Like hanging on to an old dress in case it's ever back in style, we keep returning to downtown Phoenix. Giving up on the old place seems a horrible admission that this city really doesn't have a soul. One city council after another has promised a lively downtown, as young folks got middle-aged waiting. Yet, we kept returning, sure that someday, the dreary spot would be fashionable.

Well, send that rag out to the cleaners. There are lots of promising signs that downtown is back in style. There's the amazing news that Square One--around so long it seems like an antique--is actually ready to break ground. Wait till you read what the Mexican marketplace called The Mercado has in store. (Add those bright spots, profiled in the following stories, to other signs of life south of McDowell: Four new office high-rises are being built in the heart of downtown; Patriots Square is finally done and, although arguably an eyesore, is packed at lunchtime; the long-awaited Herberger Theater Center is scheduled to open this fall.)

But, of course, all is not rosy. As these stories note, the Solar Oasis project still has a long way to go; Central Avenue may never be the showcase street it should be, and downtown housing is pretty chancy stuff.

But hell, put the old frock on and strut downtown.


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