The effects of light rail construction have been widely reported. Some business owners chose (or were forced) to give up, others chose to hang in there and yet others are just beginning to invest in the interesting, dynamic and ever changing areas located along Arizona’s 20 mile light rail route.
At RailLife.com, we want to wish each and every one of the (approximately) 3000 business owners located along the line a very Happy Labor Day! I want to point out two guys that really “get it” when it comes to looking at this project and understanding the future of light rail in Arizona.
1.) Julian Wright, founder and ceo of La Bocca Pizzeria and Wine Bar in Tempe. My wife and I met Julian recently and had an opportunity to discuss their menu, (it rocks) their wine and the location of their restaurant. You may have seen Julian in the paper recently as he has been quoted often. I was impressed, not only with the restaurants he owns but with his vision for downtown Tempe. We discussed the Mill Avenue District and the changes coming to the area. Of course, we discussed the fact that light rail crosses Mill Avenue just a few blocks north of La Bocca. I believe light rail will further enhance Mill Avenues ability to be a destination for locals and for tourists.
2.) Tim Wedlake, owner of the Light Rail Cafe in Phoenix. I met Tim at his restaurant and discussed the location and name of his business. Talk about understanding the future potential of this project, this guy gets it! Yes, construction along Central Avenue was brutal to many business owners but Tim embraced the challenge and is doing a fine job with the people in mid-town. Light Rail Cafe does a good job feeding some of the many business people near by and probably gets some traffic from the Hilton Garden Inn which also serves the area. Once the line opens, it will allow many of the people that work near by to ride light rail to lunch at restaurants near stops instead of having to drive their cars. This will open up a whole new market for downtown employees and for business owners.
I hope everyone has a great Labor Day today. Please continue to support the restaurants along the line!