By Maritza Dominguez | AZ Central
Downtowns are gathering hubs for residents and economic drivers for cities, but Mesa’s has been a quiet, forgotten historic strip of land. Mesa City Council wants to change that.
City staff and council are aggressively expanding and modernizing Main Street in downtown Mesa while trying to keep its historic nature. That strategy includes the city’s downtown façade improvement program with the goal of removing colonnades, repainting storefronts and adding new shade structures.
By improving storefronts, the hope is it will increase small businesses revenue and reduce the vacancy rates of empty properties. The aging shade structures are a city obligation that are seen as an impediment to keeping an attractive environment for business.
In 2018, Mesa funded eight properties with $1.2 million. That included notable business such as the coffee shop The Nile, which saw a 40% increase in sales, according to Jeff McVay, manager of downtown transformation. The Tacos Chiwas property was another improvement that attracted the restaurant to open its doors in 2020.