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June 20, 2016

State of Downtown in great shape
By Mayor Jay Tibshraeny
I often liken the electricity of today’s downtown atmosphere, with the thrill I felt as a young boy spending time here. While they are much different in character, the enjoyment and the experience is something special that remains true. And now, when I look ahead to how much more potential we have – how many more opportunities await – well, it is exciting.
Let’s begin with the San Marcos Resort. Since the new ownership arrived in 2013, great things have been happening. Room nights are up 22 percent – surpassing the 10,000-room-night milestone. And food and beverage sales have increased nearly 50 percent. On a side note, City tax revenues from the downtown area increased more than 11 percent this past year alone.
Those who want to make their stay a little more permanent are looking to the Alta Steelyard Lofts. I looked at the numbers and they are impressive as well. More than 50 percent of the 300-plus units are already leased out. The average household income of those renters tops $85,000 a year, and more than 70 percent are college graduates. Those are terrific demographics that will serve our downtown well from both a purchasing-power standpoint, but also in terms of quality employment.
The past year was also a good one for foodies as we welcomed a number of great new restaurants to downtown including: Crust, 55 Chicago, Sammies, The Ostrich, The Brickyard and Crisp Greens. And we have many more on the way including La Bocca and Modern Margarita in the former Coach and Willie’s space.
It’s not just restaurants who understand the dynamic nature of our core. Other business opening in the downtown include: The Commit Agency, Sandoval Design, Quad Mark and ZonaPrint. And, we anticipate several new businesses opening this fall as well.
TechShop continues to be a big part of this success as it is stimulating the maker community with more than 50 businesses utilizing its space for the manufacturing of everything from laser art to telescopes to solar powered ice cream carts. Really.
This past year, Council approved the development agreements on both sites 3 and 6. Ryan Companies will build a 169,000-square-foot office development across from City Hall on site 6 that will include a new parking garage; while we are looking at 60,000-square-feet of additional entertainment and retail space on site 3.
And finally, I want you to know that the City, understanding the importance of this area, continues to do its part. We partnered with the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership (DCCP) on the new Downtown Stage – another destination driver to bring people here.
We recently began our new parking program to assist visitors in finding the free parking available at the three garages east of Arizona Avenue. We completed a number of infrastructure projects for wet utilities, and plan to underground some electrical lines in part of downtown this summer. Future plans call for the punch through of Dakota Street; as well as significant upgrades to Arizona Avenue from Frye south to Pecos. Those will follow in the step of the improvements between Frye and Chandler Boulevard that we completed a few years back. So, I hope it is evident that we share the vision for this dynamic downtown.
This special, high-octane place that continues to excite not just those who live and work here, but also the thousands who come to visit week-in and week-out. I want to again thank all the stakeholders for their hard work, investment and continued commitment to the heart of our community.