Mesa Mayor John Giles Talks Downtown

Original Story via The Phoenix Business Journal We asked Mesa Mayor John Giles about the East Valley city’s downtown area, including its challenges and its opportunities. Here’s what we had to say:

What’s your top goal for downtown? To Make downtown Mesa the Valley’s next destination for shopping, dining and entertainment. Our downtown is authentic with 100-year-old buildings and a variety of independently owned restaurants, shops and galleries.

What is downtown’s biggest challenge? Keeping people down here once they visit. The Mesa Arts Center, museums and special events bring thousands of people to downtown each day, and we’ve found that they come for their event and then leave. We want to change that pattern to include shopping, eating and exploring all we have to offer.

What are the keys to downtown’s growth? There are three keys to downtown’s growth. Housing is important to create 24/7 activity and attract the amenities to support new downtown residents. Second, transit is attracting a log of attention in Mesa right now. The extension of light rail through our downtown has resulted in increased interest in properties along the route. The next extension to Gilbert Road will bring even more transit-oriented development opportunities. Third, creative place-making blends our identity as an authentic downtown with our emerging arts and culture scene while connecting people with places.