Longform

Phoenix Interrupted: Downtown’s Full of Gleaming Progress Surrounded by Vacant Lots – Now What?

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And what I heard next deflated me even more.

Not only does the city own the parcel in question, it owns the lot next to it. And the lot next to that. Five lots in total, which basically create a wasteland that (considering the city's current troubles) isn't going to put to a permanent use anytime soon.

Jason Harris, a deputy director for the city's downtown development effort, has been working on the beautification project with neighborhood groups. He tells me that the five city lots in question will be part of Phoenix's biomedical campus. While in the short term they may be used for parking or special events, we're looking at a significant amount of time before they're needed for their ultimate purpose.

It might be, he suggests, 15 to 30 years.

I think about how close Phoenix seems — and yet how far away it just might be. I think about the Chateaux, waiting for someone, anyone, to move in. I think about how old I'll be in 30 years.

By the time downtown fully comes together, I could be a grandma.

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Sarah Fenske
Contact: Sarah Fenske