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8 April 21 – May 4, 2012 Downtown FROM PAGE 1


around,” Killgore says. “It takes layers of different places – places to work, shop, eat, play, live – to make an area attractive and vibrant. We’ve been working on filling in those elements and are always looking for ways to increase amenities and offerings.” The focus now shifts to turning the

area’s remaining empty spaces into commercial properties and readying them for business use. “We need to get those dirt lots built

YEEHAW: A cowboy restaurant is coming this fall west of Urban Tea Loft, in the former Art on Boston Gallery space on Boston Street. STSN photo

Recent additions such as The

DC Steakhouse and Planet Sub join perennial favorites di Sciacca Glass, Irish Republic and the SanTan Brewing Company in keeping the downtown area bustling. Coming attractions include Covo Café, Peter Sciacca’s entry into a wine and coffee restaurant formerly called KofiVino, under construction at 55 W. Chicago; and an upscale western restaurant with live music on the weekends going into the former Art on Boston space at 11 W. Boston, which Killgore says the owners recently pulled liquor and building permits and are looking at a fall opening. Rounding out the mix are services

covering everything from sewing lessons to pedicures, and Arizona’s first golf resort, the Crowne Plaza San Marcos. Construction is underway for Arizona

State University Chandler Innovation Center, an engineering and technology hub located on Chandler’s former public works yard on Chicago Street. “We want downtown Chandler to

be diverse,” Killgore reports. “We’re constantly seeking ways to offer more options and choices to our visitors.”

Layered approach Downtown Chandler’s recent success,

according to city officials, has been years in the making rather than an overnight sensation. It’s taken planning, time and money to install the city office plaza, reroute streets to encourage pedestrian traffic and remodel older structures to house new enterprises. The city is now reaping the rewards of those efforts. “With redevelopment, there is no one big project that turns everything

out,” explains Killgore. “If you see a dirt lot downtown, there’s a 95% chance the City owns it and we’re working with our business partners to develop them as soon as possible.” There is also an emphasis on designing buildings to be more retail friendly to help balance out downtown’s heavy concentration of bars and restaurants. “Many of the existing buildings are long and skinny and better suited for restaurant use than for shops or boutiques,” Killgore notes. “We have drawings on the board for spaces that are retail-scale.”

Valet parking experiment Downtown Chandler has become

an entertainment hotspot due to its extensive variety of places to eat, drink and party. The recent addition of a 30-day valet parking experiment has increased the area’s popularity even more, taking the hassle out of enjoying an evening out. “Downtown Chandler parking is

scattered and most of it is gravel lots which are not pleasant to park on,”

SATISFIED CUSTOMERS: DC Steakhouse owner Dean Laplant, here with wife Lorie, says diners are thrilled with downtown’s new temporary valet parking service. Less time spent looking for a parking spot helps patrons of the downtown area keep reservation times and arrive happy rather than frustrated, he says. STSN photo

says Dean Laplant, owner of The DC Steakhouse, who was instrumental in establishing valet parking downtown. “The breezeway to the lot closes early so people have to walk around the buildings to get to their cars. With the valet, customers can have

easy access to all the businesses.” The service costs $5 but is free with

validation from restaurants and retailers. “We have great feedback on the valet

service,” says Laplant. “Our customers are thrilled they don’t have to circle the area five times before they find

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