Why Scottsdale and Tempe are experiencing a development boom

By Rebecca Rhoades | AZ Big Media (Photo via Michael Gaida)

While the COVID-19 pandemic may have curbed progress for a lot of businesses in the East Valley, construction showed no signs of slowing down. Massive multifamily housing communities, expansive business campuses, eye-catching mixed-use towers and luxury hotels are transforming the region’s skyline, and nowhere is that more evident than in Phoenix’s suburban neighborhoods of Scottsdale and Tempe.

“It’s been an interesting year. Everyone was expecting the worst, but we continue to be as busy as ever as people and businesses are looking to move here from higher-cost locations,” says Maria Laughner, economic development manager for the City of Tempe.

The last couple years saw Tempe pivot from a university town into the Valley’s second largest urban center. The area surrounding Tempe Town Lake has experienced some of the most notable change. Completion of the 16-story mixed-use Watermark in 2019 brought retail and dining options to the north shore. “People are using the plaza area as part of their walking path, which is what the developers wanted when the project was designed,” Laughner explains.


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