The city has come a long way from being the poster child for urban sprawl.
“We are the fastest growing city post-World War II, but most of that growth has occurred in a sprawl-like setting,” Stanton said when we sat down with him at DeSoto Central Market, an adaptive reuse project in the heart of downtown. It’s the same place he held his victory party when he was re-elected as mayor this fall.
Before the recession hit, he said, the city had made some strategic investments in revitalizing downtown. In 2005, construction of the light rail got under way and the City had struck a deal with ASU President Michael Crow to build a downtown campus for the university.
But it wasn’t until after the recession that the people started to come, Stanton said.
Now that the economy is improving and more people are turning toward an urban lifestyle, “You’re seeing it!” he said.
He says, we’re right in the middle of the city’s maturation process now – and developers like him are getting to shape its future.
Housing is key.
Sprague said he crunched the numbers and found there are just fewer than 6,000 people living within a half-mile radius of his development now. But, that number is likely to double in the next two years with the housing being built in there now, he said.