No finer place than downtown Chandler exists - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

No finer place than downtown Chandler exists

July 10th, 2018 SanTan Sun News
No finer place than downtown Chandler exists

By City of Chandler


“You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares. So go Downtown; things’ll be great when you’re Downtown; no finer place for sure. Downtown everything’s waiting for you.” – Petula Clark, singer

A group of downtown business owners, workers and residents took Petula Clark’s lyrics to heart recently, putting their cares aside to enjoy a free breakfast at Santan Brewing Company. The gathering was hosted by the city in appreciation for its patience during months of construction associated with various downtown improvements.

Included with the breakfast was a walking tour of recent downtown enhancements, including a new parking garage opening soon, the extension of Dakota Street south of Buffalo Street, and the reconstruction of Commonwealth Avenue and adjacent canal stretching between San Marcos Place and Dakota Street.

The extension of Dakota Street between Commonwealth Avenue and Buffalo adds another north-south arterial through the downtown, improving traffic circulation and adding connectivity for the various multifamily projects, including the recently opened Alta San Marcos and future DC Heights apartment project.

Improvements to Commonwealth Avenue and canal have been completed as well, bringing more walkability to downtown while introducing a historical look at Chandler’s canal system and its importance to the community’s early development.

“The canal is on the National Register of Historic Places,” explained Kim Moyers, Chandler’s downtown redevelopment manager. “Decades ago it was concrete, but over time the concrete broke down and it became a dirt ditch. We brought it back to what its original intent was.”

The canal has been placed back in a concrete channel and striking blue panels have replaced the overgrown oleander bushes bordering the canal along the south side of the Crowne Plaza San Marcos Resort. Interpretive signage and wall panels provide historical information and images from Chandler’s past. A new sidewalk alongside the canal stretches from San Marcos Place to Dakota Street, with an image of Dr. A.J. Chandler made from inlaid tiles prominently featured at the sidewalk’s terminus at Dakota Street.

A new 350-stall parking garage has been constructed on the northwest corner of Oregon and Buffalo streets, and the Overstreet development is going gangbusters at Buffalo and Arizona Avenue.

This 77,000 square-foot development will be anchored by Flix Brewhouse cinema, as well as two restaurants; Camp Social and Over Easy. The development also includes 17,000 square feet of office space, with more to follow in a second phase.

“What we’ve seen trending downtown is a place to live, work and play,” Moyers said. “We’re seeing an increase in densities through our multi-family developments, which are allowing people to live here. We have a plethora of restaurants, some old ones and some new ones, so it’s a place to be entertained. And we’re seeing office developments come in, like Spike Lawrence’s, that will allow people to work here.”

Developer Lawrence’s project, called New Square, will be built on the vacant lot located across Arizona Avenue from City Hall, north of Chicago Street.

“We need more office space in downtown,” Moyers said. “That is one of the critical pieces to this live-work-play environment. The first phase of the New Square project will build 47,000 square feet of office and about 9,000 square feet of retail space. Right behind that will be a 112-room hotel. The second phase will be another 70,000 to 110,000 square feet of office development.”

Accompanying the New Square project will be the construction by the city of a 930-stall parking garage directly west of the development, on the west side of Oregon Street. It is to be completed by late fall of 2019. The Chandler City Council on June 28 approved a $1.6 million design-build services contract with McCarthy Building Companies to design the garage and prepare the construction documents. Construction is slated to begin later this summer.

The Arizona Avenue enhancement project from Frye Road to Pecos Road is approximately 50 percent complete and will provide a “new front door” into the downtown and municipal corridor from the Santan Freeway. The $6.4 million project is installing new landscaping, wider sidewalks, raised medians, bike lanes, streetlights, monument signage and a new traffic signal at Fairview Street. The work is expected to be done later this fall.

“As we build out our downtown, we are beginning to see a push of new development south and we’ve seen a great deal of interest in those properties that are being sold and rehabbed into something different,” Moyers said. “Come next year, we’re going to have another slew of projects that are moving down south. So no longer will people think of our historic square as the downtown; it will be much broader and much wider.”

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