Talks of a Discovery Triangle have been swirling around for a while now, but a lot of solid information about the project is still pretty hard to come by. One thing is for sure, there are some pretty impressive names making waves in the corridor, wherever that may be.
I am not yet sure how to define exactly what this “Discovery Triangle” is, but the thought of re-developing many of the areas in discussion, the infill planning, and the tie-in to a “transportation corridor” certainly have piqued the interest of many.
“The Discovery Triangle is a movement for fostering an urban lifestyle that integrates education, economic prosperity, recreation and a celebration of Arizona.” – Phoenix Community Alliance
A sample of some of the people involved are:
Don Keuth – Phoenix Community Alliance. Believe me, this guy knows what’s happening in the commercial and business communities downtown.
Marty Shultz – Pinnacle West. Now retired, Marty has a pretty impressive resume’ and has some great ties to the business community.
Michael Crow – Arizona State University. Crow has turned a lot of heads since taking the helm at ASU. If this group can pull this project off, many more heads are sure to turn.
Charlie Meyer Tempe city manager – Tempe City Manager. Charlie has been given a lot of praise lately for his work as City Manager. This could be a great way for “competing” cities to work together in order to benefit many.
The original areas of discussion for the Discovery Triangle have focused on:
Basically, the triangle goes from downtown Phoenix and the biomedical district to the west. It spans from Sky Harbor Airport to Papago Park at the northeast and to Arizona State University’s Tempe campus to the southeast. Just about any article published about the triangle mentions the fact that light rail has done a great job in fueling development interest in some of these areas. Transportation systems between these communities are often touted as helping to create viable urban development.
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about Scottsdale’s relationship within the triangle and possibly stretching it east of the Papago Park area to SkySong. The thought is to bring even more of the tech-student-business community into play. That vote is later today. It should be interesting, as Scottsdale had opted not to participate in the past. Funny, Scottsdale seems to have a history of that kind of vote.
Talks of revitalizing areas by creating identities, redevelopment plans, and future prosperity for the region might sound like pipe dreams to some, but it will likely continue to be very well received by others. “Discovery Triangle plan focuses on urban core” is a recent AZCentral article by Catherine Reagor where she talks about many of the plans for the area.
If you have paid attention to the areas along the light rail line between downtown Phoenix and downtown Tempe, you have probably noticed the potential for future improvements. If you look at a map showing condos or single family homes within 1/2 mile of the light rail line, you will see there is currently very little activity east of about 12th street and west of the Mill Avenue bridge. Why? There simply is not much of a residential component along this area which is inside the Triangle. There is commercial interest along the Washington corridor on the southern edges of the Discovery Triangle, however, as the Sky Train project gets closer to completion, and rumors continue to swirl about Greyhound Park and other large developments.
Another recent article touted the Discovery Triangle as having “the potential to become one of the most sustainable regions in the U.S. and a model for sustainable desert urbanism”. That’s a pretty bold statement which was followed up by mentioning the many great ways to get around the Triangle via easy freeway access, light rail, pedestrian, canal and bike paths. Heck, there was even talk of reducing dependence of cars in Arizona. Seriously.
So, what do you think? Can an area consisting of many empty buildings, vacant land, and some neighborhoods that many consider less than desirable be transformed into a nationally recognized urban success story? The smart money appears to think so…