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Downtown becoming a place to live, not just work

Posted at 6:52 PM, Feb 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-25 20:52:53-05
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Tucson's downtown is taking off as a place to live as well as a place to work and play.
 
Now, there's a question of whether downtown's La Placita Office Plaza will join the trend and turn residential.
 
La Placita is an office complex on a very large, very choice piece of downtown real estate.  The plaza’s multi-colored paint makes it really stand out. There's a good chance the owners are going to develop it into something that will help supercharge the downtown area but a lot of new downtown development has been helping this area wake up already.
     
La Placita never really took off as an office complex. If La Placita turns into homes it will join the trend towards new places to live downtown.
 
There's plenty of other construction to add residential to the blend of entertainment and retail reviving downtown. 
 
Downtown Tucson Partnership CEO Michael Keith says, “Now what's happening is housing, housing, housing. We've got 20 different projects being looked at for downtown.  They range from affordable housing projects to market rate residential to luxury residential and now condos and townhomes are being considered."
       
Some of the projects include City Park, with offices, restaurants and apartments.
 
One West Broadway will include retail plus 40 apartments.
       
This towering crane is building the new AC Marriott hotel at Broadway and 5th Avenue.
       
The Downtown Tucson Partnership says 240 new businesses opened downtown in the last six years. They include Tucson Olive Central.
 
Store manager Alexander Molina says he knew when the time was right to move his store from Tucson Mall.  "I've been watching downtown for probably five years since they started digging the street for the streetcar.  After that I said it's changing really fast and I think I should have a business in downtown Tucson."
 
Work will still be an important part of the mix downtown. But the nature of some of the workplaces has changed.  A lot of them are co-operative spaces where freelancers come, set up their laptops and get their jobs done.