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A Phoenix Suburb Wrestles With How Urban to Become

The city of Avondale approved a walkable, urban vision for its City Center Plan in 2008, but those grand ambitions haven't yet recovered from the Great Recession.
November 5, 2018, 8am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Derek Hall reports from the city of Avondale, with is considering amending the City Center Plan it adopted in 2008 to allow the development of "drive-thrus and big-box grocery stores with attached gas stations" in a corner of the city once envisioned as a "more walkable, more urban" city center to set itself apart from other suburbs in the region.

Scottsdale-based developer Empire Group owns 34 acres in the City Center Plan area, however, and it wants to amend the plan to allow for its more typically suburban designs.

The developments allowed by the 2008 City Center Plan has been slow to materialize, according to Hall. "A hotel is under construction east of Avondale Boulevard, which also has a city sports complex, city transit center and several restaurants and shops. However, there's been no development in City Center west of Avondale Boulevard during the past 10 years."

With Empire's deal on the table, even after numerous delays, the city of Avondale is reconsidering its aspirations. Some are tired of waiting for developments to materialize, and think the city should welcome the investment from Empire. Other in the city aren't ready to abandon the vision of the City Center Plan. The Avondale City Council is expected to decide on the plan amendment today.

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Published on Thursday, November 1, 2018 in Arizona Republic
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