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Downtown Tempe is one of perhaps three truly urban centers in our Valley yet it remains , in our opinion, a bit undervalued. This week we asked azarchitecture contributor Taz Loomas to chime in on what makes it so great!:
Central Tempe… what a great place live! Tempe is quickly becoming one of the most urban places you can live in the Valley, thanks to its natural growth boundaries. Bounded by Phoenix to the west, Scottsdale to the north, Mesa to the east and Chandler to the south, the city has had no choice but to fill in vacant lots, become denser and even grow vertically.
Below are five reasons why Tempe is one of the most livable places in the Valley:
1. Urban Innovations
With Tempe’s urban growth boundaries setting the tone for infill development, no wonder the city is home to urban innovations like landscape architect Bill Tonnessen’s brilliant rehabs of midcentury apartment buildings, ground up infill housing by world-class architects like Will Bruder, and transit-oriented developments like Encore on Farmer by developers like Todd Marshall.
Dense student housing surrounding Arizona State University’s Tempe Campus by various well-known architects such as Gould Evans and Architekton also contribute to Tempe’s sexy and modern urban form.
2. Walkability, Bikeability and Transit
Central Tempe is one of the most walkable and bikeable areas in the region. Tempe received a Bike Score of 75 – Very Bikeable by WalkScore and was given a Silver Rating last year by the League of American Bicyclists. Along with having the most walkable street in the Valley – Mill Avenue – all this makes Tempe one of the most vibrant cities in the Valley. Plus, the Light Rail makes it easy for Tempe residents to connect to neighboring Phoenix and Mesa without having to get in their cars.
3. The Tempe Town Lake Recreation Corridor
The Tempe Town Lake is an amazing amenity within walking and biking distance to many inner Tempe neighborhoods. It is a great public space that hosts some very big events like Ironman Arizona, the Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade and the state’s largest Independence Day celebration. The park is also great for an everyday jog, bike-ride, walk or just hanging out with your family to enjoy some great Arizona weather, and the best part is its central location.
4. Awesome Neighborhoods
I love the neighborhoods in Central Tempe. They are of a mixed density, with multi-story multi-family housing mixed in with single family housing, making for an interesting combination of people and pace. The best part about central Tempe neighborhoods is that they are usually within walking or biking distance to a neighborhood pub – like Casey Moore’s – or a neighborhood coffee shop – like Cartel – or a neighborhood market – like Tempe Farmer’s Market.
5. The Upcoming Streetscape Improvement on University between Priest to Ash
Central Tempe is going to get even better thanks to the ongoing excellent work of Tempe transportation planner Eric Iwersen and his latest project – a streetscape improvement on University between Priest to Ash. According to Eric, the city is hoping “to shift this segment of roadway from being an auto-oriented mile to being more of a place – sustainable, accessible for all, slower, cooler (literally and metaphorically). We are proposing buffered bike lanes, medians with trees, pavers at intersections to enhance/highlight the pedestrian zones, and public art.” Sounds terrific!
As you can see, Tempe is integrating a great deal of urban innovation within its boundaries and to great effect, as it is becoming one of the most desirable places to live in the region for people who like the urban lifestyle.
If you’re looking to move to Tempe and become part of its urban scene, you’re in luck! Jarson & Jarson has a rich history of working with unique properties in Tempe. A beautiful unit in Skye 15 Lofts (formerly Tempe Urban Living designed by Architect by Ilan Baldinger/Baldinger Architects) is currently available as are a handful of other interesting properties. For more information, contact Jarson & Jarson.