A Short History of Phoenix Urban Living
Today, urban living in Phoenix is HOT! But it was not always so.
Phoenix real estate has long had a reputation for little more than sub-urban sprawl and vast areas of wood framed homes wrapped in stucco and topped with clay tile roofs. There was very little in the way of vertical living or dense urban cores like that found in other major metropolitan areas.
Three high rise residential condo buildings, Executive Towers, Regency on Central (formerly Regency House) and Embassy were built in the 1960’s as apartments and later converted to condos. Phoenix Towers was built in the 1950’s as a co-op for which purpose it still servers today.
It wasn’t until 1990 that the first high rise building was constructed from the ground up in Phoenix to serve as condominiums. That building, Crystal Point, unfortunately was built during a boom/bust cycle and sales were slow for almost a decade. Now it is a vibrant and popular luxury urban high rise building known for its large open floor plans, fantastic views and more.
High Rise and Urban Lofts are Popular
Why? Because among other things they're more social, they're interesting, they're convenient and they're dynamic. Putting more people together in a smaller space results in synergy, change and competition. It’s dynamic.
Urban living is where it's at.
Competition for business is greater in urban cores, so they work harder to attract people. Restaurants, for example, have cooler decor, good service and great food or else they get crushed by the competition. Examples include Postinos on Central, Windsor, Federal Pizza, Klever Koi, Fez, Vig Uptown, Rokerij, Luci’s Market Place, Alexis, St Francis and The Yard… I could go on. These aren’t boring big box restaurants. No, in most cases they are small, unique concept restaurants that are thriving and in doing so encouraging other restauranteurs to join the fray. Central Corridor and the surrounding area is enjoying a restaurant BOOM right now with no end in sight.
Now take this same formula and apply it to mid-century lighting stores, coffee shops, bars, art galleries, furniture stores and knick knack shops then blend in light rail access and cheap(er) taxi / Uber rides, free bike and walking treks. Tie it all together with great architecture in the form of high rise condos, lofts, row homes and luxury condos and you have a kick ass place to live.
And yes, the trend is in its infancy with a lot more to come.
Downtown Phoenix Condos
Downtown Phoenix has enjoyed tremendous growth since the completion of light rail and ASU opening its Downtown Phoenix Campus.
Prior to those two events there was very little reason to visit downtown Phoenix except to catch a Suns or Diamondback game. But almost like flicking a switch, ASU and light rail brought life to the core.
People young and old now enjoy the wide range of restaurants, entertainment, sporting venues, theaters and just plain old waking around that the area offers.
Favorite urban communities like Portland Place, 44 Monroe and Summit at Copper Square will soon be joined by the new development Portland on the Park.
And like I’ve said before, more urban communities bring more people, which encourage and support more small businesses which attract more people and on and on and on. And with ASU in the mix churning more growth the area will just get better.
Midtown Phoenix Condos
Midtown Phoenix is defined by We Know Urban as the area running from Camelback Road to McDowell and from roughly 12th Street to 15th Avenue.
Midtown is not as dense or as clearly defined as other urban cores in the Valley, but it is home to some really great buildings like the high rise condo towers One Lexington, Crystal Point, Executive Towers, Regency on Central and Phoenix Towers as well as some very interesting smaller buildings like Beadle View, Artisan on Osborn and Mezzo.
We expect to see a flurry of construction in the area over the coming decade as available land in downtown Phoenix becomes harder and harder to find. Already, three new projects are breaking ground; ArtHaus, en Hance and Edison Midtown, with more sure to come.
Midtown benefits from its proximity to many of the great restaurants I mentioned above and with easy access to light rail, midtowners can easily enjoy amenities in downtown Phoenix and Tempe as well.
Camelback Corridor Condos
The Camelback Corridor runs from approximately 44th Street, west along Camelback Road, to about 12th Street. It also runs north and south from Camelback Road from about Bethany Home Road to about Osborn or so.
Some of the condo communities to the right do not fit exactly within these parameters but they fit better in Camelback Corridor than any other geographic category.
Camelback Corridor is largely defined by Biltmore Fashion Park and the intersection of 24th Street and Camelback. The area thrives with high rise condo buildings like Esplanade Place, 2211 Camelback, and Optima Biltmore as well as equally intriguing but less obvious developments like Galleries at Turney, the future Aura at Camelback, and George Lofts.
North Phoenix Condos
North Phoenix is not nearly as dense as the other urban areas mentioned here, but it is still home to several architecturally cool communities that are pedestrian friendly. These include The Residences on High Street (for rent only), Lofts at Kierland Commons and the twin high rise towers Kierland Landmark, with a soon to break ground new Optima at Kierland project. You may notice that some of these same projects are also listed in the Scottsdale section of our web site. We do this because, although the communities are technically in Phoenix, many people think of them as being in Scottsdale. So we list them under both cities for the sake of our audience.
All of these communities offer easy access to great restaurants and shopping in a more upscale setting.