[Source: Kevin Tripp/KTAR] — It’s hip, it’s hot, and it’s not a shopping mall — one uptown Phoenix neighborhood is bucking the recession. Right where the light rail line makes its turn at Central Avenue and Camelback Road, several new, locally-owned businesses are opening. Daniel Wayne is renovating a shop on Central, just south of Camelback. It will open next month as Lola Coffee. Wayne said the area has an important feature: “When I first came to look at this space, I walked in and I could look out on Central and the light rail went by. That helped me with my decision, it feels like a city.”
Just up Central, Postino Wine Cafe is brand new — and already packed. Partner Craig DeMarco thinks the neighborhood will be a prime location for years to come. “I think it’s going to be the hot spot of the whole Valley,” DeMarco said.
Wayne said light rail makes the area more pedestrian friendly. “That’s the vision, I think, of everyone around here — to be able to just enjoy your neighborhood… The goal in any city is to be pedestrian friendly and that’s what it’s coming to — where you can walk out of your place because there’s a lot of living space around here and be able to say, ‘Let’s go for coffee, let’s go for a drink, let’s go for dessert.'”
DeMarco agrees. “I think it (light rail) brought a lot more attention to the neighborhood. I’d been using it, so I was more familiar in noticing the great architecture and the great landscaping and just the great neighbors in general.”
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said 44 new businesses have opened up in central Phoenix because of light rail and that the space available signs are beginning to disappear. “If you take a look at the for rent or for sale signs along light rail, there’s very few now, and we’re starting to see smaller businesses,” said Gordon.
[Source: Alison Bailin] — Postino Central, which is on Central Avenue just north of Colter Street in uptown Phoenix, held a pre-grand opening fundraising celebration last Saturday, raising more than $11,000 for the nearby St. Francis Xavier Elementary School. Postino Central marks Postino Wine Cafe’s second Valley location, with the original location at 3939 E. Campbell Ave.
Nearly 200 guests attended, with nearly half arriving at the bike and pet-friendly restaurant on bicycles or on foot. The school is at 4715 N. Central Ave. Postino’s goal is to be an integral part of its community. Postino Central, for example, was given two beach cruisers — a black one for men and a pink one for women — by St. Francis supporters during the fundraiser to encourage members of the community to head to the restaurant and grab the bikes for a ride. “Both bikes will remain at Postino’s Central and will be available to all members of our new community,” said Postino co-owner Craig DeMarco. Postino Central will open to the public in coming weeks. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.