Downtown Phoenix finally finding its groove

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by Carey Peña

Bio | Email | Follow: @careypenatv

azfamily.com

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 6 at 5:00 PM

PHOENIX -- "It's just like New York. I didn't know we had anything like this in Phoenix."

People say that all the time when they see Wayne Rainey's chic downtown building called MonOrchid.

It's not your average office space. The building, with its sweeping walls and wide open spaces, is filled with paintings and photography, artists and architects. It is also filled with vision. 

Rainey isn't your average 9-to-5 type of guy.

For Rainey, this was a dream: Bringing all of these creative people together and helping to cultivate an arts scene in downtown Phoenix.

He bought the building on Roosevelt Row at the turn of the century. It was a risk. Rainey rolled the dice and invested in a downtown that many said felt more like a ghost town.

It was only recently that things on the row started to boom.

"Just a few years ago this was a sketchy part of the neighborhood," Rainey said.

Now, every first Friday of the month, hundreds of people come from all over. Art galleries, restaurants and shops stay open late. It is the happening place to be.

"I just enjoy the art scene downtown Phoenix -- I like the energy, I like the people," one man told us while passing by.

Rainey, himself a photographer, has been waiting for this boom for a long time.  

"Phoenix has finally reached the tipping point where it finds its urban identity," Rainey said, confident that downtown Phoenix has (finally) arrived.

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