Opinion: Redevelopment could paint new look on downtown

Roosevelt Row has become a great place to visit either for an event or for a fun afternoon. (Photo by Shelby Slade)

Roosevelt Row has become a great place to visit either for an event or for a fun afternoon. (Photo by Shelby Slade)


I don’t always support real estate developers because I feel they often try and cut corners in order to get what they want.  But, in this instance, with the redevelopment and reimagining of Roosevelt and 2nd Street in Phoenix, I’ve kind of had a change of heart.

For many years Roosevelt Street had a bad rap because of the boarded-up buildings and poorly taken care of homes that were often are falling apart. For artists, these empty buildings so close to downtown were a great way to get an affordable studio and have space to display their art. Having art work displayed in museums can be pretty pricey for some, but having this art district downtown really helps out local artists display their work. Over the last few years, Roosevelt has seen crime diminish and a new light has been painted on this street.

That is where the Roosevelt redevelopment comes in. Through individual and city efforts, the area hopes to step away from their former stereotype and bring new fame to the area.  I can’t be any more excited.  I was one of those that felt I was in danger when walking down Roosevelt; not because anything ever happened to me on that street. I just felt like every other person here in Phoenix who thought that Roosevelt was a sketchy place to visit.  The broken down houses are kind of intimidating at times.  But, no need to worry, Roosevelt Row will be a great new place to hang out with friends any day of the week, thanks to Community Development Corporation for redeveloping Roosevelt, city redevelopment efforts and local business owners.

Around the revitalized area of Roosevelt Street there are many empty lots and empty houses. (Photo by Shelby Slade)

Around the revitalized area of Roosevelt Street there are many empty lots and empty houses. (Photo by Shelby Slade)

I’m excited to see how the street will look after the renewal of bungalows and the new infill projects. Also, the First Friday event has helped as well. It has brought so many people to Roosevelt, but this development won’t just keep them here one Friday a month.  Hopefully it’s an everyday thing.  It will definitely be great for business all around the area with the new flow of customers.

According to Becky Bartkowski from the Phoenix New Times, “Reasons for supporting the project included: the adaptive reuse of the Knipe House, increasing diversity by incorporating older people in the arts scene, and that the developer had taken community feedback and modified its original proposal.”  One part of the proposal it to bring senior citizens into the area.  The new housing developments would give seniors an opportunity to experience a new way of living.  This urban lifestyle will make transportation much easier since the housing projects will be close to public transportation. So, this redevelopment will not only benefit artists but senior citizens as well by bringing communities closer.

Bartkowski also gives the opposite views to this redevelopment project “Some reasons for opposing the project were that it wasn’t a good fit for the area, that residents 55 and older would not appreciate the activity and noise that come with First Friday.” But, if you think about it, many seniors don’t like the feeling of being isolated from everyone else.  After all, this housing is optional, so they don’t have to live there if they choose not to.

We’ll just have to see how this plays out, but I support a makeover for Roosevelt Street.  A new look to this part of downtown Phoenix will be good for all residents of the area.  This will not only benefit locals but attract more tourist to the Roosevelt District. The future of Phoenix looks very promising with this new development.  Roosevelt Row will bring people from around Arizona and from other states.  I believe this is what Phoenix needed in order to attract more tourists and bring in some extra income.


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