I read a really good article about downtown Mesa yesterday titled, “Our view: Arrival of colleges could transform downtown Mesa.” The article stated what I have been thinking / trying to say for a while now. It talked about how important these new colleges coming to Mesa could be for the transformation of the area.
“For a downtown corridor that some may see as nothing more than the Mormon Temple at one end, blight and closed businesses at the other end, and not too much in the middle — the prospect of residential colleges locating there is huge and welcome news.” East Valley Tribune via msnbc.com
The article points out the somewhat obvious fact that Mill Avenue and downtown Tempe would be very different without ASU and the students, employees and jobs brought to the area because of the college.
One thing that seems certain is the fact that these students are going to need places to live, work and play. Heck, they just might want to live close to campus and close to a light rail station, right? For now, the downtown Mesa area seems to be a bit more affordable than their neighbors to the west in Tempe. When someone calls and says they want to buy a house near ASU for “cheap”, they are often surprised at how few sub-$200k homes are actually located within close proximity to campus. In Mesa it might be a bit easier for now, but there is a limited supply and a demand that should increase as students begin descending on this part of town. We’ve heard that new housing options are coming, and that will be something of a necessity for the area.
With negotiations said to be in the works for yet another college, the area seems to be on the fast-track to breathing new life into an older area that many had written off as dead. The light rail line is sure to be a real asset to business owners, college students and a bunch of people in the area. Thousands more are soon to be “rockin’ the Rail Life!”
Towards the end of the article it says they hope mayor Smith gets re-elected this year. I’m willing to bet he does. Any takers?