[Source: Si Robins, Downtown Phoenix Journal] — The intersection of 7th Avenue and McDowell has long been overlooked. Before SideBar, Pei Wei, and Starbucks moved onto the southwest corner of the intersection, it was an all-but-forgotten red light stop — abandoned antique shops, boarded storefronts, and a gas station. So many ventures have come and gone on the corner that even the real estate boom of the early 2000s couldn’t lift it out of its hole. But, things are turning around.
Whether or not you’re ready to admit it, the corner is quietly becoming an important gateway to Downtown from Midtown neighborhoods and points west. Those invested in the corner couldn’t agree more. “There are great neighborhoods around it — they’re diverse; they’ve been here forever,” says Josh Parry, co-owner of SideBar, which just celebrated its first anniversary. “We’ve got walk-up traffic and a really diverse group of people. This corner has amazing potential. It’s got everything going for it, but it’s just been ignored by everyone for so long.”
Mike Hogarty, a partner at Desert Viking, the development company rehabbing the southeast corner of the intersection, concurs. “It’s the four corners of the historic neighborhoods (Willo, F.Q. Story, Roosevelt and Encanto-Palmcroft),” Hogarty says. “It’s always been a good corner; it’s just been poorly served recently, and it’s time to change that.” [Note: To read the full article, visit 7th Ave. and McDowell: the gateway to downtown Phoenix.]