[Source: Betty Beard, Arizona Republic] — For all its looming high-rises and growth, downtown Phoenix hasn’t become so big that entrepreneurs feel squeezed out. In fact, owners of small businesses in and near downtown Phoenix see only opportunity in the urban professional workers; the growing nightlife; the expanding Arizona State University campus; and the tripling of the Phoenix Convention Center coupled with a new 1,000-room Sheraton hotel. They watch optimistically as new offices and residential and retail buildings are being constructed, and they’re especially eager for Saturday’s arrival of light rail.
Progress in downtown Phoenix is noticed, though some say it hasn’t come quickly enough. The area is not yet the vibrant, 24-hour urban core many expected. One big challenge is increasing pedestrian traffic because downtown Phoenix isn’t as compact as other downtowns in the Valley. Most small businesses are on the fringes of downtown, where owners still can find an old building with character that can be leased cheaply enough (maybe in the range of $15 to $18 a square foot) to allow the property to become profitable. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]
Editor’s Note: Downtown Voices Coalition has long called for investment in and promotion of Phoenix’s locally owned businesses. Summary recommendations from the 2004 “Downtown Voices: Creating a Sustainable Downtown” report are highlighted below. To review the full report, click here.