again – using state land to help buoy a flailing education system. This time, four undeveloped parcels of it – totaling nearly 400 acres –in North Scottsdale and North Phoenix are being auctioned off by late April in hopes of injecting $137 million into K-12 schools.

 

HOMESTAT
$67,853
Estimated monthly mortgage of an 18,900- square-foot, 10-bedroom Arcadia property currently listed on Zillow.com at $16,850,000 – the heftiest such price tag in the state. “Get pre-qualified,” the Zillow profile optimistically advises.
Source: Zillow

 

Adopt A Highway - What’s in a Name?
This past January, a portion of an Arizona highway went to a good home. Or, at least, a home. The 2-mile stretch along Interstate 10 near Casa Grande was officially adopted (essentially a two-year volunteer contract to clean up litter) by the Satanic Temple of Arizona – those nontheistic rabble-rousers who pull politically motivated stunts like suing the city of Scottsdale for religious discrimination. Members say this wasn’t a stunt, though– they just wanted to help clean up local roadways. With pitchforks.

Other odd parents from the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Adopt a Highway program roster:

Adopter: Squirrels
Adoptee: US-60, Mileposts 83-84

Adopter: ALMOST THERE
Adoptee: US-191, Mileposts 250-251

Adopter: CHAIN GANG
Adoptee: SR-77, Mileposts 76-77

Adopter: R U SERIOUS
Adoptee: I-40, Mileposts 173-175

Adopter: Psychedelic Mariachi
Adoptee: SR-89A, Mileposts 348-349

Adopter: SCARY LARRY
Adoptee: SR-89A, Mileposts 544-546