By Jim Walsh | East Valley Tribune
The so-called Site 17 redevelopment area near downtown Mesa started with prospects for a gleaming new resort with a water slide, but it quickly slid into oblivion as a symbol of how eminent domain can backfire.
Now, 30 years later, Mayor John Giles said Site 17 is on the brink of paying off handsomely with a high-quality residential development that will promote a healthier downtown.
“I feel lucky that we have it, and it’s something we will be very proud of,’’ Giles said. “It’s gone from being a red-headed stepchild to being a beauty queen.’’
Site 17 is a 30-acre piece of land located just north of Main Street near the Phoenix Marriott Mesa, which the city acquired in 1992 through eminent domain, leveling 63 homes at a taxpayer cost of $6 million.