So, the big grand opening at the new CityScape CVS Pharmacy was this week and a whole slew of paparazzi, politicians and local folk gathered to celebrate the occasion. It was interesting to talk with some of the people that came to the opening. For the politicians and super-cool movers and shakers it seemed to have the air of “look what we are doing” down here. For that, I wasn’t all that impressed.
What I did find cool was speaking with a retired couple that actually LIVES downtown at the nearby 44 Monroe building. The excitement from them was really pretty cool. Having met them at a few other downtown events, I have had a chance to talk with them about the area in the past – it was interesting to hear how much they appreciate being able to walk to a “grocery” store. We spoke about the area bringing new changes and about how they sometimes feel a need to “justify” their decision to friends when talking about why they choose to live downtown.
For sure, not everyone is a huge fan of CityScape and that’s ok. If Phoenix is going to be a “big city,” they will need a mix of local, national and international business thriving together in a cohesive manner. One man’s idea of greatness certainly won’t be the same as everyone else’s.
To me, a drugstore / grocery store / any type of store does not make a successful project. The fact that CityScape is bringing in a bowling alley, a bunch of new restaurants, a bunch of commercial space and more doesn’t exactly give the project instant supah stah status. Time will tell if it will change downtown, not my opinion or the opinion of just a few people. The area has long been associated with a “chicken or the egg” syndrome of there is nothing going on, because there are not enough people. There are not enough people, because there is nothing going on, etc.
The location of CityScape is hard to beat for this type of project. In fact, I have had a chance to speak with people from RED Development in the past (CityScape developer), and the proximity to multiple light rail stations is something they are pretty excited about. Creating an urban lifestyle in the heart of downtown Phoenix isn’t without challenges, but it is something that continues to evolve with each new drug store, cool coffee shop, awesome public market, and yes, high rise building. Convenience and ease of use for people coming and going to CityScape should play a big part in their future success. The restaurant crowds, the sporting crowds, the nearby stadiums, convention business, and even the fact that people working at CityScape can choose to live along the line for easy commuting, all played an integral role in moving forward with a project of this size.
So, now there is a drug store. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next…