New apartment buildings breathe new life into old street

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- There was groundbreaking Friday on a new development in the heart of downtown Phoenix. An apartment complex will fill a vacant lot that has been an eyesore for years. It sits at Roosevelt and Third streets and it will become a new living and retail space, if all goes according to plan.
“This area used to be really rough 10 years ago,” T.J. Jordan said. “With Carly's being here, we moved in across the street. There was nothing. This was like an empty office building.”

Inside Revolver Records on Roosevelt and Second streets, Jordan spins all kinds of music along with a tale of a community on the comeback.

“The businesses that thrive are the small mom-and-pop businesses,” he said.

This area is called Roosevelt Row. It is home to the popular First Fridays along with a lot of entrepreneurs like Carly Logan, who owns a wine bar and restaurant with her name. But there are still empty lots and breaks in the fabric of this neighborhood.

“I've lived in the downtown community for 15 years and it's been a dirt lot for that long,” Logan said.

It looks like something was on the lot at one point, but nobody can remember what it was. On a windy day such as Friday, all it produces is dust. Business owners hope the apartments get built and they bring people.

“If we're going to be a truly successful downtown, we need not just office buildings,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “Sporting facilities, arts centers, we need it to be a great neighborhood and neighborhoods need people."

Stanton said the city of Phoenix, Arizona State University and private developers will bring the mix of apartments and businesses to life.

“More retail, more housing is always needed especially in the downtown area,” Logan said.

For their part, Logan and Jordan support any plan that puts more feet on their street.

“Each place that is added, adds to the vibrancy of this neighborhood,” Jordan said. 

There will be two buildings containing about 325 apartments and 50,000 square feet of retail space.  They expect to open next summer.